• Published 28th Sep 2013
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More Than They Expected - Random_User



The Cutie Mark Crusaders find the hidden Alicorn Amulet. Each takes a turn using its powers. Two of the three are repulsed by what it allows them to do. One, however, sees it as her only chance at her dreams.

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Accidental Discoveries

More Than They Expected

Chapter 1: Accidental Discoveries

“That’s it! You’ve almost got it!” Rarity cheered.

Even with the amount of effort she was putting out, the spell failed with a pop. “Horse apples, I’ll never be able to cast your spell!”

Rarity gave her sister a harsh look. “Sweetie, language, a proper lady never uses such vulgar words.”

“Applejack does.”

“As I said, a proper lady does not use such vocabulary. Take a break for a minute. I want you to try one more time, for me. You were so close I’m sure you can do it next time.”

“Alright, sis, I’ll try one more time.” She dropped her head in disappointment at herself. “I don’t know why this is so hard. You cast this spell all on your own without anypony showing you how when you were a filly. I guess I just stink at magic.”

“You forget I had used spells on gems for quite a while before that day. I was well practiced in using spells to clean gems and using little enchantments to make them shine and dazzle." Rarity put a foreleg around her sister. "I could even check them for hidden flaws that could ruin a setting. My casting the spell was an accumulating point after a lot of practice with similar magic.”

“Great. I’ll need to learn a dozen spells just to learn the one that I want to cast. I bet you I can’t cast one of them either. I don’t have enough magic.”

“You have more than enough power. In fact, you are putting a bit too much into the spell at times.” Rarity hummed a soothing tune as she tried to come with a way to explain to Sweetie how to think about casting the spell. Inspiration hit her. “Think of the spell like a song you like to sing. If you try to force it, the note comes out shrill.”

Sweetie’s eyes sparked as she got the idea. “I have to make sure not to be sharp or flat when I cast the spell, but be controlled and supportive of it as it comes together. Just like my voice when I sing.”

“That’s exactly the right way to look at it.”

Sweetie stepped away from Rarity’s embrace. “I’m going to try again.” She turned toward the small group of gems that Rarity had provided and began to focus her concentration and magic.

“Sing with your magic, Sweetie. You can do it.”

*****

“I hope she’s alright. I don’t think Sweetie has ever missed gettin' together with us before. Heck, I don’t think she’s even been late before.” Apple Bloom’s voice shook as she rode in the wagon behind Scootaloo’s speeding scooter.

Scootaloo did not take her eyes off the path. “That’s why we’re checking on her.” Scootaloo leaned over the handlebars of the scooter and coaxed more speed from her wings. “It can’t be too bad or somepony would have come and told us about it.”

“I hope so.”

The pair made it to Carousel Boutique in record time. Scootaloo stretched her wings slowly and winced as they resisted her efforts to push them to their full spread. “My wings are going to be sore in the morning.”

“You trained with Rainbow Dash today too didn’t cha?” Apple Bloom began gently rubbing her friend’s wings. “You might have done too much today.”

Scootaloo giggled as Apple Bloom’s massage began to tickle. “Don’t do that!” she laughed. “I’m really ticklish on my wings.” Scootaloo realized what she had confessed. “Don’t tell anypony, alright?”

Apple Bloom withdrew her hooves and grinned. “Not one word.”

The two fillies turned as a flash of light lit up all the windows in the lower floor of the boutique. They looked at each other, sharing a startled look.

“What the hay was that?!”

Scootaloo quickly removed her helmet. “I don’t know, but we need to check on whoever is in there.”

The duo raced to the shop’s door and opened it fast enough that the shop’s bell almost fell from its hook. The sight that greeted them was not what either of them expected. The whole of the shop was bathed in vibrant colors. Every gem in the shop glowed with magic. A light humming noise issued from each, adding a strange musical aspect to the scene. Rarity was hugging Sweetie to her so tightly that the younger pony was having trouble breathing.

“I told you, you could do it!” She released her hold on Sweetie and made a sweeping gesture around the shop. “Look at this. I couldn’t have done better myself.”

“You did this? I thought you said you couldn’t cast spells like this yet.” Scootaloo looked around the shop, amazed at the sight.

“Looks like you’ve been pullin' the wool over our eyes a little, Sweetie,” Apple Bloom kidded.

Sweetie blushed at the attention. “It’s my first time casting it. I’m as surprised as you are.”

Rarity gently shook her sister’s shoulders. “I’m not surprised at all. Twilight told me you had improved a great deal in the last little bit. She’s the one that suggested that I try to get you to try the spell.” Rarity turned to her two visitors. “Hello you two, I take if you’re still planning on seeing Zecora?”

Sweetie gasped. “I’m sorry! I didn’t realize what time it was! I was so busy trying to learn the spell I forgot what time it was.”

“We can still make it, if we run. Scoots is give out, so we’ll have to hoof it.”

Scootaloo puffed up with indignation. “I am not ‘give out,’ my wings are just tired.”

Sweetie smiled at her friends. “It doesn’t matter; we can’t use the scooter and wagon in the forest anyway. Let’s get going. We don’t want to keep Zecora waiting.” She quickly gave Rarity a hug. “Thanks sis, I wouldn’t have been able to do it without you.”

Rarity levitated Sweetie’s saddlebags over and put them on the filly. She added the small cluster of gems that she had gotten out for Sweetie to practice the spell. “You’re welcome. Now you can show Zecora what you have learned too.” She gave Sweetie a soft push towards the door. “You mustn't be late. Go on. Tell Zecora hello for me.”

“We will!” Sweetie assured her.

The three fillies raced out the door, leaving Rarity smiling after them. With a small bit of her magic, Rarity shut the door. “I’ve got to get back to work. These orders won’t finish themselves.” As she turned to head to her workroom, the gem-finding spell faded, returning the shop to its typical appearance. On a whim, Rarity used a bit of magic and cast the spell herself. She grinned as the gems in the shop shone once again. “I always did like that effect.”

*****

The three fillies made it to Zecora’s hut with moments to spare.

“I can’t believe we made it,” Sweetie gasped.

“It was close.” Apple Bloom adjusted her bow back to its proper place. “If we keep this up, we’re goin' to get a runnin' around Ponyville cutie mark.”

“Nah, we would have gotten that one by now if there were one.” Scootaloo knocked on the door and settled back on her haunches. “I don’t think running of any kind is what we’re really good at.”

Apple Bloom nodded and took a deep breath. “You got that right.”

The door swung open. Zecora smiled at the three fillies. “Hello my friends three, I’m glad that you’ve come to see me. You look as if you’ve been in a race, you did not have to rush to my place.”

Sweetie raised her hoof as if she were in school. “It was my fault. I was practicing a spell with Rarity and lost track of what time it was.”

Zecora’s eyes shown at the thought of Sweetie practicing her magic. “Learning is what life is about. You will have to show me what you have learned before you head out.”

“I’ll try, but I’ve only cast the spell once.”

“Then you know you can succeed. The second time should be easier indeed.” Though her tone was stern, a wisp of a smile played on Zecora’s face. “You should not give room for fear and doubt. You must learn to let your talent pour out.”

Apple Bloom watched the exchange and her ears drooped at some inner thought. Zecora caught her expression but decided hold off asking about what Applebloom was thinking.

Scootaloo’s stomach rumbled. The noise drew three sets of eyes to her mid-section. “Sorry guys, I’ve been going at it pretty hard all morning. I guess I’ve burned off breakfast.”

“I have ingredients for a meal. For the moment, your belly will just have to remain still.”

Apple Bloom pointed to Sweetie’s saddlebags. “You don’t have to fix anythin’. Rarity fixed us all lunch.”

“You sister is a wonderful friend. I will have to make a trip and see her again.” Zecora led them into her hut and helped them lay out the lunch. She noticed the gems in the saddlebags. She noticed the gems and asked, “Such gems of wonderful color, what are you carrying them for?”

Scootaloo poked Sweetie in the ribs. “Show her what you can do.”

“I’ll give it my best.” She levitated the gems onto the table and stood up to brace herself for the effort. She thought about holding the right ‘tone’ as she pulled the spell’s components into place. The gems on the table began to glow, as did several smaller gems around Zecora’s hut.

“I’ve seen this spell cast by Rarity. It is always something to see!”

Scootaloo and Apple Bloom glanced at each other, having seen something they were not expecting. Almost directly behind Zecora's back, there was a strong glow. Sweetie could not see the light as Zecora’s position at the table blocked the possibility. The source of the light seemed to come from outside the hut and its intensity was enough to set it apart from the lesser sources of light and color from the other gems. Through a shared look, the pair reached a mutual agreement not to mention what they had seen.

*****

“Thank you three. I hope you learned something by helping me.” Zecora dipped a ladle into the caldron and carefully withdrew a portion of the steaming, purple mixture. She carefully poured the potion into an earthenware bottle. She tucked it into Sweetie’s saddlebags. “This is a special brew. It should help Granny Smith’s hip feel like new.”

“Thanks Zecora! Granny has been complainin’ about her hip more. She says it’s the weather turning cold.”

“She knows of what she spoke. Weather changes can be tough on older folk.”

“Thanks for showing us all that you did today. We better get going. We don’t want to still be in the forest when night falls.”

Scootaloo shuddered as she remembered the last time they had been in the forest at night. “Yeah, one round with a cockatrice was enough for me.”

The pair of friends made their way out the door, but Apple Bloom lingered.

Zecora turned to the red maned filly and smiled knowingly. “Something has been on your mind. Speak up, and I will see what solution I can find.”

“I was wonderin’ if you could help me. Your potion to help with my tooth really got me to thinkin’ that I want to learn more about what you do. I don’t have anypony to show me about earth pony magic. Applejack and Big Mac are can’t teach me beyond takin’ care of the farm, and Granny is too hard to understand.”

Zecora raised an eyebrow in amusement. “A zebra who speaks in rhyme is easier to understand that a pony with whom you spend most of your time?”

“I guess you could put it like that. Scootaloo gets flyin’ lessons from Rainbow Dash. Sweetie has been gettin’ help from Twilight and Rarity to help her with her magic.” She could not maintain eye contact with the zebra, as she stated, “I need help figurin' out if I have any magical talent and I don’t have anypony that can teach me.”

“I would be happy to lend you aid. So let your worries and frown fade.”

Apple Bloom rushed over and hugged Zecora. “Thank you! I won’t be a pest and I’ll help however I can. I promise!”

She gently returned the hug. “I would never consider you a pest. Of my friends, you are one of the best.”

Scootaloo called from outside, “Come on Apple Bloom!”

“Your friend is right. You do not want to be in the forest at night.” Zecora released Apple Bloom and patted her back. “Come back when you can. Then we can start to form a plan.”

“I will!” Apple Bloom ran out the door, only pausing to shut it behind her.

Zecora smiled after the young farm pony. “I never thought I would see the day, when a filly needing guidance would turn my way.”

*****

The three friends had not made it too far down the path leading from Zecora’s, when Scootaloo stopped, spread her wings, and blocked the path. “You think you can cast that spell again?”

Sweetie shrugged. “I guess so, but why?”

Apple Bloom caught on to what Scootaloo was thinking. “There was a really large glow from close by the hut when you cast the spell. I don’t think you were able to see it. Zecora was blocking your view.”

“You think there is a large gem around here somewhere? Gems aren’t typically found around here.”

“That what makes it weird. The light given off by the gem was different too.” Scootaloo looked back towards the hut. “It was like it was stronger than the rest.”

Apple Bloom thought about what she had seen and nodded. “Now that you mention it, the light didn’t look like the others.”

The three turned back and Scootaloo guided them towards where she thought the light had come from. “Cast the spell. We’ll find that gem.”

Sweetie cautioned, “We can’t take too long looking for it.” She cast the spell again. “If nothing else, I’m getting a lot of practice this afternoon.”

Apple Bloom pointed in the direction of the newly revealed glow. “Look how strong it is. We must be pretty dang close.”

They wandered along a game path until they came to a clearing filled with poison joke. In the clearing’s center stood a small gathering of weather beaten stones. They watched as the light faded from a spot somewhere just under the stones.

Apple Bloom whistled at the sight. “I don’t think we can walk over there without getting poison joke all over us.”

Scootaloo smiled. “We don’t have to. You two just have to toss me.”

Both Sweetie and Apple Bloom looked at her as if she had lost her mind.

Apple Bloom asked, “Care to run that by us again?”

“Sweetie can levitate me a little and you two can give me a good throw. I’ll glide over there.”

Sweetie looked back and forth between the pile of stones and Scootaloo. “I don’t know. That’s a long way. What if you don’t make it?”

“I’ve always wanted to know what poison joke would do to me. We’d just have to have some of the cure made, and I’d be fine.”

“It’s worth a shot. You ready Sweetie?”

Apple Bloom and Sweetie got on Scootaloo’s sides and put their forelegs under her. Sweetie started to lift Scootaloo with her magic, but could only manage to lessen gravity’s pull on her friend.

“You sure you want to try this?” Sweetie asked. "It's just a gem."

“What’s life if you don’t take chances every now and then?”

Apple Bloom shook her head in disbelief. “You’ve been hanging around Dash too much, Scoots." She told Sweetie, "On three, we toss her like a sack of apples.” She counted down and they tossed.

Between Sweetie’s magic, Apple Bloom’s strength, and Scootaloo’s determination, the pegasus filly made the distance.

“I didn’t even get close to touching one flower!”

“Great, now see if you can find that gem!” Apple Bloom shouted from the edge of the poison joke field.

Scootaloo ducked out of sight for a moment. She appeared again, afer a moment, and held something up. “I found this hidden under a loose rock! It’s a box with something in it!”

The excitement of the moment got to Sweetie. “Have you looked inside it?”

“Nope, I want you guys to see whatever this is for the first time when I do.” Scootaloo climbed to the top of the rock pile and judged the distance. “I didn’t think about how I was going to get back, but I think I’ve got just enough height to make it, if you help me Sweetie.”

“No problem.” Sweetie pushed her magic’s range and enveloped Scootaloo with her magic. “Ready!”

Scootaloo backed as far as she could on the stone and got a running start. Her landing was reminiscent of Rainbow Dash's lesser moments. She rolled a short distance and came to rest with hooves over appetite. “I’m glad I’m not training with Dash tomorrow, I’d never make it through a whole practice.”

As Scootaloo got back on her hooves, Apple Bloom presented the box to her. “You dropped this after about your third roll. Since you’re the one that went through all that trouble, you should open it.”

Scootaloo took the box and tried to open it. “Drat, it’s locked.”

Apple Bloom took the box back, looked at the lock, and smugly smiled. “I can fix that. Let’s go back to the clubhouse. I’ve got some tools there I can use.”

Sweetie looked up through the forest’s canopy of leaves. “We better hurry too. It’s going to be dark soon.”

“I can’t wait to see what’s in it. I bet it’s a huge gem that will be worth a fortune!” Scootaloo slid the box into Sweeties saddlebags and started to lead them out of the forest.

Sweetie suddenly felt an odd sensation on her coat, seemingly from the box in her saddlebags. “I don’t about this. I’ve got a funny feeling we should put this back. Somepony hid it here for a reason.”

“It’s alright Sweetie. It’s probably just something that somepony forgot they left out here. We might even be able to return it to them.”

Scootaloo nodded. “I at least want to know what’s in the box. Besides, I hate to admit it, but I can’t do that glide again today.”

Sweetie decided to not to press things further despite the voice inside her head telling her something was not quite right.

*****

Sweetie watched as Apple Bloom worked on the lock with a screwdriver. She had tried to get the other two to leave the box alone until the next day, but they insisted that Apple Bloom have a quick crack at it.

“I thought I had it there for a second. This is certainly a Cutie Mark Crusader team effort. Sweetie found the box with her spell, Scootaloo recovered it from its hidden spot with her wings, and I’ll get the thing open. We might even get treasure hunter cutie marks for this.”

Scootaloo moved the candle so that Apple Bloom could have a little more light. “Is that better?”

“A lot better, thanks.”

Sweetie Belle sat back away from the two. “I have this weird feeling I should know what’s in it. It’s like I’ve seen that box before.”

Scootaloo turned towards Sweetie, causing the shadows to play across her face. “Now that you mention it, I think I’ve seen this box too.”

There was a satisfying metallic click from the lock. “Got it,” Apple Bloom proudly announced. “Scoots, the moment of truth is here.”

The three fillies crowded around the box in anticipation. Apple Bloom looked at the box more closely and tilted her head. “I’m with you two. I think I’ve seen this box before and I don’t recall it bein' at a happy occasion.”

“We’ve done too much to not at least see what is inside. We can always put it back later.” Scootaloo slowly opened the box, reached in, and withdrew the sought after item.

Sweetie recognized the amulet instantly and took a step back. “It’s the Alicorn Amulet!”

Apple Bloom flinched at seeing the amulet. “That patch of poison joke must have been where Zecora hid it after Twilight’s duel with Trixie. No wonder it was in a hidden chest instead of in the ground like a regular gem.”

“I’m sorry guys. I messed up. I should have left it right where it was.” A determined look came over Scootaloo’s face. “I’m taking it back right now, poison joke or not.” Before she could even make a move, Sweetie wrapped her forelegs around her to stop her.

“You can’t go back into the forest at night. It’s not safe!” Sweetie tightened her hold on Scootaloo. “I know you want to take it back, but it’s not worth the risk to go right now.”

Scootaloo calmed down and sighed. “You’re right. No reason to get hurt over this thing.” She carefully placed the amulet back in the box. She shut the lid and looked around the clubhouse. “Where should we put this?”

Apple Bloom took the box and hid it in the base of their podium. “If anypony finds it, we can tell them that it’s just where were keepin’ the Rainbow Dash Fan Club signup sheets.”

Scootaloo laughed. “Like anypony would come here looking for the thing, but I like the cover story.” She helped Apple Bloom push the podium against the wall to make it even harder for anypony to see the box.

“It’s getting pretty close to curfew,” Sweetie reminded them.

Apple Bloom nodded. “Sis would have a fit if I came home late, especially on a night before school. Let’s meet back up here tomorrow afternoon and we’ll take the amulet back.”

“Sounds like a plan to me.” Scootaloo tried to stretch out her wings. She winced as they refused to unfurl. “At least I’ll be getting some more practice in.”

Sweetie Belle put out the candle and led them out of the clubhouse. “You guys have a safe walk home. We’ll take that thing back first thing after school and then we can forget about this whole thing.”

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