• 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.

  • ...

Ch21 Director?... Wingmare?... Captain?...

Slowly Rarity opened her eyes as she looked around, “Wha… where am I?”
“Miss Rarity? What do you think?”
As Rarity looked around, she realized she was sitting inside of a director’s stool with many ponies in the room looking directly at her. At first, she didn’t know where she was, but then the setting seemed familiar as she realized she was in an empty showroom for models. As she looked around, she could see many ponies that were simple behind the scene ponies in a show and one particular model who was standing in stage looking nervous. Rarity rubbed her eyes as she started to ask, “What’s happening? Where…”
The pony standing next to her immediately looked at the model and spoke, “It’s apparent to say that your performance was so dreadful, it caused even Miss Rarity to lose sense of what’s going on. Get out of our sight! You’re fired!”
The mare on stage galloped off the stage and out the door crying as the snobby pony looked back at Rarity and spoke, “my apologies Miss Rarity. If I had known she was so terrible, I wouldn’t have suggested her to you in the first place. Please forgive me though I know I don’t deserve it.”

Rarity gave the pony a funny look as she tried to understand what was happening, “um… pardon me, but, where is Princess Twilight?”
The pony looked at a clipboard as he shifted through the pages, “Hmm, Twilight… Twilight… ah here it is. Meeting with Princess Twilight… I’m sorry Miss Rarity but you’re not scheduled to talk with her for another week.”
Rarity was confused, “Another week? Can’t we schedule it sooner I think I… wait… what am I doing. Tell me where am I? What happened to Princess Twilight, The Dark Alicorn, and Eden?”
The assistant gave her a funny look as he replied, “my apologies Miss Rarity, but I don’t think i understand. You’re in Canterlot, overlooking the additions for this year’s Pony of Ponies Fashion Show.”
Rarity immediately became excited, “wait, you mean The Pony of Ponies Fashion Show… the most luxurious show in the entire world!”
The assistant smiled, “But of course, and what better pony to judge this year’s models then the duchess of the fashion industry herself?”
Rarity became anxious, “really? who?”
The stallion laughed, “Oh Miss Rarity, your humor is simply divine.”
As the stallion laughed at what he assumed was a joke, the surrounding staff started to laugh too although most of it seemed to be fake just so they could be a part of the herd.

As soon as the laughter died down, the assistant replied, “Why, it’s you of course. There isn’t a pony in the world more suitable for the position than The Rarity! By the way, not only is it unheard of to have this year’s show in Canterlot, but it’s a very bold and amazing idea.”
Although Rarity loved hearing this, it still didn’t divert her from her own situation, “But… what about my friends?... I mean, where is Mr. Bolt and everypony else?”
The assistant looked at his schedule and replied, “Hmm… nope I don’t see anything planned by a Mr. Bolt. Maybe you should get in contact with his agent then we can fit him in somewhere. The next avalale time you have is in about… four months.”
Rarity shook her head, “No… what I mean is, how did I get here? A few minutes ago I was in Eden, how did I arrive in Canterlot so suddenly and why is everything normal… I thought The Dark Alicorn destroyed everything.”
The stallion thought to himself as he replied, “OH! I get it… EVERYPONY! You heard Miss Rarity! Everything seems normal… And we all know that normality equals failure! You must step up your efforts if you want to please her… otherwise; I believe I shall terminate your position in fashion… Permanently.”

Rarity sighed as she put her hoof on her face, “no… what I mean to say is this isn’t what I expected at all… I was expecting more of a dark and terrifying appeal from my surroundings. Mainly life threatening for a chance to defeat The Dark Alicorn and avenge Ponyville.”
The assistant became excited, “YES! YES! I LOVE IT! Post-apocalyptic theme, something of which fashion has never seen before! Very bold choice Miss Rarity! I love the idea and I will have our decorators prepare for it immediately. This is why you’re the top name in fashion! None can match your vision!”
The surrounding ponies applauded in the idea, although Rarity sighed as she gave up, “oh never mind! I'll go find them myself!”
As Rarity, left the room the assistant turned to the crowed and called out, “Alright everypony just because Miss Rarity is gone doesn’t mean you can slack off… she demands perfection and I won’t accept nothing less. Now chop chop. Let’s get this theme ready, the show is in forty eight hours and I will not let Miss Rarity have even so much as a hint of embarrassment form the likes of you!”

Rarity could only roll her eyes at the rude pony’s comments to the staff as she trotted out the doors of the showroom and into the lobby. The bellhop in the lobby saw her and smiled kindly as he bowed in respect, “good evening Miss Rarity, is there anything that you require?”
Rarity replied, “Do you happen to know where I can find a newspaper?”
The bellhop smiled as he trotted to a nearby counter and pulled out a newspaper for her. As soon as Rarity looked through the paper, nothing seemed to make since, there was nothing in the paper about the disaster that befell Canterlot, Ponyville, Gryphus, or any of the lost cities. And to make it even more confusing, the date on the paper was the exact same date as the attack on Eden so she knew she didn’t miss anything time wise. As she looked through it, she gave the paper back to the stallion and spoke, “Um sir? Do you know where I can find Princess Twilight?”
The bellhop thought to himself before he replied, “well she is probably at the castle, with Princess Celestia.”
Rarity smiled as she hastily rushed out the door, “thank you sir, I know the way.”

As Rarity rushed into the streets of Canterlot, she looked around in amazement as she continued to the castle, “nothing is damaged…. The city looks as if the whole disaster never happened. Maybe Twilight can explain this to me. I feel as if something is frightfully wrong.”
As she rushed to the gates of the Canterlot castle, she was stopped suddenly as the gate guards crossed their spears over her path as one spoke, “Halt! Who goes there?”
Rarity replied, “I… I beg your pardon… I’m a friend of Princess Twilight and I must see her. Could you be a dear and retrieve her for me? It’s a matter of great importance.”
The two guard’s looked at each other as one replied, “Wait here…”
as the one guard turned around and went into the castle, the other held his ground as he stared at Rarity with a serious and awkward stare. After a few minutes of the awkward stare, the second guard returned with Princess Twilight talking to him, “of great importance? I wonder wha… oh… it’s you…”

When Princess Twilight expression of curiosity went to an unamused stare of annoyed anxiety, Rarity couldn’t help but feel offended at her tone as she asked, “Princess Twilight? Are you okay?”
Twilight sighed, “Well I was… but then somepony who betrayed her friends decided to pay me a visit.”
Rarity asked, “Really?... who?”
Princess Twilight replied with sarcasm, “Oh ha, ha, ha. Very funny… what do you want Rarity? Come to brag on your social popularity?”
Continuing to feel offended Rarity asked, “Twilight? What is going on? One minute we are in Eden facing The Dark Alicorn, then I’m judging the additions for the most luxurious fashion show in the world, and then I find you here and you’re acting so coldly towards me… what’s the matter?”
Twilight sighed, “I know you’re proud of all the fame you gained when you turned your back on us… but do you think I can be intimidated by you when you come here and rub it in? If you’re such a big shot now, then why don’t you go back and be a big shot instead of coming here to insult me like this. Good bye Rarity… have a nice life.”
With an annoyed action, Princess Twilight turned around and began trotting back into the castle as Rarity tried to stop her, “Twilight darling please! Tell me wha…”
Before she could finish, the guards crossed their spears in front of her again as one spoke followed closely by the other, “You heard the Princess!”
“I believe her words were, Good Bye!”

Rarity started to tear up as she watched Princess Twilight turn the corner and disappear from her sight. Then she turned around and trotted to the street as she sat on the curb and sighed, “I… I don’t get it… why was she so rude? That wasn’t like Twilight at all… and she says I abandon my friends… what’s going on?”
As Rarity tried to think about what was happening, she looked up the sidewalk to see spike walking towards her, out of excitement she called out, “Spike! You’re all right! I’m ever so happy to see that you’re safe and unharmed.”
Spike felt awkward as Rarity rushed to him and hugged him, “I… um… yea… I’m fine Rarity… why wouldn’t I be? Wait… I probably shouldn’t be talking to you.”
Rarity put him down as she asked, “what? But… why?”
Spike replied, “Well, Twilight and the others are still a little mad about what you did.”
Rarity decided to asked, “I can tell… what was it I did to anger them so? A second ago she was talking to me like I had disgraced her crown or something like that.”

Spike replied in surprise, “wait… you mean you don’t remember? It was about a year ago, when you came to Canterlot on business. Well needless to say, you gained a bunch of friends that were noble and upper class ponies and became real popular with them. So much in fact that when we came to visit you… you denied even knowing us. You called us a bunch of country bumpkins and gave us the cold shoulder while your new friends poked fun at us to our faces. Not long after that, you moved out of Ponyville and into Canterlot. It was from that point on that Twilight and the others decided that they didn’t want to even know you anymore. But what do I know, it isn’t like I’ve been keeping tabs on everything you’ve done both before and after you left Ponyville.”
Spike blushed as Rarity sat down in confusion, “but… I did claim them to be my friends… and even though I felt a little embarrassed, I still stood by them in the end.”
“No… you didn’t. You shunned us and joined the nobles in making fun of how common we all were. I mean I know I’m not as civilized as you are and I know that a pony like you is far above me as fare as value goes… but even a dragon like me has feelings…. I’m sorry Rarity… but I gotta go.”

Spike turned around and started walking past the guards and into the castle as tears continued rolling down Rarity’s face, “this… this can’t be true… Twilight, Rainbow Dash, Fluttershy, Pinkie Pie, Applejack, and Spike are all my friends… how could I have treated them so cruelly? That… that isn’t the real me… that’s now what I would do at all and… what about Mr. Bolt? Where is he in all this?.”
As rarity tried to understand what was going on, the stallion from the fashion theater rushed to her and spoke, “Miss Rarity! Thank Celestia you’re all right. I’ve been galloping everywhere trying to find you. We must get back and finish choosing the models for the show in a few days. Now isn’t the time to doddle.”
Feeling like there was no reason to be at the Canterlot castle, Rarity wiped the tears from her eyes and replied, “Oh… alright then… I’m on my way.”
As Rarity turned down the road and began trotting back to the theater, she glanced back at the castle gates one last time as she sighed, “good bye Twilight. I hope I won’t burden you any longer…”

With depression and guilt weighing down on her conscience, Rarity trudged back to the theater and back to her director’s chair so she could finish the task she was told that she had to do. With each passing dress and design, Rarity couldn’t get her mind on what she was doing. Even with the most intriguing and unique designs that would usually send her into a fit of delight, her expression stayed the same. She just couldn’t focus at all. Nevertheless, she tried to remain professional like the rest of the stage workers expected, so she carefully choose of which designs were the best until one particular design caught her eye. It was a black dress with see through lacing around the collar. As the model, wearing the dress made her way to the center of the stage the announcer spoke, “Next up we have a lusciously dark dress that is perfect for a formal party. Note the dark see through lacing on the collar that not only gives this dress a mystic illusion, but also beautifully changes the appeal for what particular event this dress is meant for. And look at that sheen. Why even Princess Luna wouldn’t know how to change the night to accommodate for the natural elegance that this dress holds. Not only that, but the collar can be removes and used as a vial to change the theme for either a funeral dress or just a dark and gloomy wedding. Proof positive that even the simplest change can make all the difference.”

As the model stood on the stage and posed, the assistant looked at Rarity and asked, “Magnificent, don’t you think Miss Rarity? So is she another addition to the show?”
Rarity didn’t pay any mind to the assistant, for the time being her eyes were focused on the black lacing as she mumbled to herself, “Illusion… the simplest change can make the difference… so… that’s what I have to do. It’s so simple, I’m a little embarrassed, I didn’t see it before?”
The assistant tried to piece together what he could hear as he replied, “so… that’s a yes then Miss Rarity?”
Rarity looked at the assistant and shook her head, “this is wrong… this is all wrong. You decide yourself, I’m leaving.”
Rarity stood up and began trotting out of the auditorium as the assistant followed her, “But Miss Rarity, we aren’t finished here yet, we still have seven more models to see.”
Rarity replied, “I hope you don’t find me rude, but choose them yourself.”

Rarity stopped as she turned towards the assistant and spoke, “This isn’t where I should be, though I’ve always wanted this opportunity, I don’t want to trade it for my friends. So thanks but no thanks.”
Rarity started to turn back as the assistant pleaded, “What are you saying Miss Rarity? Does… does this mean that I’m fired?”
Rarity replied, “No… it means that I quit! I’m wasting too much time here and not spending it trying to get my friends back. Fame is glamorous… but sharing the spotlight with my friends is what my generosity is all about… and if I can’t share that spotlight… then I won’t stand in it. Besides something tells me that none of this is real. And if it isn’t, then I must find out how to get back to my real friends and help them, but I can only do that with Princess Twilight’s help.”
The assistant grabbed her by one of her back hooves as he fell to the ground, “But you can’t leave! If you do, then your career will end… and so will mine! Please Miss Rarity! We need your insight!”
Rarity looked at the pathetic stallion as she sighed, “Darling please! Get a grip, and by that, I mean let go. Your career doesn’t have to end with me, today I saw many dresses with many talented designers behind them. I bet if you gave it a shot, one of them will surely hire you. Nevertheless, I’m going home. And that’s final.”

Rarity shook the stallion from her hoof and looked forward to continue leaving but as she did, she found out that the path she was trotting had disappeared. Feeling confused, Rarity turned around only to see that everything behind her to include the assistant, the models, and the stage had also vanished leaving her completely alone. Rarity tried looking in all directions but all she could find was empty darkness. Now she was not only confused, but she was a little worried as she called out, “Um… Hello!... is… is anypony there!... I seemed to have gotten myself lost!...”
there was no reply, there wasn’t even an echo of her voice as she looked around in confusion. Finally, she decided to try trotting forward but as she took her first step, the ground cracked up as if she were trotting over a thin layer of black glass. As she lifted her hoof to look at the red crack on the ground, the crack all of a sudden started to spread in all directions as it scattered across the ground and covered it completely. As soon as the ground was covered, the distant horizon of the seemingly infinite abyss also started to crack up as everything around her looked as if she were trapped in a cracking glass room

Rainbow Dash opened her eyes to see that she was flying thought the air at a high speed, but what really caught her attention was the that she was coming in too low on an acrobat ring in front of her. Trying to avoid the obstacle, Rainbow Dash rolled around till she was upside down before just barely making it through the ring as the lower part of it grazed her back. After making it through the ring, Rainbow Dash stopped and started checking herself for injuries, but it wasn’t injuries from the ring she was looking for, but from the sand. After seeing that her body was completely unharmed, Rainbow Dash looked in all direction to figure out where she was. It didn’t take her long to realize she was at the Wonderbolts personal obstacle course just outside of Cloudsdale. As she looked around in confusion another pegasus flew up to her, “You alright Dash? You never hesitate like that, need a break?”

When Rainbow Dash turned around, she saw Spitfire hovering behind her as she spoke, “Spitfire! What happened? Where are we?”
Spitfire gave her a funny look as she replied, “um… we are at the practice course… why? Don’t tell me you pushed even your most recent memories from your mind. You should probably get some rest; I wouldn’t want my number one wing to fall out when we do tomorrow’s show?”
Rainbow Dash lost sight of the situation for a second, “Number one wing… You mean… I… am your number one wing! Me! Captain Spitfire’s Number one wing!!!”
Spitfire smiled, well “Yea… you’ve been my number one for a few weeks now. In fact we are practically partners.”
Rainbow Dash’s excitement took over, “Oh-my-gosh, oh-my-gosh, oh-my-gosh, oh-my-gosh, oh-my-gosh!”

Spitfire rolled her eyes with a smile as she replied to the sudden outburst, “Wow Dash… I though you would have gotten past this stage a long time ago.”
Rainbow Dash continued, “Well what do you expect, I’ve wanted this ever since I was a little filly and now that it’s happened I can be more ha… wait a sec… I’m getting off subject. Where is everypony Spitfire? Did we win?”
Spitfire was confused as she replied, “win? No because the show tomorrow is just a show, not a competition. Also it’s tomorrow, so we didn’t even do it yet… did you bump your head or something Dash?”
Rainbow Dash rubbed her head as she replied, “no… or at least I don’t think I did. So where are the others?”
Spitfire replied, “Soarin and the other Wonderbolts are taking the day off before the competition. I think we should too, but if you’re still up for practicing then far be it for me to question my wingmare.”

Rainbow Dash loved hearing Spitfire call her that, but she tried to stay on subject, “no, I mean where are Twilight and the others?”
Spitfire replied, “Well they should be in Ponyville.”
Rainbow Dash was shocked, “Ponyville… but I thought that was destroyed… but then again, I thought Cloudsdale was destroyed too… but… isn’t that where we’re?”
Spitfire was now completely confused, “um… yea. Dash? Maybe you should sit down or something. You don’t seem to be yourself right now.”
Rainbow Dash put her hoof on her head as she slowly landed on a nearby cloud and replied, “I… I guess I don’t feel like myself right now. The last thing I remember, I was in Eden with you, Princess Twilight, Rarity, and Commander Bolt.”
Spitfire smiled, “whoa, I know I zone out when I go though the same routine and all, but I’ve never had a daydream that extensive before.”

Rainbow Dash gave Spitfire a funny look, “Daydream… how do you know it was a daydream?”
Spitfire replied, “Well, first of all, I’ve never heard of a place called Eden and I’ve been all over Equestria. Second, Commander Bolt? There is no way in Luna’s shadow that you could have met Commander Bolt.”
Rainbow Dash got offended, “what?... and why would you say that?”
Spitfire replied, “Well, the only Commander Bolt I know of is dead.”
Spitfire was surprised by Rainbow Dash’s outburst, “uh… yea… he’s been dead for quite a while now.”
Rainbow Dash was in disbelief as she sat down, “But… how? Was it The Dark Alicorn?”
Spitfire couldn’t help but laugh, “what?... no… he died more then a thousand years ago.”
“Well, yea don’t you remember Princess Luna telling us the story? Commander Star Bolt, high commander of the Nightmare Legion met his end in the Battle Of Canterlot when he and his most trusted officer failed to flee the city after calling the retreat.”

Rainbow Dash couldn’t believe it, “No… this isn’t right. I know he was alive and I was with him a second ago. He was right beside me. We fought our way into The Dark Alicorn’s tomb, we charged through Eden dodging falling buildings and black phoenixes. Gilda and Applejack both died trying to save us! There is no way he could have died. Not then, and not now…”
Spitfire was confused, “Dash? Princess Luna said so herself… she saw his body. They buried it under this city with the officer. He’s gone… but Applejack, and Gilda are both fine. In fact, Gilda was the first griffin accepted into the Wonderbolts academy. Isn’t that great!”
Rainbow Dash was too confused the think about Spitfire’s comment. All she knew was that none of this was right. As skeptic as she was about most things, she knew for a fact that whatever she was hearing or seeing at this very moment, wasn’t right. As she stood in silence trying to get her head around what was going on, Spitfire saw her stress so she sighed, “Well Dash, I think we should call it a day. It’s obvious that you’re overworking yourself and we both need our strength tomorrow. If I were you, I’d head home and get some rest, you look like you need it.”
Rainbow Dash didn’t reply, she only nodded her head as Spitfire flew back into Cloudsdale.

Later that day as the sun was setting, Rainbow Dash found her way to the cemetery below Cloudsdale, where she found a large statue that looked exactly like Star Bolt and Gem Stone standing side by side. When she approached the statue, she looked at the text and read it aloud, “Here lie the Great Commander Star Bolt and Captain Gem Stone of the Nightmare Legion. These two ponies put their loyalty before even their lives and died doing everything in their power to accomplish their mission and please their Princess. Though their sacrifice was in vain, it shall never be forgotten for their courage, determination and selflessness is a true testimony to the pride and power of Royal Guards everywhere. Though they may be gone, their legacy will be everlasting.”
Rainbow Dash looked at the serious expression of both statues as they stood side by side in the pedestal, then she sighed, “This can’t be true… you’re too strong to die like that commander. I can’t believe that you’re actually dead. You led us into the depths of Eden… nopony that has the power to lead us that far could ever fall. Not there… not in the place this statue says. There is something wrong with what’s happening around here, I don’t know what it is yet… but I’m gonna find ou…”
“Rainbow Dash?”

Rainbow Dash turned around to see Princess Luna approach her from behind, “Princess Luna? You’re alright.”
Princess Luna smiled pleasantly, “I honestly don’t know what you mean by that… but I’m fine if that’s what you’re asking. Are you here to pay respects to Commander Bolt too? I didn’t know you had any interest in him.”
Rainbow Dash looked back at the statue and replied, “Well… he was my friend too.”
Princess Luna was confused, “Your friend? What do you mean?”
Rainbow Dash sighed as she mumbled to herself, “that’s right, I didn’t know him… did I?”
Rainbow Dash the turned to Luna and replied to her question, “well… what I mean is… um… his story motivated me to push myself to where I am today.”
Princess Luna smiled, “Ah, I see… well. I just wanted to pay my respects to him. He was one of my best commanders after all.”
Rainbow Dash nodded her head, “yea… but this doesn’t make sense.”
Princess Luna gave her a curious look as Rainbow Dash continued, “Um… Princess Luna? You say he died over a thousand years ago… right?”
Luna nodded her head, “Correct, he died during The Battle of Canterlot.”

Rainbow Dash looked at the ground in disappointment as Luna saw her expression “Is something wrong?”
Rainbow Dash replied, “I just don’t understand what’s going on. I know it sounds crazy… but what if I told you that I was talking with him yesterday?”
Luna smiled in a joking manner, “You’re right… I does sound crazy.”
Rainbow Dash sighed, “I just don’t understand it… one minute I was with him, Princess Twilight, Rarity, and Spitfire in Eden. Then the next I was he…”
Princess Luna was amazed, “Eden?... how do you know about Eden?”
Rainbow Dash replied, “I told you already… I was there. It is inside a volcano on the other side of the Griffin Kingdoms.”
Princess Luna couldn’t believe it, “I… I and sister never told anypony about Eden… not even Star Bolt.”
Rainbow Dash replied, “Well it wouldn’t matter anyway… apparently nopony believes that I was really there. But I know I was there… it was too real to see it as anything else.”

Princess Luna thought to herself for a second, “Well… I know for a fact that Eden is gone since the volcano it sat in became active again… but, maybe there is a possibility that what happened could truly be real.”
Rainbow Dash gave Luna a blank stare as she replied, “… uh… Kay?... Wait… what?”
Luna explained, “I can’t say in all honesty that what you say did or didn’t happen, but I have been through many dreams and I’ve discovered at times that even I find it hard to understand what is and isn’t real. In fact, for all I know, I could be nothing more than a dream version of myself while in the real world everything is as you say. But at the same time, there have been few that were so influenced by their own subconscious that even the simplest dream can be mistaken for reality.”
Rainbow Dash felt even more confused than before, “So… this… or that… was just, a dream?”
Luna smiled as she looked at the statue of Star Bolt, “Maybe… but I certainly hope it is a dream… many times, I’ve come here wishing that that day never happened. I wonder if things would have been better if this wasn’t real.”
Rainbow Dash replied with disappointment, “Yea… sure… better… I’m just gonna go back and get some rest… thanks for the advice your majesty.”
Princess Luna smiled and nodded her head as she replied, “Sweet dreams Rainbow Dash. And good luck in the show tomorrow. Whether it is real or not, I enjoy seeing my subjects succeed at their dreams.”
Rainbow Dash turned around and started to leave, before she was too far to see, Rainbow Dash stopped and looked back at Princess Luna who was sitting and looking at Star Bolt’s statue with desire. As Rainbow Dash watched, she couldn’t help but sigh, “If only that other world was better for you two.”

Rainbow Dash then continued back to her house and went to sleep. The next morning Rainbow Dash woke to Spitfire as she knocked on the door and called though, “Dash! You up yet? We gotta get going! The show starts in an hour and we gotta set up the course!”
Rainbow Dash climbed out of bed and replied as she opened the door, “um… Spitfire? Why did you make me a Wonderbolt anyway?”
Spitfire laughed, “Why? You’re the most skilled flyer in Cloudsdale and the only pony I know who can do the Sonic Rainboom.”
“Yea… but when did you make me your wingmare?”
Spitfire gave her a confused look as she replied, “after that Tornado incident in Ponyville a few days ago. Taking down a tornado without any help was something that most Wonderbolt could only dream of doing. You were already my top student in the academy, so I used that as reason enough to immediately make you not only a full fledged Wonderbolt, but my wingmare.”

Rainbow Dash thought to herself for a few seconds then replied, “Well… I think that settles it.”
Spitfire asked, “Settles it? What exactly does that settle?”
Rainbow Dash replied, “last night, I started thinking up what I could remember of the other reality and this one to settle once and for all which one was real, and which was a dream.”
Spitfire was dumbfounded, “what? Which reality? What in Celestia’s name are you talking about?”
Rainbow Dash continued, “I know everything about that other reality… but in this one, I don’t even remember becoming your wingmare. I don’t even know how I stopped that tornado here… but I know how Commander Bolt stopped it.”
Spitfire sighed with hopelessness as she replied, “Are you still going on about that? Dash, you’re starting to worry me a little bit. Maybe you should sit this show out. Apparently, your mind is distracted and I don’t want you pulling something up there without full focus. I can just tell the others that you’re feeling sick so they will understand.”

Rainbow Dash smiled as she nodded her head, “yea… I shouldn’t be up there in my shape anyway right?”
“And that’s why I quit.”
Spitfire thought she heard wrong so she replied, “wait… what?”
Rainbow Dash replied, “Well none of this is the reality that is real, right… so I quit. Where I am right now isn’t where I’m supposed to be, so I need to find a way back to reality so I can help my friends.”
Rainbow Dash started to close the door as Spitfire stopped her, “Wait! What are you talking about Dash? You mean you’re going to quit just like that? What about us? What about the Wonderbolts?”
Rainbow Dash smiled, “Sorry captain… but right now, my friends, to include the other you, needs my help more. And I’m loyal to them first. Goodbye captain.”
With that said, Rainbow Dash closed the door and sighed as she turned around, “Now I need to find out ho…”

After she turned around Rainbow Dash saw that everything behind her had vanished into thin air leaving behind a seemingly endless abyss of darkness. Rainbow Dash looked around and found out that the door she had just closed had also disappeared as Rainbow Dash found herself alone in the silent darkness. Rainbow Dash felt confused as she started to trot through the darkness, but the ground beneath her first step cracked up as quickly lifted her hoof to look at the unusual reaction to her step. As she looked at the Crack on the ground, Rainbow Dash looked closely at it as she started to wonder, “What’s going on? Where am I and why is this floor so frail? Is this… also a part of my dreams? Is this a…”
All of a sudden, her thoughts were interrupted as the small crack caused by her hoof started to spread across the ground in all directions as it quickly cover the ground. Not long after the ground was covered, the cracks started spreading up the seamlessly endless horizon as if she were standing inside a black dome shaped room that was shattering around her.

Spitfire opened her eyes to find herself standing on the edge of a stage as another Wonderbolt was nudging her, “captain, that’s our queue… you’re supposed to lead us onto the stage for our big entrance.”
Spitfire started rubbing her head as she tried to ask, “What?... where am…”
Before she could finish, Soarin got behind her, and pushed her forward, “Come on captain… time to stop stalling.”
As Soarin pushed Spitfire in front of their group, the small number of Wonderbolts made their way to the edge of the stage where they stopped and looked into the massive cheering crowd. When the group stopped, Spitfire looked at Soarin with amazement, “S-Soarin… you’re ali…”
“Uh… captain? Shouldn’t you be waving to the fans like the rest of us? They came here to see us compete in racing around the world.”

At first Spitfire was amazed to see Soarin alive but then she became even more amazed when she heard him say that, “Racing around the world! You mean The Round World Race! The one competition that we’ve been trying to get into for years!?!”
Everypony in the group gave her a funny look as Soarin replied, “Um… yea… don’t you remember being recruited for this a couple of months ago?”
Spitfire tried all she could to remember what he was talking about but no matter how hard she tried, she just couldn’t remember. As she sat there thinking to herself, the announcer in the center of the stage called out, “And finally the other team to be competing in The Round world Race, The Griffin Gladiators!”
As Spitfire looked at the last competing team, she was amazed when she saw the griffin leading them, “Gilda! You’re alright! I’m glad to se…”
Before she could finish, Gilda gave her a dirty look and spoke, “You pony dweebs are going down! Nothing, not even a dragon can hope to beat a griffin! So you better be ready to leave a trail of tears on your way home, cuz there ain’t no way you’re beating us!”

Spitfire couldn’t be more confused, “what? But, Gild…”
before she could finish, the announcer called out again, “and now the representative from both nations will step forth to give them a few words of encouragement. May I present, Princess Celestia of Equestria! And King Talon of the Griffin Kingdoms!”
The announcer stepped aside as both royals made their way to the center of the stage. The first one to speak was King Talon, “Welcome all to this perfect display of both chivalry and determination! Tomorrow these two teams will compete in what is most commonly known as the most difficult competition that an aviator could ever attempt. Thought the griffin kingdoms has competed in it every year for the past decade. I still know without a doubt that the pony challengers will be a worthy opponent and I wish both teams luck. May the sky be Limitless!”

After King Talon was don’t talking, the crowd cheered as Princess Celestia stepped forward, “My ally King Talon couldn’t have said it better. These two teams represent the best we both have to offer and I know without a doubt that they will try their hardest in the race tomorrow. I have personally seen the Griffin Gladiators in their previous races, and I’ve seen the Wonderbolts push themselves to their limit just to be here today, sadly if it were up to me, I would claim them both winners and spare them the dangers of tomorrow’s race. But I don’t have the power to do such a thing and it wouldn’t be fair for them to split the trophy, so all I can do is wish you two luck tomorrow and hope you try your best. To our Competitors!!!”
With those words, the crowd cheered in an uproar that echoed throughout the auditorium as both rulers turned to their teams. Spitfire rushed to the princess and spoke, “Princess Celestia! What’s going on here! Why am I here? What happened with Star Bolt and Princess Twilight?”
Princess Celestia was confused as she replied, “well, I don’t know any Star Bolt, but Princess Twilight in back in Ponyville with her friends. Anyway I’m proud to see you come this far and I can only wish you luck in tomorrow’s competition. Good luck!”

With that, said Princess Celestia started to leave the stage as Spitfire sat down trying to figure out what was going on. As she sat there, the king approached his team and spoke to Gilda, “Crush them into dust… no mere pony could ever hope to challenge a griffin. And I don’t want them coming anywhere close… understand?”
Gilda smiled as she pointed to Spitfire, “Don’t worry your majesty. Look, one is already breaking up from the stress. And if that’s supposed to be their captain then I'd hate to see what their weak link is.”
The king put his talon on her shoulder and smiled, “That’s what I like to hear, young Orem. Your father has never failed me before and I know you won’t neither. You will make a fine commander in the future… and perhaps a good queen for my son as well.”
Gilda gave him a funny look as she spoke, “Um… your son is only six…”
The king smiled as he walked by her and left the stage, “Give it time Orem…”

Later that evening Spitfire was sitting in their complimentary suite as she tried to understand what was happening, “ok… Princess Twilight, Gilda, Dash, Rarity, and Commander Bolt made it to the tomb under Eden… then we made it into the tomb. Then the sand filled the room… then… then… AGH! I can’t remember!”
All of a sudden, Spitfire was interrupted with a knock on the door as Soarin entered as he smiled, “um… am I interrupting captain?”
Spitfire looked at him and tried to act casual, “Um... No not at all.”
Soarin entered the room and sat down, “I was wondering if you’re feeling ok? You’ve been acting strange since the announcement ceremony today. Is something wrong?”
Spitfire thought to herself then asked, “Um, Soarin? When was the last time you saw Canterlot?”
Soarin gave her a funny look, “Um… this morning, we left from there before coming here.”
Spitfire continued, “Did it seem any different then it usually was?”

Soarin shook his head and replied with a confused tone, “um… no. it was the usual Canterlot.”
Spitfire then asked, “There was nothing destroyed in it?”
Soarin shook his head, “Uh… no… why?”
Spitfire shook her head, “I was just wondering… um… have you ever heard of either The Dark Alicorn, or Eden Before?”
Soarin thought to himself, “Hmm… nope, I don’t think so.”
Spitfire sighed, “Oh… ok…”
Soarin smiled, “look if you’re worried about tomorrow then don’t, we worked our tails off to be here and I know without a doubt we have what it takes to win this. You just have to trust yourself.”
Spitfire smiled, “Well I guess you’re right about that, and maybe I can fly without using your wind current like Commander Bolt suggested.”
Soarin gave her a curious look as he asked, “Commander Bolt? Who’s that?”

Spitfire was surprised, “Wait… you don’t know Commander Bolt? Come to think of it, Princess Celestia said she didn’t know him either. But how can tha…”
Before Spitfire could finish her question, Cloud Chaser entered the room and spoke, “Captain? Shouldn’t you be in bed right now? The competition starts in less than eight hours. And we need our rest.”
Soarin looked at a clock on the wall and replied, “Whoa! I didn’t know it was so late, well g’night captain. I'll see you in the morning.”
As Soarin left the room, Spitfire stared at him in confusion as he trotted out the door and out of her view, “he didn’t know Star Bolt… he also didn’t know about Eden, or The Dark Alicorn. This can’t be a coincidence… something is wrong. I just know it.”
After that Spitfire decided to lay down and get some rest for the race in the morning. Though she still had no idea what was going on, she decided to play along with what’s happening in hopes that it would lead her to answers.

The next morning she was woken up by a loud shattering sound that sounded like a shattering window. But after sitting up and looking around, she realized that nothing around her was broken. Confused about where the shattering sound came from she looked at her clock to find that it was five minutes passed the time she had set the alarm for. She didn’t feel too concerned since she had planned for plenty of time to get ready, but since her alarm didn’t go off, she decided to check her team, only to find that their alarms had been turned off too. After the team had finished getting ready, they made their way to the starting point only to see the griffin team standing there with confused looks on their faces. Gilda smiled wickedly as she spoke, “wow, I didn’t expect you to make it in time figured you’d not show up at all, or, be fashionably late.”
Spitfire glared at Gilda as they continued trotting to the start line. Something was telling her that Gilda was responsible for the turned off alarms, but it didn’t matter. Now all they had to do was start the race.

Not long after the teams were on line, the announcer came up and spoke, “now that both teams are present, let’s get ready to begin. Remember, the first checkpoint is in the gorgon mountain about twenty miles away. When you arrive, you will be given an hour-long break that must be taken before continuing into the frozen north. Then you will be given further instruction. Is everyone ready?”
Both teams braced themselves on the starting line as the announcer called out, “Ready!... SET!... GO!!!”
As soon as the go was called, the two teams took off and began flying into the mountainous terrain in front of them. At first, some of the griffin tried to fly high but when the thin air got to them, they lowered their altitude and began going through the valleys like the Wonderbolts did. As they flew, Spitfire tried to focus on the race since this was something she had always wanted to do, but then she started to hear something, “What is thi... wait… Spitfire?...”
Though she didn’t know where the voice was coming from Spitfire knew who was talking, “Commander Bolt?…”

Spitfire looked around to find out where the echoing voice was coming from, but as she did, she looked into the sky and saw a faint image of Star Bolt as he looked at her then turned and looked away, “Dash, Rarity, Twilight!... What’s going on?... They’re not dead… but… are… are they dreaming? Was that what I was doing too?”
as soon as Spitfire heard those words she asked herself, “dreaming?”
As Spitfire looked back at her flight path, she realized that she was headed straight for the face of a cliff so she banked just in time to miss it. Trying to regain control, she landed on the next Cliffside platform she saw to get her head straight as Soarin landed next to her, “captain? You ok? You almost ate that mountain.”
Spitfire looked around as she tried to listen for Star Bolt a second time, but when nothing was heard, she replied, “I… um… I gotta go.”
“What? But what about the race?”

Spitfire turned around and replied,” Sometimes, there are more important things then a race! Something tells me that this isn’t real anyway.”
“Isn’t real! But… but…”
Spitfire smiled, “Soarin… it was good to see you again… and the rest of the team. But I gotta find out how to get out of here. It’s nice to finally be able to compete in this race… but, I want to qualify the hard way. I just don’t want it given to me on a silver platter like I’m something special.”
“But captain! We need you!”
Spitfire smiled, “Sorry Soarin, but there is another team that needs me even more right now.”

As Spitfire turned around to fly back to the starting line, she blinked but as soon as she opened her eyes along with that first step, everything around her suddenly vanished, leaving her standing in a dark and empty abyss. Spitfire looked all around her but everything around her had completely vanished, the mountains, the sky, even Soarin. Everything that was once there was completely replaced by the black darkness. Feeling a little nervous about what was happening; Spitfire took another step, only to have the black floor beneath her crack up with that step. Suddenly the crack began to spread in all direction until everything that seemed to be an empty abyss began cracking up as if her entire existence was crumbling around her. Spitfire had no idea what was going on, but it didn’t matter to her. She was determined to meet whatever challenge came next as she readied herself for anything.