To a normal person a rock is but a rock but even to a normal person a that rock shines and glimmers is valuable and is worth many hours searching for and collecting. For some these rocks represent power and esteem as it can be adorned and made into rather expensive (albeit sometimes gaudy) clothing and jewelry while for others it is the key to there future as a couple rocks could ensure them and the people they care for don't go hungry for awhile. The lengths some people will go to for these things makes one wonder if it is worth it at all to covet things with such desire. Only a strong heart and mind stands a chance at fending off such material want. For many others though. It's all too easy to get wrapped up in the hunt for wealth that the desire for the item is well beyond it's true worth.
Chapter six: The dangerous and desirable
The Ponies and Spike continued to travel through the Forest of Afel making sure they weren't being followed by the creatures that captured them previously. Everything was moving along as normal when Rarity's horn began to glow. “Oh my, Can it be? All the way out here?” Rarity said with a piqued interest. “What? You sense something?” Twilight said turning to Rarity to see what she was up to. Rarity ignoring Twilight ran off leaving everyone behind. “Where does she think she's going?” Spike said confused by Rarity's action. “I say we outa give chase.” Applejack said. “Good idea! Let's go ponies!” Twilight said running after Rarity. Spike ran with them but was losing ground and falling behind. “Grab on little lizard!” Applejack said as she moved her tail into Spike reach. Spike grabbed while she continued to run. They followed her into a cave hidden deep within the forest. She finally came to a stop and used her magic to lift a large rock from the ground.
“Oh what good fortune I have to find something like this all the way out here!” Rarity said with glee. “What? A rock?” Rainbow Dash said bemused by the thought of going all this way for something so common. “I would expect someone unrefined to be so shallow. It is not just a rock. It is a diamond in the rough.” Rarity said as she spins the rock around. She began blasting the rock with beam of energy that shot straight from her horn. The rock sizzled and cracked and began to change in shape and structure. When she stopped the rock no longer looked like a rock but a gem. She floated the rock close to her face and examined it. “Oh how wonderful a quartz, Once I get this thing polished and cut I’ll make it into a fine necklace!” Rarity said with excitement in her voice. “Quartz huh, let me have a taste.” Spike said as he reached for the gemstone. “Are you mad? Absolutely not! Do you know how vital these things are in making magnificent outfits that can be worn by high class aristocrats, the fabulous celebrities and classy artist alike? Why Sapphire Shores adorns her whole outfit with dozens of fancy expertly cut gemstones.” Rarity exclaimed smacking Spike's hand. “Sapphire shores? You mean that one weird looking guy with the odd accent?” Spike says rubbing his hand. “I've seen that guy before! He talks funny! He always liked to randomly Streeeeeeeetch his words out!” Pinkie Pie said moving her hoofs in tune with the way she pronounced the word stretch. “Flashy clothing huh, I've seen that guy around. More like I’ve seen his shine around. Do you know how many Pegasus fliers crash into an object due to the blinding light that comes off that pony’s clothes? To many!” Rainbow Dash said angrily. “Guys, Sapphire Shores is not a man.” Twilight said. “Oh? What sort of a lady wears a top hat then?” Spike said confused. “I dunno. A weird one I suppose.” Applejack said.
Rarity ignored them and continued into the cave. She stopped again picking up a rock and blasted it with her magic. “Oh what wonderful treasures fill this lovely cave, I simply must have hit the mother lode!” Rarity says as she inspects the gem. “Oh my, jasper, There must be so many different gemstones in this cave! So wonderful I can't wait to find them all!” Rarity exclaimed. Suddenly a hoof snatched the gem right from the air where Rarity was floating it. “Yes. They are marvelous aren't they?” said the lavender colored Pegasus pony. “You're one of Nightmare Moon's ponies!” Rarity said surprised by Gimme's appearance. “Brilliant deduction, you are as smart as I am beautiful.” Gimme said as she brushed her mane lovingly. “I don't have time to deal with you. Give me that gemstone!” Rarity said as she tried to grab the gemstone from Gimme. She took blow a strong gust of wind at Rarity sending her flying back. “Do not. Invade my private space without me giving you the go ahead which I did not. Besides, these gemstones have been commandeered by Queen Moon. You do not have the right to acquire any of them.” Gimme Temptation said as she stored the gems that Rarity found in a knapsack on her back. Rarity got up and shot a blast of magic at Gimme. Gimme unprepared for retaliation got struck with the blast and sent falling with the gems she had acquired falling out of the knapsack. “You have some nerve sully my perfect coat with your magic! But I am generous as I am pretty so I'm giving you till the count of 5 to clear out. Otherwise I’m going to wear your head like a very gaudy hat!” Gimme said with her voice thick with malice. “Tough words dear but you have another thing coming if I'm going to steered away from taking claim of these gems.” Rarity says as she gets ready to shoot another blast of magic at Gimme. Gimme floats into the air ready to dodge Rarity's attacks. Rarity shoots a flurry of magic blasts at Gimme. Gimme dodges them with as much grace as possible. A couple of shots hit her though and it stuns her making her fall to the ground. Rarity charges at Gimme only for Gimme to blast another breath of air at Rarity sending her flying back. She takes a deep breath and then shoots small pieces of hail at Rarity. Rarity ends up being pelted by the hail which stopped her from fighting back.
Gimme continues to shoot hail at Rarity until a shield appears over Rarity. Gimme turned around to see Twilight and the others poised to fight. “No fair! No one said you were reinforced...” Gimme said intimidated by the battle ready group. She took off into the caves. Rainbow Dash gave chase only for Twilight to create a barrier in front of her causing Rainbow Dash to crash into it. “What's the big idea? I was trying to nab the bad guy!” Rainbow Dash said as she shook off the sudden bump against the shield. “Never mind the fact that the last time you chased after one of them we had to drag you wounded and dizzy across the forest, I have to acknowledge a more concerning flaw in your plan. Namely, what is your plan for confronting them?” Twilight asked. “I dunno. Beat em up?” Rainbow Dash replied. “Then what?” Twilight asked. “I dunno... I guess... Um...” Rainbow Dash stutters and pauses trying to find an answer in her head. “Do you plan to kill them?” Twilight asked inquisitively. Rainbow Dash paused for a moment. She herself wasn't even sure how to answer the question. “Aren't we supposed too?” Rainbow Dash said unsure of what to think. “Princess Celestia said nothing about killing them. “I have given you a great power, the power to taint darkness with light.” That doesn't sound like she intends for us to kill them. She only wants us to undue there dark natures with light magic, although we have yet to wield such powers. Nevertheless we are also here to foil Nightmare Moon's plan. The success of there missions weigh heavily upon Nightmare Moon getting what she wants. We must stop her emissaries of darkness but we shall not slay them. I do not believe that is what Celestia desires from us.” Twilight stated. “Then what should we do?” Rainbow Dash asked. “If they are up to something we must stop them. If they are innocent or they are fleeing we must let them go. Mercy is the way of the just. Princess Celestia will have no less. She attacked Rarity but as far as I know there is no other reason to give chase.” Twilight said. “Actually, There is something you should know given to why she's here. She said the stones here are being commandeered by Nightmare Moon. I have no idea what she intends to do with gemstones though.” Rarity said. “Nightmare Moon is no doubt an extremely well read and powerful unicorn mage. She probably uses the gemstones to wield arcane arts. If she needs them then she must not have them.” Twilight said. “So now we go chase her down?” Rainbow Dash asked anxious to go ahead and fight. Twilight nodded at Rainbow Dash giving her the go ahead. “Thanks for giving me the go ahead, whatever will we do without you imposing your authority on us?” Rainbow Dash said with sarcasm easily displayed for all to see. She takes off with the rest of the ponies and Spike following after. They give chase only to hit a roadblock in the form of a several different paths to take.
“Fantastic, thanks to Twilight's game of twenty questions and her lecture session we have no idea where that pony went!” Rainbow Dash ranted. “Man. Look at all these pathways! There's one, two, three, one for very pony here!” Pinkie Pie exclaimed. “You aren't thinking what I think your thinking are you?” Spike said hoping Twilight wasn't going to suggest what he thought she would suggest. “Its dangerous, but it's most efficient. Everypony, Split up! Take to a path of your choosing. Return back here when you've searched your respective pathway. If you run into significant trouble retreat at once; Spike, come with me.” Twilight said pointing at the pathway she intended to take. They all went into separate pathways with Spike following Twilight's path.
The pathways were vaster than any of the ponies might have thought beforehand. It was an underground maze filled with dead ends and intersecting paths. Parts of the caves were caved in and others had freshly dug dirt with pillars to prevent cave ins it all indicates that creatures have been working here for probably much longer than Gimme had arrived to take control of the excavation. Rarity finds Gimme Temptation observing some rocks. “I cannot tell you how badly I want to keep these for myself. They are so wonderful so beautiful. I just want to lavish myself in these wonderful gemstones. I asked if I could have just one but she said no. And yet still they call my name. They want to be mine.” Gimme said as she gazed into the gemstones. Rarity tried to sneak closer hoping Gimme was only talking to her. “Why do you deserve these gems more than me?” Gimme said addressing Rarity's presence. Rarity was stunned for a moment but then quickly recovered to make a response. “I require them to make exceptional outfits that will help put me on the map and make me the most well known and beloved Pony in all of Equestria.” Rarity said confidently. “Popularity, Appreciation, Bragging rights. Such wonderful things to want, I want those things too! I want to be loved and adored. I want everyone to only do things that will make me happy and do all the things I don't want to do. I want power. I want pleasure. I want excitement. But I don't get those things. Not while there's work to do. Not while there's things to be done. Not while you’re standing in my way! I will have what I want and you will not stop me!” Gimme said finally turning around to face Rarity. “Hmph quite the rant dear but I am afraid I am going to have to put an end to your little dreams of conquest whether you like it or not.” Rarity said gearing up to shoot a blast of magic at Gimme.
“Oh dear, you must have mistaken me for some fool. It's as they say. At first when you don't succeed. Plant a trap for the enemy. Oh boys!” Gimme yelled looking up. Hanging from the ceiling were weird creatures with elongated arms and scraggly features wearing armor with the exception of three who wore jackets with gemstones sowed into them They had features similar to a dog. They dropped down on Rarity before she could react and in a matter of seconds she was bound and tied up. “Oh poor pony. Looks like I’ll be getting what I want after all.” Gimme said taunting Rarity who was unable to respond due to being gagged as well. “We did good job, yes?” the creature said with a grin filled with chipped dirty teeth. “Exemplary work Rover. You Diamond Dogs make yourself quite useful.” Gimme said patting the diamond dog with her hoof. “Now let’s get going, we have more gemstones to mine and collect!” Gimme said as she passed by Rarity making sure to smack her tail in her face. “Yes, Ms Temptation!” Rover said.
Applejack wandered through the caves trying to find something of interest but so far didn't run into anything. She stops for a moment to acknowledge Fluttershy who was passing through her own respective pathway. “Fluttershy!” Applejack called out. “Applejack, have you found the dark pony?” Fluttershy asked making sure no one was approaching from any of the various pathways. “Sorry I haven't run into anything. You’re the first pony I’ve seen since I started traveling through these here halls. For all we know that dark pony could have given us the slip.” Applejack said. “You could be-wait. I hear someone approaching. Let’s take cover!” Fluttershy said as she hid behind a large rock. Applejack didn't see anyone but she decided to follow suit with Fluttershy. She hid with Fluttershy for a few moments but didn't hear or see anyone. “Are you sure someone is coming? I don't hear anything.” Applejack said unsure of Fluttershy's awareness. “Shh. They are far away but they sound like they are heading in this direction.” Fluttershy said quietly. “They, I thought we were looking for the dark pony?” Applejack said confused by the sudden implication of additional targets. “It could be the dark pony. But it might be someone else. I don't think the dark ponies would smell this bad. They smell like mangy dogs.” Fluttershy said. “Really, I don't smell nothin'” Applejack said sniffing the air. “Quiet! Here they come.” Fluttershy said putting her hoof on Applejack's mouth.
She stayed completely still with her hoof still in Applejack's face till the sound of wheels and feet could be heard clearly. It was a group of diamond dogs escorting a bunch of carts around. They pushed the carts filled with gemstones of various levels of quality. Leading them was Gimme with Rover following behind her. “Ms Temptation?” Rover asked hesitantly. “What do you want dog?” Gimme said stopping her movement to address Rover. “I was just wondering something.” Rover said approaching Gimme being acting somewhat nervous. “What is it?” Gimme said not comfortable with Rover getting close to her. “We were just wondering. Since we did all of this work for you and your mistress that we'd get to have some diamonds for ourselves.” Rover said with a scraggly grin. “You have done all this work haven't you? And as a reward for all this work you shall have nothing.” Gimme said with a smile. “What, nothing? Why not?” Rover said as he was taken aback by Gimme's decline. “Oh. Because I said so that's why. You dogs will dig for Queen Moon and no one else for as long as there are gemstones in this mine to unearth.” Gimme said. Rover furious with Gimme's response grabbed her by the throat and slammed her against the wall. “Give me my diamonds pony!” Rover yelled growling while the other Diamond Dogs egged him on Gimme struggled as she reached for a bracelet that was hanging on her neck. She grabbed it and it started glowing brightly. Suddenly the collars on the Diamond Dogs started causing them pain as they yelped and fell to the floor. Rover let go of Gimme as the pain of the collar was far to distracting to continue choking her. Gimme bucked Rover while he was on the ground as he let out a yelp of pain. “You dogs have some nerve!” Gimme said as she continued to assault Rover.
Applejack and Fluttershy very carefully watch the events from behind the rocks. “I ain’t ever seen a pony quite so vicious.” Applejack said. “They are Nightmare Moon's ponies. They are fueled by terrible powers. That in turn makes them terrible people.” Fluttershy said. “Please! Stop!” Rover said as he covers his head from Gimme's attacks. “Please stop what?” Gimme Temptation said holding off her attacks to hear Rover. “Please stop! Ms Temptation!” Rover yelled. “That's what I wanted to hear. Don't you or any of you dogs ever forget that I'm the boss around here. You do as I say or you will suffer!” Gimme said towards the Diamond Dogs who were watching Rover strangle her. The Diamond Dogs quickly complied and fell in line to push the carts again Rover struggled to get up but was very beat up. Luckily two other Diamond Dogs also wearing Jackets helped him up. At the very end of the carts was Rarity who was stored inside one of the carts still tied up and being carefully watched by one of the Diamond Dogs to make sure she doesn't use her magic. “Rarity? How did she end up in that predicament?” Applejack said. “I don't know. Probably wasn't paying enough attention to her surroundings.” Fluttershy said watching the Diamond Dogs leave the area. “We have to rescue her!” Applejack said still keeping her voice down. “With all those dogs and Temptation, It's far too dangerous.” Fluttershy said. “We can't just stand here and let Rarity get taken away to who knows where. I have an idea! I'll distract them and you'll whisk in and take Rarity out of there ya hear?” Applejack said moving her hoofs around to give the plan visual aid. “But what about you?” Fluttershy said concerned about Applejack's plan. “Don't you worry about me hun, I'm a tough pony! I'll take care of myself, you just get Rarity out of there you understand?” Applejack said as she got ready to start her plan. “If that's what you wish... On your go...” Fluttershy said as she prepared herself to follow through with Applejack's plan. “All right, let’s do this!” Applejack said as she adjusted her hat. Applejack ran out from behind the rock and started running in the direction of the Diamond Dogs. She ran past the dogs who only watched unsure what to think of another pony coming out of nowhere should mean. “Hey Temptation!” Applejack yelled out. Gimme turned around confused by who would be calling her out like that only to be head butted by Applejack and sent flying through the cave. “Gimme was stunned by the attack for a moment, but then recovered quickly. “You're going to pay for that. Diamond Dogs! Get her!” Gimme Temptation said. The Diamond Dogs stopped pushing the carts and started surrounding Applejack. Applejack watched as they surrounded her. “Y’all want to have to a little tussle? I'm game for that but I’ll have you know I’m one tough bronco!” Applejack said as she looks around to see who would attack first. One of the dogs jumped on her back trying to restrain her only to be bucked right into another Dog. Applejack head butted another dog and started running around them. They tried to grab her but failed to do so. One got right in front of her and she stopped only to buck the Diamond Dog right on the chest sending him falling to the ground with a yelp. Applejack had distracted the dogs well enough that Fluttershy could sneak in and take Rarity who had already begun breaking her bonds. “Time to get out of here.” Fluttershy said to Rarity. “But Applejack.” Rarity said looking at Applejack fend off the Diamond Dogs. “We won't be able to help her like this.” Fluttershy said as she pulled Rarity away from the area.
Applejack continued to fight the Diamond Dogs. The Armored Diamond dogs were far tougher than Rover and almost showed immunity to taking damage. One of them pulled out a series of spears and threw them to the other dogs that then cornered Applejack. Applejack unable to get close enough to attack without getting stabbed by there spears started backing up. “Dog pile!” Shouted Rover. The dogs jumped in the air and landed right on top of Applejack who wasn't able to maneuver out of the way. The dogs pinned Applejack to the ground making it impossible for her to get out from under them. Gimme laughed as she strolled up to Applejack.
“Well now, that was certainly an entertaining fight. Unfortunately play time is over and now I’m going to have to get rid of you personally. Here's hoping that you don't have any regrets...” Gimme said as she got ready to stomp on Applejack's head. Applejack looked at Gimme but then looked to the side and looked back at Gimme and smiled. “Hm, what are you smiling about?” Gimme said confused by Applejack's smile. “This!” Rainbow Dash said as she flew straight at Gimme sucker punching her. “I'm sorry but I had to come back to save you. I hope you don't mind.” Fluttershy said as the rest of the ponies and Spike joined in. “Don't just stand there like a bunch of pillocks, get rid of them!” Gimme yelled finally fed up with being sucker punched. The Diamond Dogs Jumped off Applejack and started engaging the other ponies. The ones with spears charged Twilight and Pinkie Pie. Twilight created a shield blocking the attack and sending them flying back. Spike jumped forward and started setting there spears on fire. Rainbow Dash continued to fight Gimme who ducked and dodged out of her attacks and started shooting hail at Rainbow Dash. Rainbow Dash endured the hits and head butted Gimme right in her face. Rarity went to Applejack who was tired from handling the Diamond dogs although she tried to make it not seem the case. “Are you okay Applejack?” Rarity asked being concerned for Applejack. “I'll be okay. It’s good you came back when you did. I would have been a goner if you guys didn't come back to rescue me.” Applejack said. “I simply couldn't leave you behind to get killed by these dogs, especially after you risked your life to help me!” Rarity exclaimed as she healed Applejack with her magic. “Aw shucks I was only doing what anypony would do. “ Applejack said with a smile.
“I don't even know if we can get put these dogs down. They seem so resilient.” Applejack said putting her mind on her allies who were still fighting the Diamond Dogs. “Hmm, I have an idea. Rainbow Dash!” Fluttershy yelled to Rainbow Dash who was still fighting Gimme Temptation. “What? Can't you see I’m busy?” Rainbow Dash said as she tried to strike Gimme once again. “Rainbow Dash, take Gimme's necklace!” Fluttershy yelled quickly dodging out of an attempted body slam. “Tch, Why?” Rainbow Dash said scoffing at the suggestion. “ Just do it Rainbow Dash!” Twilight Sparkle yelled. “There you go. Bossing me around again! I don't need you two babysitting me I can handle myself just fine!” Rainbow Dash said refusing to comply with Twilight and Fluttershy. “Oh for pete’s sake.” Twilight said getting frustrated with Rainbow Dash's defiance. “Oh. I shall have to do it then.” Fluttershy said with a sigh. She dodged out of another attack from a Diamond Dog and grabbed him by the collar. She spun him around and threw him towards Gimme and Rainbow Dash. Gimme gets out of the way although Rainbow Dash not paying any attention gets squashed by the Diamond Dog. Gimme chuckled at Rainbow Dash's misfortune but didn't notice that Fluttershy had bolted in her direction she spun around Gimme confusing her and making her dizzy. She then flew away. Gimme recovered from the spin move and began taunting Fluttershy. “Is that all you got?” Gimme said unimpressed by Fluttershy's move. Fluttershy only looked at Gimme and Smiled as she revealed that the necklace was now in her possession. She threw the necklace in the direction of Twilight who shot the necklace right out of the sky shattering it. Gimme was speechless and only looked on as the collars the Diamond Dogs were wearing shattered as well. The dogs looked at each other and then looked at Rover. He stood there for a moment and then smiled and as he put his hand in his fist and looked at Gimme. The Diamond Dogs all too eager walked away from the ponies and Spike and started crowding around Gimme Temptation who had noticed the dogs’ desire for revenge. She looked on as they close in on her. She took off into the air out of reach of the dogs and bolted out through the cave avoiding everyone. “And don't come back!” Rover yelled shaking his fist at her.
Rover turned to Rarity and the other ponies. “Thank you for helping us, and sorry for hurting you.” Rover said grateful for freedom. “Oh it was no trouble at all!” Rarity said. “We Diamond Dogs like our diamonds. But if you want one diamond, that seems fair. You ask. We'll give.” Rover said nodding with the other two dogs. “Oh can I? Is there any chance you have a ruby I can procure?” Rarity asked. “A ruby, you mean one of these?” Rover said as he dug into his pocket he pulled out a small gemstone that was indeed a ruby. “Where is pony going to put ruby though?” Rover asked. “I. oh, I hadn't thought of that. Okay! I'll be back! And I’ll bring something to take my ruby in. So can you hold onto it for now?” Rarity asked. “Okay then. I can do that. Will you be staying ponies?” Rover asked as he put the ruby back in his pocket. “It might be a good idea to rest here for a bit.” Twilight said. “Don't worry. Diamond Dogs will keep you safe. You are welcome guests in our caves. As long as you make sure pet dragon doesn't eat all our diamonds.” Rover said pointing at Spike who had started shoving diamonds into his mouth. Spike just looked stunned as everyone was looking at him. He slowly took a gem he bit into and placed it back in the cart and backed away from it.
Their journey continues.