• Published 15th Oct 2013
  • 3,236 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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Ch20 The Battle of Eden

Star Bolt slept soundly as a small amount of black sand began slipping under the side and into the tent. As the sand gathered, Osiris was formed as he stood over the sleeping pegasus and smiled, “Your heritage leads me to believe you have what it takes to defeat me… but we know better… don’t we?”
And with those words a small amount of sand bundled up on the ground next to Star Bolt and took the form of a cobra. As the sand snake slipped closer to Star Bolt’s face, it raised itself up and opened its mouth to reveal its fangs. Then, without waking the sleeping pony, the cobra struck. All of a sudden, Star Bolt opened his eyes and sat up in fear of the terrifying dream to reveal that he was not only unharmed, but alone in the tent. As the relived pony wiped the cold sweat from his face, he mumbled to himself, “I know it’s a long shot… but I still have to try.”

All of a sudden, Gilda’s voice was heard as she called through the tent walls, “Commander? You awake? I got us some breakfast! Better dig in before it’s all gone!”
Star Bolt stood up and shook off his cloak that he was using as a blanket as he replied, “Sounds good, wake the others and I'll be out in a sec.”
Gilda replied as she turned to leave, “Whatever you say sir!”
Star Bolt then put on his cloak and sword, and exited the tent. While outside, Star Bolt approached the edge of the camp where a deep ravine sat with an extremely wide mountain sitting on the other side. As he looked across, he mumbled to himself, “Just like Niether directions. I hope this is the place.”
Star Bolt then turned and started trotting back into the camp. As he continued, he could see many griffins making their own meals outside their tents as he thought to himself, “This seems too familiar.”

After a few minutes, Star Bolt approached Gilda’s tent where he saw Gilda, Rarity, and Applejack sitting around a boiling pot. As he approached, Applejack looked at him and smiled, “Mornin’ commander. Ready for today?”
Star Bolt nodded his head, “As I'll ever be. If all goes well, by the end of today, The Dark Alicorn will be gone and we can start rebuilding our kingdoms.”
Rarity nodded her head, “I'd assume things will go well. You’ve never steered us wrong before. And as soon as Zecora finishes on Twilight, we can begin. Rainbow Dash and Spitfire are searchin’ for the cave as we speak.”
“Zecora’s working on Twilight?”
Applejack smiled, “Oh, it’s just a bandage change, nothin’ to worry about.”

Feeling relieved Star Bolt looked at Gilda and asked, “So, what’s for breakfast?”
Gilda smiled, “It’s an old griffin favorite, rabbit stew, and field mouse dumplings, Mmm always a good treat.”
The ponies looked at each other in concern as Star Bolt smiled innocently, “Sorry… I think we’ll pass on that. Meat isn’t really our kind of food.”
Gilds shrugged her shoulders, “Suits yourself.”
As Gilda continued stirring the brew over the fire, Applejack whispered to Star Bolt, “It’s a good thing Fluttershy isn’t here… she’d have one heck of a fit over this particular dish.”
Star Bolt nodded his head in agreement as Rainbow Dash and Spitfire landed next to them. As they landed, Rainbow Dash looked at Gilda and smiled, “Smells good, can I have some of whatever you’re making?”
Gilda nodded her head in agreement as Star Bolt replied, “Trust me Dash… you won’t like it.”

Gilda gave Star Bolt an annoyed look as Spitfire smiled and spoke, “Well I have some good news and some bad news.”
Applejack smiled, “Alright what’s the bad news?”
Rainbow Dash replied, “Well… actual you might want to hear the good news first, otherwise you won’t get the bad.”
Rarity asked, “Wait… does the bad news counteract the good?”
Spitfire nodded her head, “Well, kinda.”
Trying to cut to the chase, Star Bolt sighed, “Fine, whatever, just tell us already.”
Spitfire continued, “Well… we found the cave. But the route that was by hoof is completely worn away. If you want to get down there, flying is your only way.”

Star Bolt nodded his head, “Easy fix, Gilda, get some of your griffins to carry some of us down there. With my wing in bad shape and Twilights wings completely gone, there are only two of us that can fly on our own.”
Gilda nodded her head, “No prob, I'll gather my best and have them ready.”
Before Gilda could stand and do what she said, Star Bolt continued, “For now, just get you some food. We can do that later. Now if you will excuse me, I’m going to go find something that doesn’t have a face that we can eat.”
As Star Bolt trotted away, Rainbow Dash asked, “What does he mean by that?”
Gilda shrugged her shoulders, “Beats me dash. Here take a sip and tell me what you think?”
Rainbow Dash took the spoon that Gilda was stirring with, dipped it into the stew, and tasted it as she said to herself, “Hmm… I’ve never had this before. It isn’t bad.”
Rarity and Applejack looked at Rainbow Dash in worry as Gilda smiled, “You’re darn right! This stuff will put some real feathers on your chest.”

About an hour later, Star Bolt stood on the edge of the ravine as he looked into it. As hard as he tried, the ravine dug so deep into the ground that there was no hint of how deep it was since the bottom couldn’t be seen. Star Bolt opened his wing and looked at the bandage on it as he sighed, “Figures… the one time I need to fly, I can’t. Oh well, I’m sure the griffin ca…”
All of a sudden Star Bolt froze, as he started to sense something around him… something dark and evil. Usually Star Bolt would play it casual and act as if he couldn’t sense them, but with the amount of darkness in the area, he couldn’t. Star Bolt began looking around in worry as he mumbled to himself, “No… no not now… where are you… where are you… I know you’re here… show yourself monster.”
As he tried to find a hint of where Osiris was watching him from, Gilda approached him from behind as she spoke, “Commander I…”
In an anxiety formed reflex, Star Bolt drew his sword and swung it around in an attempt to strike her. Luckily, just as he realized who was talking, Star Bolt stopped the blade just one inch from her face as Gilda jumped back and fell to the ground in shock. Gilda was speechless as she looked into Star Bolt’s eyes as it went from, rage filled, to shocked, to worried, ending on apologetic, “Gilda… I’m… I’m sorry. I um… I didn’t expect you.”

Gilda slowly picked herself up from the ground as her worried expression stayed, “Y-you told me to meet you here… um… are you ok? You um… don’t look so well.”
With the sword still in his hoof, Star Bolt looked at the blade and sighed in relief, “I’m fine… just a little on edge.”
“A little?”
Star Bolt sheathed his sword as he replied, “Yea… a little.”
With the awkward moment still taking place, Rainbow Dash and Spitfire flew up as Spitfire started to speak, “Hey commander, we… um… are we interrupting?”
Both Gilda and Star Bolt wiped the awkward expressions from their faces as Star Bolt replied, “No… um… in fact you’re just in time.”
With the nervous expressions on both Star Bolt and Gilda’s faces, the two arriving pegasi looked at each other and shrugged their shoulders as Twilight, Zecora, Rarity and Applejack arrived. Twilight spoke, “Well we’re ready to go. How do you suggest we do this commander?”

Star Bolt looked back at Gilda and spoke, “You got the troops?”
Trying to forget the awkward moment Gilda replied, “Um… yea. They are waiting over there.”
Gilda pointed to a griffin formation as Star Bolt continued, “Alright, let’s go, Spitfire, Rainbow Dash, you two lead the way.”
The two nodded their heads as Gilda waved to the griffin formation. As soon as they got the signal, the griffins took to the skies as the small separated group approached the group of ponies and picked up, Rarity, Twilight, Zecora, Applejack, and Star Bolt. Then the group of griffins flew into the ravine as they followed the two leading pegasi and Gilda. As the group flew through the ravine, Rainbow Dash looked at Gilda and spoke quietly, “You mind telling me what all that was about?”
Gilda replied, “What? The signal to my troops?”
“Don’t play dumb, what happened? Are you crushing on the commander or something?”
“What? No! He just brought up a bad topic is all… nothing more so just drop it.”
Rainbow Dash wasn’t convinced but since Gilda wanted to forget it, she decided to let it go.

As the group of griffins flew through the ravine, Star Bolt couldn’t relax and enjoy the ride, primarily because he could still sense Osiris in the area, but since he didn’t want to worry the griffin flock and his friends, he kept his silence. Not long into their flight, Star Bolt’s worries came true as one of the following griffin that wasn’t carrying a pony screamed as something dropped from the sky and hit him like a hammer, tossing him straight down and into the darkness below. Star Bolt looked up and saw a dark cloud of sand hovering above as he called out, “EVERY GRIFFIN SPLIT UP! HE’S HERE! Twelve o’clock high!”
As the griffins looked to the sky, a number of black sand cylinders similar to the one that killed the rulers of the Crystal Empire began falling straight for the griffins as they began splitting up to avoid the surprise attack. With the splitting formation scattering in all directions, and the black cylinders hitting and devouring the scattering griffins, it wasn’t long before Star Bolt found that the griffins carrying the flightless ponies had almost lost complete sight of each other.

In an attempt to avoid being attacked directly, the griffins carrying Star Bolt and Zecora saw a fork in the ravine so they separated themselves from the rest of the formation. Star Bolt wanted to tell the griffin to turn back, but with the griffin preoccupied with dodging the incoming cylinders, he felt it wasn’t the best time. Star Bolt turned back to Zecora as the griffin carrying her followed him, “Zecora! Do you have anything that can help?”
Zecora nodded her head, “A potion for defense, is what you need. I think I have one, wi…”
Before she could finish her sentence, a cylinder fell and hit the griffin carrying Zecora as the cylinder quickly turned back into sand and started to spread over the griffin’s body. As the griffin started to feel the pain of the sand devouring him, he screamed as he dropped Zecora and began to fall. Star Bolt looked back as he screamed, “Zecora! Hey go back for her!”
The griffin that was carrying him replied, “What?! I can’t carry you both.”
In a fit of anxiety, Star Bolt drew his sword and placed it against the griffin’s talon as he replied, “Either we go back for her together… or I'll go after her alone! Your choice!”
Feeling the sharp blade against his wrist the griffin replied as he started to turn around, “Alright, alright, just don’t do anything rash, okay.”

As the griffin turned around and began diving for the falling zebra, the falling sand that was once the griffin carrying her turned into a spear and shot towards Star Bolt and his griffin escort. Before either of them could react, the spear pierced the griffin’s torso, threw him into the wall of the ravine, and nailed him there just barely missing his pony cargo. As the dying griffin took his last breath, he let go of the pegasus as Star Bolt fell onto a small ledge that sat just below him. As Star Bolt picked himself up, he didn’t waste a second as he rushed to the edge of the ledge and called out, “Zecora… ZECORA!... ZECORA!!!”
Star Bolt frantically looked into the darkness below him in hopes of seeing her, but it was no use. She had already fallen too far for him to see, and it was unknown whether or not she was ok. As Star Bolt continued searching the ravine, a small amount of sand formed behind him next to the wall as it took the form of Osiris, “Don’t bother commander… even if you tried, you can’t save her now.”
In a fit of rage, Star Bolt turned around and glared at the alicorn, “You… YOU SON OF A!!!”
Star Bolt drew his sword and sliced through the alicorn’s neck as the sand made body quickly reformed on the part the blade sliced through, “Now, now commander… you of all ponies know what risk awaits soldiers in battle. Did you really expect all of you to survive?”

Star Bolt then sheathed his sword as a cloud appeared above his head, “I'll KILL YOU!!!”
As a bolt of lightning came from the cloud and flew the two feet of space between him and Osiris, The Dark Alicorn quickly melted away into sand and dodged the attack as he reformed in midair just off the platform, “Perhaps some other time commander. In fact how about in Eden? Come to the tomb just below the palace. If you can make it there… then perhaps you will get your chance.”
Star Bolt turned towards Osiris and yelled, “SHUT UP!!!”
With his rage now controlling him, Star Bolt drew his sword as he sprinted to the edge, jumped off and swung at the hovering pony in the middle of the ravine. As Star Bolt’s blade and body hit the hovering alicorn, Osiris exploded into sand as he continued his airborne attack. As Star Bolt began to fall, he opened his wings and cringed at the pain as he glided to the wall on the other side of the ravine. When he reached the other side, Star Bolt stabbed his sword into the wall and was able to stop his fall and look back at the falling sand in rage, “Alicorn!.... I'll KILL YOU! COUNT ON IT!”
With his rage filled voice echoing through the ravine, Star Bolt held onto his sword as it suspended him on the wall of the ravine.

With tears rolling down his face, Star Bolt looked into the darkness below him as he spoke through his rage, “Zecora… no… I… I’m sorry…”
Star Bolt looked up as he saw Gilda and a few of her troops fly down to him, “I thought you were a goner. You alright?”
Star Bolt nodded his head as he replied, “Yea… are the others safe?”
Gilda nodded her head as she replied, “Yea, about ten of my griffin are missing plus your zebra friend.”
Gilda then looked around and saw the dead griffin who was still nailed to the wall of the ravine and continued, “Well, that counts for one of my griffin.”
Gilda then reached down and held Star Bolt as he pulled his sword from the wall and sheathed it. As they flew back, Gilda noticed that Star Bolt was a little quiet so she tried to break the ice, “You’re lighter than I expected commander, or maybe I’m stronger than I thought.”
Star Bolt didn’t speak, with his mind on the recent loss of his friend, he just couldn’t.

Not long after they left the site of the attack, Gilda arrived at a platform that sat just outside a cave in the side of the ravine. As they landed, Princess Twilight and the others rushed to his side, “Commander! Thank Celestia you’re all right. Have you seen Zecora? Was she with you?”
Star Bolt looked down in depression as he replied, “Yes and… yes…”
Applejack continued, “Well… where is she?”
Star Bolt sighed as he looked up and trotted past them ignoring the question, “Is this the cave? Alright, Gilda, gather your soldiers and let’s move out. He will be waiting for us in a tomb under the Castle of Eden.”
Trying to keep to the previous subject, Rainbow Dash asked, “Commander? Where is Zecora?”
“If we want to end this today, then I suggest we start moving now.”
Spitfire stepped forward, “How do you know he will be in a tomb under the castle?”
Continuing to ignore his friends Star Bolt turned to the griffin soldiers and called, “ALL SOLDIERS MOVE OUT!!!”

As Star Bolt turned to trot into the tunnel, Princess Twilight stepped in front of him, “Commander!... what happened? Where is Zecora?...”
Star Bolt looked away as he sighed, “She… she’s… gone.”
Everypony’s eyes widened as Rarity asked, “You mean… you mean she’s…”
“She would want us to continue… we owe it to her to finish this as soon as possible. Now quit wasting my time… and get moving! That… thing is waiting for us to end him… and that’s what I intend to do. ALL SOLDIERS MOVE OUT!!!”
With the rage filled voice, and a dead serious expression on his face, Star Bolt began trotting through the cave ahead of everypony as they all sat there amazed to see him this angry. As the group started to continue, Gilda walked close to Twilight as she asked, “Um… your majesty? Is this… normal? Right now he seems so scary… it’s freaking me out a bit.”
Princess Twilight replied, “You’re not alone… I’ve never seen him this angry before. It’s quite terrifying if you ask me.”
Gilda nodded her head, “Yea… it reminds me of all those stories my dad used to tell me… I wonder if this is the real Commander Bolt.”

As the group continued, they started to reach the other side of the cave as they stepped out of the damp darkness, and onto a hill that over looked a massive city filled with trees as if a forest had grown through it. As the group stared in awe at the city, Star Bolt spoke, “The city of Eden… we’ve finally arrived.”
Princess Twilight couldn’t help but marvel at the large castle that sat in the center of the city as she spoke, “Look at the detail in that castle… can you imagine what this city looked like all those centuries ago?”
Rarity added, “Craftsmanship that can last two millennia and still hold a tower that tall is definitely a sight to behold. Perhaps the alicorns truly were the most luxurious of all pony races.”
Gilda shook her head, “Well… it isn’t a griffin castle, but it’s not bad.”
Rainbow Dash added, “Common Gilda… even you can’t believe that a city this big is still standing after all these years.”
Star Bolt added, “Yea… but even with a forest, this place reeks of death.”

The group went silent for a second as Applejack continued, “He’s right… there ain’t a single sound of an animal in this entire place. A full city, covered in forestland, and surrounded by a wall of a volcano and yet there are no sounds of birds, bugs, or critters of any kind. It’s like nothin’ can survive here.”
Gilda asked, “Is it because The Dark Alicorn wiped them all out?”
Star Bolt shook his head, “No… something tells me it was like that before…”
As Spitfire pointed towards the highest tower on the Castle of Eden, they saw Osiris trot out onto the balcony and stare directly at them. Then with a crooked smile on his face, he flung his large bat like wings out causing many large clumps of sand to scatter in all directions and fall into the city below. As soon as all the falling wads of sand had hit the ground, they each started to mold themselves into black phoenixes, as they looked towards their creator and paused.
With a smile on his face, Osiris spoke, “Kill them…”
Although the order seemed too soft for any of the sand made phoenix to hear, they all reacted by taking to the sky and swarming around the castle of Eden in a large black cloud that seemed similar to the Wonderbolts actions in Canterlot.

Seeing the impending death that awaited them only increased the griffin soldiers worry as a few of them stepped back in fear. Princess Twilight looked at the swarming phoenixes as she spoke, “He’s ready for us…”
Spitfire spoke next, “He… he will do everything he can to eliminate us… just like my Wonderbolts…”
Applejack nodded here head, “Well I ain’t gonna sugarcoat it… things don’t look too good for us.”
Gilda spoke next as she looked at Star Bolt, “On your order… commander.”
Spitfire looked at Star Bolt, “Commander?”
Then Twilight, “Star?”
Star Bolt then turned to see that everypony to include the griffins were looking at him waiting for instruction as he smiled and turned back towards the city, “We have to make it to the tomb under the castle… nothing else matters. If something happened to us, I just want to say it now. I’m glade I arrived in Ponyville. It gave me reason to fight… reason to continue forward. And now as I stand here... I know that I‘m risking it all for something important. As we all are.”

With those words still in mind Rarity stepped forward,, “For Sweetie Belle…”
then Applejack, “For my family and home.”
Spitfire added, “For my Wonderbolts!”
Then Rainbow Dash, “For Ponyville and Cloudsdale!”
Princess Twilight spoke next, “For Princess Celestia, Luna, And all of Equestria!”
Star Bolt smiled as he nodded his head, “For ponies everywhere…”
Gilda stepped forwards, “And griffins!”
Star Bolt saw the smiling faces of the entire group and nodded his head as he looked back to the Castle of Eden and the swarming sand phoenixes that surrounded it. Then he smiled peacefully as he took a step towards the castle, “Gilda… give the order to your troops. Our top priority is to get us all to the castle in one piece. From there Princess Twilight, her friends and I should be able to try using what elements we have against that monster.”

Gilda smiled as she nodded her head, “Got it commander.”
Star Bolt then looked at his friends, “We may only have four elements… but maybe that will be enough. We won’t know till we try, so let’s try to make it there together! Even you Spitfire, whether you carry an element or not, you’re still a good friend. And we can’t do this without you.”
Spitfire nodded her head, “Thanks commander… I just want to show that we are more than just acrobats.”
Star Bolt smiled as he turned back to the castle, “Gilda, make your command. The rest of us, FORWARD!”
With that call, Star Bolt, Twilight, Spitfire, Rainbow Dash, Rarity, and Applejack rushed forward into the forest that surrounded the outer edge of the massive city. As they continued, Gilda called back to her troops, “We’ve fought long and hard for this day! Now it’s time to show this monster the real power of the griffin species! Protect the commander and his group; we have to help them get to the castle! NOW LETS GO!!!”
With that call, the griffin army let out a mighty roar that was a simple custom before battle in the Griffin Kingdoms.

Gilda smiled at her soldiers as she turned towards the castle and took to the sky, followed closely by her many soldiers. Osiris continued watching from his tower as he smiled, “So the griffin race remains an ally to the ponies… I guess even something’s will never change. No matter, they will die like the rest.”
With that said, the swarming sand phoenixes stopped their randomized flying around the castle and began flying towards the charging invaders. As Star Bolt continued his charge through the surrounding forests and into the outer rim of Eden, he looked up to see Gilda’s griffins flying over them, as they got closer to the center of the city. As they continued, Gilda approached him and flied alongside him as she asked, “Ok commander… what next? What’s the plan?”
Star Bolt continued as he replied, “I told you already… get to the castle, find a way into the tomb below it, and destroy The Dark Alicorn.”
“That’s it?”
“That’s it.”
Gilda seemed disappointed, “But… I thought there would be an elaborate battle tactic behind this.”
Star Bolt smiled, “The stories make it seem more planned out… but to be honest in most of my battles, I just winged it.”

Gilda could only smile as Star Bolt looked up, “INCOMING!”
As the group continued on their path, the phoenixes arrived at their location as they began diving trying to collide with the charging ponies as they dove from the sky and hit the ground like falling arrows. As the group dodged the diving phoenix and continued towards their goal, one phoenix tried to hit Gilda as she caught it with her metal gauntlet and slammed it against the ground as she smiled, “These things ain’t so tough.”
“Gilda! Your gauntlet!”
As Gilda continued flying alongside the group she looked at her gauntlet as sand residue started to spread across the outside of it. In shock, Gilda quickly unlaced the gauntlet and flung it off her talon as it hit the ground and dissolved into the sand that covered it. With shock, Gilda looked at Star Bolt, “What the world was that?”
Rainbow Dash flew alongside her as she replied, “That’s why this is harder than it looks. Don’t let the sand touch you. It’ll eat you alive.”
Gilda was shocked, “What? Then how are we supposed to fight this?”
Applejack replied, “Your guess is as good as ours.”
Star Bolt continued, “Like I said… Wing it.”

As the group made their way onto a main street that led strait to the castle, one of the attacking phoenix landed far ahead of them and stood next to a tower that sat along the road. Then as the group got close, the phoenix opened its wing and extended it in an almost supernatural way, as its edge solidified into a black blade, and sliced the bottom of the tower completely through it in a diagonal motion as if it were an enormous tree. As the top half of the tall tower started to slide off its base, Star Bolt looked at the tilting tower as he called out, “Everypony out of the street!”
The group of ponies plus Gilda quickly started going to the nearest building, but just as Star Bolt was nearing the door, the same phoenix that cut down the tower flew towards Star Bolt and struck the ground in front of him. Trying to avoid the sand made creature, Star Bolt tried to jump over it so he could continue running from the falling tower. However, while he was in midair, the creature melted into sand then turned into a vine as it wrapped itself around one of his hind legs, stopping him in the air, before throwing him back into the middle of the street, straight into the path of the falling tower.

As Star Bolt tried to pick himself up from the ground, he looked up and knew that he was completely out of time. However just as the tower was a few feet above him, Applejack came out of nowhere and pushed him out of the way before the tower came crashing down sending a cloud of dust into the air. As Star Bolt was tossed out of the dust from Applejacks actions, he quickly shuffled to his hooves as he rushed back to the rubble, “APPLEJACK!!!”
The ponies taking cover in the building didn’t waste a second, even before the dust started to settle the group came out of the building and approached the rubble as Princess Twilight called, “Applejack! Are you ok? Say something!!!”
Inside the rubble, Applejack picked herself up as she looked around trying to fan away the dust. As she looked around, she noticed that she was inside a small pocket inside the rubble with no way out, “I’m alright everypony… nothing to wor… Agh!”
Star Bolt heard her scream and asked, “Applejack! You all right? Are you hurt?”

When Applejack turned to look at where her pain was coming from, she saw that one of the support beams that held the tower together had pierced her back left hoof. And to make the matter worse, the same beam was the only thing keeping the rubble above her from falling in and crushing her. Still shocked by the pain, Applejack remained silent while Star Bolt asked again, “Applejack! Can you hear me? Are you ok? Applejack?!”
Applejack took a deep breath to numb the pain and replied, “I’m… I’m fine Commander… I just… just a little paine is all. You might want to continue on without me!”
Rarity tried to argue, “Don’t be ridiculous Applejack! We can’t possibly continue without…”
“Just go! I ain’t gettin’ out of here anytime soon and if ya waste anymore time The Dark Alicorn will get ya’ll before ya have a chance to face him!”
Rainbow Dash spoke, “What are you, nuts! If we leave you here The Dark Alicorn will get you for sure!”
Twilight added, “And we need as many of the Element there as we can get! Please Applejack, there has got to be a way to get you out of th…”
“They’re coming back around! We gotta go now!!!”

After Gilda made the call, everypony looked into the sky to see the swarm of phoenixes swing around and come back for another strike. Just as the sand made phoenixes approached, the griffin soldiers overhead charged and halted the phoenixes as they effortlessly fought back. However it still seemed like a one sided fight from the ground. Star Bolt looked at the group and spoke, “She’s right!... I'd hate to say it, but we gotta leave her behind!...”
Applejack replied, “There ya see! The commander agrees with me. Besides, as long as I’m in here The Dark Alicorn won’t know where I am!”
The rest of the group looked at Twilight who could only sigh, “Well if you say it will be alright… then we have no choice. Stay safe Applejack we’ll be back to get you before too long”
Feeling light headed from her blood loss, Applejack replied, “Take your time! I ain’t in any hurry…”
Star Bolt turned back to the road as he spoke, “Let’s go!... Applejack will be fine! We gotta get to the castle!”

Star Bolt could tell by the look on every ponies face that they didn’t like what they were doing, but since it was insisted by both Applejack and Star Bolt, they only nodded their heads and agreed as Princess Twilight replied, “Lead the way commander.”
As the group turned to continue down the road, Star Bolt could only keep his thought to himself as he assumed that Applejack was fatally injured. However, since he didn’t want to worry Twilight and the others, he could only keep silent. After the group was gone, Applejack laid on the ground where she was stuck, as she felt weaker and weaker with every second. “I… I did the right thing… Big Mac, Applebloom, and Granny Smith would be proud.”
Just then, sand started to seep in through the rubble as it gathered in front of her and turned into Osiris, “Funny… I didn’t expect the Element of Honesty to be so… dishonest with her own friends. Although, I can’t say I blame you. Even the most honest of us will give it all up when we want to protect somepony. Isn’t that right Applejack?”

Applejack tried to pick herself up as she sneered at the alicorn, “How… do you know my name?”
Osiris smiled, “Oh Applejack, I know well more than that. Your little sister’s name was Applebloom, your brother, Big Mackintosh. You owned and worked a farm called Sweet Apple Acers in the quaint little town of Ponyville. Everything about your life I know simply because I gained the memories of those who knew you. It’s a simple little trick that was gained when I created the Elements.”
Applejack sneered at the alicorn as she replied, “And I’m supposed to believe you created the Elements of Harmony?”
Osiris shrugged his shoulders, “I don’t expect you to believe anything, since you won’t live much longer to use it. Anyway back to business… are you ready to meet your end? Go ahead and speak your last words, I'll let you have that much.”
Applejack looked at the beam that went through her back hoof then at the rubble that it was holding. Then she sneered at Osiris as she spoke her last words, “Suck on these apples!”
with that said, Applejack used every bit of strength she could muster, to raise her other rear hoof and kick the beam as hard as she could causing it to shift just fae enough so that it stopped supporting the rubble above, as it all fell and caved in on top of them both. Shortly afterwards, the sand that made up the evil entity seeped out from below the rubble as it formed up and recreated Osiris just outside the destroyed tower, “Well spoken, earth pony... although it was a useless sacrifice.”

Further into the city, the group of ponies and the griffin commander arrived outside the castle of Eden as they looked at the massive structure. Then Gilda spoke “Okay… we are here… now what?”
Star Bolt quickly looked around “Crap!... I don’t know where the entrance will be!”
Princess Twilight thought to herself, “If the tomb is under the castle then there has to be an entrance similar to a cellar or dungeon.”
Gilda looked to the side of the castle and saw a part of the ground that looked like it had caved in as she pointed, “What about that? That looks like it will lead underground!”
as the group looked in the direction, Spitfire replied, “That’s gotta be it! let’s go befo…”
before Spitfire could finish her sentence, the group heard a crumbling sound that caught all their attention. The group quickly looked at the castle to see that the large stone blocks that made up the castle’s walls were being pushed out of place by black sand causing the top blocks to fall into the spaces and the rest of the building to crumble under its own weight. As the castle started to crumble around them, Star Bolt yelled, “Everypony hurry and get in before the castle comes down on top of us!”

The group quickly rushed to the caved in ground as the castle came crumbling down on top of them. Just as the group got close enough to the tombs entrance, the wall that sat beside it collapsed as the roof of the castle’s segment slid over the cave and covered the only entrance to their goal. Reacting immediately as he arrived, Star Bolt tried to lift the roof to reveal the entrance, however even with all his strength, the roof didn’t budge. As the rest of the group arrived, Princess Twilight and Rarity tried all they could to assist with their magic while everypony else tried lifting with their hooves, however the roof only raised up a few inches, still not enough for anypony to squeeze through. Star Bolt tried cheering them on in an effort to boost motivation, “Common! We have to get this up! This is our last obstacle! Try harder!”
As the group focused all their strength on the roof, Gilda finally approached as she smiled, “Step aside!”
With all the strength, she had and the assist of Rarity and Twilights magic, Gilda placed her talons under the roof and managed to lift some of it up. It was only about a foot and a half, but it was still enough. With the roof just slightly up, Gilda called, “GO! HURRY!!!”

Star Bolt took a few steps back, before charging towards the hole, and sliding under the roof as he fell in and landed in the tomb below. as soon as he landed, Star Bolt drew his sword and looked around, but once he saw that the coast was clear, he looked back and yelled, “Hurry up and get down here!”
Gilda looked back at the remaining ponies and added, “Hurry!... I cant hold it for much longer.”
One by one, the rest of the ponies mimicked Star Bolt’s actions in entering the underground tomb. First Spitfire, next Twilight, then Rarity. However, as Rainbow Dash approached the roof to enter she looked at the strain on Gilda’s face and asked, “Wait… how are you supposed to get in?”
Gilda smiled through her strain, “Ya really want to know Dash?”
Gilda gestured her head telling Rainbow Dash to come closer, then as Rainbow Dash approached her friend, Gilda reached up with one talon and grabbed her by the back of her neck, “I wont…”
Without letting Rainbow Dash do anything, Gilda pushed Rainbow Dash under the roof and into the tomb then let the roof fall on top sealing the tomb with her friends inside.

As soon as Rainbow Dash hit the ground, she quickly picked herself up and looked at the covered entrance, “GILDA!!! You need to come with us! We need your help too!”
Gilda turned around and sighed as she could see the phoenixes finish off the remaining griffin in the sky and started flying towards her, “Dash!... you and your friends will be fine! I know if anypony can handle this, it’s the coolest friend I have ever had. And not to mention you have Commander Bolt with you so that makes your odds even better. But as for me… well… there’s a silly pink pony I have to say something to. And if I’m good for anything… then I'll be good to apologies to her.”
Rainbow Dash tried to argue, “But!... Gilda! We can’t leave you too! We’ve lost enough friends for one day!... please, I don’t want to lose you too!”
Gilda smiled, as she looked at the claws on her remaining gauntlet, “Friend… that’s all I ever wanted to hear from you Dash…”
Rainbow Dash started to tear up as she called through the cover to the tomb, “GILDA!!!”
With tears starting to build up in her eyes too, Gilda readied herself as she looked at the attacking phoenix, “Come and get me dweebs… I got a score to settle. Compliments of my dad!”
And with that said, Gilda let out one final terrifying roar and she raised the gauntlet up and charged the assaulting sand made phoenixes.

After hearing the mighty roar from inside the tomb, Rainbow Dash dropped to a knee and began crying as Star Bolt put his hoof on her shoulder, “Common Dash… she knows what she’s doing.”
Twilight sat down and sighed, “One after another...”
Star Bolt looked at the depressed faces as he spoke up, “They gave their lives for this… the least we can do is try to finish him. Otherwise, they died for nothing!”
Rainbow Dash stood up and snapped at him, “Easy for you to say! They weren’t your friends, their lives didn’t even matter t…”
Before Rainbow Dash could finish, Star Bolt punched her knocking her to the ground. As everypony stared at him in shock, he spoke, “Don’t ever say that… Zecora saved my life long before she even met you! Applejack gave me work when I needed it and saved my life as her final act of courage. Gilda says she owed me her life for saving her… but I still owed her mine, for the friendship her ancestor gave me. They were my friends too. And just like my last set of friends, they gave their lives for what they believed in… if you want to blame this on me, then go right ahead and do it! But don’t you ever say that their lives didn’t matter to me. Believe it or not, I’m just as devastated as you… but you know when the best time to morn a fallen friends is? Its after the battle ends, because if you don’t win, then you can’t.”

After realizing what she said, Rainbow Dash rubbed her cheek, “I’m… I’m sorry commander… I’m just…”
Star Bolt continued, “We have to continue… I don’t know about you, but I want to end this as soon as possible. Oh… and Dash?”
Star Bolt smiled, “You’re my friend too, if you fall, I'll be just as devastated. Remember that.”
With nothing more to say, Star Bolt began trotting through the underground corridor, as Rarity helped Rainbow Dash off the ground and spoke, “Crying doesn’t suit you Rainbow Dash. You’re way too tough for that… even Gilda would agree.”
Rainbow Dash wiped the tears from her eyes as she nodded her head, “You’re right… thanks Rarity.”
Rarity smiled as the four ponies started following Star Bolt through the corridor and further into the tomb.

Slowly the group of ponies continued deeper and deeper into the tomb until Star Bolt looked ahead and saw that the long corridor finally fed into a much larger room. Seeing the main chamber ahead, the group stopped as Star Bolt looked back and asked, “Ready everypony?”
The group nodded their head as Twilight replied, “Well… as ready as we’ll ever be.”
Star Bolt replied, “Well… that’s close enough.”
Slowly the group continued to enter the chamber, however just as they got close to the entrance, black sand shot up from the ground and solidified just in front of them, sealing the tomb ahead. Reacting to the surprise, Star Bolt yelled, “IT’S A TRAP!!!”
Acting quickly the group turned around to flee, but before they could move, another wall of sand shot up behind them and solidified, sealing them in a small segment of the corridor. In an attempt to free themselves, Star Bolt drew his sword and began striking the glass as everypony else tried punching or kicking the glass hoping to break it. Nevertheless, the wall remained stationary with no signs of cracks, chipping or even scratching from the attacks.

While continuing their attempts at freedom, they heard a loud cracking sound as a large crack stretched across the ceiling and black sand began pouring into the room in large amounts. As the room quickly filled with the sand everypony tried all they could to get out, however no matter how hard they tried, the glass walls didn’t budge and before they knew it, the sand had already filled half of the room as they struggled to keep their heads above it. As the sand continued pouring in Rainbow Dash spoke, “It’s no use!... I can’t get out! What do we do now?”
Spitfire replied, “Keep trying! There has to be a way out of this! Commander? Can you use the Lightning Orb to free us?”
Star Bolt sighed, “I’ve been trying to do that since the sand completely covered the floor. The floors bottom became a sheet of glass… I can’t transfer electricity through it.”
Twilight gave him a look of disappointment, “So… this is it… isn’t it?”
Star Bolt nodded his head as Rarity frantically looked around, “No! I can’t forfeit now. What abou…”
Rainbow Dash interrupted “Face it Rarity! He won! We lost! Its over!”

After hearing Rainbow Dash’s remark, Spitfire looked at the ground in disappointment, “So… this is the end of us… and the pony race?”
Star Bolt looked at the rising sand in disappointment as he replied, “We did our best… and even if it wasn’t enough, I'd like to think that those we cared about would be proud that we made it this far.”
The group had depressed looks on their faces as the sand continued pouring in to the room. Then all of a sudden, it stopped. The group looked around in confusion as the level of sand stayed just below their chins, but as they did, Rarity screamed and she was pulled beneath the surface of the sand. Rainbow Dash called out, “RARITY!”
Then without warning Spitfire was pulled down next, followed closely by Rainbow Dash. As the two pegasi vanished from view, Twilight called out, “Rainbow Dash! Spitfire! Star? What do we d…”
Before she could finish her question, Princess Twilight was pulled under the sand just like the rest leaving Star Bolt alone, “Twilight!”
Star Bolt tried effortlessly to free himself, but just as he expected, he felt something wrap around his neck under the top layer of sand, and jerk him down deeper until he couldn’t see. Star Bolt continued trying to free himself but it was no use, with the weight of the sand immobilizing him and preventing him from breathing, Star Bolt slowly lost consciousness and he heard Osiris’s voice say two simple words, “Sweet Dreams…”