• Published 15th Oct 2013
  • 3,208 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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Ch7 Gathering Resources

Roseluck looked at the staircase to see Star Bolt coming down, “Good morning Star. You’re up early; I thought you were off work today?”
Star Bolt replied, “I am, but I’m expecting a package soon.”
Rose asked, “A package? When are you expecting it?”
“Last night.”
“Hm… I guess it’s late then.”
Star Bolt could only smile, “Well, not necessarily… considering my delivery mare, yesterday was best case scenario.”
All of a sudden, there was a loud crash against the front door as Star Bolt turned towards it, “Oh… there she is now.”
Roseluck gave Star Bolt an unusual look as he approached the door and opened it to see Derpy sitting on the ground as she rubbed her head, “Sorry… came in too hot… Oh, Hi Mr. Star, I got that package you’ve been waiting for.”

As Star Bolt took the package he smiled, “Right on time Derpy… well sort of; how was your trip?”
Derpy smiled, “It was fun… I didn’t know there was a book store that took personal requests by mail, in Manehatten.”
Star Bolt smiled, “The owner owed me a favor. So I’m guessing he was happy to help?”
Derpy smiled, “Yep, once I said your name he was more than happy to help… but he did give me a funny look when I told him the title of the books you wanted.”
Star Bolt nodded his head, “Did… he say anything about why he gave you the funny look?”
Derpy replied, “Nah, he just went to the book case and got the books you needed. Didn’t even take the money you gave me to pay for them.”
As Derpy handed Star Bolt the package and a bag full of bits, he pulled a number of bits out and gave them back, “Well either way, thanks Derpy. You really are a good friend.”

Derpy smiled with glee as she started to fly away, “Well if you need any help Mr. Star, then just ask.”
Star Bolt waved to Derpy as she flew away, “Count on it!”
After Derpy was gone, Star Bolt took the package inside as he sat it on the table and opened it, “Ah, here we are.”
Star Bolt opened the first book and started looking through the pages as Roseluck approached him and asked, “What are those?... History books?”
Star Bolt replied with a smile, “Not just any history books… History books over the Nightmare Crusade.”
Rose was confused, “But… why would you need those? You know first hoof about th…”
“Here it is…”

Star Bolt closed the book and tucked it under his wing as he trotted over to a coat hanger, and put on his cloak, “I'll be back later Rose… Don’t wait up.”
Before rose could stop him, Star Bolt left through the front door and went down the road. Roseluck then picked up the remaining book and looked through the pages until she saw an image of Commander Bolt and his highest-ranking officers. Then she sighed, “I hope you know what you’re doing Star… I don’t want you to get hurt again. And this plan of yours is practically asking for it.”
Roseluck then sat down and began reading the book that told the story of her mysterious roommate.

Not far down the road, Star Bolt approached the Carousel Boutique, knocked on the door, and waited as Sweetie Belle opened the door and smiled, “Mr. Star! Good to see you… but erm… we aren’t open till eight o’clock.”
Star Bolt looked at the sun and nodded his head, “Oh… that’s right how silly of me… well is your sister here? I need to ask her something.”
All of a sudden Sweetie Belle smiled really big as she started jumping to conclusions, “Oh! You want to ask her out don’t you… I kinda suspected a special something between you two… even if you two don’t really talk to each other… like… at all… but I sure she would love t…”
Before Sweetie Belle could finish her sentence, Rarity used her magic to pull her back from the door and cover her mouth as she spoke in an annoyed and embarrassed tone, “Sweetie Belle!!! What have I told you about trying to hook me up with other stallions without my permission? Just because you like him doesn’t mean that he and I are compatible together!”

Star Bolt started to laugh at the squabble between the two sisters as he spoke, “Now, now ladies… I know I’m a catch and all, but there is no need to fight over little old me…”
Rarity looked at Star Bolt and replied to his sarcasm, “Please don’t encourage her Mr. Star… she is full of herself as is.”
Star Bolt nodded his head, “Alright, alright, well the reason I’m here is that I need a favor from you Ms. Rarity… that is if you have the time?”
Rarity smiled as she replied, “Well of course I do… I always have time for my friends. May I ask what kind of favor?”

Star Bolt looked at Sweetie Belle who was watching their conversation unfold, “Well… not here. I need to speak to you in private.”
Rarity looked at Sweetie Belle and replied, “Um… okay. Sweetie Belle? Would you mind giving Mr. Star and I a few seconds alone please. In the meantime why don’t you continue getting ready for school?”
Sweetie Belle lowered her head in disappointment, “Aww… alright.”
As Sweetie Belle went upstairs, Star Bolt entered the building and closed the door behind him as Rarity started getting things ready for when the shop would open, “So Mr. Star, what is it you need assistance with?”
Star Bolt started looking around the room as he replied, “Well… I have a special order I need you to fill for me.”
Rarity replied, “A cloak?”
“A suit.”
“A suit?”
Star Bolt nodded his head, “Yes… but I need you to promise you’re not going to panic when I show you exactly what I’m talking about.”
Rarity thought he was being ridiculous about what could be a terrible looking suit so she nodded her head and replied, “It’s alright Mr. Bolt… I’ve made many ensembles that could only be described as repugnant. So anything you could ask me to make wouldn’t be that big a deal.”

Star Bolt shrugged his shoulders as he opened the book that was under his wing and flipped to a specific page, “Well, alright… I need you to make this for me.”
Rarity used her magic to pull the book from his hooves and bring it closer to her as she studied the outfit in the picture, “Hmm… very retro… yet chic and sleek… wait… this pony in the picture… is… is he?...”
Rarity looked at Star Bolt, then back at the picture, then back at Star Bolt, then the picture. As she repeated the motion Star Bolt smiled in anxiety, “Well… can you make it for me?”
Rarity dropped the book and took a few steps back in shock, “You’re… you’re… You’re him! You’re the stallion in the book! The stallion on the page aren’t you!?! Your Com…”
Star Bolt interrupted, “Yes… I won’t deny it… but I promise you I’m not the stallion I once was… and I’m hoping I can trust you to do this for me. You said you trust me fully right. And you also said that if I needed anything from you, all I had to do is ask right? Well I’m not asking, I’m begging. You’re the only pony I know who has the skills to make something like this, and you’re the only one I can trust with this task. So please, I'll pay triple your usual price, and I’ll keep the origin of the outfit secret for your protection. Of this, you have my word. So, do we have a deal?”

Rarity looked at the picture one last time and ask, “This outfit… what do you need it for?”
Star Bolt replied, “I can’t say, the less you know, the better. but I promise; I won’t do anything to ever make you or Sweetie Belle ashamed of me…”
Rarity looked back at the outfit and sighed, “Alright Mr. Star, I'll do it… but I hope nothing bad will come of this.”
Star Bolt nodded his head as he replied, “Nothing bad will ever come of this… in fact, things will only get better.”
Star Bolt then stepped onto a pedestal as Rarity started taking measurement for the outfit, then shortly after words, Sweetie Belle entered the room, “Rarity! School is about to start… and remember I’m supposed to bring in a speaker for career month.”
Rarity thought to herself then replied, “Oh… I completely forgot. Sorry Sweetie Belle I have far too much work to do today, with the gala being tomorrow night have a number of orders to fill.”
“But… But… you said…”
“I’m sorry Sweetie Belle, but I don’t have time to do it today… maybe next time.”

As Sweetie Belle looked at the ground in disappointment, Star Bolt spoke up, “I can do it.”
Sweetie Belle looked at Star Bolt and smiled, “REALLY!”
“Sure, not a problem at all. That is, if you’re ok with it Ms. Rarity.”
Thinking about what she had just found out about him, Rarity hesitated, “Well… um… I don’t know…”
Star Bolt smiled, “Its ok, I’m still the same as I was before… it will be fine you’ll see.”
Rarity looked at Sweetie Belle who was giving her big begging eyes, “Please, Please, Please, Please, Pleeeaaase…”
Giving into her sisters begging, Rarity sighed, “Alright… but you better not do anything to bring harm to her Mr. Star.”

Sweetie Belle started hopping around Star Bolt as she cheered, “Yaaaay!”
Rarity then got real close to Star Bolt’s face and glared at him as she spoke, “But it anything… ANYTHING!... bad happens to her… then I'll have you to pay for it. Is that clear, Mr. Star?”
Feeling nervous for the first time around her, Star Bolt replied, “Um… of course… she will be safe. I am a stallion of my word…”
Rarity slowly moved away from his face as she continued glaring, “Good… in the mean time I will start on your suit and have it ready for you by tomorrow morning.”

Star Bolt pulled a bag of bits out of his cloak and laid it on the table, “This should be more than enough.”
Sweetie Belle then started pulling Star Bolt’s cloak as she spoke, “Come on Mr. Star we’re gonna be late for school… we have to leave now!”
In a playful manner, Star Bolt started to wine, “Awww… I don’t want to go to school today…”
Sweetie Belle then started to complain, “You’re worse than Scootaloo… we gotta go!”
As the two left out the front of the store, Rarity looked at the book that she was using as a reference then back at Star Bolt out the front window, “Can he really be that stallion from this story?... I guess it is possible. Now where did I put that navy fabric?”

As Star Bolt followed Sweetie Belle to her school, he asked, “So what is this career thing supposed to be?”
Sweetie Belle replied, “Well everyday this month somepony is supposed to bring in an adult that has a job so he or she can explain what they do for a living.”
Star Bolt nodded his head, “Hmm… makes since, so what do you want me to tell your class about then. Right now I’m an apple farmer, and last time I was a weather pegasus.”
Sweetie Belle thought to herself, “Hmm… how about when you were a royal guard?”
“No can do.”
“What? Why not?”
Star Bolt replied, “Well my job as a royal guard isn’t something I like to talk about… especially to foals. How about my life as a wanderer?”
Sweetie Belle thought to herself again then agreed, “Ok… but you have to tell us about all the cool places you’ve been to. Nothing boring like, a grassy field or something like that.”
Star Bolt nodded his head, “Got it… only cool places. Like the frozen north cool.”
Sweetie Belle smiled at his joke, “Oh ha, ha, funny Mr. Star.”

By the time they arrived at the school Sweetie Belle and Star Bolt met with her teacher at the front door, “Hello sir, I’m Ms. Cheerilee… aren’t you Mr. Star Bolt that helped the town a few weeks ago?”
Star Bolt smiled, “Yes, I’m hear to speak for the class… Ms. Rarity was busy with work and she couldn’t make it.”
Ms. Cheerilee nodded her head as she replied, “Well alright then if you can please stand at the side of the room, and I'll call you to the front when we’re ready.”

Star Bolt did as he was told and waited at the side of the room while Ms. Cheerilee did roll call. Then when she was ready she announced, “Alright settle down my little ponies. As we all know this is career appreciation month so today Sweetie Belle brought Mr. Star Bolt to come in to talk to you about his career.”
As soon as Ms. Cheerilee stopped talking, both Apple Bloom and Scootaloo gave Sweetie Belle a dull look as Scootaloo spoke, “Seriously?”
Apple Bloom then added, “You’re kiddin’ me right? We know ya like him an all, but did ya really have to substitute your sister for him?”
Sweetie Belle blushed as she replied, “Rarity was busy today, and he offered to help… I promise I didn’t put him up to it.”

As Star Bolt stepped to the front of the room, he spoke, “Thank you Ms. Cheerilee. And thank you my little ponies. To be honest, I haven’t spoken to a crowd in almost… um… well, let’s just say it’s been a long time, but I'll do my best. My name is Star Bolt and I’m a wandering worker.”
A filly with glasses raised her hoof, “What’s that? Do you think about working?”
Star Bolt shook his head, “No, no, not a wondering worker, a wandering worker. I travel from place to place doing various jobs for money. One day I can be a farmer, the next a fishing stallion, and sometimes I’ve even worked part time controlling the weather.”
Another foal raised his hoof and spoke, “Why do you do that?”
Star Bolt replied, “Well, rather than staying in one place for a long time, I get to travel all over Equestria and meet many different ponies.”

The taller earth colt beside him asked, “Uhh have you ever met the great and powerful Trixie?”
Star Bolt thought to himself, “Well, I met a Trixie… but she wasn’t so great and powerful. She was working part time with me at a rock farm. The pay was medial, but that job didn’t last long.”
Another pony raised her hoof, “How far have you traveled?”
Star Bolt replied, “I’ve been as far as the Gates of Tartarus… but that’s the furthest I’ve gone. I prefer to stay in the Griffin kingdoms or Equestria’s area.”
The next little filly raised her hoof and spoke in a snobby manner, “So… you’re a hobo?”

Star Bolt looked at the little filly as she smiled at him in an easily insulting manner, then he replied, “You seem very cleaver… tell me little filly, what is a hobo?”
The filly smiled, “My daddy says that a hobo is a homeless pony who travels from place to place collecting money however he can for his next meal.”
Star Bolt smiled, “Very good. A hobo does travel looking for work so he can eat… however, that’s not the reason I travel. You see, a wanderer, travels to find something better for himself. Something that he can’t find anywhere else and wants more than anything in the world.”
The grey filly sitting next to the snobby pony asked, “What is it you’re searching for Mr. Star?”

Star Bolt paused, then thought to himself, “To be honest, I’m not quite sure… I guess, I'll know when I find it.”
The snobby pony spoke again, “Well daddy says…”
Before the pony could finish her sentence, Sweetie Belle spoke up, “Nopony cares what your daddy think Diamond Tiara. He nearly bored us to death last time he spoke.”
“Well I'd rather hear more about Rich’s barnyard stocks then to hear this hobo talk about where he has been.”

As the two fillies got into an argument, Ms. Cheerilee spoke up, “Girls, girls, please! I’m sorry Mr. Star, I hope they didn’t offend you.”
Star Bolt smiled, “No Ms. Cheerilee, it alright, fillies will be fillies, But did I hear you right Diamond Tiara? Your daddy owns Rich’s Barnyard Bargains?”
Diamond Tiara smiled, “He not only owns it… he is one of the founders. Everypony in Ponyville knows Filthy Rich.”
Star Bolt smiled, “Ya don’t say… I knew a Rich a long time ago… maybe I'll have to drop in for a visit. Anyway, does anypony else have any questions?”
Scootaloo asked, “Um… Mr. Star? I notice you do more trotting then flying… is there any reason for that?”

Star Bolt nodded his head, “When you’re in the sky you see much further, and better in the area, then you do on the ground. But only when you’re on the ground, do you actually see what matters more. You can never tell the gentle flow of a simple spring or admire the glowing dew of the moonlit night, when you view it from above. In addition, it’s much easier to avoid wild beasts when you’re on the ground. Manticore, Gargoyles, and even dragons can be very dangerous when it comes to traveling alone.”
Talking about the wild creatures quickly caught the class’s attention as they went into an uproar of question about what he came across in his travels. However, Ms. Cheerilee stepped forward and interrupted, “Now, now my little ponies, I’m sure Mr. Star would like to tell us all about his exciting adventures in his travels, but I’m afraid his time is up. We are about to break for lunch, then we will go into our usual lesson plans. Now thank Mr. Star Bolt for coming and talking to us about his career.”
The class spoke all at the same time, “Thank you Mr. Star Bolt.”
Star Bolt smiled and gave the class a friendly nod as they began getting up and getting their lunches from their saddlebags. Sweetie Belle then approached him and spoke, “Thanks again Mr. Star… I’m glad you came.”
Star Bolt smiled, “My pleasure Sweetie Belle, I couldn’t let down a friend… anyway, I was wondering, do you know where I can find Filthy Rich’s home?”
Scootaloo was surprised, “Whoa… I know you didn’t like Diamond Tiara’s comment but do you really have to tell on her?”

Star Bolt, Apple Bloom, and Sweetie Belle gave Scootaloo a look of hopelessness as Star Bolt replied, “You… really think it bothered me enough to tell on her?... a comment from a pampered little filly?”
Scootaloo didn’t understand, “… I donno… maybe.”
Apple Bloom sighed, “Fillies and gentle colts… I present one of my friends…”
Sweetie Belle replied to Star Bolt’s question, “Well, Diamond Tiara and her father live in the mansion on the southern part of town.”
Star Bolt nodded his head as he started to leave, “Thanks Sweetie Belle… I should make it back to the Carousel Boutique before you do, but if I don’t, then please tell Rarity that I will come by for my order sometime tomorrow.”

As Sweetie Belle nodded her head in agreement, Star Bolt left the schoolhouse and made his way to the southern portion of town until he came across a large mansion. As he approached the large manor he knocked on the massive doors and waited until a butler opened the door, “Yes sir, may I assist you?”
Star Bolt replied, “Yes, is this the manor of Mr. Filthy Rich?”
The butler nodded his head, “Yes sir, Master Rich is in a meeting upstairs, but I believe it is now coming to an end. If you like you may wait to see him in his study.”
Star Bolt nodded his head, “It seems kind of strange for you to allow a complete stranger to come in without allowing me to introduce myself or my reason for coming here.”
The butler smiled, “Master Rich knows who you are Mr. Bolt… in fact he has been expecting to meet with you ever since you saved the town a few weeks ago. Please follow me.”

Star Bolt followed the butler into the large mansion, as he was led to the master’s study. As Star Bolt entered the study, the butler spoke as he started to close the doors, “If you will kindly be patient, I will return with the master.”
After the doors to the study were closed, Star Bolt started to look around. At first, it seemed no different from Commander Mist’s old study from a thousand years ago, but when he looked over the fireplace, he saw some things that significantly caught his eye. First, he saw a thin fencing sword that he hadn’t seen in over a millennium, and next to it, he saw inside of a frame, an old photograph of the great Commander Bolt, and his highest-ranking officers, plus the commanders of the allied nations to the Nightmare Legion. As Star Bolt looked at this photo, he couldn’t stop himself from picking it up and studying the photograph closely.

While looking closely at the picture, Star Bolt started to focus on the smiling faces of his once happy family. Looking at the smiles, he himself stared to smile as a voice came from behind, “As I live and breathe… Commander Star Bolt, in the flesh and right as rain.”
Star Bolt turned and looked at Filthy Rich as he entered through the doors, “Filthy Rich am I right? I feel embarrassed that I don’t know you, yet you seem to know me very well.”
Filthy rich sat down at his desk and replied, “On the contrary commander, the only thing I know about you is all that I read in history books. But please, any friend of family is a friend of mine, but I still prefer you to call me Mr. Rich.”
Star Bolt sat the picture back onto the shelf next to the sword as he replied, “And I would prefer you to call me Star Bolt… or Mr. Star as most call me in town.”
Mr. Rich smiled, “I heard… lately many have been talkin’ bout you since you saved our hides the other day. Funny, nopony in Ponyville knows that we are praisin’ the great Commander Bolt from the olden days.”

Star Bolt picked up the sword and pulled it partially from its sheath to look at the blade, “The blade is more new then old… but the hilt is almost the same… leave it to Captain Storm’s fine repairing skill to keep this thing young and usable for over a millennium.”
“Captain who?”
Star Bolt sheathed the sword and placed it back on its stand as he shook his head, “Just an old soldier from the war.”
Mr. Rich nodded his head, “Oh… well that sword has been passed down from Rich to Rich since Frances Rich himself. It’s a priceless artifact and one that I value more than my own home.”
Star Bolt nodded his head as he trotted over to a nearby chair and sat down, “That’s what he always said. Sometimes I thought that even in death that blade wouldn’t be pulled from his hoof.”
Filthy smiled, “He was a good soldier?”
Star Bolt shook his head, “No… he was a lousy soldier… but he was a good friend, and a strong swords pony. I wouldn’t ask for any other to assist me in battle”

Filthy stood up and trotted over to a nearby table and pulled out a bottle and some glasses as he asked, “I assume you ain’t here to just talk about the good ol days then are ya?”
Star Bolt shook his head, “Despite how much I miss those days with my soldiers, no… I’m not hear to talk about them. I was actually hoping you could help me with a little plan I have in store.”
Filthy started to pour them both a drink as he spoke, “Plan? What kinda plan?”
Star Bolt stood up and trotted to the table as he continued, “All I'll tell you right now is I’m in need of a carriage and a driver. Everything else I will only tell you if you accept to help. Fair enough?”
Filthy put the cork back on the bottle and tucked it under the table as he replied, “Well, that seems fair and all… but ya know everythin comes at a price Mr. Bolt.”

Star Bolt took one of the glasses as he replied, “I'll pay you exactly three hundred bits… that seems fair enough for a rental don’t you think?”
Filthy took his glass and leaned against the table, “Not so fast Mr. Bolt, what I want can’t be bought with any amount of money.”
Star Bolt gave him a suspicious look as he asked, “Alright then… what is it you want?”
Filthy held up his glass to give a toast as he replied, “I only want you to tell me about the good ol days, my ancestor… his glory filled life, and what this plan of yours is. Then we’ll call it even, what do ya say?”
Star Bolt tapped his glass against Mr. Rich’s and replied, “I say, you and me will be okay. Just remember I gotta leave before nightfall… I got to see a certain dragon before the library closes.”

Princess Cadence of the crystal empire kissed her husband as she got ready to board the train, “Are you sure you don’t want to attend this year’s Gala? I know that the soldiers are important to the upcoming crisis, but I still think you should attend since it is Twilight’s first gala as a Princess.”
Prince Shining Armor shook his head, “I’m sorry my love, but I really need to make sure they are ready. I know you weren’t around when the Dark Alicorn first appeared, but that doesn’t mean you’re not in danger too. I won’t let anypony young or old harm my wife. And as your prince, I'll do anything to keep you safe.”
Princess Cadence smiled, “Yes, but I still think the kingdom will be fine without its prince for at least one night. I mean Twilight will be disappointed when she find out you’re not there. You know how much she loves her B.B.B.F.F.”
Shining Armor nodded his head, “Well, you’ll be there, and so will her friends, so she won’t be lonely or anything, besides, I heard Discord will be sitting the gala out too. Maybe you could convince him on stopping by here so he doesn’t cause any trouble. It wouldn’t be a bad idea seeing that he is an important role in the Dark Alicorn’s return too.”

Princess Cadence sighed knowing that she couldn’t convince him, “I don’t like him… I agree with Princess Luna when she says that even if he is reformed, he mustn’t be trusted. But if you say that everything will be ok… then I'll trust your judgment.”
Shining Armor smiled, “Its ok my love, everything will be alright. Once the gala ends, I will be on the next train there. I promise.”
Princess Cadence nodded her head as she stepped onto the train, “If you’re sure th…”
“Cadence it’ll be fine… there is nothing at the gala that is more important then my sister and my bride’s safety.”
As the train began to roll away, Cadence called to her husband, “Then be sure you’re not late! I know how you can get carried away with training soldiers!”
Shining Armor called back, “I’ll be on time my love! Count on it!”

Shining Armor watched at the train left the city and vanished on the horizon, then he turned to one of his soldiers, “Now that that’s out of the way. Flash Sentry? What is the progress on training?”
Flash replied, “Training is going as planed your majesty, though I wouldn’t consider anypony as Traipse material.”
Flash Sentry nodded his head, “The soldiers from the early Crystal Empire won’t stop talking about him. Apparently before the great exile of the empire, He was King Sombra's leading soldier. They say that he would face entire armies bare-hoofed and win without breaking a sweat. It’s become quite the little conversation topic during downtime in the barracks.”
Shining Armor replied, “Is that so? That’s nice and all but, we should probably talk more about something from this particular millennium. Ancient heroes won’t help us now.”

Flash replied, “Well from what I hear, soldiers from that time are stronger anyway. They say we’ve gone soft since then.”
Knowing where he had heard that phrase before irritated Shining Armor, “That was then, and this is now. Let’s leave it at that.”
Flash noticed tension in his voice so he replied, “My apologies your majesty, I didn’t mean to offend you.”
“I’m not offended, I just think we need to worry more about the future than the past. The gala is one day away and the Dark Alicorn is supposed to arrive within the next few weeks, if not sooner. Remember, he will be hunting alicorn first, I don’t want to stand by and watch him hurt my sister or my wife. If anything, I'll die first.”
Flash nodded his head, “Of course your majesty, we will not give up the princesses without a fight.”
Shining Armor looked over his soldiers as he entered the training area, “That sound fine and all Sentry… but I won’t be giving up the princesses at all, with or without a fight.”