• Published 30th May 2017
  • 754 Views, 16 Comments

A Dazzling Gem - BrightIdea



In an Alternate Equestria, Dazzling Sparkle aspires to be the world's greatest Illusionist, while Gem wants to know everything about rocks. Both of them and several new friends are thrown together on a quest to save Equestria from Nightmare Moon.

  • ...
2
 16
 754

A Little Experiment

Author's Note:

Second Chapter up. A little shorter than I had planned originally but I unfortunately have quite a few things to do before I leave the country for a few weeks. So, I wanted to get at least a quick POV from Rarity out of the way to show off what she is like in this AU.

Also, like the image at the top of the page? I managed to snag a commish from Earthsong9405! This gives a more accurate picture of how their manes have changed in the AU.

Once more Gem moved the shard of colorless zircon carefully. To test the full extent of her hypothesis she did not use her magic at all, she had the zircon clasped tightly in a pair of tongs which she herself held tightly between her teeth. To further isolate any unwarranted variables, she had made sure the zircon had been freshly dug from a site far away from any known magical crystal deposits. Even so, before she had moved the zircon close it had begun to tremble just ever so slightly and glow with a faint magical light. The light was not just one color, but all the colors of the rainbow. Gem did not need any further prompting and diligently placed the tongs down and went to write in her rock journal.

Fascinant!

She looked around for her pencil on the table and found that it was not there. She wondered if perhaps it had rolled off the table when she remembered she had placed it. Her eyes went up to her purple mane, her bangs hung even and flat across her forehead but most of, her mane was done up in a bun except for a few curls here and there. She found it much easier to keep her mane from out of her eyes and mud when working in the field. In her bun was the pencil she needed. Gem did not even have to look as she scribbled several notes and hypothesis into her rock journal. Her eyes were filled with a mix of wonder and analytical focus on the stone in front of her.

After she had finished making her notes Gem peered at the subject of her experiment. “This zircon has absolutely no magical properties studied by any pony I know of. So, what is it that is so special about you, Tom?”

“Tom” was a bowling ball sized stone sphere. Tom was completely smooth across its entire surface except for a hexagon marking on Tom’s surface which did look like it had been perfectly carved onto Tom. Which is impossible. Gem thought and chewed on her pencil. I found you encased in several feet of solid granite!

Gem had found Tom two days ago while inspecting a recently opened mine not far outside of Ponyville. While most of the ponies in Ponyville knew her as the egghead who had too many rocks on her brains they did at least respect her knowledge of all kinds of minerals and had been asked to identify any rare gems in the mine.

“Rocks like you Tom are important to Equestria! Literally, all of Pony-society is built on rocks!” Gem said and nodded as if Tom had agreed with her.

Gem used her telekinesis to float a book titled ‘Rocks, Rocks, and More Rocks’ by Professor Stonecold and flipped through the pages. “You are something unique not studied by any Geologist that I know of in Equestria. Are you magical in nature or perhaps you were shaped by some sort of external magical force?”

Tom said nothing. Gem placed the book down and put her hooves together, lightly tapping them as she leaned toward Tom.
“I’m sure I have mentioned this at least once or twice, but I am studying for my rocktorate. I’ve talked with a colleague of mine and she agrees that a thesis on you would be just what I need to get my degree to make up for my…mmmmph, lack of travel experience.”

It’s not like I am afraid to leave Ponyville! Ponyville is the perfect place for my specialty given the number of magical gemstones in the area. Between my studies, experiments, taking care of Crystal Clear when my parents are away, and now you Tom I just haven’t had the time to fit in the field work prerequisite.

“I’m not some shut in who talks to rocks all day.” Gem puffed out her cheeks which she whenever she felt particularly petulant. She glared at Tom. “Don’t you judge me too, Tom!”

Gem signed and rubbed her head. She looked away from her workstation and peered around her dark work room. It was mostly filled with shelves or filing cabinets all filled with either rock samples or books on rocks. She was technically in the backroom of a storefront she rented which she did mostly to keep herself out of living with her parents and away from Crystal Clear who liked to ‘help’ with Gem’s studies-mostly by misplacing samples and accidentally setting things on fire somehow. A simple, straightforward sign out front labeled the store as “Rocky Go-Round” where she sold gems she unearthed in her studies and offered consulting services.

“Once I get my rocktorate I’ll be fully licensed and be able to move to anywhere in Equestria! I hear the mines under Canterlot have more unclassified magical gemstones than you could shake a hoof at. Er, if you had hooves that is, Tom.”

Thinking about her dreams re-energized Gem’s resolve. She focused back on the stone at hoof.

“I hope you don’t mind if I pry a little into your secrets? It is for science after all.” Gem waited several seconds for Tom to object. She let out a giggle when she heard no protests from Tom.

“Well, then I suppose we are going to have to see what is inside of you, won’t we Tom?” Gem told Tom matter-of-factly. This time she did use her magic to lift a small hammer from the table of her workstation. It was a small hammer that looked like it was the offspring of a hammer and a pick. The grip was studded with small white diamonds that glowed beneath Gem’s magical grip.

“Open wide, won’t you?” Gem asked politely before she brought her rock hammer down on top of Tom. THUD. An eager smile that had sprung on her lips turned upside down when her hammer seemed to have done no visible damage to Tom. She used her magic to hit Tom again, and again it appeared to have no visible effect on Tom. She switched the head of her hammer, turning it around so the pick end faced Tom and she struck again, but besides a small spark from the impact Tom stood (or perhaps laid) unscathed on top of her work table.

“Al…right.” Gem said and gently laid her hammer down on the table. She hoped out of her chair and trotted over to a metal cabinet. She proceeded to rummage around for several minutes before she let out a gasp of triumph, “Aha!”

Gem pulled out a large power drill that was half her size, the drill bit at the end of the drill however was cylinder shaped. It was a drill saw that Gem only used for taking core samples deep beneath the ground. Gem wheeled the core drill over to her work table and placed the drill bit next to Tom. Before she turned on the drill she made her to grab a set of goggles to protect her eyes from flying shards of Tom. “Safety first.”

She powered on the drill, the motor filling her ears was soon joined by the sound of metal on rock as she pushed the drill against Tom’s surface. Gem continued for several seconds before she judged the core drill would have been able to pierce Tom’s center and shut off the drill. She looked over the power drill and nearly banged her head against it. Tom was completely unharmed, but the drill bit had been completely sheared down.

Gem puffed out her cheeks again. She pushed the drill aside with her magic and trotted up to Tom. Looking for any fractures, she found none. Frustrated she stared at Tom for several minutes as her mind went over several calculations and courses of action she could take. Finally, she came to a conclusion.

“Well, then Tom. All geologists have once last resort when dealing with a specimen that will not crack under pressure. You see it is called the “Ruby Garnet Method”, pioneered by Professor Garnet.” Gem wrapped Tom in her magic and carried him out of her work space and up the stairs to the second floor of her house, “It is a fairly simple method or technique; however, you prefer to call it. She pioneered it in Canterlot and while this is not Canterlot as a scientist I learn to make do with what I have at my disposal.”

Gem opened a window, peeked outside to make sure no-pony was standing below and proceeded to drop Tom outside to the ground below with a promising sound. THUD! Gem raced back down the stairs and to the outside of her house to where Tom had landed.

“Oh, COME ON!” Gem shouted and stamped her hoof when she had seen Tom still appeared to be entirely intact. She floated Tom up with her magic and peeked over Tom’s surface but it was as smooth and unmarred as ever.

“Very well, be that way. If you are going to be like this Tom, I will just have to find a higher window!”

Gem looked away from Tom and realized several ponies had stopped to watch her shout at Tom. She glared and almost immediately they went back to whatever they had been doing, a couple whistling and trying to look inconspicuous.

Gem returned her eyes to Tom and weighed her options. The tallest building in Ponyville was the clocktower but she had been banned from setting hoof in the clocktower after her “induced, urban rockslide experiment”. Her proctor for her roctorate had been impressed with her findings but Mayor Mare had not. As had the window sales pony whose shop was next-door to the clocktower.
“Hmm, that does leave town hall. I have not been technically banned from there…yet.”

Gem again weighed her options and she knew the risk was high of being banned but she concluded this was for science. She had become ever more determined to unlock Tom’s secrets, whatever they may be. It could very well change the study of magical gemstones for all ponykind! She might even get permanent tenure with the Royal Rock Society!

After grabbing her saddlebags, putting Tom inside along with her rock journal and a few odds and ends Gem locked the door to her shop and had started on her way to the town hall. She had at first strode confidently and eagerly toward the town hall but before she had even reached halfway there her stomach grumbled. Loudly. Gem looked up at the sky and realized it was past noon, she flipped over several mental notes inside her head and realized the last time she had ate had been…the night before.

All this excitement has my head absolutely all over the place! A scientist should never work on an empty stomach. Gem thought to herself and looked around for something she could eat quickly so that she could return to the matter at hoof. She smiled when she saw a small vendor stand, it was piled high with the most delicious looking apples. Are they looking delicious because of my increased state of anxiety and food deprivation? Gem caught a whiff of the smell of freshly baked Apple pie and her stomach grumbled louder than before. Somethings are better left unquestioned.

Gem practically ran up to the apple stand, her eyes looking over the apples when an earth pony trotted up from the around the side and whipped off a broad hat from their head. “Howdy there m’am. Welcome to the Apple family’s apple cart! All our fine apple and apple products are fresh from the family farm, Sweet Apple Acres! See somethin’ you fancy?”

The pony, a stallion with a light-yellow coat, blue mane, and a cutie mark with a large red apple smiled at her.
Gem had begun to speak but a loud grumble from her stomach interrupted her words. She blushed and simply reached into her saddlebags took out several bits and slammed them on the stall. “Apples, please.”

The stallion seemed to take it in good stride as he placed several apples of different varities into a paper bag before he handed it over to her. “I put in ah couple extra. Look like you could use a good, late lunch.”

“Oh! Thank you, ah…” Gem concentrated and tried to remember if she knew the pony’s name. He seemed familiar, Sweet Apple Acres was a prominent local farm. She was sure she had visited at least once for their cider.

“Red Delicious is the name.” Red Delicious supplied his name and looked a little embarrassed himself, “You’re that eg-I mean that rock-o-ologist. Uh…”

“Gem.” Gem supplied her name in turn and tried not to blush even more, it wasn’t like she exactly socialized very much herself. “And I am a geologist, at least one in training.”

Before Red Delicious could apologize Gem reached into her saddlebags and pulled out two gemstones. One a round ruby and the other a smaller peridot. She placed the ruby on the stall and the peridot on top of it, from the distance the two gems looked a lot like an apple and a green leaf. In the sunlight, the gems gave off a glow that at least to Gem looked very pretty. “I can’t let your generosity go without something in kind. Um, some ponies believe rubies help improve good fortune and peridot can harness the power of nature…which I am sure will help with…your…farm! And business!”

Red Delicious looked delighted and he had meant to thank her but Gem had already continued on her course by the time he turned around to where she had been. Gem told herself she had not quite run away as she found a bench in the plaza outside of the town hall and dived her into bag of apples. Which really were delicious she decided as she devoured them. While she sat she looked around the plaza and noticed there were ponies everywhere and they appeared to be setting up decorations. “Is there something-oh! How silly of me. How could I forget tonight is the Summer Sun Celebration?”

She had been so wrapped up in finding out about Tom she had completely forgotten about it. Which means that the town hall will have ponies everywhere, doesn’t it? Gem bite her lip and ran several scenarios through her mind and ran additional options. Would she be able to try and toss-that is carry out the Ruby Garnet Method-Tom and unlock his secrets? What if she was spotted and stopped before she could do so? What if she got too worked up and accidentally hurt some pony? Doubt flooded her and she began to question if she would even be able to put a scratch on Tom let alone uncover his secrets this way. She felt like giving up hope when she remembered something about this year’s Summer Sun Celebration.

Princess Celestia will be, here won’t she? Not only that, but didn’t Crystal Clear say that her protégé would be arriving in Ponyville ahead of the princess? If I can show Tom to one of them…maybe they will be able to identify what Tom is? At least his magical signature. They are well versed in magic! At the very least they must have a spell to crack-that is excavate- his magical core for study! Oooh! Recognized by Princess Celestia herself for discovering a new element of magical gemstone! That would be my roctorate, tenure, and a position as Canterlot’s director of the Royal Rock Society, wouldn’t it?

Her doubt washed away Gem finished the last of her apples, with perhaps less than ladylike etiquette, and trotted to the doors to the town hall. She wondered what exactly Princess Celestia’s protégé looked like when she opened the doors to the town hall and was immediately engulfed by roaring flames.