• Published 24th May 2022
  • 67 Views, 4 Comments

Rock, My World - False Door

Maud Pie and Dr. Whooves unravel the mystery of Boulder's origins and fall in mutual weirdness with one another.

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Chapter 6

Time Turner munched on a complimentary rock cake pastry as he walked back to camp in the early morning light. He'd spent the night in Rockville in a hotel room, not feeling safe at camp, especially after disregarding Boulder's warning.

His fears were confirmed when he came upon the ashen tatters of what was once his tent.

"Oh, you're still alive?" marveled one nearby worker. "Wasn't sure what happened here. Overseer was about to file a police report."

"Oh, don't bother," muttered Time, nudging the debris with his hoof. "I just got into a spot of trouble with one of the locals and thought it would be best if I slept in a different bed last night."

The laborer raised an eyebrow. "And then they set your tent on fire? Sounds like something you'd want to file a police report about."

Being in that tent might not have been deadly, but it certainly would have been terrifying and painful. It was quite a decidedly escalatory act toward him. His eyes scanned the ground to see a little groove in the loose soil leading away from the scene but it was quickly trounced apart by the normal hoof traffic of the campsite. She was right, he thought. And he's quite capable for a little rock.

A pair of demo workers carried a spool of detonating cord between them on a dowel in their teeth. The cord unwound behind them as they marched down from the hills. The rest of the demolition team were drilling and setting charges at the locations of the tampered markers.

Time rubbed his hooves together. Nopony had figured it out. Supply issues with the track laying meant that they were blasting before the track made it to the hills. Having no tracks there as an obvious visual guide made it an easier oversight.

Time's job for now was done unless something odd cropped up during the demolition. He just went and huddled by a dying campfire. A photographer and reporter from the Rockville Epitaph were meandering about to document blast day. If there really was something down there and as long as the dynamite didn't completely destroy it, and he was fairly certain it wouldn't, it looked like everything was primed to fall into place on its own.

Once all the charges were placed, Time lined up with the rest of the crew on the edge of camp and donned a hardhat. Some distance away on the ridge, curious onlookers mixed with protesters to watch the fireworks.

"All clear!" came a final shout as they armed the plunger. The unicorns projected magical barriers over the whole team."Ready! Three… two… one!"

Time covered his ears just before the explosion rocked the valley and little tremors buzzed in his hooves. Plumes of dirt shot high into the air, swept away by the wind. Everypony waited a minute for the dust to clear before the unicorns moved in to spearhead the cleanup.

Time's morale soured as the extent of the collateral damage became apparent in a large gash in the hillside. It would take several rounds of detonations to carve a passage through the stone if all went according to the company's plan. Now the only thing there was to do was wait and hope.

The photographer moved in behind the unicorn team as they began to clear the rainbow colored rubble out of the way with their magic. Time checked his watch and stayed within earshot of the overseer, knowing that if something happened, he'd be informed of it immediately. Sure enough, less than ten minutes later, a unicorn returned from the site, making a beeline for his supervisor.

"Hey, boss. We found somethin' weird. Ya need ta come look."

Right on cue, Time appeared by the overseer's side. "Oh, sounds intriguing," he chimed, matching their stride.

Rubble clearing had stopped and all of the workers were now gathered around a gaping cavity in the hillside. The three of them pushed into the circle of ponies and gazed down into the pit. It was a great, roughly circular, room, perhaps the size of a small house. All of the floor and every bit of wall space looked to be covered with colored tiles made from the stones of the hill. They were laid out meticulously in mosaic patterns of abstract animals and symbols, utilizing the natural pallet of the local rock. The art style was quintessentially ancient Buffalo of the valley.

All of these colors and shapes seemed to swirl around a large flat, gray stone in the center of the room which sat flush embedded in the ground like some sort of altar focal point. Four smaller nodes of the same shape and color orbited around it like directions on a compass. Though some of the tile work had been damaged by falling rock, the interior was undeniably beautiful.

Time's jaw dropped. Jackpot. "This is absolutely incredible," he breathed. "We have to inform the Equestria Bureau of Historical Preservation." He didn't even have to dramatize the situation to sell it like he thought he might. There was no argument to be had. What is Boulder's connection with this amazing place? he wondered.

The photographer breathlessly snapped photo after photo while the overseer rubbed his face and groaned with frustration.

After relaying an order from the bureau to pause all construction outside of Rockville, Time hit the books at the tiniest library he'd ever been to. The place didn't exactly have a wide selection of topics, but it did have a decent local history section. However, most of the pertinent books he'd already opened and skimmed on previous visits.

While history was not his forte, Time was quite good at research in general. He was almost certain that the room had a spiritual significance and though he was able to find artwork and symbology that reaffirmed that the subterranean structure was made by Buffalo, he could not find anything detailing the existence of said structure or any stone based practices that might answer his questions about Boulder.

Time sighed and snapped the last book shut. The victory from saving the hills was nice but hard to fully appreciate when he and Maud were still in danger. He desperately wanted to tell her the news and show her the room, but he didn't even know where she lived, and today wasn't her shop day.

Time carefully stacked his books aside in defeat and returned to the telegraph office to see if any more news had come in.

Maud landed at the bottom of the stairs and wandered into the kitchen where she immediately began helping her mother fix breakfast at the griddle. Marble came in from the mailbox and spit the mail on the table where she silently parsed through it.

Maud went to get the table salt and looked over her sister's shoulder to see the day's newspaper. There on the front page was the headline 'Demolition Uncovers Ancient Site: Fillydelphia Line On Hold.' Below the words was a large photo of the mosaic room looking in through the blown open roof. Unreal… It worked, she thought. I hope he’s safe. Her spirits suddenly became lighter. She’d get to see him today. Maybe he’d show her what they found.

She worked quickly to get breakfast made and everypony fed and out the door. She left the house and flew to the barn, eager to get into town. There in the stall was a sight that crushed her soul. Her cart, the biggest source of freedom in her life, laid there in pieces on the ground, the wheel spokes shattered, panels ripped away, the contents strewn about and smashed. In the dust at her hooves was a two word message: 'Your Mine.'
He used the wrong your, she thought. How embarrassing… but still upsetting and terrifying. Maud closed her eyes for a moment, awash in sorrow. “I’m still going,” she breathed. “You can’t stop me.”