• 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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Fears and Temptations

Chapter 2: Fears and Temptations

Sweetie ran down the path towards the clubhouse. “I’m sorry girls, I’ll be right there!” She raced up the ramp and opened the door. “I’m sorry, I got held up at Rarity’s…” She stopped, surprised to find that nopony was there.

It looked like nothing had been touched since the previous night. She moved the podium and checked to make sure the box with the amulet was still there. She sighed when she saw the box was right where they had left it. She muttered to herself, “Good. I’d hate to have to explain what happened if somepony had wandered into town with this again.” She turned to the sound of her friends coming up the ramp.

“I told you we were takin’ too long. Sweetie’s been waiting on us!”

“Sorry Sweetie, but we had to make it look convincing.” Scootaloo dropped the heavily loaded saddlebags she had been carrying. They made an impressive thump, as they hit the wooden floor.

Sweetie shook her head. “I just got here. Rarity wanted me to stop by after school to check in. I’m really lucky I just have to check in for the next couple of days, and didn’t get grounded.”

“That stinks. I hate we got you into trouble.” Scootaloo flipped open one of flaps on the saddlebags and began to pull out book after book from the pouch. “These should make you feel better.”

Sweetie began browsing the titles. She named them aloud, “Advanced Transformation Spells, Teleporting Long Distances and You, Illusion Spells That Will Dazzle Your Friends.” She glanced up at them. “What are you doing with these?”

“We were thinkin’ you should use the amulet once, before we put it back.” Apple Bloom rubbed one foreleg over the other. “It might help you get your cutie mark. If you have some more magical power, maybe you could cast a spell that would be enough to earn it.”

“You gals did this for me?”

“Yeah, we told Twilight we needed some advanced magic books for a project we were working on. What’s wrong?”

Sweetie waved her hooves towards Scootaloo. “Nothing at all, I promise! It’s just even with the amulet; I would never be able to cast these spells.” Sweetie flipped open the spell book on illusions to a random page and pointed at one of the spells. “Look how complicated this spell is.” She turned the book so that Scootaloo and Apple Bloom could read the text.

Apple Bloom whistled in amazement. “Land sakes, I had no clue that magic was that complicated.”

Scootaloo growled, “Then we nearly got caught and hauled all these books for nothing.”

“You didn’t carry them for nothing. You were trying to help me, and I really appreciate it.”

Scootaloo rolled her eyes. “Don’t go getting mushy on me. You would have done the same.”

A thought came to Apple Bloom. “Wait a minute. What about spells you already know?”

“Levitation and gem-finding?”

“You could use those! We could go gem hunting like Rarity and Spike do!”

Scootaloo was caught up in Apple Bloom’s excitement. “Yeah, then we could see you use some wickedly powerful magic!”

“We don’t have anything to dig the gems up with. We can’t exactly ask Spike to help us either.” Sweetie shook her head and closed the book. “It’s a nice idea, but I don’t think we can pull it off.”

“You should be able to pull them right out of the ground with that much power, just like carrots.” Apple Bloom started towards the podium. “I can’t wait to see how many gems you can get.”

As Apple Bloom started to lift the box from its hiding spot, Sweetie’s magic surrounded it and held it against the floor. “What gives?”

“That thing is dangerous. You know what it did to Trixie. I don’t want to take a chance with it at all.” Sweetie looked to the floor. “I’m scared of it.”

Scootaloo patted her on the back. “It’s alright Sweetie, we’ll be right there. Besides, Trixie wore the thing for days before she cracked. You won’t go nuts like she did.”

Apple Bloom nodded in agreement. “You can take it off any time you like. Just think how much better Rarity will feel, if you bring home a bag full of gems to apologize.”

“Alright, I’ll try it.” Sweetie looked back and forth between her friends. “Promise me, you’ll stop me if I start to go crazy.”

Both Scootaloo and Apple Bloom both made full Pinkie Pie Swears of their promises.

Sweetie released the box from her magical hold. “You gals better bring the wagon.”

*****

Apple Bloom looked around the desolate area. “Sweetie, you sure this is the right place?”

“Rarity and Spike talk about this spot a lot. We may have to move around for a bit to find some gems. They’ve dug all around here, and I don’t know how many gems are left.”

Scootaloo patted the box containing the amulet. “That shouldn't be a problem with this thing.”

Sweetie swallowed, took a steadying breath, and then opened the box. Before she could pause to think about what she was doing, she quickly snapped the amulet around her neck.

Sweetie turned toward the barren land. “Let’s see what I can do.” She concentrated and formed the gem-finding spell. She could not see for a moment, as a burst of light turned her world white.

Scootaloo’s and Apple Bloom’s mouths dropped open at the result of the spell.

“Sweetie, I think you just lit up every gem from here to Canterlot!” Apple Bloom cheered.

Sweetie blinked a couple of times. She looked around and held a hoof to her mouth. “I did this?!” Every gem as far as she could see was lit up.

Scootaloo’s wings buzzed, as she hopped up and down in excitement. “You sure did! Let’s get those gems!” She winced, as her right wing cramped up and snapped down to her side.

“You alright?” Sweetie asked.

“I’m alright. I’m glad we didn’t try taking the amulet back today. I don’t think I would have made the flight.”

The trio went from gem cluster to gem cluster. Sweetie used her enhanced telekinesis magic to pull the shining gems from the ground, Scootaloo would gather them and place them in bags, and Apple Bloom pulled the wagon.

Eventually, the gem-finding spell began to fade. The gems stopped glowing and the landscape returned to its lackluster and gray appearance. After a little coaxing from her friends, Sweetie recast the spell. “Girls, I don’t think I can cast that again. Something feels wrong.”

Scootaloo held up one of the two remaining empty bags. “That’s alright. We’re nearly out of bags anyway.”

“The wagon’s getting a might too heavy for me too,” Apple Bloom added.

At the next cluster, Sweetie began to have trouble controlling her magic. She began ripping the gems from the ground rather than pulling them up. Sweat began to form on her forehead and coat as she tried to reduce the amount of magical force she was applying.

“Hey, let’s stop after you pull these up. You’re not looking too good,” Scootaloo suggested.

Sweetie’s magical grasp became so strong that the gems she had been levitating shattered. Sweetie gasped in horror at what she had done. She tried to take the amulet off, but in her panic, it took her several attempts to undo the clasp. As soon as she got it loose, she tossed it to ground.

“I can’t control it anymore! It’s making me feel horrible.”

Both Scootaloo and Apple Bloom hugged her in an attempt to calm her down.

“It’s alright. You didn’t hurt anythin’, beyond a couple of gems. Everypony is fine.”

Sweetie shook her head. “If I had lost control, I could have hurt both of you.”

Scootaloo tightened her hold on her friend. “You did the right thing. You took the thing off as soon as it started really bothering you. You didn’t hurt anypony, and we got the gems we wanted. You don’t have to put the thing on again if you don’t want to.”

“I don’t.”

“Then we stop everythin’ right here and now.” Apple Bloom hooked herself up to the wagon again. “I don’t want to see you gettin’ upset or havin’ anypony hurt. Let’s get out of here; it’s gettin’ close to dark.”

Sweetie carefully levitated the amulet and placed it back in the box. She tucked the box back into her saddlebags and shivered as she felt the comparatively distant touch of the amulet’s power against her side.

The young trio started to make their way back. After a couple of minutes, Scootaloo began to help Apple Bloom with the wagon by pushing on the back of it with her hooves. “Too bad there isn’t a way to make this easier.”

“Hang on just a moment.” Sweetie levitated out one of the books that Scootaloo and Apple Bloom had checked out. She perused the book’s table of contents for a moment and then flipped to specific section.

“What did you bring that for?” Apple Bloom asked.

“We needed to know as much about the amulet as possible if it started to give me trouble.” She pointed a hoof to the section under the illustration of the Alicorn Amulet. “Here we go. It says, ‘whoever wears the amulet is blessed with untold power.’ I thought I remembered Rarity saying something like that.”

Scootaloo shrugged. “Big deal, we already knew that it would make your magic more powerful. That’s what it was made to do, make unicorns’ magic stronger.”

Sweetie gave Scootaloo a sly smile. “It says ‘whoever’ wears the amulet; it doesn’t say that the pony has to be a unicorn.”

Apple Bloom’s eyes widened. “You think that it could be used by ponies other than unicorns?”

“I think so. Twilight has been teaching me that all ponies have magic; it just comes in different forms. If alicorns have magic like all three types of ponies do, I don’t see why the amulet can’t work on all three kinds of ponies too.”

Scootaloo looked at Sweetie’s saddlebags, and then to Apple Bloom. “Want to give it a try? It would make getting these gems back a whole lot easier.”

“I don’t know. After seein’ what that thing did to Sweetie, I’m not too sure I want to try it.”

Scootaloo reached into the saddlebags and pulled the box out. “You don’t have to wear it as long as Sweetie did. You can take it off as soon as we get back to the clubhouse.”

After a moment of thought, Apple Bloom opened the box, picked up the amulet, and placed it around her neck. The surge of power hit her instantly and she slightly recoiled at the sensation.

Scootaloo started to reach for her friend. “You alright?”

Apple Bloom suddenly had the widest smile the other two had ever seen come across her face. The red maned filly responded with two words, “Race ya!” She took off; making it seem like the wagon weighed no more than an apple.

Sweetie froze in amazement at the display of strength. “It does work on all kinds of ponies!”

Scootaloo yelled, “Apple Bloom, slow down or you’ll spill the gems!”

*****

After they made it back to the clubhouse, Apple Bloom immediately took the amulet off. “I don’t want to push anythin’. Besides, I can try it again tomorrow.” She placed the amulet back in the box and hid it back under the podium. She looked over at Sweetie. “Now I know why you took it off. It’s like you’re just comin’ down with somethin’ really nasty.”

“That’s what it feels like at first and then it really makes you feel horrible.” Sweetie shuddered. “I don’t’ know how Trixie stood having it on that long.”

“Maybe because she’s a full grown pony, she could handle the power better. I bet the thing wasn’t made for foals,” Scootaloo guessed.

“Makes sense to me. Foals can’t take full doses of medicine, magical artifacts may work the same way.” Apple Bloom shoved the podium back against the wall. “Maybe the amulet will let you to fly like Rainbow Dash, Scoots.”

Scootaloo tried to extent her wings fully and winced. “Not today. It would be cool if I could though.”

Sweetie put a bag of gems into her saddlebags. “I have to go. Trying to apologize for last night won’t go too well if I’m late again.”

“Come on. We better not stay here too much long either.” Apple Bloom paused as she noted that Scootaloo was looking towards the podium.

Scootaloo softly asked, “Do you really think I will be able to fly with the amulet?”

“Scoots, I’m sure of it. You can almost fly by yourself as it is. With the amulet helping, you won’t have any problem at all.”

Scootaloo did not say anything and continued to look towards the podium.

*****

The next afternoon, the trio made their way to the far side of Sweet Apple Acres and set up for Apple Bloom's turn with the amulet. Apple Bloom slipped the alicorn amulet on once again and shuddered as the thing's power took effect. Before she started bucking, Sweetie tied a bandana around her neck.

"Just in case your sister comes looking for use," Sweetie explained, "we don't want her seeing the amulet."

"Good thinkin' Sweetie." Apple Bloom walked over to the closest tree and gave it a solid buck. The apples fell from the tree as if she had been harvesting apples all her life. "Maybe now I can harvest the whole orchard by myself!"

“That would look a little strange. Let’s just stick to the trees around her,” Scootaloo suggested.

Appleboom bucked trees non-stop for almost an hour. “I can see why Applejack and Big Mac love to do this. It’s a lot more fun when you can actually knock down the apples.” She sat down as a wave of dizziness came over her. She could not tell if it was her exertion or the amulet was making her feel queasy. “I’m not feeling so good.”

Sweetie winced as she looked at the last couple of trees Apple Bloom had harvested. Apple Bloom’s kicks had marred the bark of the tree and injured the softer wood underneath. “These trees aren’t feeling so good either.”

Apple Bloom looked over at the trees. When she saw what she had done, she immediately began to fumble under the bandana. “I didn’t mean to do that! I promise!”

Sweetie helped her by undoing the knot holding the bandanna around Apple Bloom's neck and removing the cloth. “It’s fine. You didn’t do too much damage. I’ve seen worse after storms.”

Apple Bloom, emotionally raw from wearing the amulet and seeing the wounded trees, almost panicked. Her trembling hooves would not work the clasp. “I’m supposed to help care for the trees, not hurt them!”

Scootaloo stepped in front of Apple Bloom and gently put both hooves on her shoulders. “Calm down. Take your time or you’ll never be able to get that thing off.”

Apple Bloom managed to calm down enough to get the amulet from around her neck. She let the thing drop to the ground and raced over to check on the injured trees.

Sweetie wrapped the amulet in the bandana and levitated it over to Scootaloo. “Will you take this back to the club house? I’m going to stay here with Apple Bloom. I know how she’s feeling right now, and I think I can help her calm down.”

“Sure thing, I’ll be right back.” She turned and raced off towards the clubhouse.

Sweetie tried to get Apple Bloom to come sit by her, but she refused. “I have to do something!” Apple Bloom blanched. “What if they die? How am I goin’ to explain it to Applejack and my brother?!”

Sweetie tackled Apple Bloom to the ground. “Apple Bloom, it’s alright!” She gently prodded Apple Bloom in the chest. “Your family has that mixture that seals wounds on trees. All we have to do is spread that on the marks. They’ll be fine.”

The frantic look left Apple Bloom’s eyes. “You're right.” She craned her neck and took a better look at the trees. “It’s really not that bad. Caramel has done much worse with the wagon. I’m sorry for goin' nuts on you.”

“I know you didn’t mean to. It’s the amulet.” She helped Apple Bloom back to her hooves.

“Thank you.”

Applejack heard raised voices, from where she had been working, and came to check on the fillies. “You alright Apple Bloom? You look right upset.”

Apple Bloom pointed towards the trees she had hurt. “I barked these trees. I got upset about it and Sweetie and Scootaloo helped calmed me down.”

Applejack looked at the relatively minor mars on the trees and shrugged. “It happens sometimes when you’re buckin’. You must have given them a good lick.”

Apple Bloom answered truthfully, “It was an accident.”

Applejack looked at the nearby trees and noticed they had been harvested as well. “You tellin’ me you bucked all these apples down by yourself?”

“Sweetie and Scootaloo helped.”

Applejack rubbed her head, under the brim of her hat. “I can see Sweetie helping with her magic and all, but what did Scootaloo do?”

“I helped gather any apples that didn’t land in the buckets, and I helped haul the apples back to the barn on the wagon. Just because I can’t fly up and get the apples down, it doesn’t mean I’m completely useless.”

Applejack turned to newly arrived filly and laughed kindly. “I never thought anythin’ close to that. I was just wonderin’ if you ran back and forth pulling the wagon with that scooter of yours. That would have given your wings a workout sure enough.”

Scootaloo slowly tried to extend her wings, but they still would not go to their full span. “I would have, but I did too much with them a little a couple of days ago. Dash showed me some stretches this morning that should have them ready to go by tomorrow.” Scootaloo expression fell. “Well, as ready as they can get. I still can’t get off the ground with them.”

Applejack hugged the dispirited filly to her chest. “I don’t want to hear talk like that come out of you again. You’ll fly soon enough. With as much exercise as you put into your wings with that scooter of yours, you’ll probably take off like a Wonderbolt.”

Apple Bloom gave her friend a knowing smile. “You never know. You might even be able to fly tomorrow.”

Scootaloo turned her head a little and nodded to Apple Bloom. I will fly tomorrow, sore wings or not, she promised herself.

*****

The next day, after school, the young trio met up on the far side of the Whitetail Woods from Ponyville. The open expanse allowed more adventurous pegasi in the area to try risky maneuvers without fear of running into a tree or house. It was far enough away from Ponyville and so seldom used that they thought they had a good chance of not being seen.

The two fillies watched anxiously as Scootaloo put the amulet on.

Apple Bloom gave Sweetie a heavy glance.

Sweetie nodded to Apple Bloom discretely. “I know, I’m worried too. I don’t think I could catch her with my magic. If something goes wrong, we may have to get Applejack or my sister.”

Scootaloo did a couple of slow, deep wing stretches. “My wings feel fine now.” She flapped her wings experimentally. “Better than fine, they feel awesome!”

“I was thinkin’, Scoots, you may want to stay pretty close to Sweetie and me while you’re flying,” Apple Bloom carefully suggested.

Scootaloo turned to Apple Bloom and a raised eyebrow. “You think I’m going to crash that quickly?”

“Nope, but you don’t want anypony seein’ you fly with the amulet on. There are pegasi that fly around here for fun too, including Rainbow Dash.”

Sweetie nodded in agreement. “That and it if something goes wrong, we need to be able to get to you quickly.”

Scootaloo rolled her eyes. “The first aid kit in the wagon was a big hint on how well you thought I was going to do.”

“We were on the ground, and fairly safe, when we tried the amulet." Scootaloo pawed the ground. "If something happens to you in the air there’s no way we can help you till you come back down. We just want to be able to help you if something goes wrong.”

“Nothing is going to go wrong, watch.” Scootaloo turned into the wind, got a running start, and leapt into the air. She took off as if she had been flying for years. Scootaloo gave out a cry of pure joy and picked up speed.

Some of Sweetie’s concern was lost at her friend’s exuberance. “She did take off like a Wonderbolt.”

“I think she needed this more than either of us. I just hope this turns out all right. I never want to put that thing back on, but I’m not so sure Scoots is thinkin’ straight about this.”

After a few minutes, Scootaloo attempted a couple of basic flying tricks, but was not able to complete them. Apple Bloom and Sweetie still applauded her attempts.

“I think she’s been up their long enough. This is about the time that the amulet started really eating on us.” Sweetie started to call up to Scootaloo, but stopped in mid breath as Scootaloo halted in midair.

“What in tarnation is she seein’ that got her bristled up like a cat in a room full of rockin' chairs?” Apple Bloom turned in the direction that Scootaloo was looking and gasped. “It’s Rainbow!” She grabbed the handle to the wagon and started making for the edge of the Whitetail Woods with all the speed she could summon.

Sweetie put her head against the back of the wagon, adding her strength to Apple Bloom’s efforts. “We’ve got to hurry! She’ll see us for sure if we don’t make it to the trees!”

To their shock, Scootaloo flew low, took the handle of the wagon from Apple Bloom, and raced into the edge of the woods, towing the wagon half off the ground behind her.

Sweetie and Apple Bloom ducked into the thickest part of the undergrowth and watched as Rainbow landed right where they had been watching Scootaloo. Rainbow scanned the area, looking for the unknown flyer she had seen. After a couple of minutes of scanning both the ground and the sky, Rainbow shrugged and took to the air to begin her practice routine.

The two fillies snuck deeper into the woods and found Scootaloo. Scootaloo was curled up into a small, quivering ball near the wagon. They could hear her ragged breathing even with the distance between them.

Apple Bloom raced over to her. “You hurt?! Talk to me!”

“I flew.” Scootaloo slowly turned to Apple Bloom and repreated, “I flew.”

“You need to get that amulet off right now! It’s really workin’ you over.” Apple Bloom tried to get Scootaloo to sit up, but had her hooves swatted away.

“I don’t want to take it off! You don’t understand! You can still help around the farm and Sweetie can still do magic.” Scootaloo’s pointed to the amulet with a shaking hoof. “Without this I am just a dodo that can’t fly! I need this!”

The glow of Sweetie’s magic grabbed Scootaloo’s cheeks and forcibly turned her head. Sweetie’s heart nearly broke as she watched her friend suffer. “Listen to me Scootaloo. The amulet is making you feel like this, it’s not really you. Remember what Trixie did to Ponyville with that thing.”

Freeing herself of the magical grip, Scootaloo slowly started to slide away from Sweetie’s approach. “I’m nothing without being able to fly. Even Applejack knows it. She didn’t think I could help Apple Bloom with the apples.” She tensed up and her voice became threatening. “You can’t make me take the amulet off and I’m not going to!”

Apple Bloom grabbed Scootaloo in a fierce hug. “You’re not nothin’! You’re our friend, if you can’t fly or not, it doesn’t matter! Please, just take the amulet off.” Apple Bloom put her head on Scootaloo’s shoulder. “Please, do it for us.”

Scootaloo slowly reached up and undid the clasp of the amulet. As soon as the thing was away from her neck, she slung it into the underbrush. As she came fully back to herself, she hugged Apple Bloom back. “I’m so sorry.”

Sweetie wrapped her forelegs around her two friends. “It’s alright.”

They stayed that way for a couple of minutes. Scootaloo eventually broke the hug and looked in the direction of where she had slung the amulet. “I guess that was kind of stupid. Now we’ll have to look for the thing.”

“That won’t be a problem.” Sweetie cast the gem-finding spell again. The amulet glowed brightly and she extracted it from the tangle of vines and bushes with her magic. “I’m getting pretty good at that.” She put the amulet back in its box and closed the lid.

“I think we ought to take the thing back tomorrow,” Applebloom voiced. “We’ve all had a turn with it and we’re lucky we haven’t gotten caught. I don’t want to take any chances with the thing again.”

Sweetie nodded. “Sounds like a plan to me.” She turned to Scootaloo, concerned at her friend’s silence. “Scoots, say something”

“I’m with you. We’ll take it back tomorrow.” Scootaloo told herself, We will take it back, after I have one more flight.

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