A light gold earth pony wearing a brown hat and a brown vest with a red apple for a cutie mark and a female buffalo with a purple and white headband with a pair of feathers on it slowly walked across a ravaged, blackened landscape, both of them looking around nervously. The desolate landscape in front of them seemed to stretch on for miles, and the sky above them was full of smoke, completely blocking out the sky. Both of them were utterly baffled and more than a little scared of their surroundings.
The buffalo soon broke the silence, asking, "Braeburn, do you have any idea how we got here?"
The earth pony replied, "Ah wish Ah knew, Little Strongheart. This place, wherever it is, gives me the creeps. It ain't nothin' like good ol'…" Despite his nervousness, Braeburn couldn't help but stop and rear up on his hind legs, saying, "APPLELOOSA!"
Little Strongheart stopped as well and said, "It certainly isn't. And judging by the land around here, we aren't even near the desert anymore." Looking around, she asked, "What is this place?"
Braeburn replied, "It's a mess is what it is. How could any part o' Equestria end up like this?" He looked up at the sky and said, "Even the sky is a mess. Where did all that smoke come from?"
He looked at Little Strongheart when she suddenly spoke, "Braeburn, look! Something's coming this way!" The earth pony followed her gaze and saw something running straight towards them.
The thing in question was a silver hedgehog with a white tuft of fur on its chest and yellow eyes. It was wearing boots that were aqua, navy, white, and gold in color, white gloves that had gold cuffs and circular aqua symbols, and it had two long quills that stuck out of the back of its head and a collection of quills on its forehead that formed a leaf shape. Perhaps what startled the buffalo and earth pony most was that it was about their size and it was standing on two legs. Even though it was running on two legs, it was still running faster than they would have guessed it was able to run.
The hedgehog in question looked up and noticed Braeburn and Little Strongheart as it got closer to them, planting its feet and hands against the ground and sliding to a stop in front of them. Both parties looked at each other in silence for a moment, but the hedgehog soon broke the silence, "What are a pony and a buffalo doing here?"
Braeburn replied, "Ah reckon we could ask the same o' you, critter."
The hedgehog replied, "I'm a hedgehog. And you both should get out of here. I don't know how you got here, but you shouldn't stay here." He walked past the two of them, about to start running again.
Before he could, however, Little Strongheart said, "Wait!"
The hedgehog turned around and looked at her, "What?"
Little Strongheart asked, "What's your name?"
Braeburn nodded, "That would be mighty helpful to know, partner."
The hedgehog looked at them for a moment before looking to the side and replying, "…Silver."
Little Strongheart smiled, "That's a nice name! My name is Little Strongheart!"
Braeburn tipped his hat, "And Ah'm Braeburn! A pleasure ta meet ya, Silver!"
Silver looked back at them and replied, "Yeah… nice to meet you too."
Braeburn asked, "So what were you runnin' from, Silver?"
Silver's eyes widened, "Oh, that's right! I was…"
He was cut off when a voice behind Braeburn and Little Strongheart boomed, "WE'VE GOT YOU NOW!" The two whirled around to see three dragons, one red, one brown and heavyset, and one purple with his eyes hidden behind his hair, flapping their wings and hovering in place above them, all looking very angry.
"Aw, hayseeds. Now that's somethin' worth running away from," Braeburn muttered.
As the dragons descended, the brown dragon looked at the red dragon and asked, "What should we do about the pony and… the other one?"
The red dragon, Garble, answered, "Forget about them. We're only after that white guy."
Little Strongheart spoke up, "Excuse me, I'm a buffalo! And what's this all about?"
Landing on the ground, Garble replied, "Well, honey, we asked whitey over there if he would part with that gem he found, and he got all defensive about it!"
Silver yelled, "That's a lie! I barely picked it up before you tried to snatch it out of my hands! And I've already told you that this isn't an ordinary gemstone! It's not something you can eat just because you're hungry!"
Garble mimicked a mouth with his claws before saying, "Whatever, pal. All gems are the same. Now hand it over!"
Braeburn spoke up, "Now listen, fella. Ah usually don't like to get involved in this kind o' thing, but if Silver said 'no' the first time, yer attitude sure ain't gonna change his mind."
The teenage dragons laughed at him for a few moments, causing Silver's brow to furrow in anger. After the laughter died down, Garble asked, "What's it to you, pony? Are you his friend or something?"
Before Braeburn could respond, Silver spoke, "That's right. Braeburn and Little Strongheart here are my new friends, and that means I'm not going to stand by and let you do anything to them."
While the earth pony and buffalo looked surprised by what Silver said, Garble challenged, "Oh yeah? What are you going to do if we DO decide to do something to them?"
A green aura surrounded Silver's hands, a similar-colored aura surrounding Braeburn and Little Strongheart. "Why, I'm going to protect them, of course!" he answered, the green aura surrounding him as well. A second later, he, Braeburn, and Little Strongheart floated off the ground and Silver turned around, shooting through the air in a straight line with Braeburn and Little Strongheart being carried along behind him. Angrily, the teenage dragons flapped their wings and flew off after them.
As he flew through the air, Silver glanced back when he heard Braeburn's voice, "Hey, uh, Silver? Ah don't mean ta distract ya or nothin', but they're gainin' on us!" Silver looked over his shoulder to see that the dragons were indeed catching up.
Facing forward again, Silver noticed some rocky outcroppings in the distance. Nodding, he flew towards them, still carrying Braeburn and Little Strongheart. The dragons continued after them, closing the gap. Before they could reach Braeburn or Little Strongheart, however, Silver suddenly whirled around and swung his right arm, emitting a bright flash from his right hand that blinded the dragons! They were forced to stop and cover their eyes, but when they looked again, Silver, Little Strongheart, and Braeburn were gone!
"Hey, where'd they go?!" the purple dragon asked.
Garble eyed the outcroppings and said, "They must be hiding behind the rocks! Find them!"
While the dragons started searching the area around them, they had no idea that Silver had teleported himself, Braeburn, and Little Strongheart during the flash, the three of them nowhere near where they had just been. They reappeared near the entrance to a cave with rocky walls on both sides, near the point where the walls sank back into the ground. Braeburn exclaimed, "Hoo-wee! What was that?"
Silver replied, "I teleported us away from those dragons. It should be a while before they figure out we're long gone."
Little Strongheart said, "That's amazing! I didn't know you knew how to use magic, Silver!"
The silver hedgehog looked at her oddly, "Magic? That wasn't magic. That was one of my psychokinetic powers."
Braeburn raised an eyebrow, "Yer what now?"
Silver explained, "Psychokinesis. I'm able to manipulate the environment around me with my mind alone."
Braeburn said, "That sounds an awful lot like unicorn magic, partner. Unicorns do that kind of thing too."
Silver replied, "It's not magic! At least I don't think it is. I mean, I've never been able to make stuff appear randomly out of nowhere."
Little Strongheart spoke, "Well, that's all right, then. So why were those dragons chasing you again?"
Silver reached his right hand back into his quills while saying, "Because of this." He brought it back out, a brilliant white gemstone resting in his palm.
Both Braeburn and Little Strongheart were impressed by the sight of it. Braeburn whistled, "What a beaut!"
Little Strongheart nodded, "I can see why those dragons wanted it."
Silver said, "But they wanted to eat it! This gem contains a great power inside of it! Who knows what eating something like that would do!"
Braeburn looked up at Silver and replied, "Well, Ah don't really see how it could have a great power within it, but Ah guess Ah know what ya mean. Those dragons didn't seem like the friendly type anyway."
Little Strongheart said, "I can see why they'd like to be in a place like this, but I'm not really sure why Braeburn and I are here."
Silver slid the gem back into his quills, "Me neither. All I can remember is seeing a white light and then finding myself in this… wasteland. This is really strange." Braeburn and Little Strongheart nodded, all of them looking around.
Little Strongheart soon looked back at Silver and asked, "Silver, did you mean what you said back there? About us being your new friends?"
Braeburn nodded, "Ah was wonderin' about that mahself."
Silver scratched the side of his head for a moment before replying, "I suppose that was a spur of the moment kind of thing. But… I think I really did mean it."
Little Strongheart smiled, "That was really nice of you, saying that and living up to your word." Braeburn nodded in agreement and they all smiled at each other.
Suddenly, Silver's ears perked up and he turned around, looking into the mouth of the cave. "What's the matter, Silver?" Braeburn asked.
Silver replied, "I thought I heard something. I'll be right back." He started walking towards the cave, stepping through the opening and into the darkness.
Braeburn and Little Strongheart watched with a touch of worry as he disappeared into the cave. As they watched, they could swear they heard a voice coming from the cave, whispering, "Chicken, flower, egg, seed…"
"Ya ain't just jokin' now, are ya, Rainbow? Y'all went up to that there ARK?" Applejack asked. Following a quick stop at Sugarcube Corner to drop off Gummy, the group, along with the princesses, set out for the next portal, which Tails' radar indicated was located within the Everfree Forest, the forest itself having recently reappeared. They were all currently following the main path in the now-completely white forest, Tails keeping an eye on his radar as they walked.
"I'm totally serious, Applejack. And we weren't just on the inside, oh no. We actually went outside of the ARK, out into SPACE, to deal with that big ugly lizard," Rainbow replied proudly.
"How did you do that? I mean, with the vacuum of space and all," Twilight said.
Rainbow shrugged, "Sonic said there was an artificial atmosphere around the ARK. Sure seemed like the case; there was oxygen and I could breathe it just fine."
Spike asked, "What was it like? The ARK, I mean."
Rainbow replied, "It was pretty awesome. I mean, we didn't see every area inside the colony, and the walls and the floor were all pretty much gray, but everything else was cool. There were walls with these big screens like the ones on Tails' radar, a research lab, machines that were floating in the air, and all those walkways underneath the ARK… I bet if you looked up from those platforms, the lights on the ARK would look pretty amazing."
Twilight groaned, "Aw… I don't regret helping Tails one bit, but I wish I could've seen the ARK! Just hearing about it is incredible!"
Rainbow smirked, "I knew you'd say something like that, Twilight."
Tails glanced up and said, "Well, if we somehow get a little ahead, maybe we could go back to that hill and check it out. According to my radar, that portal is still open. Whether or not the door at the end of the hall is open is another..."
Twilight suddenly noticed a patch of flowers in front of Sonic and quickly got up alongside him, pressing her head against his chest and saying, "Wait!"
Sonic, at this sudden action, slowed down along with the others, coming to a stop about a foot away from the flower patch. Looking over at Twilight as she straightened up, he asked, "What's wrong, Twilight?"
The lavender unicorn explained, "Since nothing in the Everfree Forest has color right now, we should probably avoid every patch of flowers we see. It wouldn't be good if we happened to walk through a patch of poison joke, now would it?"
Applejack nodded, "Good point, Twi'."
Sonic raised an eyebrow, "Poison joke? What's that?"
Rainbow asked, "You've never heard of poison joke, Sonic?"
Sonic shook his head, "Can't say I have."
Tails spoke up, "I'm familiar with poison ivy, poison oak, poison sumac, but poison joke? That's a new one on me."
Spike laughed, "Man, you guys are missing out, then! They all looked so funny after they stepped in those flowers! Oh man, I was laughing so hard that day!"
Noticing the annoyed looks on Twilight and her friends' faces, Tails asked, "Uh, why is touching a flower that's referred to as being poisonous funny, Spike?"
Celestia spoke, "Oh, the poison joke isn't actually poisonous, Tails. I am familiar with that particular flower myself, as is Luna. It actually plays practical jokes on whoever touches it, which manifest as physical afflictions. These afflictions are not meant to actually be harmful, but they're not very pleasant either."
Sonic placed his hands on his hips and spoke, "Flowers that play jokes, huh? Well, at least they don't do something like make you all itchy and puff up like a balloon."
Twilight said, "Actually, they probably could do one or the other if that was the joke."
Rarity huffed, "I don't think their jokes are very funny. My hair was a tangled, overgrown mess that day thanks to those flowers!"
Pinkie Pie piped up, "And they made my tongue all swelly! It was dripping with drool and I was all AWWW! It was so horrible! I couldn't talk, I couldn't tell jokes, and I couldn't sing! That was the worst part! I'm so glad Fluttershy was there to help me with my Zecora song. Wait, did I ever apologize to her for coming up with that song? Ooh, I know! I'll throw her a party the next time I see her! That way if I didn't, she'll know I'm sorry! I can even…"
Sonic interrupted her, "Pinkie!"
Pinkie Pie stopped her rant and looked at him, "Yes, Sonic?" She smiled sweetly at him.
The blue hedgehog crossed his arms and said, "I may be wrong, but I THINK we get the idea."
Pinkie smiled, "Okie-dokie-lokie!"
Tails asked, "Pinkie, did you even take a breath while you were talking?"
The pink pony looked at him and giggled, "Nope, I don't think so. Why?"
Tails stared at her with a dumbfounded expression on his face for a second before saying, "…Just checking."
Sonic said, "Yeah… What do you say we get going?" Everybody nodded in agreement and they continued deeper into the Everfree Forest, now being careful not to walk near any flower patches along the way.
After a short while of walking, Tails said, "Okay, the next portal should be in that clearing up ahead. Inside a building, if I'm not mistaken."
Fluttershy quietly spoke up, "Um, I think that building is Zecora's hut, Tails. The Ancient Castle of the Royal Pony Sisters is much deeper in the Everfree Forest." She looked over at Twilight and asked, "I-Isn't it, Twilight?" The lavender unicorn nodded quietly in response.
Luna spoke up, "I wondered where Lady Zecora lived after I met her at Nightmare Night. So she lives here in the Everfree Forest?"
Applejack nodded, "That's right, princess. Ah still think this is an odd place to live, but considerin' what she does, it kinda suits her."
Sonic pointed forward a minute later, asking, "Hey is that it?" Everybody looked where he was pointing. In the clearing up ahead was the tree Zecora made her home in, the tree itself, the masks that were laid out, and the bottles hanging from the branches all completely white.
Rainbow nodded, "Yep, that's it, all right!"
Tails closed his radar, slipping it back into his tail as he said, "And that's where the signal is strongest. We just have to find the portal now."
The group walked up to the front door and Twilight used her magic to push it open. They went in one at a time, the princesses entering last once they were sure everyone was spaced out properly before squeezing their larger forms inside. "My, Zecora certainly has brought much of her homeland along with her," Celestia noted as she looked around after a moment.
Sonic nodded, "Yeah, look at this stuff. Reminds me of Mazuri."
Before the ponies could ask what he meant, Tails called, "Hey! Over here!" Everyone turned to see him, Fluttershy, and Twilight standing around Zecora's cauldron, which, interestingly, was still colored. They walked over and Sonic and Celestia looked inside. There, right on the bottom of the cauldron was the portal they were looking for. On its surface, they could see what appeared to be an erupting volcano.
Sonic and Tails shared a look before Sonic bent his knees, preparing to jump inside the cauldron. Pinkie, however, suddenly rushed up in front of him and put a hoof on his chest, exclaiming, "Wait, Sonic! You don't want to become a big tasty stew, do you?"
Sonic looked at her funny, "What are you talking about, Pinkie? There's nothing in that pot except the portal. There isn't even a fire underneath it."
Twilight spoke, "It's just that song she mentioned. Don't worry about it."
Sonic shrugged and jumped into the cauldron, saying, "Do-do-do!" before he disappeared through the portal.
Tails went in after him, followed by Twilight (with Spike on her back), Rainbow Dash, Applejack, Rarity, and Fluttershy (with some words of encouragement from the princesses). Pinkie stood up on her hind legs and grinned, "It's stew time! Cannonball!" She then jumped into the cauldron, flank first.
Luna looked at Celestia and said, "After you, sister." Celestia looked at the cauldron at that. It looked as though Luna could fit with little difficulty, but… "What's the matter? Aren't you going?" Luna asked, shaking her sister out of her thoughts.
Celestia shook her head and said, "I-I'm going, Luna. I just needed a moment." She spread her wings and flew up above the cauldron. She then lowered herself down, slipping her hind legs in first and then squeezing the rest of her body in, clearly trying not to act in an embarrassing way in front of her sister. After she went in completely, Luna shook her head at her sister's actions and walked over to the cauldron, placing her forehooves on top of it and catapulting herself into it.
A second later, Luna's forehooves touched solid ground and she brought her hind legs down, pulling off an acceptable landing. Looking up, she immediately noticed the different surroundings. Except for two openings, the area was completely encircled by rocky walls. The ground beneath her was barren and cracked, and there were dead trees and bushes near the rocky walls, all of them leafless and gray, looking as though Discord had done something to them. Above them, thick clouds obscured any possible view of the sky, making it impossible to determine whether it was day or night.
Looking over her companions, the Lunar Princess saw that they were all looking around in confusion and worry. As Luna trotted over to her sister, Twilight spoke up, "Well, this is… this is a bit different."
Rainbow glanced over at her and asked, "Yeah, you think? What's up with this place?"
Spike walked over to Sonic and poked him in the leg, asking, "Hey Sonic, where are we?"
Sonic didn't reply right away, making the others think he either didn't hear the baby dragon or was ignoring him. Spike was about to poke him again when the hedgehog said, "I don't know."
Applejack nearly fell over at that. Getting her composure back, she asked, "Ya don't know? How can ya not know, Sugar-hog? Ain't this one of the places you've been ta before?"
Sonic raised an eyebrow, "I'm not sure…"
Rainbow asked, "So have you been here before or not?"
Sonic looked at her and replied, "That's the weird thing. I DON'T remember coming to a place like this, yet it FEELS like I've been here before."
Tails looked over at him and said, "So it's not just me."
Celestia tilted her head to the side as she asked, "So you both feel as though this is familiar, yet you're not sure why that is?"
Tails nodded, "Yeah, pretty much."
Sonic raised an eyebrow as he added, "I also feel some serious backlash for some reason."
Applejack looked at Twilight and asked, "Hey Twi'?" When the lavender unicorn looked at her, she went on, "Ain't there somethin' you can do ta help them remember? Like that spell ya used on us when Discord was loose?"
Rarity nodded, "That's right, the memory spell. You should be able to help them remember, Twilight!"
Twilight shrugged, "Uh, I guess it could work if it seems familiar to them." She turned and walked over to Sonic, standing a short distance in front of him.
Before she could direct her magic into her horn, however, Sonic said, "Whoa, hey, hold on. Why don't we just look around instead? Maybe it'll come to us. You should save your spell as a last resort, Twilight."
Tails nodded, "Yeah, Sonic's right. It'd be kind of a waste of your magic if a familiar landmark or something is all we need to remember this place."
Twilight replied, "Oh… yeah, that makes sense. Sure, let's do that then." Although a few members of the group were surprised by how easily Twilight was persuaded, they shrugged it off and walked towards the nearby opening in the rock, heading for whatever lay beyond it and unaware that they were being watched…
As they followed the path in front of them, everybody noticed that their surroundings didn't change much. Same desolate landscape, same dark skies, same sense that it felt like the world was dying… It was like something out of a bad dream, or… "This place is really scary," Fluttershy murmured, looking around fearfully.
"Do not fear, dear Fluttershy. This is indeed a very unnerving location, but we are all together," Luna said.
"Yeah, Lunie's right, Fluttershy! We'll be fine as long as we stick super close together!" Pinkie cheered.
"Well, we all know that, Pinkie. That doesn't change the fact that this place is undeniably creepy, though," Rainbow said. She looked over at Sonic and Tails and asked, "Sonic, Tails, you guys remember anything yet?"
Sonic replied, "Nope, nothing yet. Then again, we haven't seen a whole lot yet." He glanced over at Tails, noticing that the fox and Twilight were looking at the radar and Twilight's horn was surrounded by her magenta aura as they walked. He asked, "What are you guys doing?"
Twilight, while still looking at the radar, answered, "We're trying to determine where we are."
Rarity asked, "Is there a way to do that?"
Tails spoke, "Well, it's just a theory, but if we take the data in the radar, cross-reference it with Twilight's locator spell, and then compare that to the map of our world, we might be able to get a close guess as to where we are since I'm pretty sure we're in our world. We could be somewhere in Equestria, but the fact that it seems familiar to Sonic and me makes that seem unlikely."
Celestia said, "Ah yes, the spell for sensing a planet's ley lines. A simple but effective spell indeed."
Luna nodded, "A good opportunity to test Star Swirl the Bearded's theory of Extra-Equestrial ley lines."
Sonic asked, "Star Swirl the Bearded? Who's that?"
Tails spoke, "Twilight told me about him earlier, Sonic. She said, um… he's the most important conjurer of Equestria's pre-classical era and that he's the father of the amniomorphic spell."
Sonic replied, "Ah, okay. So he's a really important pony in Equestrian history, especially when it comes to magic."
Twilight glanced to the side and murmured, "Thank you. Even if he doesn't know anything about Star Swirl the Bearded, he at least knows to respect him."
Suddenly, Applejack said, "Hey y'all, look at that!" Everybody looked at her and followed her gaze forward. In the distance, they could see a volcano erupting, lava trails running down the front of it and lava shooting out of the top of it.
Everyone ran to get a closer look, stopping when they reached the edge of a cliff. "Wow! Talk about a mountain view!" Sonic commented.
"Check out all that lava! Where's it coming from?" Spike wondered.
"The crust here must be really unstable…" Twilight murmured.
While the lavender unicorn turned back to Tails, Applejack looked over at Sonic and asked, "Is that ringin' any bells, Sugar-hog?"
Sonic put a hand under his chin as he answered, "This view definitely looks familiar. But I'm still not sure where we are."
Rainbow groaned and looked over at Twilight and Tails, saying, "Twilight, get your memory spell over here and put an end to this game! …Twilight?"
The lavender unicorn looked up at that, asking, "Huh? Oh, sorry Rainbow Dash, did you say something? Tails and I just finished comparing notes."
Sonic asked, "And what do your notes say?"
Tails spoke, "Well, as we already guessed, we're not anywhere in Equestria. The ley lines are there, but they don't match up with the ones in Equestria. They do match up with ours, but that's where things get strange."
Celestia tilted her head, "How so, Tails?"
The fox replied, "If I remember correctly, the city of Soleanna is within Sonic travel distance. But even as far out as we are, the area is not supposed to look like this. I wasn't even aware there was a volcano out here." After slipping his radar back into his left tail, he held a hand to his chin and wondered, "Could we somehow be in the future?"
Rarity asked, "The future? Why do you think that, darling?"
Tails looked at her and said, "Well, I don't think that… yet. But given the way things look around here, it could be a possibility, right?"
Applejack nodded, "Ya might be right, Tails. This could be like that time that doctor fella went up to that Little Planet y'all were talkin' about, right Sonic?"
Sonic replied, "It could be. Except this time, the volcano is active."
Luna asked, "What is this 'Little Planet' you refer to, Applejack?"
Before anyone could respond, a fireball suddenly struck the side of the cliff they were on, startling everybody. "Whoa! Did that come from the volcano?!" Rainbow exclaimed.
Pinkie Pie pointed, "Look! It's a fireworks show!"
Everybody looked to see that the volcano was shooting out more fireballs, some of them coming close to the cliff they were standing on. "I think these 'fireworks' are landing a little closer than I'm comfortable with, Pinkie," Tails said.
"Can we please discuss this somewhere else?" Twilight asked. Nobody wanted to argue that and they all took off running across the cliff, Twilight dragging Pinkie along with her magic and Sonic, Tails, and Spike covering their heads as they ran.
After a few minutes of running, the group managed to find a spot to hide under to get away from the falling fireballs. As they followed the path that went under the overhang, the ponies filled the princesses in on a few of the things the group had talked about, passing a few lava falls pouring into a pool of magma as they walked. They didn't have time to mention everything to the princesses, though, mostly due to Pinkie Pie piping up with various questions whenever somepony said something new.
Shortly afterwards, they came across a plateau that seemed to be a dead end. The ground was relatively flat, save for a couple of spots where it stuck up for some reason. As she and the others looked around, Twilight walked near one of these spots as she asked, "Where do we go now?" She came to a stop next to it and looked around. Suddenly, something burst out of the spot, right beside her!
Sonic and the others looked at her when she yelped, seeing flames shooting up out of the spot on the ground and Twilight on the ground on her left side with a layer of black ashes on her. Rainbow flew over after the flames died down and asked, "Are you okay, Twilight?"
The lavender unicorn climbed to her hooves and said, "Yeah, I think so, Rainbow" Looking at the spot on the ground next to her while using her magic to shake off the ashes, she commented, "Wow, the ground here is even more unstable than I thought."
Luna nodded, "Indeed. I believe it would be best if we, as they say, watch our step around here."
Before anyone could say anything, lizard-like lava monsters suddenly leapt out of the ground, followed by large worms that appeared to be the same bursting out of the ground and fiery birds flying down from above. "Whoa!" Tails exclaimed at the sight of them.
"What are they? What do they want?" Luna wondered.
"I don't think they're here to say 'hi'," Sonic commented.
Fluttershy leapt back when one of the lizard-like creatures breathed fire from its mouth and (quietly) cried, "Oh dear! They can breathe fire! Just like dragons!"
Rainbow said, "Well, that's not a nice welcome!"
Applejack asked, "Can we even attack these things?"
Tails pointed at one of the worms and said, "They look like they're a mix of lava and rock! They might be hot, but it should be okay to touch them!"
Rainbow thumped her forehooves together, "Good! Then let's do this!" With that, she spread her wings and flew towards the nearest monster, which happened to be a lizard, and flew headfirst into it, sending it flying into a wall, where it burst into flames. The cyan mare then found herself having to quickly jump to the side to avoid a lava ball spewed by one of the worms. Sonic and Tails quickly leapt to her aid, both of them attacking hard and causing the worm to burst into flames. The monsters started growling at these actions, prompting the others to move from where they were standing. They all then started fighting as well… except for Fluttershy, who was looking around nervously and awkwardly as the fight began to unfold.
Spike managed to grab onto one of the flying creatures, both claws wrapped around the end of its tail as it flew. It tried to make him let go by dropping fireballs on him, but Spike, due to how dragons were, was able to catch the fireballs and used them to provide aerial support, managing to distract a lizard so Applejack could buck it, shoot down another flying creature, and catch a worm's attention before it could attack Fluttershy, giving Rainbow Dash enough time to stop it herself.
The creature he was holding onto then wised up and tried to shake him off, not paying attention to where it was going. Spike managed to hold on and, when he saw the creature approaching a wall, let go, landing on his feet while the creature crashed and burst into flames. Spike grinned, "Heh, what a birdbrain!" Suddenly, two more lizards burst out of the ground in front of him, startling him. The closer one tried to swipe at him with its claws, but Spike leapt back just out of the way. The other one then opened its mouth and breathed fire at him. Spike wasn't prepared for the fire and ended up getting burnt, a flame remaining on his clawed feet after the stream died down. Spike grabbed his left foot in his claws and started hopping on his right foot, crying, "MY TOES, MY TOES!"
Almost immediately after he said that, a magenta-colored beam shot over the hopping dragon's head, missing his scales and sending one of the creatures flying. Rarity then dashed past Spike and reared back on her hind legs, punching the other lizard across its face and dazing it. She then quickly followed this up by kicking it right in the face, knocking it up off the ground. It then burst into flames as it hit the ground on its back.
Rarity then turned and ran over to Spike, Twilight already at his side and looking him over carefully. The baby dragon didn't even seem to notice the lavender unicorn, though; watching Rarity fight for him seemed to put him under a trance, as his eyes now sported hearts on their sclera instead of his normal green eyes. "Spike, darling, are you okay?" the white unicorn asked worriedly.
"Of course I am, Rarity. Anything for you," Spike muttered in a daze.
Rarity raised an eyebrow at Spike's answer while Twilight rolled her eyes. Twilight then looked at Rarity and said, "He's okay, Rarity. The fire's out, his scales seem to have protected him from any burns, and that thing didn't slash him. I think he'll be fine." Rarity looked more reassured at what Twilight said. The two of them looked over the rest of the field and realized that everyone else had just about finished up with the rest of the monsters.
After the last monster burst into flames, almost immediately, a large golem appeared near part of the rocky wall that looked different from the rest of it. It thumped its fists together and then summoned a large lava ball in its left hand. Before it could throw it, both Celestia and Luna charged up their magic and fired magic beams at its head, where it had exposed what appeared to be its core. Their combined attacks not only stunned the beast, but also pushed it backwards, the creature falling back against the wall before bursting into flames.
A second after the creature burst into flames, the part of the wall that it hit suddenly slid down like a hidden door, revealing a passageway behind it. Applejack looked over at Twilight and said, "Hey Twi', seems pretty quiet right now. Maybe ya better use that memory spell o' yers on Sonic before anythin' else happens."
Suddenly, a familiar voice asked, "Applejack?" The orange earth pony turned to see Braeburn and Little Strongheart standing in the passageway, just past where the wall slid down.
"Braeburn?! Little Strongheart?!" Applejack asked before running over to them along with Rainbow Dash, the others following them over.
Braeburn smiled, "Ah wondered if y'all had somethin' ta do with the noises we were hearin'." He then noticed Princess Celestia and Princess Luna, saying, "Oh!" He quickly dropped into a bow and said, "Yer highnesses."
Celestia smiled, "That's quite all right. So you're Braeburn, Applejack's cousin."
Braeburn stood up straight, "That's right!"
Celestia looked over at Little Strongheart and asked, "And you're Little Strongheart, are you? It's a pleasure to meet you."
The buffalo nodded, "Likewise, princess."
Rainbow asked, "What are you guys doing here?"
Little Strongheart sighed, "That's what we'd like to know."
Braeburn nodded, "All Ah can remember is some white light shootin' across the desert. It was headin' straight towards…" He reared back and finished, "APPLELOOSA!" He then set himself down and said, "The next thing Ah knew, Ah was standin' in the middle of some wasteland in this creepy place."
Little Strongheart nodded, "I saw the light too, while I was with my herd out in the desert. I hope my father and the rest of the herd are okay…" She then noticed Sonic, Tails, and Twilight standing near the back of the group, Twilight touching her glowing horn to Sonic's forehead as the hedgehog knelt on his knee. "Excuse me for asking, but what is Twilight doing?" Little Strongheart asked.
Rarity replied, "Oh, she's just using a spell that will hopefully tell us where we are, since our new friends Sonic and Tails seem to remember this place, yet they are not sure why."
Little Strongheart said, "I see."
Braeburn perked up, "Hey, that fella is a hedgehog too!"
Applejack raised an eyebrow, "Yeah? There somethin' strange about that, Braeburn?"
The light gold earth pony replied, "Naw, o' course not, Applejack. We just happened to meet a hedgehog fella earlier, that's all."
Rainbow asked, "You did?"
Little Strongheart nodded, "Yes, and he seemed like a really nice guy too."
Fluttershy asked, "Um, where is he?"
Braeburn replied, "Left a short while ago, sayin' he found what he was lookin' for. Ah'm sure we'll catch up with him, though. His name is…"
He was cut off before he could finish when Twilight screamed, "GAAAHHHH!!!" Everypony whirled around to see the lavender unicorn flying through the air, her horn letting off some kind of purple energy. Twilight landed on her back and skidded to a stop next to the nearby cliff, not moving.
"Twilight!" Sonic exclaimed, rising to his feet and dashing towards her, Tails following even as his radar, the Warp Ring, and the green Chaos Emerald fell out and landed on the ground behind him. They came to a stop at her sides, kneeling down next to her as the unicorn began to move.
"What happened?!" Spike yelled as everybody began to move in their direction.
"I don't know!" Sonic called back before turning his attention back to Twilight. "What did she see?" he wondered. Twilight soon opened her eyes, causing Sonic to ask, "Are you all right?"
Twilight groaned, but started, "Yeah, I…"
Before she could finish, two crescent-shaped waves of energy suddenly shot past Sonic and Tails' backsides, stopping the advance of the others and causing the trio to look in their direction. "What was that?!" Tails asked.
Sonic turned his head to look in the direction of the cliff. Noticing something shining just above his field of vision, he looked up only to be greeted by a familiar sight. "Silver?!" he exclaimed, Tails and Twilight turning their heads at that.
The silver hedgehog hovered a short distance above and away from the cliff, surrounded by a green aura from his psychic powers. Something seemed to be off about him, but Sonic didn't get a chance to think about it before Silver said, "Iblis Trigger! Welcome… to die!" After saying that, his green aura surrounded the part of the cliff that Sonic, Tails, and Twilight were on, the rock suddenly breaking into pieces and falling, taking them with it!
While the others started moving again, Tails immediately began spinning his namesakes and grabbed Twilight's hooves, lifting them both off the falling piece of the cliff but following it down. "Sonic, hurry!" he called. The blue hedgehog leapt from the piece he was on to the one above him, moving up and jumping from the last piece and holding out his hand as Twilight held out her left hoof for him to grab and Tails wrapped both hands around her right hoof.
Before he was close enough, however, Silver suddenly slammed into Sonic from the side, pressing a hand against his face and pushing him down as he flew downwards. Tails and Twilight could only watch as Silver restrained Sonic, both of them going through a portal further down below.
Seeing the portal beginning to close up, Tails tightened his grip on Twilight's right hoof and swung her back, saying, "Quick, Twilight! I'll be right behind you!" He then swung her forward, letting go of her hoof. Twilight yelped as she began falling, flailing her forelegs in the air as she tried to aim herself towards the portal. Tails' aim had been true, though, and she managed to slip through the portal, hind legs first. As Tails thought, that slowed the portal's closing and he flew down after Twilight, flying as fast as he could go. The others made it to the edge of the cliff in time to see Tails' shoes disappear through the closing portal.
"Oof!" Twilight grunted as her backside suddenly came into contact with the ground. She certainly hadn't been preparing for that to happen. One moment she was falling into a portal, and the next gravity was pulling her down in an entirely different way. It was like gravity itself had flipped ninety degrees on her when she exited the portal. Raising herself into a sitting position, she rubbed her head and muttered, "Can't say that's ever happened before…"
She heard something spinning behind her and turned to see Tails hovering in place, the portal closing up behind him. Even though he'd been in the air, it looked like the fox needed to adjust to the sudden change in orientation as well. He then noticed Twilight and asked, "Uh, are you okay, Twilight?"
The lavender unicorn stood up and gave him a slightly hard look as she replied, "Yes, I'm fine. Next time, though, could you give me a little warning BEFORE you do something like that?"
Tails giggled nervously as he scratched the side of his head, saying, "Well, it didn't look like there was much time before that portal closed up, so… You know I would've made sure to catch you if I missed, right?"
Twilight's expression softened as she replied, "Yeah, I do…"
Tails continued to scratch his head nervously, but his eyes soon fell on the white buildings nearby. Landing on the ground, he asked, "Where are we?"
Twilight looked around as well, taking note of how the buildings looked. After a moment, she said, "This looks like… I think we're in Appleloosa. Braeburn mentioned it."
Tails nodded, "Oh. Cool." He looked around for a moment, wondering where Sonic and Silver were before a noise coming from nearby caught his attention. It sounded like some kind of crash. Twilight's expression indicated she had heard it too, and it sounded like it came from the open area in Appleloosa, near the town's clock. Tails looked over at Twilight and said, "We'd better see what's going on!" Twilight nodded and they ran towards where the sound had come from.
As they neared the area, part of one of the old barricades from the buffalo dispute flew towards them, forcing them to jump out of the way. Looking forward again, they realized more stuff was flying their way. An empty apple bucket, a barrel, an easel… They managed to get to the red building that held up the town clock and hid behind it. Peering out, they noticed a horse-drawn carriage floating through the air, surrounded by a green aura. They soon saw it floating above Silver, the hedgehog holding it with his psychic powers while Sonic stood across from him, waiting to see what he was going to do.
"That hedgehog is carrying a carriage!" Twilight exclaimed.
Tails looked at her before looking back to the scene before them and saying, "That's Silver, Twilight. He's psychokinetic… and he comes from the future."
Twilight looked at the fox in surprise, asking, "He's from the future?! Are you sure?!"
Tails nodded, "That's what he's told us, and several of our friends have heard the same thing." He looked carefully at Silver, saying, "But there's something wrong. He… doesn't look very silver at the moment."
Twilight looked back at the fight, seeing Silver throw the carriage at Sonic as the blue hedgehog dashed out of the way and asked, "Why are he and Sonic fighting?"
Tails replied, "I don't know. I know they have a slight rivalry even though they're friends, kind of like Applejack and Rainbow Dash, but… Let's stay back here for now, see if we can find out what's going on." Twilight nodded and turned to watch.
Silver growled as Sonic dodged a barrel thrown at him and suddenly teleported a short distance away from the blue hedgehog, startling him. He then moved straight towards Sonic, swinging his arm back and trying to punch him in the face. Sonic moved back, but Silver kept going, unleashing a barrage of punches and kicks. Sonic retaliated, punching and kicking to block Silver's attacks while trying to dodge. He still had no idea what prompted Silver to start this fight with him, or why his color seemed off.
Quickly realizing he was getting nowhere like this, Silver began to add a little more style to his attacks, combining hand-to-hand combat with his psychic powers. He started hovering above the ground as he dealt out punches and kicks, almost looking like he was trying to dance in the air. This made it harder for Sonic to dodge his attacks, but the blue hedgehog soon began to put his break dancing moves to good use; if it weren't for the fact they were trying to hit each other, they would have looked like they were having a dance off.
Getting tired of this exchange, Sonic soon caught one of Silver's kicks with hands and pushed down, throwing the silver hedgehog off-balance for a second before leaping over him. Landing on the ground, Sonic turned around and said, "Enough already, Silver! What are you-?!" Before he could finish, Silver suddenly flew up to him and began trying to punch him in any way, flipping over and over in the air as he threw punches and kicks at Sonic, who did his best to weave around the attacks. "What does he think is, a ninja or something?" Sonic wondered.
After a minute of more dodging, Sonic moved forward and butted heads with Silver, catching the hedgehog by surprise and causing him to pause in midair for a second. While he was still, Sonic hit him with a Homing Attack, doing it just hard enough to push Silver away without seriously hurting him. Silver stopped himself a second later and landed, saying, "Not bad, Iblis Trigger."
Sonic asked, "Why do you keep calling me that, Silver?! What's an 'Iblis Trigger'?!"
Silver snorted, "Of course you wouldn't know what it is. You probably don't even know what will happen because of your actions." He shifted his arms, making a wave-like motion with his left hand as a cyan knife-like wave began to form in front of him. He then swung his left arm, releasing the blade in a horizontal orientation and saying, "I will end this here!"
Sonic crouched down and leapt up, jumping over the blade. Silver saw this and leapt up after him, curling up into a ball for a Homing Attack. Sonic saw him coming and went into a Homing Attack of his own, both of them pushing against each other for a moment before they were both repelled. Sonic landed on a nearby roof while Silver used his psychokinesis to hold himself up. He then went after Sonic, who ran along the roof as Silver launched more blades of psychic energy at him, both vertically and horizontally. As he followed, Silver yelled, "You can't escape me, Iblis Trigger!"
Sonic glanced back and called, "Yeah, so what?" He then suddenly came to a stop and rolled to his right, dodging a vertical blade of psychic energy. Spinning around so he was looking in Silver's direction, he looked at Silver and said, "I wasn't trying to anyway!" He then jumped up and launched into a Homing Attack, intercepting Silver along his flight path. The silver hedgehog grunted as he lost his concentration and fell towards the ground, bouncing along the (white) dirt several times as he landed.
Sonic leapt down from the roof, landing a short distance away from Silver. He walked over to the silver hedgehog and stood over him. "Hey…" he started before Silver suddenly caught him in a field of psychic energy, stood up, and threw him back towards the building! Sonic, however, managed to flip over as he was being thrown, his feet coming into contact with the side of the building instead of his backside. The blue hedgehog then pushed off of it, leaping towards Silver and tackling him before the hedgehog could stop him. Tails and Twilight watched as the two hedgehogs fought with each other on the ground.
Sonic soon managed to get Silver in a headlock, his left arm wrapped around the hedgehog's throat while his right hand gripped the quills on top of his forehead. Silver struggled against the hold, both hands on Sonic's arm as he flailed his feet. Sonic could easily see his arms, so Silver knew trying to punch in this situation would do no good. "But maybe…" he thought.
Sonic spoke, "I know we usually have fun when we do this kind of thing, but this has gone too far! Seriously Silver, what's your problem, man?! What did I do to you?!"
Silver growled, "It's not what you've done, but what you're going to do! You are the Iblis Trigger; your actions will lead to the world's destruction and the ruination of my future!"
Silver's statement confused Sonic, Tails, and Twilight. Sonic was so baffled by what Silver had said that he leaned back and asked, "What?!" Silver saw his opening and took it. He brought his right arm forward and swung it behind him, his fist cleanly connecting with Sonic's face. The hit caused Sonic to loosen his grip and Silver grabbed his arm, throwing him. Sonic grunted as his back hit the ground and then, while still on the ground, spun around, trying to kick Silver's legs out from under him. Silver used his psychic powers to teleport before Sonic's legs could hit him, however.
Leaping back up onto his feet, Sonic started looking around, trying to find Silver. He soon saw something out of the corner of his eye and turned to see Silver flying towards him, carrying behind him a wagon, two barrels, and all the parts of an old barricade. As he flew towards Sonic, he threw all of these things at him, Sonic jumping, ducking, and doing everything he could to avoid getting hit. He managed to avoid the objects, but Silver suddenly wrapped him in a psychic field and slammed into him, pushing him backwards. Silver soon stopped, Sonic's momentum carrying him into the flagpole, which broke off from its base as Sonic hit it, both the pole and the blue hedgehog landing on the ground.
Sonic managed to roll over onto his front, but before he could push himself up, Silver suddenly appeared in front of him. The silver hedgehog spoke, "This is the end, Iblis Trigger." He then held up his right fist, prepared to bring it down on Sonic's head.
Suddenly, Tails screamed, "SILVER!" The silver hedgehog froze for a second before turning his head to the side, seeing Tails running from his hiding place with Twilight right behind him. Before Silver could react, Tails tackled him, both of them landing on the ground to the side while Twilight stopped by Sonic's side. While she tended to him, Tails tried to pin Silver down, saying, "Stop it already, Silver! What do you think you're doing?!"
Silver grunted before he managed to get an arm free, holding up his hand and surrounding Tails in a psychic field, lifting him off. Climbing to his feet, Silver replied, "Just stand back. You'll thank me later." While carrying the struggling Tails behind him, Silver walked towards Sonic, who was just starting to get up. Twilight saw him coming and ran around Sonic, standing between him and Silver. The silver hedgehog said, "Get out of my way!"
Twilight shook her head, "No! Not until you explain why you and Sonic are fighting!"
Silver glared at her for a minute before relenting. He pointed at Sonic and explained, "He is the Iblis Trigger! You saw it, didn't you? That ruined world full of flames and fire monsters? That's all because Iblis' flames were released into the world, and he's responsible for releasing Iblis! He caused the destruction of my world!"
Tails struggled anew at that, yelling, "That's a lie!" Silver turned and restricted the fox's movements, holding him in place. Tails said, "Espio told us, Silver! He told us why you came back to our time that second time: to prevent the Ifrit from resurrecting itself and escaping from its dimension! He said that you said it was responsible for ruining the future, not this Iblis thing!"
Silver gave him a confused look, "What? No, the Iblis, the Flames of Disaster, is responsible for destroying the world! If I don't destroy the Iblis Trigger, then what you've seen WILL happen!" He then turned to Twilight and said, "Now get out of my way!"
Twilight once again refused, "Absolutely not! If what you're saying is true, if you knew why the world was ruined in your time, then why didn't you stop this 'Iblis Trigger' either of the first two times you traveled to the past, especially if you were already there to stop one creature from ruining the world?"
Silver looked at her, unable to give her an answer. As he tried to compose a suitable response, his agitation started to rise, gritting his teeth as he realized he couldn't find a suitable answer. Suddenly, he glared at Twilight and used his free hand to wrap her in a psychic field, the unicorn giving a surprised shout as she was lifted off the ground. Silver then moved her back beside Tails, glaring at them as he said, "Both of you are getting in my way! Don't make me have to destroy you too!"
Sonic suddenly charged forward, yelling, "Don't you dare!" Silver turned around in just enough time to see the blue hedgehog coming at him in a Spin Dash before the blue hedgehog collided into him, sending him sliding through the dirt. The attack also broke his concentration, causing Tails and Twilight to drop to the ground. Sonic ran over to them and asked, "Are you guys okay?"
Twilight nodded, "I think so." She looked over at where Silver had stopped before looking back at Sonic and asking, "Why is Silver acting this way?"
Sonic replied, "That's what I'm going to find out. Something is seriously wrong with him. I'd hate to do it, but if I have to knock him out and tie him up to get the answers out of him, then so be it!"
Tails spoke up, "Sonic, look!" Both Sonic and Twilight looked at him and then looked in the direction he was looking.
Silver was hovering above the ground, having apparently recovered, and was now gathering carriages, carts, easels… anything reasonably-sized that he could grab with his psychic grip. As the mass above his head started to get bigger, Silver said, "This will end it!"
Sonic noticed that the mass above Silver was starting to look huge. If he threw it hard enough, he could probably cause some serious damage to Appleloosa! He immediately took off towards Silver, going as fast as he could to reach Silver in time. Just as Silver held his arms back, apparently ready to throw everything at him, Sonic leapt up and launched into a Homing Attack, striking Silver right in the chest.
The force of the attack knocked Silver backwards and caused him to bounce across the dirt ground for a second. He also lost his concentration, so everything that had been floating above him started falling down! Sonic started running as soon as his feet touched the ground, weaving around the falling objects. He dove forward, narrowly missing getting crushed by a falling horse-drawn carriage and rolled on the ground, coming to a stop across from Silver, who glared at him. While Twilight and Tails started hurrying towards the wall of objects that had formed, Sonic stood up and said, "Holding all that stuff up requires a lot of concentration. You couldn't have grabbed me if you wanted to."
Silver climbed to his knees and replied, "Then I need more power!" He reached his right hand into his quills and pulled out the white Chaos Emerald. Standing up, he held it above his head and let out a shout as he charged towards Sonic. Sonic stepped around him and, while they were at each other's sides, reached into his quills with his right hand, grabbing the blue Chaos Emerald. Both hedgehogs then held their right hands up, both hands coming into contact with each other.
Tails and Twilight climbed on top of the side of the carriage in time to see a white light forming just above the Chaos Emeralds. The double Chaos Control was creating a time-space rift, but it was also having a nearly unnoticeable effect on Silver. As he stood there, the silver hedgehog stared blankly ahead, his mouth slightly open as he seemed to be staring at something far off in the distance. It was as though something was happening inside of him… A second later, there was a flash of light right between Sonic and Silver. Whatever it was, both of them were suddenly thrown away from each other, Sonic landing face first on the ground and Silver falling behind a cart, losing his grip on his Chaos Emerald. As they hit the ground, Tails and Twilight saw a familiar white light beginning to spread out from where they had been standing, the color beginning to come back to Appleloosa.
As Twilight and Tails jumped down from the carriage, the time-space rift finished forming, and a few seconds later, Spike, Braeburn, Little Strongheart, and everypony else appeared through it, landing on the ground. Rarity was the first to speak, looking around as she asked, "Goodness, what happened?"
Braeburn quickly recognized his surroundings and grinned, "Why, we're back in good ol'…" he reared up on his hind legs, "APPLELOOSA!"
Pinkie Pie soon noticed Tails and Twilight and said, "Ooh, lookie! Twilight and Tails are here!"
Rainbow looked over to the side and noticed Sonic had just gotten back up and was now walking over, having tucked the Chaos Emerald back inside of his quills. "And there's Sonic! I told you we'd catch up with them!" she told Applejack smugly, holding Tails' radar in one hoof. The orange earth pony just rolled her eyes and shook her head.
Everyone gathered around as the time-space rift closed up, Celestia levitating the Warp Ring and green Chaos Emerald next to her as Luna asked, "Twilight, Sonic, Tails, are you all okay?"
Sonic grinned as he rubbed the back of his head, "Well, I know Tails and Twilight are fine, Luna. After all, they weren't the ones who had to fight."
Celestia noted, "You don't appear to be badly hurt yourself, Sonic. I for one am glad to see that." She then levitated the green Chaos Emerald and Warp Ring over to Tails, who took them and slid them into his tails.
Rainbow then held out his radar to him, and while he put it away, she asked, "So where is that weird guy? I'm ready to give him a piece of my mind for attacking you guys!"
Before anyone could say anything, they all heard a groan coming from nearby. Sonic quickly ran over to where it was coming from with Tails following behind him. Spike, Little Strongheart, and the ponies all followed too, all of them stopping when Sonic and Tails came to a stop near a cart. A second later, Silver stood up, his left hand pressed against his forehead while he used his right hand to support himself on the cart. It may have been Appleloosa's returning colors, but Sonic and Tails could swear he looked… more like himself.
"What happened…?" Silver groaned as he rubbed his forehead. Looking up a second later, he quickly noticed the large group looking back at him, particularly the two at the front of the group. "Sonic, Tails! What are you guys doing here?" Silver asked. He then glanced around and asked, "Where are we, anyway?"
Rainbow growled, "Don't try to fake your way out of this! I'm gonna…!" She flapped her wings and started flying towards Silver, only for something to grab her tail and pull back on it. She looked back to see Twilight's magic aura surrounding her tail, keeping her from flying forward.
"Twi', what are ya doin'?" Applejack asked.
As she let go of Rainbow Dash, Twilight explained, "Silver referred to Sonic by name. Up until now, he didn't do that. Something's different now."
Silver looked surprised at Twilight's use of magic, but he did hear what she said. "What are you talking about? What…" Silver pressed his right hand against his forehead and closed his eyes, saying, "Wait, I remember what happened now!" He opened his eyes and noticed the white Chaos Emerald sitting inside of the cart he had been leaning against. He reached down with his right hand and grabbed it; he held it up as he walked around the cart. He slipped it back into his quills as he looked back at the group and said, "Sonic, I'm sorry about what happened just now. Seriously, you snapped me out of whatever happened to me. Do you think you can forgive me?"
Sonic replied, "Well, sure Silver. But seriously… what happened, dude?"
Before Silver could answer, Braeburn piped up, "Now hold on here! Before y'all start explainin' everythin', ya gotta see the town first! Bet ya never woulda guessed us settler ponies built all this in less than a year!" Before anyone could reply, Braeburn suddenly moved forward and butted into Tails, Sonic, and Silver with his head, all of them grunting as he herded them along.
Both Applejack and Little Strongheart called, "Braeburn, wait!" But it was too late. The light gold earth pony was already leading the trio on his personal tour of Appleloosa and he was not about to be deterred.
Applejack sighed and glanced back, noticing all the stuff Silver had dropped. She looked at Twilight and asked, "Twilight, do ya think y'all can start cleanin' this mess up while Ah reel in mah cousin?"
Twilight nodded, "Sure thing, Applejack." The orange earth pony nodded in reply and started after Braeburn along with Little Strongheart while Twilight and the others started cleaning up the mess from the fight. As they set everything back in place, made repairs where necessary, and ponies started coming outside, Twilight thought back to what she saw earlier. "Sonic and that princess… I think her name was Elise? They completely reset time by blowing out that flame, but it seems Sonic at least has a slight recollection of everything that happened. Tails too, probably, considering that place looked familiar to him too. I could give them both their memories back, but would they want to remember… THAT?" She rubbed her horn with a hoof at that, practically feeling what Sonic felt in that short amount of time.