Soon, at the Salt Block
The owner of Appleloosa's local watering hole trotted towards the table in the corner, balancing on his head a tray with several glasses of water and a salt block. He looked over the occupants of the table as he got closer, particularly the two hedgehogs, the two-tailed fox, and the baby dragon. He was a bit wary about letting those particular customers, especially the baby dragon, come into his establishment, but between Braeburn, Little Strongheart, and the princesses of Equestria, he wasn't really able to say no.
The owner expertly transferred the tray from his head to the table, the glasses barely even shaking as the tray was set down. He then straightened up and said, "There you go, folks. You sure I can't interest you boys in a little salt?"
He was answered with a unanimous "no thanks" from Sonic, Silver, Tails, and Spike. The owner eyed them for a moment before adjusting his monocle and walking away. As he left to make sure none of the other customers were licking too much salt, he passed one of the horse-drawn carriage drawers, who had seen the group enter the Salt Block and wanted to sketch them, hopefully without them finding out.
Back at the table, after Celestia and Luna turned down the offer, Braeburn took the first lick of the salt block. After savoring the flavor for a moment, he looked over at Sonic, Silver, Tails, and Spike, each one having a glass of water in front of them, and asked, "Ya sure y'all don't want any salt? It's REAL fine salt, ya know!"
Tails grinned weakly, "Yeah, uh… Believe me, Braeburn, we can tell just by looking at it. But I think we'll just stick with the water."
Braeburn shrugged, "If ya say so, Tails." He took another lick of the salt block.
Fluttershy looked across the table at Silver and asked, "So, um, Silver? Can you tell us what happened to you? I-If you don't mind, that is…"
Silver replied, "Yeah, I'll tell you all what happened, Fluttershy. Though I'm not entirely sure how this all started in the first place."
Sonic asked, "You didn't have an accident while you were trying to time travel, were you?"
Silver answered, "No, although I do have the means to time travel on me at the moment. What happened was, while I was in my proper time, I saw some kind of white light in the distance and went to investigate. Before I could even get close to where it was coming from, it suddenly spread out and I had to shield my eyes. The next thing I knew, I was standing in the middle of a ruined wasteland. Since I didn't know what else to do, I started searching for a sign, any sign of life. While I was searching, I found one of the Chaos Emeralds, and shortly afterwards, I was attacked by… dragons, I think. All I know is that they said they wanted the Chaos Emerald for a snack."
Celestia provided, "Gems are a delicacy among dragons, Silver."
Silver replied, "Well, I guess I kind of figured that… But eating something like a Chaos Emerald? Who knows what that would do?" He reached over and grabbed his glass of water with his right hand, taking a quick drink.
Luna asked, "So what did you do?"
Setting his glass down, Silver answered, "I told them I wasn't going to give it to them. But they wouldn't back off, so, instead of making things worse, I decided to leave before they decided to start a fight or something. While they were chasing me, I happened to come across Braeburn and Little Strongheart. Seeing as I'd unwittingly gotten them involved in my mess, I helped them get away from those dragons."
Little Strongheart smiled, "It was very brave and nice of you, Silver. You helped us even though we had only just met."
Braeburn added, "Way nicer than those dragon fellers were turnin' out ta be. They were rude, not like Spike here." The baby dragon remained silent at that.
Silver nodded, "Yeah. But just after we got away, I heard a voice calling to me from a cave. When I went to investigate, I met this hedgehog who looked like a hedgehog named Shadow."
Twilight interjected, "We met Shadow earlier. When you say he looked like him, what do you mean?"
Silver explained, "Physically, he looked no different from Shadow. But where Shadow's fur is red, this guy's fur was a pale blue, and his eyes were a pale green. Actually, pale just about sums him up. He looked really pale all over! It was creepy. But I didn't want to turn him away based on looks alone, so I tried talking to him. And at some point while I was talking to him, I started feeling really strange. I suddenly felt… angry… vengeful… way different than I normally feel. I was also fixated on something called the 'Iblis Trigger'."
Tails said, "You said Sonic was the Iblis Trigger, Silver."
Twilight added, "You said he was responsible for ruining the world."
Silver placed his left hand on his head, angling his head down as he replied, "I know, Twilight, and I know that's not true. Tails was right; the Ifrit was responsible for destroying my world, not this 'Iblis' thing. And thanks to everybody efforts, the Ifrit never escaped its dimension, so I returned to my time after it was defeated to find that the future had indeed changed. If there was still a threat to the future out there, I shouldn't have seen what I saw when I returned. That's why I don't understand where all this 'Iblis Trigger' nonsense came from, except that I didn't start thinking of it until after I talked to that hedgehog."
Applejack said, "So all we got ta go on is that there's a hedgehog that looks like Shadow out there who messed with yer head. Is that what you're sayin', Silver?"
Little Strongheart spoke up, "Actually, there is one other thing." Everybody looked at her as she explained, "Braeburn and I got worried after Silver went into the cave, so we followed him in. When we were outside the room where Silver was, we saw a shadow being cast on the wall outside of it."
Rainbow asked, "A shadow? Oh, you mean like Silver's shadow or that other hedgehog's shadow, right?"
Little Strongheart said, "Well, maybe, Rainbow Dash. I mean, I've never met this Shadow hedgehog, but what we saw extended over Silver's shadow and it did not look like him at all."
Braeburn nodded, "That's fer sure. Ah wouldn't even know how to describe it, other than it looked plain weird. Whatever was castin' that shadow looked all mismatched, like somethin' straight out of a storybook or somethin'. Ah don't know how else ta describe it."
Silver rubbed his chin with his left hand as he said, "That's strange. I never noticed that guy's shadow. I'm not sure he even had one when I saw him."
Pinkie chirped, "Ooh, a mystery! I love mysteries, especially solving them!"
Silver crossed his arms and placed his head on top of them on the table, saying, "Well, this is a mystery I'd sure like to solve…"
There was silence after that, nobody quite sure what to say. Twilight, hoping to relieve some of the tension in the air, soon asked, "So… can you tell us, Silver? What the future is like, I mean?"
Pinkie Pie grinned, "Ooh, yeah! What's it like in your time, Silver?! Is it super duper fun?!"
Silver sat up straight at that, a smile on his face, apparently glad for the change of subject. "Oh yeah, it's a great place. The sky is blue, the seasons change, everybody has a smile, and everybody can live the life they want to live."
Spike deadpanned, "That sounds like the world now."
Silver nodded, "Exactly."
Sonic grinned, "Hey, I hear you. If it ain't broke, don't fix it, right?"
Silver looked at him and nodded, "Yeah!"
Rarity asked, "But if the future is beautiful, then what was that… horrifying place we were just at?"
Tails spoke, "It could have been part of an alternate timeline, Rarity. Not quite an alternate dimension like what the Ifrit was sealed in, but a different end result of what things might've been if they had been different, in this case if this Iblis creature existed. Considering what we've experienced so far, it's not out of the question that the monster responsible for all of this is causing us to see not just what we know has happened, but also things that aren't or shouldn't be set in stone."
Rainbow looked at Twilight, remembering something at Tails' words, and asked, "Hey Twilight, did you give Sonic his memories back? Can he, or you at least, tell us what that place was?"
Pinkie nudged the cyan pegasus with a hoof and, when she turned to look at her, giggled, "Oh Dashie, you're so silly! We're already getting one lampshade; do you want me to get you one too?"
While Rainbow just stared at Pinkie strangely, Braeburn looked at Sonic and Tails and asked, "What's this monster thing y'all are talkin' about?"
Silver nodded, "I was wondering that myself."
Tails explained, "It's some kind of creature that's managed to rip a hole between our universes and is messing with time itself. You've seen the effects of its actions on Appleloosa; the whole town was completely white until just a little while ago, but the sky still hasn't returned to normal yet. And especially important is the fact that it still has some of our friends!"
Silver asked, "Who? Who does it have?"
Sonic said, "Well, we've rescued most of them so far, but it still has a few. Like Blaze, for instance."
Silver's eyes widened at that, "What?!" He stood up quickly and thumped the palms of his hands down on the table, shaking it as he exclaimed, "You're saying Blaze is in trouble?!"
Sonic replied, "Look Silver, relax. I'm sure Blaze is fine; if anything, she's probably unable to move right now, just like everybody else we've rescued has been."
Tails spoke up, "I can vouch for that. That thing did the same thing to me, Twilight, Spike, Applejack, Fluttershy, Rarity, and Pinkie Pie. We were all turned, basically, to stone by that monster and separated from our bodies, but once we were brought back to the white space Ponyville now inhabits, we turned back to normal. Sonic's right; the same thing has probably happened to Blaze. As long as we go back to that place and find her, she'll be fine."
Silver stopped leaning on the table and sat down, saying, "All right then… So you're saying that we have to go back to that place, find Blaze, take her back to this… white world, and she'll return to normal?"
Sonic shrugged, "Exactly."
Silver nodded, "All right. Then I'm definitely going with you. Not just because Blaze could be there, but also because my psychokinesis should come in handy in a place like that."
Braeburn asked, "Are y'all sure ya wanna go back ta that place? You could stick around for a while here in… APPLELOOSA!"
Applejack looked at him and said, "Braeburn, as nice as that'd be, and while I'd love to see how things have changed since we were last here, we really don't have time. That monster's messed things up at least as far as Appleloosa here and Ah don't really want to know what'll happen if we don't fix things soon. Besides, Apple Bloom was somehow affected by that thing too, and it still has Big Macintosh!"
Braeburn's eyes widened, "Big Mac's in trouble too?! Well, that's just one more reason to stick with y'all then!"
Silver looked at him and asked, "What are you talking about, Braeburn?"
Braeburn looked at him and grinned, "You said it yourself, Silver. Don't ya remember what ya said?"
Silver looked confused at that, so Little Strongheart said, "You called us your friends, Silver. And you didn't leave us to the mercy of those dragons. It wouldn't be right to not return the favor and help you now."
Silver gave a sheepish look as he replied, "Oh… Yeah, I guess you got me there." He then looked at Sonic and asked, "But how are we supposed to get back? The portal and the space-time rift both closed up, remember?"
Tails said, "No problem. The barrier between locations is so weak right now that we can use our Warp Ring to warp right back there." He reached into his tails and brought out the Warp Ring, holding it up so Silver could see it.
Silver held a hand to his chin as he mused, "A Warp Ring, huh? That's pretty handy." He then asked, "Can we use it now?"
Braeburn spoke up, "W-Wait, hold on now." He bent over and gave another lick to the salt block on the table before looking up and saying, "Ah don't wanna let this salt go ta waste. Can ya give me a minute or two to finish it?"
While standing up, Applejack said, "Sure, Braeburn. While you're doin' that, Ah'm gonna go out to the orchard and see how Bloomberg is doin'. Ah'll meet y'all back here in a few minutes." She then bowed to the princesses and left the Salt Block, Rainbow following her after doing the same.
Sonic looked back at Braeburn and then, after seeing how much salt the earth pony had left, looked down at his glass of water. Noticing that it was a little more than half full, he moved it over towards Braeburn, saying, "Here, you can have this, Braeburn."
The Warp Ring deposited everybody back on the plateau they had been on when the group ran into Braeburn and Little Strongheart shortly before Silver attacked. Now that they were back in the ruined world, they could get back to searching for their missing friends. The only question now was where to look for them.
"Pray tell, dost anypony have any suggestions or clues as to where we should start searching?" Luna asked.
Pinkie Pie started hopping up and down, waving a hoof as she said, "Ooh! Ooh! Pick me, pick me!"
Celestia turned and smiled at her, "All right, Pinkie Pie, where do you suggest we go?"
Pinkie pointed her hoof straight ahead, saying, "Why don't we look in there!"
Everybody followed where her hoof was pointing… and many of them immediately started wondering what the pink pony was thinking. "T-t-t-the v-v-volcano?" Fluttershy meekly stuttered.
Tails said, "Not exactly my first choice, but…" He looked at Pinkie Pie and asked, "You really think so, Pinkie?" Pinkie rapidly nodded her head.
Before anyone else could say anything, Sonic spoke, "Now hold on, guys. Pinkie may be onto something here."
Twilight looked at him and asked, "What makes you say that, Sonic?"
Sonic looked at her and said, "Well, like you noted earlier, Twilight, the ground around here isn't exactly stable. Even when we're not close to lava, it somehow manages to find a way to shoot up out of the ground." As if on cue, a nearby patch on the ground suddenly lit up and shot flames out of the ground, everybody turning to watch until the geyser died down. After it did, Sonic turned towards the cliff, saying, "And Silver, Braeburn, and Little Strongheart were out there in that wasteland. That might be a good place to look, but who knows how long it goes on… or how long it'll take before everything starts to look alike. We should probably exhaust all of our options around here before going out there."
Silver said, "Good point."
Braeburn nodded, "Yep, Ah'm convinced." Looking back at the volcano, he asked, "But how are we gonna get in there? Look at all the lava pourin' outta that thing!"
Applejack agreed, "Yup. Ain't gonna be easy findin' a way in on those slopes."
Rainbow suggested, "In that case, why don't we go in the easy way? You know, down through the top?"
Tails asked, "Into the mouth of the volcano?" Rainbow nodded; Tails placed a hand on the side of his face as he considered, "Hm… If the eruptions let off a little, it would be possible to get inside without getting cooked. If there's still lava coming out, on the other hand…"
Rarity looked at Twilight and asked, "Twilight, darling, you know that spell for creating force fields. How strong can you make them?"
Silver looked at her and asked, "You can create force fields?"
Twilight looked at him and nodded, "Yes. I could either create them from a single burst of magic, or I can keep channeling magic energy into it. The first method would require less work if the force field were to hold on its own; if I had to recast the spell, it would be more tiring. The second method would mean I'd be connected to the force field at all times, but there would be less chance that the force field would break under stress."
Everyone thought about her words for a moment, considering their options. They were interrupted, however, when a familiar voice shouted, "THERE YOU ARE!" Silver immediately whirled around and looked up, seeing three very familiar, very angry dragons hovering a considerable distance above the plateau near the cliff edge.
"Oh, for the love of… Will you leave me alone?!" Silver yelled.
Sonic looked at Silver and asked, "Are those the dragons you mentioned earlier?"
Silver nodded, "Unfortunately."
Fluttershy squeaked in fear and ran over to Rainbow Dash, shivering as she hid behind her. The cyan pegasus looked over at Spike and asked, "Hey Spike, aren't they the same…?"
The baby dragon nodded, "Yeah, I'm pretty sure they are."
The purple dragon soon noticed Spike and said, "Hey look, it's Spike!"
The brown dragon added, "And those ponies he's friends with, plus some more!"
Garble smirked, "Well, isn't this a cozy little gathering?"
Tails asked, "What are they going to do?"
Sonic said, "Something tells me they're not here for a meet and greet."
Silver replied, "Nope. They're here for a swipe and eat!"
Princess Luna looked at her sister and spoke, "Perhaps they will see reason if we talk to them, sister."
She felt a tugging on one of her legs and looked down to see Spike. "I don't think they will, Princess Luna. I mean, they called, uh, your sister a namby pamby pony princess. I heard them," he said. Luna had to try her hardest to stifle a giggle; although she loved her older sister dearly, what Spike was saying that these dragons had said about Celestia sounded hilarious!
Twilight spoke, "They're coming closer! What should we do?!"
Silver looked over his shoulder and said, "It'll be fine. Just stay back!" He then looked at Sonic and whispered, "Sonic, have everyone link together. We need to be ready to move all at once!" Although confused, Sonic nodded and moved back towards the others while Silver turned around to face the teenage dragons, which were still hovering but were closer to the ground now. "I don't suppose you guys have been looking for me to say that you're sorry?" Silver questioned sarcastically.
"Dream on, whitey! We're here for that gem of yours! Now hand it over!" Garble said, holding out a claw expectantly.
Silver looked up at the dragons for a moment before saying, "You know what? …I really don't have time for this! If you're just going to look at the Chaos Emerald as something to eat, then there's no point in arguing about it with you anymore!" He then turned around and started walking away.
Garble shouted, "Don't turn your back on us! You think you're so hot; let's see how tough you are in a minute!" Silver looked back over his shoulder to see the dragons flying down towards him!
The silver hedgehog ran towards the others, Little Strongheart and the ponies all biting down on each other's tails. Applejack's right forehoof was in Tails' left hand while the fox's right hand gripped Sonic's left hand, all of them in a straight line pointing towards the volcano. Celestia was at the end of the line and Sonic was the front of it. Silver ran to the front of the line, stopping a short distance in front of Sonic. Rainbow called through her mouthful of Twilight's tail, "Hey Silver? You mind telling us why we're standing here like this when there are dragons dive bombing us?!"
Silver held his left hand back out towards Sonic. "Sonic, grab my hand!" he said. Sonic complied, grabbing Silver's left hand with his right hand.
Garble and his gang were about to collide with the group when suddenly, they all seemingly disappeared, leaving the teenage dragons to crash into the ground! Looking up a moment later, Garble's eyes widened. "What the -?!" he exclaimed, seeing a green arch of psychic energy moving towards the volcano in the distance, Silver, Sonic, Tails, Spike, Little Strongheart, and the ponies making it seem like the green was outlining a rainbow.
"IT'S NO UUUUUUSE!" Silver cried as he flew straight towards the volcano, carrying everybody behind him. Little Strongheart and the ponies bit down as hard as they could onto the tail of whoever was in front of them, Spike clinging onto Twilight's back for dear life while Tails and Sonic held on tightly with their hands and Applejack and Braeburn used one hoof to hold down their hats.
Some of the ponies were panicking about this 'shortcut' they were taking, but Pinkie Pie wasn't among them. The pink pony was totally ecstatic about what they were doing, having somehow managed to climb onto Fluttershy's back while Braeburn bit down on her cotton candy tail. "Whee! Ha ha ha! This is fun! Go faster!" she called.
Silver briefly glanced back with his eyes before facing forward again as he thought, "Is she really enjoying this?"
Spike soon called, "Look! Fire is raining down out of the volcano!"
Silver called back, "I see it! Problem is I don't think I can do much about it right now!" He then winced before adding, "And I don't know how much longer I can keep this up!"
Sonic called to him, "Just hang on as long as you can, Silver! We'll make up the difference somehow!" As he was speaking, they flew under the rain of fire, flaming rocks falling around them. Silver continued flying, managing to get mostly to the top of the volcano, though they were still a short ways away from it. Unfortunately, his psychokinesis began to waver, as the green glow surrounding everyone began to flicker like a dying light bulb. Seeing this, Sonic looked back and called, "Hey Twilight!"
Having also noticed the flickering, Twilight knew what Sonic was calling her for. She closed her eyes as her horn flared to life, letting go of Applejack's tail and held her legs out. Before everypony hanging on behind her could say anything, a large force field formed around the whole group, Twilight's magic making them all float. Silver was so surprised he cut off his psychokinesis, surprised to find that he and everyone else was still floating without it.
Celestia noticed they were coming to a stop in midair and turned to her sister, saying, "Luna!" The Lunar Princess nodded and a moment later, both of their horns lit up, surrounding Twilight's force field. As everybody except Twilight watched, the force field began to move forward, heading up towards the volcano. Once at the top, it began to descend into the volcano's crater, Celestia and Luna catching any of the flaming rocks being launched up with their magic.
After about a minute, the force field touched solid ground and popped like a bubble, everybody landing on their feet/hooves. Luna turned to Twilight a moment later and said, "Very impressive spell work, Twilight Sparkle."
Twilight blushed, "Thank you, Luna, but I had some help from you and Princess Celestia. You two deserve the credit too."
Celestia smiled, "Nonsense, Twilight. The force field you created ensured safe passage into the volcano."
Twilight glanced at the ground as she murmured, "Well…"
Rainbow soon spoke up, "Hey guys, we should probably keep moving. Those dragons can fly and they like hot places like this!"
Silver groaned, "And they still want my Chaos Emerald. No doubt they're going to come here."
Applejack looked around, eyeing the various rock formations sticking out of the lava as well as the multiple pathways leading to other parts of the volcano. "Well, which way should we go, y'all?" she asked.
Rainbow said, "Let's just pick one and go! Like… how about that way?" She pointed a hoof over at a passage that was on the same rock formation they were on. Everybody shrugged and started moving towards it.
They soon stopped when Tails spoke, "Wait! Where's Rarity? Wasn't she in the force field with us?"
Twilight glanced around and soon said, "Spike's missing, too!"
Pinkie Pie called out, everybody looking across the chamber at the pink pony that had somehow crossed the stone bridge leading to one of the passageways in the blink of an eye, "They're in here! Come on!" She pointed to the passageway entrance she was standing in front of and then hopped through it.
Twilight asked, "What are they doing in there? They don't know where that leads!"
Sonic looked at her and shrugged, "Hey, neither do we, right?"
Twilight conceded, "…Yeah." Everyone hurried after Pinkie Pie, Tails, Rainbow, Fluttershy, and the princesses flying over while everybody else hurried across the stone bridge, which collapsed shortly after they left the chamber.
Shortly after entering the passage, the group saw Pinkie standing further up the path, seemingly looking at something. Coming up alongside her, they quickly saw what had caught her attention. Ahead of them they saw Rarity and Spike, Spike using his tail to jackhammer into the rocky ground. Silver pointed, "Uh, what is Spike doing?"
Twilight said, "Rarity's taken him on her gem hunts before. She must've found some and he's digging them up for her."
A minute later, Spike's head popped out of the hole he dug, his arms filled with gems. "I got 'em, Rarity!" he grinned up at her.
"Wonderful, Spike!" the fashionista exclaimed. She used her magic to help him out of the hole and then took one of the gems in his arms, holding it up to examine it. "Ah, these are simply beautiful! They will look just smashing on my next line of dresses!" Rarity smiled.
Back with the rest of the group, Rainbow asked, "How is she finding gems in a volcano?"
Tails shrugged, "Well, this place is pretty hot. And with all this lava, there's probably a lot of pressure too. Depending on how long this volcano's been around, I suppose she could find gems buried in the rock here."
At that moment, Rarity looked up and noticed the rest of the group. She waved, "Oh, hello, your highnesses! And darlings too."
Celestia spoke, "I am glad you are well, Rarity, but why did you go off on your own with Spike like that?"
Rarity blushed, "I'm terribly sorry, Princess Celestia. My gem-finding spell went off after we landed and I simply had to see what was causing it. And since Spike followed me and was being such a darling, I allowed him to help me with the gems. Isn't that right, Spike?" The baby dragon nodded vigorously.
Silver spoke, "Are you sure this is a good time to be doing that, Rarity? I don't mean any disrespect or anything, but these aren't exactly ideal conditions. And as Rainbow Dash pointed out earlier…"
Silver was cut off when Rarity's horn was suddenly surrounded by her blue aura. "Ooh! Hold that thought, Silver. It seems there are more gems nearby!" She then trotted off down the path with Spike following close behind, still carrying the gems in his arms.
Pinkie giggled before turning to Silver and saying, "Sorry, Silver! Looks like you've been put on Rarity's ever-growing wait list!"
Rainbow groaned, "How can she be thinking of gems at a time like this? We gotta keep moving before those dragons catch up to us!"
Tails pointed out, "Well, it looks like this way might go on for a bit, seeing as Rarity's already gone further ahead and it doesn't sound like she's coming back. Maybe it would be okay if Rarity kept looking for gems. I mean, we are kind of randomly guessing at this point, right?"
Rainbow shrugged, "Well, I guess you have a point there, Tails."
Sonic said, "Okay, we'll let Rarity do her thing for a while, as long as we keep moving and she knows when enough is enough."
Applejack snickered, "Ah think Tom might have somethin' to say about that, Sugar-hog."
Silver looked at her in confusion, "What's a 'Tom'?"
Twilight deadpanned, "A boulder Rarity was tricked into thinking was a giant diamond."
Sonic looked at her oddly for a second before asking, "Discord?"
Twilight nodded, "Yep."
Before anyone else could say anything, Rainbow said, "Come on, you guys! Let's catch up with Rarity and Spike!" She then flew off after the duo, Sonic running after her with everyone else following behind.
Well, everyone except Twilight, Silver, and the princesses. Twilight started walking after the others ran on ahead, Silver and the princesses following behind. As he followed after Twilight, Silver asked, "Hey, what did Sonic mean? Who or what is Discord? Why did Rarity think a boulder was a diamond?"
Behind him, Celestia spoke, "Discord is a draconequus, Silver, and the former ruler of Equestria, That was in the days before Luna and I discovered the Elements of Harmony and turned him to stone."
Silver looked back over his shoulder and asked, "Turned him to stone? Why?"
Luna replied, "Discord's reign had to end. When we found the Elements of Harmony, we had faith that they would stop him and his chaotic magic. Turning to stone may not be the fate we had in mind for him, but something had to be done to put an end to his chaotic magic and the suffering he was putting the ponies of Equestria through."
Silver tilted his head, "Chaotic magic?"
He faced forward when Twilight spoke, "My friends and me got to experience his chaos for ourselves when Discord broke free. He covered the roads in soap suds, made it rain chocolate milk from cotton candy clouds, made the Sun and Moon rise and set irregularly, and… well, let's just say he made things happen that normally wouldn't happen for his own amusement."
Silver frowned, "That's terrible!"
Twilight nodded, "And we were affected by his magic like a lot of other ponies in Equestria were. We all acted the opposite of how we normally do, and some of us even saw things that weren't actually real. That's why Rarity thought a boulder was a giant diamond."
Silver replied, "Oh, well then…" Somewhere in the back of his head, that sounded familiar. Maybe the hedgehog he met earlier pulled a similar trick on him, to make him fight Sonic? He could have; Silver didn't even know where he went. He just started feeling strange and then the hedgehog was gone. After that, he kept it in check around Braeburn and Little Strongheart, but he felt exactly the way he described to Sonic and the others. Clearing his throat, Silver looked at Twilight and said, "So, Twilight, about that magic of yours…"
Twilight glanced back at him and asked, "Yes?"
Silver replied, "That was really cool, that spell you used to make that force field. How did you do that?"
Twilight smiled, "Well…"
As they continued walking, Twilight, Silver, Celestia, and Luna soon caught up with the rest of the group, who had stopped because Rarity was lamenting that there were gems buried in the wall where Spike couldn't easily get them out. Sonic's Spin Dash helped unbury them before Rarity could have a drama queen moment and they continued onwards, guided by Rarity's gem-finding spell. As they went on, they occasionally encountered more of the lava monsters, Braeburn getting a chance to show off his apple bucking skills and Little Strongheart showing that her buffalo agility wasn't just for show. Silver and Twilight also compared notes on psychokinesis and magic and Rarity, with the aid of Spike and Sonic, continued gathering gems, Twilight agreeing to help her carry them.
Eventually, the path led them to a room that was very dark. Everyone found this odd, seeing as there was lava in this room and it hadn't been this dark earlier. "Wh-what is this place…?" Fluttershy whispered fearfully, hiding behind her mane.
"Somethin' ain't right about it. Is there somethin' in here?" Braeburn wondered.
Silver held up his right hand, letting his psychic energy flow out of his palm. After a minute, he said, "I don't think there's anything hiding in here, but there's something in here that appears to be a heat source. And it's not the lava…"
Celestia nodded, "I can feel it too. It feels very similar to the Sun somehow… I'll see if I can draw it closer." She closed her eyes and channeled her magic into her horn, her yellow aura surrounding it and lighting up the area around the group a little. A few seconds later, a purple light appeared further back in the room, beginning to move towards the group. As it got closer, they saw Celestia's magic aura surrounding a purple orb that appeared to be surrounded by a purple flame, the same color as the crystals Sonic told Rarity to leave alone.
"Is that it, Princess Celestia?" Tails asked.
"It seems so warm," Little Strongheart commented as it came to a stop in front of the group.
Celestia nodded, "Yes… It feels like I'm holding part of the Sun right in front of me."
Sonic pointed up ahead, "Look, there's another one!"
Silver held his right hand out, "I'll get it." His green aura soon surrounded the orb, causing it to light up like the one Celestia was holding.
Little Strongheart pointed, "Look! There appears to be a way through this room!" Indeed, thanks to the new light source, they could see that there was a path in front of them cutting through the lava that appeared to lead up.
Rainbow turned to Silver and asked, "Hey Silver, can you hold that thing up next to me while I see if there's a way out of here?"
The hedgehog nodded, "Sure."
As Rainbow took flight, Silver used his psychokinesis to move the orb in his grip along beside her, lighting her way. When she got near the back of the room, she yelled, "There's another passage up here! And it looks like that path leads up here!"
Twilight called, "Stay there, Rainbow Dash! We'll be there in a minute!"
Luna turned to Celestia and said, "You take the lead, sister." The Solar Princess nodded and started walking, Luna turning to the others and saying, "Stay close to Celestia, everypony." They all nodded and fell in step, Rarity resisting the urge to probe around with her gem-finding spell. They soon reunited with Rainbow Dash and moved on, leaving the orbs behind because it got brighter the second they stepped out of the room.
After following the passage they entered for a short while, the group entered a considerably larger chamber filled with lava. High above them, large rock stalagmites hung from the ceiling with smaller stalagmites filling in the space between them. But nobody was focusing on the ceiling at the moment; they were all looking straight ahead, as they found exactly what (or rather who) they had been looking for.
"Blaze!" Silver exclaimed, immediately walking towards her.
"And Zecora too!" Twilight said, the magic she was using to hold up Rarity's gems disappearing in her excitement, causing them to fall on top of Spike.
"Twilight!" Rarity admonished, looking at her unicorn friend.
"Heh heh… Oops… Sorry Rarity, sorry Spike…" Twilight grinned weakly.
Suddenly, Spike poked his head out of the top of the pile of gems, bits of gemstones poking out of his mouth. "Mmm! What are you sorry for? This is delicious!" he smiled as he swallowed the gems in his mouth.
"Spike!" both Twilight and Rarity said, though Twilight said it in more of a hushed tone while Rarity more openly said it.
Braeburn and Little Strongheart, meanwhile, trotted over to Silver and Blaze, coming to a stop behind and beside Silver. "So this here's yer friend, huh Silver?" Braeburn asked.
Silver looked at him and nodded, "Yeah. I just hope she's okay…" He turned to look at Sonic, who was coming over with Tails and Twilight while Rarity picked up the gems she had found, and asked, "You said she'll be fine once we get her back to this Ponyville place?"
Sonic nodded, "You got it, Silver."
The psychokinetic hedgehog asked, "Can we go there now?"
Sonic replied, "Sure. I don't think need to stick around here any longer." He turned to Tails and said, "Tails!"
The fox nodded, "Right!" He reached into his tails and pulled out the Warp Ring. Holding it up as the others came over, he said, "Zecora's hut, here we come!"
Before he could toss it, however, a loud roar suddenly echoed through the room, Tails flinching at the sound and Rarity almost dropping her gems. Everyone looked around, Silver wondering, "Whoa, what was that?!"
Sonic said, "It sounded big, whatever it was."
Twilight looked at Zecora and Blaze, saying, "Maybe we should go before it shows up, whatever it is. It could be dangerous for them and us."
Tails said, "Can't argue with that. Okay, let's…"
A familiar voice behind the group stopped Tails in mid-sentence, "AH-HA!" Everybody turned around; there, standing at the entrance to the room, were the teenage dragons. "See, I told you they wouldn't be able to find a way out of this volcano!" Garble grinned.
Rainbow angrily nudged Rarity and said, "Dang it, Rarity, why'd you have to spend so much time looking at your gems?! I kept saying you'd have time to do that once we got back to Ponyville!"
Rarity protested, "But they were so dazzling to look at! They're all so perfect; they deserve to be looked at and adored!"
The brown dragon noticed the gems floating next to Rarity and pointed, "Hey look! That white pony's found a whole bunch of gems!"
Garble smirked, "Perfect! Getting that gem from that white guy just might be worth something after all!"
Rarity glared, "Oh no, you are NOT taking all of these gems! I already have ideas in mind to make these gems into beautiful creations to share with my friends and you are NOT going to ruin them now!"
Silver said, "Look guys, I've already made it clear that I'm not giving you the Chaos Emerald, and you're totally outnumbered! If you agree to back off, we'll give you some of these gems to make up for all of this!" He then noticed Rarity glaring at him and shrunk away, weakly adding, "Or we'll help you find some. That works too."
Garble growled, "Sorry whitey, that's not gonna cut it anymore. Not after all the effort we put in tracking you down, especially when you're with Spike and the ponies who made fools out of us last time! So you can take your offer and…"
He was cut off when the roar from earlier suddenly rung through the room again, startling everyone. Applejack glanced behind her, noticing the lava below them was beginning to churn and bubble. "Hey hey, Ah don't like the look o' this!" she exclaimed.
The purple dragon looked around and asked, "What's going on?!"
Another roar sounded through the room, this one louder than the first two. The force of it actually blew past everyone, pushing them backwards. As it ended, lava suddenly splashed up from below, everyone moving away from the edge and Silver and Twilight grabbing Blaze and Zecora to move them away. The room then became quiet again. "I-is it over?" Fluttershy squeaked out, huddled on the floor behind Rarity and Applejack with her hooves over her head.
Suddenly, Pinkie's tail sprung to life. "Ooh! Twitchy tail!" she exclaimed. She glanced up and then quickly bumped into Sonic and Tails, who were both standing next to her, pushing them to the side. A second later, a moderate-sized stalagmite fell in front of where the three of them had been standing, getting stuck in the ground.
Sonic looked at Pinkie and asked, "Did you know that was gonna fall?"
Pinkie looked back at him and smiled, "Yep! When my tail starts a-twitching, that means stuff's gonna fall! That's one of the things my Pinkie Sense predicts!"
Tails asked, "Pinkie Sense?" Pinkie just nodded while grinning.
Suddenly, the party pony's neck cricked, her left rear hoof tapped the ground, her right foreleg pinched, and her tail pointed straight out before snapping back to its cotton candy shape. "What does THAT mean?" Sonic asked.
"It means we're about to see something big and scary!" Pinkie exclaimed.
Suddenly, what appeared to be a gigantic version of the lava worms the group had been seeing burst out of the lava, letting out the roar they had been hearing all this time. It sailed through the air for a few seconds before disappearing back beneath the lava's surface. Sonic raised an eyebrow, "Uh, yeah, that sounds about right."
The creature leapt out of the lava again, this time splashing down near the ledge the group was on, spraying some lava. Everybody scampered away from the edge in case any lava came up that far, Silver and Twilight grabbing Blaze and Zecora with their psychokinesis and magic respectively, bringing them with them once again. The group came to a stop near the teenage dragons and turned to look towards the lava again, Garble exclaiming as the creature leapt out again, "What is that thing?!"
Tails noted, "It looks like a bigger version of those worm creatures we've been seeing!"
Twilight nervously said, "Then that must be Iblis…!"
Silver stared in disbelief as Iblis resurfaced, its head pointing straight up at the ceiling as it thrashed in the lava. "That's Iblis?! How can something so much like the Ifrit even exist?!" he exclaimed.
As massive stalagmites fell down into the lava due to Iblis' thrashing, Sonic looked over at Silver and said, "Relax, Silver! We're probably seeing it because time is so messed up right now! Once we get out of here and fix the damage, everything should be fine!"
Applejack yelled, "Well, then let's get ta gettin' and get back ta Ponyville!"
Tails held up the Warp Ring in his hand. Just as he was about to throw it, however, Garble yelled, "Give me that!" He then lunged towards Tails, tackling him just as he was starting to turn around, pinning him to the ground on his front and causing him to lose his grip on the ring, which began rolling towards the lava.
"Hey! Leave him alone!" Sonic yelled as he dashed towards Garble, going into a Spin Dash and crashing into the red dragon, sending him flying.
While Garble recovered from the hit and started flapping his wings, the other two dragons came after Sonic, looking to pile on top of him. They were both stopped by Applejack and Little Strongheart, however, Applejack intercepting the brown dragon with the flying kick that she learned from Rarity while Little Strongheart leapt towards the purple dragon and rammed into his side headfirst. During all this, Rainbow made a dash for the Warp Ring, quickly flying over Sonic as he helped Tails up and grabbing it in her hooves before it could roll off the ledge. She then landed and held it up triumphantly, saying, "I got it!"
Almost immediately afterwards, Fluttershy's eyes widened and, at a volume that was very unusual for her, yelled, "Rainbow Dash, look out!" The pegasus lowered her hoof and looked back over her shoulder. And her eyes widened as she saw flaming rocks flying at her!
Silver set Blaze down and ran towards Rainbow Dash, leaping over her and surrounding himself with his green psychic aura as he said, "I'll take care of this!" He flew towards the rocks that were flying towards the ledge, holding his arms out as they got closer. His psychokinesis caught all of the rocks in midair and he flew a bit further while carrying them before stopping. He then held up his arms and swung them forward, sending the rocks flying back at Iblis!
The rocks hit Iblis along its body, but it just roared and suddenly disappeared beneath the lava again. Back on the ledge, Rainbow grinned, "Yeah, Silver hit it!"
Twilight pointed out, "It didn't look like it did much, though."
Sonic held a hand to his chin and said, "Maybe he needs to throw something bigger at it." He suddenly remembered something and put his hands around his mouth and yelled, "Silver, look out! It's gonna jump at you!"
A second later, Iblis burst out of the lava, soaring through the air towards Silver with its mouth pointing directly at the silver hedgehog! As soon as he saw it coming towards him, Silver spun around and flew away, narrowly missing getting caught underneath Iblis and being pushed under the lava with it.
As Silver flew back towards the ledge, Garble suddenly flew up in front of him and intercepted Silver, the hedgehog crashing into his torso head first. Although he was briefly stunned by the impact, Garble's scales shielded him from some of the hit and he quickly wrapped his arms around Silver, pinning the hedgehog's arms to his sides. "Ha, gotcha!" the red dragon grinned.
Silver struggled in his grip, yelling, "Hey! Let me go!"
On the ledge, Tails saw this and began spinning his namesakes around as he exclaimed, "Silver!" He quickly took off and flew towards Garble, who was trying to keep Silver from breaking out of his grip.
Unnoticed by Tails, the other two dragons recovered from Applejack and Little Strongheart's attacks and were flying after him! Luna spread her wings and tried to go to Tails' aid, but Celestia stopped her, Luna looking at her oddly. "Luna, we must remain impartial," Celestia insisted.
"Impartial? They have mistreated our friends and are not listening to reason! They do not deserve impartiality now, sister!" Luna argued.
While Celestia calmly disagreed with her little sister, Sonic, Rainbow, and Braeburn all saw the other two dragons looking ready to breathe fire in Tails' direction. The three of them shouted, "TAILS, BEHIND YOU!" The fox heard them and looked back just in time to see the dragons beginning to unleash their flames at him. Tails let out a surprised shout and managed to barrel roll out of the way, the dragons' flames hitting Garble in the back just above his wings instead.
Garble grunted in surprise as the flames hit him, his distraction allowing Silver to get his right arm free and punch the dragon in the face. Garble recovered quickly and growled down at him, swinging his head and connecting cleanly with Silver's forehead, dazing the hedgehog. Garble then turned and around and yelled at the two dragons, "What do you two think you're doing?!"
The brown dragon said, "We were trying to stop that fox, but he got out of the way!"
Garble raised an eyebrow, "Fox?"
From below him, Tails called, "He's talking about me!" Garble looked down, only to get an uppercut right in the face as Tails flew up right underneath him with his left fist pointing up, his fist connecting cleanly with the dragon's jaw. The hit knocked Garble back and caused him to finally release Silver, the still-dazed hedgehog falling towards the lava. Tails quickly spun around and flew down, managing to grab Silver's hands before he fell too far. While hovering in place, Tails said, "I've got you, Silver!"
Silver shook his head and then looked up at the fox, saying, "Ugh… Thanks, Tails… Whoa, look out!" Tails looked up to see more stalagmites falling from the ceiling, a few of them falling very close to where they were! Tails quickly backed up, the stalagmites falling past him, Silver, and the other two teenage dragons and landing in the lava with the rest of the stalagmites. Looking back at Iblis, Tails saw that it was summoning more flaming rocks! Tails flew as fast as he could, trying to avoid getting hit by the barrage of rocks while Silver held on tightly, still needing a chance to recover from the blow to his head. As for the teenage dragons, Garble was low enough that the rocks flew over him, despite him being daze. The other two weren't so lucky; they got nicked by the rocks and ended up falling into the lava!
Back on the ledge, everyone saw that the rocks were coming straight towards them! "They're coming too fast! What should we do?!" Rarity cried.
Sonic looked back at Twilight and said, "Twilight, your spell!" The unicorn nodded and quickly cast her force field spell, a magenta bubble forming around the group while leaving part of the ledge exposed. The flaming rocks rained down on both the force field and the ledge, exploding against both. Because of her hasty spell casting, Twilight's force field was not at full power and it began to crack under the assault. It also became apparent that the ledge they were standing on was not as sturdy as they once thought, as it too began to crack as the rocks hit the side of it, the cracks spreading underneath the force field.
As the barrage of rocks began to die down, two things happened almost simultaneously. First, a stray rock hit the top of Twilight's force field, where a large crack had already formed and exploded against it, causing the force field to shatter. Second, the last rock struck the ledge close to where the group was standing, hitting the crack that had been developing there. And just like that, the ledge began to crumble under their feet/hooves. Celestia and Luna noticed it in time and spread their wings, flapping them and getting above the ground and using their magic to pick up Blaze and Zecora. Everyone else noticed it too late and the ground collapsed underneath them, all of them falling down towards the lava!
Thankfully, luck still seemed to be on their side, as instead of landing in the lava, everyone landed in a heap on top of one of the stalagmites, all of them lying on their fronts. Celestia and Luna flew down after everyone. They landed next to the pile of sprawled out bodies and Celestia set down Zecora while Luna set Blaze down. Celestia then asked, "Is everypony okay?"
Rainbow groaned, "Yeah, I think we're fine, princess." As everyone began to recover from the sudden fall, Rainbow's right forehoof closed around thin air. Her eyes widened a bit at this and she looked at her hoof, realizing something was missing. "Hey, where's the Warp Ring?!" she exclaimed a second later.
Upon hearing that, everyone looked around for the missing ring (except for Rarity, who had noticed all of her gems had been scattered). As they all looked around their immediate area, Spike noticed something out of the corner of his eyes and looked to see something rolling further away. "There it is!" he said, quickly climbing to his feet and running after it.
As Rarity began scrambling around to gather up her gems, Twilight's eyes widened as she looked forward and noticed that Iblis appeared to be eying Spike's movements. "Iblis…!" she murmured. She looked in Spike's direction and called, "Spike, wait!" It seemed as though Spike didn't hear her, considering he didn't even flinch as he kept running after the Warp Ring.
Seeing this, Sonic quickly climbed to his feet. "Go after him! I'll keep that thing busy!" he said before dashing across the stalagmites in Iblis' direction. Twilight nodded a moment later and turned, galloping after Spike as Luna decided to stop being neutral and flapped her wings, flying after Sonic despite her sister's protests.
While Sonic and Luna went after Iblis and Tails and Silver evaded Garble, Spike continued scampering after the Warp Ring, catching up to it as Twilight ran after him. Just as it was about to roll over the edge of a stalagmite, Spike leapt at it, managing to catch it between his claws before it fell off. Spike breathed a sigh of relief as he lay on his stomach and held the ring in his claws, his arms still outstretched. "I got it…" he sighed.
His relief turned to shock a second later as Garble's cohorts suddenly burst out of the lava below, both of them looking no worse for the wear. Spike gulped as they flapped their wings and hovered in the air above him, looking down at him. "Hey Spike. Coming back to the dragon side of things?" the purple dragon smirked.
"How about a nice lava bath for old times' sake?" the brown dragon asked. Spike managed to climb to his feet, leaping back as they landed on the edge of the stalagmite. He started backing away slowly as they began to approach him.
Suddenly, a magenta-colored beam struck the brown dragon in the face, knocking him onto his back! Both Spike and the purple dragon looked at him before looking to see Twilight standing a stalagmite away, her horn surrounded by her magenta aura. Not giving the purple dragon a chance to react, Twilight fired another magenta beam from her horn at him. The dragon sidestepped around the beam, but wasn't prepared for the second one, which hit him in the chest and knocked him over.
As the dragon fell, Spike dashed over to Twilight's stalagmite, holding the Warp Ring under his arm. "Perfect timing, Twilight!" he said as she neared her, Twilight turning so that her side faced Spike. The baby dragon quickly jumped up onto her back and placed his free hand on her neck.
Before Twilight could run back to the others, both she and Spike heard a roar and turned to look. Iblis was flying backwards through the air, landing on its back in the lava. They also saw Sonic on Luna's back, flying in their direction. They could also see Tails and Silver flying around Garble, the teenage dragon looking incredibly steamed. Luna called to all of them, using the Royal Canterlot Voice so she could be heard, "WE MUST REGROUP! FALL BACK!" Not needing to be told twice, Twilight started galloping across the stalagmites back towards the others. Silver and Tails soon followed after Tails flew in a circle around Garble to confuse him, at which point Silver used his psychokinesis to daze the teenage dragon.
Twilight, Spike, Luna, and Sonic soon reached the others, Sonic sliding off of Luna's back and Spike jumping off of Twilight's back a moment later. A moment later, both Tails and Silver flew over, landing near the others. Celestia looked everyone over before saying, "I am glad to see none of you are hurt. However, I believe we should leave this… unsettling situation at once."
Rarity nodded, "Oh, I agree completely, Princess Celestia! And not just because of all the gems Spike and I gathered!" She took a moment to stroke the pile of gems next to her before continuing, "This situation is too dangerous for all of us, especially poor Zecora and, er… Blaze! We should most definitely return to Ponyville at once!"
Spike held up the Warp Ring and said, "I've got the Warp Ring right here!"
Before anyone else could say anything, Iblis suddenly burst out of the lava far away from the group, letting out a roar that caused everybody to look in its direction. After the roar died down, Silver looked at the others and spoke, "Look, if any of you don't want to stay here, you can leave. But I'm not leaving until I've taken care of Iblis."
Celestia asked, "And why is that, Silver?"
The hedgehog replied, "Even though Iblis is not supposed to exist, it exists right now due to that monster messing with time. If we leave Iblis alone, it could find a way to escape from this time, either into another time or a different universe. And if its behavior is anything like the Ifrit's, it'll keep coming back no matter what. And I'm not going to let that happen."
Sonic shrugged, "Not a bad point, Silver. That would kind of make all of your hard work trying to keep the Ifrit from escaping from its dimension kind of pointless, wouldn't it?" Silver nodded.
Applejack looked at Tails and Twilight and asked, "Twi', Tails, do y'all suppose there's any truth to that? That Iblis could escape from this world?"
Fluttershy added, "W-would the Iblis really continue to exist if it made it to… *gulp* Ponyville?"
Tails held a hand to his chin as he looked down at the ground. He thought about what they were asking before replying, "That's kind of hard to say for sure. I mean, this is the first time we've had a time crisis this bad, so there's no guarantees." He then looked up and said, "But there is one thing I am sure about. I'd rather not find out if there's any truth to Silver's theory."
Applejack and Fluttershy looked at Twilight. The unicorn soon spoke, "I think Tails makes a good point. If Iblis does manage to escape from here, it's sure to be disastrous, no matter where it ends up. I guess it's known as the Flames of Disaster for a reason."
Rainbow said, "Well, there's no way I'm walking out on a friend under my own power. You wanna stick around and take this thing down, Silver? You can count me in!"
Rarity spoke up, "Even with finding all of these gems, I have not enjoyed this particular venture. However, a lady always gives as generously as she receives, and you've helped us before, Silver. I should at least try to return the favor."
One by one, the others all voiced their agreement to help stop Iblis. At the end, Luna looked at Celestia and asked, "Well, sister?"
Celestia looked at Silver, "I don't suppose you can be convinced otherwise, Silver?"
Silver replied, "Everything we've seen here? It reminds me all too well what the world in my time used to be like, before I went back to stop the Ifrit. No matter what, Princess Celestia, I won't allow the Iblis to do the same to any other world."
Celestia smiled, "I understand. And that is all I needed to hear. Stop Iblis, Silver; we will all be there to support you." Everyone nodded in agreement.
Silver grunted; he then said, "Thanks, you guys…"
The moment was ruined when Garble yelled, "Hey, heads up, you losers!" Everyone looked up in his direction, only to see him rearing back in midair. He then thrust forward, spewing fire from his mouth! Fluttershy, Rainbow, Celestia, and Luna immediately flapped their wings and flew up to the ledge above (the princesses grabbing Blaze and Zecora in the process) while everyone else ducked down, the flames passing over their heads.
The heat from the flames overhead soon passed. Silver, his gaze still partly directed towards the ground, looked around and noticed that nobody seemed to have moved from their spots. He stood up and pointed at Garble, saying, "Ha! You missed!"
His triumphant feeling was cut short when he heard a scream from Applejack. He looked back to see the orange earth pony scrambling off to the side on her hind legs, exclaiming, "MAH HAT'S ON FIRE! HELP!"
While Rainbow, Twilight, Tails, Silver, Braeburn, and Little Strongheart moved to help her, Sonic stood up and dashed towards Garble, yelling, "Hey! Not cool!" Before the red dragon could react, Sonic leapt up towards him and delivered a Homing Attack to his chest, pushing him backwards for a few seconds before bouncing off of him, sending the dragon crashing down to the ground, ending up on top of the other two dragons who were still recovering from Twilight's earlier magic attacks.
While Garble and the other two dragons lay on the ground, Sonic looked back after landing to check on the others. Rainbow Dash, Braeburn, and Little Strongheart had managed to restrain Applejack, allowing Twilight to use her magic to yank the hat off the cowpony's head and send it into the awaiting arms of Silver, who instantly began patting it down with his hand to try to snuff the flame out while Tails began spinning his tails around from one side and Twilight began blowing on it from the opposite side to put the flame out.
Rainbow, Braeburn, and Little Strongheart let Applejack go once she calmed down a little and walked with her over to Silver, Tails, and Twilight, who were no longer working to put the flame out. Once they were close enough, Applejack asked, "Is it…?"
Silver looked at her and carefully said, "Sorry, Applejack. We put it out, but…" He looked down at the hat and then held it out towards her. Applejack immediately saw why he stopped talking. On one side of the hat, there was a noticeable hole, the material around the hole burnt black.
Spike, Rarity, and Pinkie Pie came over as Applejack took the hat in her forehooves, still looking down at the hole. She clutched it to her chest, sighing, "Aw… dang it…"
Pinkie bounced over to Applejack and nuzzled her, saying, "Don't cry, Applejack. It'll be okay. Hey, maybe you can get a brand new hat! One that's even better than this one!"
Applejack turned to her and gave her a flat look as she said, "Pinkie, this hat means a lot ta me. Ah can't just replace this, and Ah certainly can't fix this mahself."
Pinkie shrank back a bit at that, "Oh…" She then perked up, "Well, maybe you can cover it up! It doesn't look that bad!"
Sonic started walking over and Fluttershy, Celestia, and Luna flew down from the ledge (Celestia and Luna setting Blaze and Zecora down near Rarity's gem pile) and began walking over as well as Rarity spoke, "It certainly doesn't, Pinkie. In fact, I think I can fix it!"
Applejack looked at her funny, "Y'all can do that, Rarity?"
Rarity simply smirked, "Remember the dresses I made for the Grand Galloping Gala? I designed EVERYTHING about them, including the accessories. It should be relatively easy to fix your dear hat once we get back to Ponyville."
Applejack stood up and put her hat back on her head. She then said, "Fine. But Ah want it back the way Ah've always had it." She pointed a hoof directly at the fashionista as she went on, "Don't you go applyin' any o' yer fancy designs ta it! This here's an Apple family hat and it's gonna stay that way!"
Before Rarity could respond, Iblis suddenly let out a deafening roar, causing Sonic, Fluttershy, Luna, and Celestia to stop as everyone covered their ears. A second after it died down and everyone took their hands/hooves off their ears, Pinkie's tail went wild. "Ooh! Twitchy tail!" the pink pony exclaimed. Everyone began looking up and around at that, knowing that meant something was going to fall.