Ponyville's town hall stood proudly in the center of the town, being the only other location besides the library to have color in the otherwise white world that Ponyville had wound up in. It wasn't just the town hall that had color, though; the restoration caused by Sonic and friends' trip to the Metropolis Zone had spread the color as far as the two bridges over the stream that passed by the town hall, the water below them once again flowing. Inside the mayor's office, Twilight took a deep breath as she finished explaining the situation to the Mayor.
The Mayor spoke slowly, "Let me make sure I completely understand what you just told me, Twilight Sparkle. Because of this mysterious creature that you saw, Ponyville has been stripped of its color in this mysterious world and everypony in it has been stopped. Yet there seems to be a way to restore it to normal, thanks to that creature appearing in their world as well."
She gestured over at Sonic, Tails, and Amy at that last part, the blue hedgehog leaning against the bookcase with his arms crossed while Amy stood a short distance away, looking at him dreamily. Tails, meanwhile, was sitting on top of a small toolbox in a corner near the double doors, working on something. Rainbow Dash was standing near Twilight's side, looking between everyone in the room and occasionally throwing in her two bits to make herself look better, and Spike was sitting on the floor across from Sonic. He had paid attention to the entire story, but now he was giving the hedgehog a slightly hard look that he didn't notice, wondering why he couldn't get Rarity to fawn over him like that.
Twilight nodded, "That's correct, Mayor. For some reason, the portals that are connected to Sonic's world are able to restore Ponyville when we go through them. I don't exactly understand why, but I suppose we have bigger things to worry about right now."
The Mayor said, "Oh, I agree! If that truly is the case, then we must restore Ponyville as soon as possible!"
Rainbow Dash spoke up, "No worries there, Mayor! We'll find all of our missing friends and bring the life back to Ponyville, no sweat!"
Twilight said, "I don't know if it's going to be that easy, Dash."
Spike finally tore his gaze away from Sonic and looked over at Twilight, asking, "Well, why wouldn't it be, Twilight? From the sound of things, Sonic's been to these places before, so he knows how to get around. Plus he's got some help in the form of you two and, uh, Tails over there. Getting through these locations and finding our friends should be easy."
Rainbow Dash nudged Twilight in the side and said, "He's right, Twilight. What makes you think it won't be easy to find our friends?"
Twilight replied, "It's not so much finding our friends that I'm worried about. It's finding these portals in the first place. We've had a little bit of luck on our side so far, but now that Ponyville's reappearing, it's not going to be so easy to find them."
Sonic spoke, "She's got a point, you know. I mean, considering the circumstances, I was fortunate enough to wake up near the library, where the first portal was. And after that, we came here to talk to the Mayor and ended up finding that portal we just went through." After gesturing towards the pulsing hole with a thumb, he went on, "If these things can show up anywhere, inside of any building in town, there's no telling where the next one could be."
Twilight nodded, "Exactly. If we have to track these portals down like this, it's going to be like searching that city all over again. Barging into other ponies' houses, searching through everything inside, double and triple-checking everyplace after we've been through a portal to see if anything has changed
If nothing else, it's going to take a lot of time to find them. Assuming there is time in this world, that is."
Amy said, "That's not going to be a problem for Sonic! He's so fast and so determined; he'll find all of these portals that are appearing and get your town back to normal in no time. And then we can go on a date, just the two of us!"
Sonic sweat dropped at that, "
Right." Twilight, Rainbow Dash, the Mayor, and Spike looked at the pink hedgehog with raised eyebrows, some of them finding it hard to believe that she was flirting with him at a time like this.
Tails soon spoke up, getting everyone's attention, "Not to worry, everybody. I don't think there'll be a need to conduct a full-scale search for these portals."
Rainbow Dash turned to look at him and asked, "Oh yeah? What makes you say that, Tails?"
While using a screwdriver to tighten a screw, the fox replied, "Well, this radar I'm making from the spare parts that those Badniks left behind should make finding the portals easier. Since I didn't have my handheld on me when all this happened, I need to start from scratch."
Sonic grinned, "That might not be such a bad thing, Tails, considering how long it took to work out all the bugs when you were using it as an alien translator. It should be easier to isolate any working problems if it's only designed for one purpose."
Tails smiled, "Yeah, I guess that's true." He then looked down and asked, "Now where did I put that wrench?"
Twilight looked off to the side and noticed the tool that the fox was looking for next to a small table a short distance away. She used her magic to grab it and held it up, asking, "Is this it?"
Tails looked up and said, "Yeah, that's the one!" Twilight levitated it over to him and he took it, saying, "Thanks, Twilight." He then used it to tighten something on the device he was building.
Rainbow Dash raised an eyebrow, "Are you sure you can make something that can actually find these things for us?"
Sonic said, "Just leave it to Tails. He might run into some difficulties every now and then, but when it comes to machines, he's the best person to turn to."
After a minute of silence, everybody being quiet so he could work, Tails stood up, holding a red device that had two screens on it and could close up. "Okay, I think it's done. So it's time to start gathering data." He walked over to the portal near the bookcase and held the device up, fiddling with the buttons while the sensors on the back of the top screen started collecting data.
The Mayor asked, "What are you doing, Tails?"
While still looking at his new device, Tails explained, "In order for the radar to start looking for new portals, I need to gather some data on the ones we've seen already. Once I have that, it can start actively searching for new frequencies that might pop up. That's how we'll know when and where new portals appear."
Amy said, "You're the best, Tails! So how's it looking?"
Tails replied, "This should just take a minute, Amy." A few seconds later, a series of number appeared on the bottom screen in the following order: 11241992. He pressed a few buttons on the device and nodded, "Okay, I've got the frequency." He then turned around to face everyone and said, "I need to get the data from the portal in the library for reference. Can you guys wait here for a little bit?"
Sonic replied, "Sure, no problem, buddy." Tails nodded and, deciding to be polite, exited the office through the double doors.
Rainbow Dash turned to Sonic and asked, "Are you sure that machine he made is going to work?"
Spike agreed, "Yeah, I don't know about all this either."
Sonic replied, "It'll be fine. Tails always produces results." He then headed for the doors, saying, "I'm gonna go wait for him out front."
Amy immediately said, "Ooh, wait for me, Sonic!" She then skipped out of the office after him.
Twilight spoke, "I think I'll go join him." Everypony else agreed and followed the two hedgehogs out, everybody sitting down on or near the front steps once they were outside.
After a short wait, Tails came over one of the bridges with his twin namesakes spinning, the bottom screen of the device in his right hand reading 06231991. Sonic waved to him, "Hey Tails! How'd it go?"
Tails landed near everybody and replied, "I've got the frequency stored in the radar, Sonic! And even better, it's already found one!"
Rainbow Dash perked up at that, asking, "Really?! Where?!"
Looking down at the device real quick, Tails turned and pointed, saying, "According to the readings, there's a signal coming from a large area in that direction."
Twilight said, "Sweet Apple Acres is in that direction! That might be where the signal is coming from!"
Sonic stood up and said, "Well, you clearly know the way around, Twilight, so lead on!" He then turned to the Mayor and asked, "What are you going to do, ma'am?"
The Mayor replied, "I'm not much of an adventurer myself. I doubt I'll be of much use to you all. But you'll be able to handle it yourselves, won't you?"
Rainbow Dash nodded, "Yeah, no problem, Mayor! It'll be just like I said before!"
The Mayor replied, "Then good luck, my little ponies! Oh, and baby dragon and hedgehogs and fox too." Everybody nodded and Spike climbed up onto Twilight's back. The lavender unicorn, along with Rainbow Dash, then led the way out to Sweet Apple Acres.
As they walked, Tails kept an eye on the device, occasionally looking up to make sure he wasn't straying off the path. Sonic looked back at him and asked, "How's it looking, Tails?"
The fox kit replied, "We're definitely going in the right direction. The signal's getting stronger." Sonic nodded and turned back around, following close behind Twilight and Rainbow Dash.
Both mares soon came to a stop, Twilight announcing, "We're here!" Sonic and Amy looked around them while Tails looked up. They were standing a short distance away from the arch at the farm's entrance, which, like the rest of the farm, was completely white.
Sonic whistled and asked, "So do you girls have any friends on this farm?"
Rainbow Dash looked back at him and nodded, "Uh-huh! Applejack lives here with her little sister Applebloom, her big brother Big Macintosh, and Granny Smith!" She then turned to Tails and asked, "So where's the portal located?"
Tails shrugged, "I don't know. The signal's topped out; this only shows the general area that the portal is in."
Rainbow Dash flew up to him and asked, "Well, if you could build something like that, why didn't you build something that can show us exactly where the portal is?!"
Tails frantically replied, "I couldn't! I'm sorry, Rainbow Dash, but I only had bits and pieces to work with! Frankly, I'm amazed there was enough scrap left behind by those Badniks to make this!"
Twilight cut off Rainbow Dash before she could say anymore, "Just let it go, Rainbow Dash. Tails' device led us out here; it's at least giving us something to work with." She then looked at Tails and asked, "You're sure that the portal is here, Tails?"
The two-tailed fox nodded, "Absolutely. It's definitely somewhere here on the farm."
Sonic said, "Then let's look for it. Compared to searching all of Ponyville, we should be able to sweep this whole farm from top to bottom in no time."
Spike smirked, "Well, then it's a good thing we're in a world that has no time, huh?"
Twilight gave him a flat look and said, "Let's just look for it." Everyone nodded and spread out over the farm, Spike hopping off of Twilight's back to help too, despite being annoyed at the way Twilight looked at him.
Sonic soon called, "Hey, I think I found it!" Everybody came running over to where he had called from, finding him standing in front of the barn where all the parties on the farm were held. He led them to the back of the barn, where they found a pulsing hole on the back wall.
Twilight smiled, "Nice going, Sonic! That was fast!"
Sonic grinned at her, "Hey, that's my game."
Amy growled silently at that and got between Sonic and Twilight, hugging the blue hedgehog as she said, "Well, I never doubted you for a second, Sonic! I knew you would be the first one to find it!"
Sonic wriggled out of her embrace and said, "That's great, Amy
Spike spoke, "Well, what are we waiting for? Let's get going!"
Amy cheered, "Yay! We're gonna save the world together, Sonic!"
Sonic hesitantly spoke, "Actually, Amy, I was thinking that you should stay here. I mean, we need someone to babysit Spike."
Amy asked, "A babysitter? Oh, right, because he's a baby dragon! I get it!"
Spike complained, "What?! Why can't I go?!"
Sonic jerked a thumb in the direction of the portal and said, "Someone take a look inside that portal and tell me what you see."
Rainbow Dash trotted up to the portal and peered inside. "Uh, mountains?" she asked.
Twilight came over beside her and looked in as well. "Snow-capped mountains," she said.
Tails came over to see for himself, using his device to scan the portal while he looked. "Yeah, those mountains have snow all right. And probably a fair amount of ice too," he guessed.
Sonic nodded, "Three for three. Now, correct me if I'm wrong, but aren't dragons similar to reptiles in some ways?"
Twilight spoke, "I couldn't tell you. We ponies don't know that much about dragons. At the very least, nopony in Ponyville knows about them and the library has no information either." Glancing back at the portal, she mused, "Still, considering the place that portal is showing, maybe
Spike asked, "'Maybe' what, Twilight?"
Tails came over, the bottom screen of his device now reading 02021994, and explained, "I think what Twilight and Sonic are thinking is that, even if you're not cold-blooded like most reptiles, going to a place like that could be dangerous for you, Spike. You might not be able to handle the cold temperatures."
Spike protested, "But I've been outside during the winter before and I've been fine!"
Twilight spoke, "Spike, making it through the winter here in Ponyville and in Canterlot and being high up in the mountains are two different things. It can be much, much colder at the top of a mountain."
Spike opened his mouth, "But
Twilight sternly said, "No 'buts', Spike. You're staying here." Spike looked down in disappointment, so she dropped the stern act and softly added, "We're just looking out for you, Spike. Sonic's worried that something might happen to you and I am too. We're just asking you to stay behind this one time."
Sonic said, "Yeah, that's all it is. We're not gonna take any chances with the cold here. After this, as long as there aren't any other really cold places, you can come with"
Spike asked, "
Sonic nodded, "Of course!"
Spike glanced down and then back up and said, "Well
okay. But only if you promise me that I'll get to come with and help you guys out in another one of these portals."
Sonic replied, "I promise."
Spike shook his head, "Not good enough. Do the promise!"
Sonic stared down at him for a moment before nodding. He then held up his right hand and used it to make the actions as he said, "Cross my heart and hope to die, stick a needle in my eye."
Twilight, Rainbow Dash, and Spike all looked at him for a moment before Spike angrily said, "That's not the promise!"
Tails, as he slid his handheld into one of his two tails, asked, "What are you talking about, Spike? What promise were you referring to?"
Spike said, "When I said 'do the promise', I meant 'do the Pinkie Pie promise'!"
Twilight said, "Spike, that's basically what he did. All he did was say 'die' and 'needle' instead of 'fly' and 'cupcake'."
Rainbow Dash nodded, "Yeah, it's just a minor difference. Don't get your scales all messed up over it." She then snickered, "Wow, who's getting worked up over small details now?"
Spike crossed his arms and glanced down, muttering, "I still don't see why I'm getting stuck with a babysitter."
Sonic said, "Because we don't know if there's anything dangerous wandering around this white world. If something happens, Amy will be able to protect you." He then crouched down on one knee and whispered to him, "And personally, I don't think I'll be able to retain my sanity if she comes with. As long as Twilight's okay with you staying here and you know to go to Amy if you need help, you can do whatever you want, just so long as you don't make her angry. That's a big no-no."
Amy asked, "What are you whispering, Sonic?"
The blue hedgehog quickly stood up and said, "Just whispering some friendly advice to him, Amy. That's all."
Twilight asked, "Well, Spike?"
The baby dragon sighed, "I guess I can't stop you guys from leaving me behind if you're worried about me." He then pointed a claw up at Sonic and said, "But you'd better keep your promise, you hear?"
Sonic smiled, "No worries there, dude." He then turned around and said, "All right, let's get going so we can find our friends." Everyone nodded and Tails, Rainbow Dash, and Twilight leapt through the portal, Sonic following behind them.
As he leapt through the portal himself, Sonic heard Amy call, "Don't worry, Sonic! I'll take good care of him!" After the blue hedgehog disappeared through the portal, she turned to Spike and said, "Okay, little Spikey, its quiet time now. How about I put some nice, fluffy hay together so you can have a comfy bed to take your little nappy on?"
Spike, already thoroughly annoyed at Amy's treatment of him, pointed a claw at her and said, "Listen, Amy, you might think you can win your boyfriend over by doing whatever he says, but I'll have you know that I don't need a babysitter. I am Twilight's number one assistant; I'm not some slobbering, claw sucking baby."
Amy waggled a finger at him, "Now, now, Spike, that's no way to treat your babysitter. If you don't want to take a nap, all you have to do is say so. How about we play a game?"
Spike replied, "I don't want to play a game with someone like you. I'd rather do my chores. In fact, I think I will, especially since I have a baby of my own to take care of." He then turned and strolled out of the barn, not noticing that one of Amy's eyes was twitching as she quietly followed him.
Sonic's shoes crunched into the soft snow as he landed, the hedgehog standing up straight a moment later. Glancing around, he noticed Tails, Twilight, and Rainbow Dash standing near one of the edges, looking down. As he walked over to them, he heard Twilight say, "Wow, this is amazing! This is a much better view than that dirty city we were in!"
Rainbow Dash nodded, "You said it, Twilight! This isn't just 20% better, it's 100% better!"
Tails looked back and said, "Sonic!"
Sonic nodded as he walked up next to him, "Hiya, Tails!"
Tails turned to look back down the mountain they were on as he said, "This place looks familiar too! All this ice and snow! It was, uh
Sonic replied, "It feels that way to me too. I still wonder what's going on, though."
Twilight turned to him and said, "Yeah, me too. But right now, I'd rather know how we're going to get down from here."
Rainbow Dash looked off to the side and pointed a hoof in that direction, saying, "Maybe we can use those." Everyone looked over where she was pointing and saw two snowboards and two sets of skis.
Twilight asked, "What are those doing here?"
Sonic walked over to one of the snowboards, which was yellow with a blue stripe, and said, "Eh, that doesn't matter. Let's just use them to get down from here."
Rainbow Dash flew over to the other snowboard, which had a rainbow pattern on the bottom, and grinned, "I'm all for that!"
Tails looked at Twilight and said, "I guess we'll be using the skis. Come on, let's go put them on."
Twilight walked up behind the fox and put a hoof on his shoulder, causing him to stop and look back at her. She spoke, "Uh, Tails? I don't
really know how to ski
Tails just smiled at her, "That's okay, Twilight. I'll help you!"
Twilight murmured, "Uh, I don't know
Sonic, while placing his feet on his snowboard, said, "Don't worry about it, Twilight! Tails has plenty of skiing experience! Just stick close to him and you'll be fine!"
Tails giggled and then turned back to Twilight and said, "Look, we probably won't need to ski the whole time we're here. We just need to get down from here. After that, we can probably just walk or run like normal."
Twilight hesitantly said, "Well, okay
Rainbow called, "Well, get ready then, Twilight! We'll wait until both of you are ready!" Twilight and Tails looked to see Sonic and the cyan pegasus standing on their snowboards near the mountain edge.
Tails turned to Twilight and said, "Here, let me help you put the skis on."
A minute later
Twilight slowly followed Tails over to Sonic and Rainbow Dash, using her poles to support herself on her hind legs. Rainbow raised an eyebrow as Twilight came to a stop next to Tails, who was standing next to Sonic, and asked, "You okay, Twilight?"
The lavender unicorn nervously said, "I think so, Rainbow Dash. I'm just not used to standing on my back legs like this. I wonder how long it took Pinkie Pie to learn to do it so effortlessly."
Sonic asked, "Who is Pinkie Pie, anyway? Spike mentioned that name too."
Rainbow Dash nonchalantly replied, "She's a pink earth pony, otherwise known as Ponyville's party pony. Not to mention the Element of Laughter. Now come on, let's go!" Not bothering to wait for a response, she leapt off the edge, beginning to snowboard down the slope.
Sonic called, "Hey, you know what? I'm gonna have to blow past you for making an early start!" With that, he leapt off the edge, following the cyan pegasus.
Tails looked over at Twilight and said, "I guess it's our turn."
Twilight looked down nervously and then looked back at the fox, saying, "I'm not sure I can do this, Tails."
Tails replied, "Of course you can, Twilight. Skiing isn't so hard. It's a little easier to learn to balance on skis then it is on ice skates; at least I think it is."
Twilight sighed, "Okay, so how do I do this?"
Tails explained, making motions as he spoke, "The most important thing to remember is to keep your skis forward. You won't get anywhere if your legs are all over the place. You want to keep the skis close together at all times unless you're slowing down. When they're close together, you move forward; when you separate them and drag them across the ground, you slow down. To speed up, bend your knees; this will ease up on the wind resistance. To turn left or right, tilt your body in that direction. If you want to stop or fall over and need to get a start, use your poles. That's the only time you should ever really use them. Did you get all that?"
Twilight nodded slowly, "I think so."
Tails nodded, "Just try to do as I do. If anything goes wrong, just yell. Now let's catch up to Sonic and Rainbow Dash." Twilight nodded and they both used their poles to push themselves off the edge, both of them landing on the slope a second later.
"AAAAHHHH!" Twilight screamed as she landed and gravity suddenly started pulling her down. She flailed for a second before managing to plant her poles in the ground and pull her skis back.
Tails came to a stop and looked back up at the visibly shaking unicorn. She was clutching the poles so hard he was sure she was going to break the heads off. "Just take a deep breath and calm down, Twilight. You need to remain rational if you want to learn how to ski properly. Just relax and let gravity run its course. Don't try to fight it," he called.
Twilight looked at him with her eyes for a moment and then looked back down the length of the slope. Slowly, she moved her legs so her skis pointed down the slope and then oh-so-carefully pulled her poles out of the snow. She tensed up as she started moving again, but fought back the urge to plant the poles back in the ground. Tails turned and started sliding again as she got closer, staying just a little bit in front of her. As they went down, the fox occasionally corrected her posture and even pushed her once to keep her from crashing into a rock, but she eventually began to get the hang of it. "Hey! This is fun!" she smiled.
Tails said, "I know, right? I'm glad you're having fun." Looking back down the slope, he added, "Oh, looks like we're coming to the end. Better get ready, Twilight!"
The lavender mare looked at him and, worriedly, asked, "Ready for what?"
Tails replied, "For what I hope will be a soft landing!" Twilight looked forward again and saw what he meant. Instead of a flat surface at the end, there was a hole! Both Tails and Twilight screamed as they went over the edge, falling for several seconds before landing face first in a large pile of snow.
Tails pulled himself out of the snow first, letting out a groan as he flipped over onto his rump and started to take his skis off. As he pulled the first one off, he heard Sonic say, "Hey, there you two are!" He glanced over to his left to see the blue hedgehog and Rainbow Dash sitting on top of the same pile of snow a short distance away, their snowboards partially buried in the snow.
Tails smiled and quickly ditched the second ski before asking, "Kept you waiting, huh?"
Sonic shrugged, "Eh, sort of. Say, where'd Twilight go?" Tails glanced around quickly; a second later, the unicorn stuck her head out of the snow near the fox, taking a deep breath as she did. Sonic waved to her once she opened her eyes, "Hey, Twilight! You okay?"
Twilight groaned, "How do I look?"
Rainbow Dash snickered, "You look like you just landed face first in a pile of snow."
Twilight sighed, "That's just how I feel
" Tails stood up and walked over to her, helping her out of the snow and then helping her out of her skis. "Oh, thank you, Tails," she said.
The fox replied, "No problem. And hey, that was pretty good for your first time." Twilight shot him a half smile, hardly thinking that, up until they were near the bottom, that her skiing had been anywhere near 'good'. After a moment, she and Tails walked over to Sonic and Rainbow Dash, Tails beginning, "So
Sonic nodded, "Yeah, it is kind of quiet now, isn't it?"
Rainbow spoke, "Well, let's do something about that! There's a cave over there we can check out!" She pointed a hoof towards the wall at the bottom of the slope and everyone turned to look. Sure enough, there was an opening in the wall that looked like it could lead somewhere. They all looked at each other for a moment and then Sonic and Rainbow Dash stood up. All four of them then climbed down the pile of snow and ran into the cave.
As soon as they stepped inside, everyone looked around in wonder. The interior of the cave looked like the inside of a shiny diamond. All of the walls, the ceiling, even the floor under the snow seemed to be made of sparkling ice. "Wow! Look at this place!" Rainbow Dash exclaimed.
"It's really pretty!" Tails nodded.
"It certainly is
But who knows what could be living in here," Twilight said.
Sonic looked at her and replied, "You're right. Come on, we've gotta keep moving." Everybody nodded and they began making their way through the ice cave.
As they were walking through the cave, Sonic remembered the conversation they had been having earlier and spoke up, "So, this Pinkie Pie is the Element of Laughter, huh? What, uh, what does that mean?"
Twilight looked at him curiously and said, "It means she's the embodiment of laughter, one of the Elements of Harmony. You don't know about the Elements of Harmony?"
Tails answered for Sonic, "Nope. We don't have anything like that back home as far as either of us knows."
Rainbow Dash grinned, "Well, aren't you two lucky then! Twilight here happens to be the Element of Magic and I'm the Element of Loyalty! I'd never leave any of my friends or anypony or anything else I care about hanging!"
Sonic replied, "Huh. So you basically have unwavering loyalty. What about the Element of Magic?"
Twilight nervously answered, "Uh
Well, I've always been a bit gifted at magic; it's my special talent." She gestured back towards her flank as she said, "That's what my cutie mark represents."
Tails said, "I was wondering about those marks. So they represent your special talents?"
Rainbow Dash nodded, "Pretty much. They're basically an indicator of the one thing we like to do most."
Sonic asked, "Does every pony have a cutie mark?"
Twilight replied, "Not right away. No foal has a cutie mark at birth. Cutie marks don't appear until a pony discovers what their special talent is. From what I've heard, ponies without their cutie marks are referred to as 'blank flanks'."
Sonic nodded, "Hm, interesting. Anyway, about these Elements of Harmony
Is it just you two and Pinkie Pie?"
Rainbow spoke, "No, there are six elements in total. Applejack, who I mentioned earlier, is the Element of Honesty, Rarity, a white unicorn that has a knack for fashion, is the Element of Generosity, and Fluttershy, one of my old pegasus friends, is the Element of Kindness. Together, we stop anything that could that could possibly threaten Equestria!"
Twilight added, "I should mention we didn't learn that we were the Elements of Harmony until Princess Celestia, the ruler of Equestria and my teacher, sent me to Ponyville on the day before the Summer Sun Celebration. At the time, it had been 1000 years since she had sealed Nightmare Moon, the changed form of her little sister, Princess Luna, in the moon, and the legends foretold that she would return. We all ended up going on a quest to find the Elements of Harmony to stop her, only to return her to normal when we became the Elements of Harmony and friends!"
Tails asked, "So what, you weren't friends before?"
Twilight looked off to the side and said, "Well, not entirely. Back when I lived in Canterlot, I thought differently than I do now. I spent all my time studying and avoided other ponies because I thought there was no point in having friends. It took that venture into the Everfree Forest to realize that I was wrong."
Sonic spoke, "Sounds like one of our friends. She used to be like that too."
Twilight turned to look at him, "Really?"
Sonic nodded, "Sure! Where she comes from, she's a princess. As princess, she has a very important duty. Because of that duty and her abilities, she shut herself off from everybody and kept to herself. That was before she met me and my friends; she's still a bit shy around others, but she's warmed up to the idea of having friends. So it's not like you're the only one who's thought along those lines, Twilight. Sometimes it takes an unusual event to make somebody realize things they never would have before."
Twilight smiled, "You're right, Sonic. You're absolutely right. And I wouldn't mind meeting your friend sometime if we get the chance."
Tails said, "Well, she was with the rest of our friends when they were grabbed by that weird creature at our get-together. I'm sure we'll find her sooner or later. Come to think of it, she has purple fur, kind of the same color as your coat."
Sonic grinned, "Hey, maybe being purple has something to do with starting out being distant from everybody!"
Rainbow laughed, "I was just thinking the same thing!" They all had a good laugh at that as they continued walking.
The four of them soon came to a stop when they found a sizable block of ice with snow on top of it sitting on the path in front of them. "Wonder what this is doing here," Tails mused.
"Eh, it's just a block of ice, Tails. It probably does nothing other than sit here," Rainbow Dash shrugged.
Sonic peered around the side of the block and said, "Well, maybe we can use it for something."
Twilight looked at him and asked, "Like what?"
Sonic pulled his head back and gestured towards the block, saying, "Everybody get on top. I have an idea." Intrigued, both Tails and Rainbow flew up on top of the block while Twilight climbed up after them, all three of them sitting down.
After making sure everybody was sitting down, Sonic walked up behind the block and started to push against it, causing it to move through the snow on the ground. Twilight peered over the side at him and asked, "Sonic, what are you doing?"
Sonic calmly replied, "Just hang on. We're in for a ride." A second later, he stopped pushing and leapt up on top of the block, sitting down. Before anyone could ask, the block suddenly started sliding down a slope! Both Sonic and Rainbow Dash got excited as it slid down the slope while both Tails and Twilight made doubly sure they weren't going to fall off. The block continued to gain speed, running over Penguinators and Star Pointers as it slid.
The block eventually reached the bottom of the slope and slowly slid to a stop, which took a bit of time due to the slippery snow underneath. Sonic quickly leapt off the block, exclaiming, "Yahoo!"
Rainbow flew off and fluttered next to him, saying, "You said it, Sonic! That was fun!"
Twilight poked her head over the side of the block and spoke, "Well, it was fun, I'll say that, but what now?" She pointed a hoof forward, saying, "It's a dead end. What do we do now?"
Rainbow looked and saw what Twilight was talking about. The path forward was being blocked by what appeared to be a thick ice pillar. "Oh. I guess you have a point, Twilight. That is kind of a bummer," she said.
Sonic walked over to the pillar as Tails and Twilight leapt down, examining it as he stood in front of it. "It does look pretty thick. Maybe
" He glanced down at the base of the pillar and crouched down, holding a hand in front of it. He called back to Tails and the two mares, "I can feel a breeze coming in from under here."
Tails, Twilight, and Rainbow came over, the fox asking, "Really? That must mean there's a way out past it, right?"
Sonic nodded, "That's my guess."
Rainbow said, "No problem, then!" She looked at Twilight and asked, "Twilight, can't you move this hunk of ice out of the way?"
Twilight examined the pillar herself before asking, "Is it attached to the ceiling or is it just sitting here?"
Sonic shrugged, "I don't know. Why?"
Twilight replied, "If it's part of the ceiling, I'd have to break part of it off to move it. That could be a problem; if I break off too much above what we can see, it could cause a cave-in."
Tails waved towards Sonic, telling him to come over as he said, "Hey Sonic, come here a minute." The blue hedgehog walked over and stopped in front of him. Tails started, "What if we
" He then started whispering the rest to Sonic.
After a moment, the hedgehog leaned back and nodded, "Hey, good thinking, Tails!"
Rainbow Dash asked, "What, what is it?"
Tails looked at her and explained, "We might not need to move the pillar out of the way so long as we can force our way through it."
Twilight asked, "As in break it?"
Sonic nodded, "Yeah, but if this works, we should be able to get through without you needing to waste your magic abilities on something simple like moving this hunk of ice."
Twilight said, "I don't think moving a big slab of ice could be considered simple."
Sonic replied, "I'm sure it is for a magically inclined unicorn like you, Twilight."
Tails nodded, "Yeah! I only saw you do levitation spells earlier, but if you've been studying magic for years, you must know a wide variety of spells!"
Twilight looked away while blushing, "Honestly, I don't know very many spells."
Rainbow walked over to her and ruffled her mane while saying, "Ah, don't mind her. She's just being little Miss Modest again." She then looked back at Sonic and Tails and asked, "So what did you guys have in mind, anyway?"
Sonic said, "Well, it's been a while since the last time we did this. Just to be safe, you two might want to take cover behind that block." Both Twilight and Rainbow Dash decided to heed the warning and quickly got behind the ice block, peering over the top of it to watch.
Both Sonic and Tails walked over to the pillar, Tails stopping a short distance from it with Sonic right behind him. After a moment, Tails turned around to face Sonic and they stared at each other. They both then raised their right hands and brought them together, a flash of light appearing when they clapped together. They both then leapt up and joined hands, beginning to spin around as they came back down. As soon as they touched the ground, they shot forward, rolling right into the ice pillar and creating a sizable hole in the middle of it!
Both Twilight and Rainbow Dash looked on in shock at the duo's rolling combo for a moment and then they both smiled when they realized that they must have either made it outside or gotten deeper inside the cave. Rainbow Dash flew up over the block and towards the hole while calling, "Hey, wait for us!" Twilight galloped after the rainbow maned pegasus, following her through the hole.
After a few minutes of flying and galloping, Rainbow and Twilight found Sonic and Tails standing near the mouth of the cave, Tails looking a little dizzy. Rainbow landed near them and Twilight came to a stop next to her a few seconds later. "Man, that was an awesome combo back there! I'm seriously impressed!" Rainbow exclaimed.
"Uh, thanks, Rainbow Dash. Wow, I haven't done that trick in a while. My head's still spinning," Tails said.
Sonic grinned sheepishly, "Heh, sorry about that, buddy."
Tails smiled over at him, "Nah, don't worry about it, Sonic. Being dizzy from spinning is far better than being dizzy from slamming into a wall."
Twilight said, "I think Rainbow and I can both agree with you on that, Tails." She then glanced from left to right and asked, "So where did we come out anyway?"
Sonic walked out from the mouth of the cave and looked to his left. "From the looks of it, I'd say we came out near an ice field," he said. Tails, Twilight, and Rainbow Dash walked over to him and looked. They all looked awed at what they saw, especially Twilight and Rainbow. In the distance, they could see ice floes floating through the water and glaciers lining the landscape. It was truly a sight to behold.
"You know, I've read about ice floes and glaciers before, but wow! They're really beautiful!" Twilight exclaimed.
Rainbow Dash grinned at her, "You're such an egghead, Twilight. But you're right, this is pretty awesome." Looking back at the view before them, she asked, "Hey, we're not going to have to go out there, are we?"
Sonic gestured to the path in front of them as he said, "We should probably see if there's anything else here before we consider going out there."
Twilight looked where he was pointing before saying, "Yeah, that's a good idea, Sonic. Still, even if it is a straight path, isn't it still going to take a while to search?"
Sonic held a hand to his chin and said, "Yeah, I guess you're right, Twilight. So
" He suddenly surprised the lavender unicorn when he, in one swift motion, swept her off her hooves and held her in his arms, Twilight giving a surprised yelp at this unexpected action. He then grinned, "Let's step it up a bit!"
Twilight stuttered, "Huh? What are you
?" She was cut off in mid-sentence when Sonic suddenly took off running down the path at high speed, the unicorn giving a surprised shout as he did.
Tails started spinning his namesakes as he called, "Hey Sonic, wait up!" He then took off flying after his friends, Rainbow Dash right behind him.
Twilight could only watch with wide eyes and an open mouth as Sonic continued running, both Tails and Rainbow Dash following behind them. Her mouth refused to work as he ran through shuttle loops made of ice, over icy bridges, and through patches of snow. Eventually, she managed to regain control of her voice and exclaimed, "Sonic, STOP!"
The blue hedgehog glanced down at her in alarm for a second before planting his feet into the snow, sliding until he came to a stop on a relatively flat surface. He then quickly set her down on her rump, asking, "What's the matter?"
Twilight just stared at him with the same expression on her face as Tails and Rainbow Dash caught up. Amazingly, her mane still retained its straight, scholarly look. Rainbow spoke up, "Uh, Twilight? You okay?"
A moment later, the lavender mare started, "I
That was unbelievable." She looked at Sonic and asked, "How do you run so fast? I can understand how Dash goes so fast while flying, and I saw you run down the side of that building, but how do you do it?"
Sonic answered, "Well, I've always been pretty speedy, even when I was little. But what you witnessed just now? That's thanks to these." He pointed down at his red shoes as he explained, "The soles of my shoes are made of a special material that’s designed to be pretty much immune to heat. With all the friction I create while I’m running, I generate a lot of heat. But with these on, I don’t have to worry about my feet or my shoes catching on fire."
Twilight looked at him for a moment before saying, "That
makes sense, actually. Everything I just saw completely fits everything I've studied. So those shoes are to you what Rainbow's wings are to her?"
Sonic shrugged, "Yeah, I guess you could say that. The first time I tried out the first pair, I actually managed to do a sonic boom."
Rainbow Dash flew over to him and said, "You know, I did a sonic boom when I was younger too. Except that mine was a Sonic Rainboom!"
Tails asked, "What's the difference between a sonic boom and a Sonic Rainboom?"
Rainbow turned to him and proudly said, "I happen to leave a rainbow trail in my wake when I do a Sonic Rainboom."
Tails asked, "So the only difference is the trail left behind?"
Rainbow replied, "No! It's loads different from a basic sonic boom!"
Tails asked, "How? You've only told me one thing that's different."
Before Rainbow Dash could start arguing with him, Twilight looked off to the side and noticed something. "Hey everybody, look!" she exclaimed. Sonic looked in the direction she was looking and Tails and Rainbow turned their heads to look. They all saw an echidna with dreadlocks and spiky knuckles, an earth pony with a hat and her mane and tail tied up in a ponytail, and a young pegasus filly standing a short distance away.
"Knuckles!" Sonic said.
"And Applejack and Scootaloo!" Rainbow Dash exclaimed. She then looked at Twilight and said, "Good eye, Twilight!"
Sonic patted the unicorn on the shoulder as Rainbow flew over to their frozen friends and nodded to her when she turned to look at him. Sonic then looked back at Tails and asked, "Is the Warp Ring still working, Tails?"
The two-tailed fox fished the ring out and examined it for a minute. He then said, "I think it'll be able to get us back to Ponyville, but we're going to have to find a way to recharge it sooner or later."
Sonic nodded, "Okay, then let's get them out of here." Tails nodded and activated the ring while Twilight stood up and followed Sonic. Once the ring was activated, Tails flew over and helped Sonic carry Knuckles over to the ring. Rainbow and Twilight followed behind them, Rainbow carrying Scootaloo in her hooves and Twilight using her magic to carry Applejack over. All of them then stepped through the ring with their friends, the ring vanishing shortly afterwards.
Seconds later, the four of them found themselves standing in front of the barn at Sweet Apple Acres. They watched as a white, sparkling wave began to creep over the entire farm, restoring the apple trees and crops to normal. After about a minute, the fences and buildings on the farm were restored to normal too. By this time, Sonic, Tails, Twilight, and Rainbow had moved the frozen forms of Knuckles, Applejack, and Scootaloo inside of the barn. The four of them then stood across from their frozen friends, waiting.
After a few seconds, the same wave crept up the bodies of their petrified friends, restoring them to normal. Knuckles, upon his restoration, flexed his hands and then leapt up into an uppercut, striking a pose upon landing. Applejack, meanwhile, blinked and then gave a toothy smile, giving the air a few bucks with her back legs while Scootaloo examined and flapped her small wings.
Applejack was the first one to notice everybody and spoke, "Thank ya kindly, y'all. Ah was pretty worried during that whole ghostly experience, but Ah'm feelin' much better now that Ah'm back with y'all."
Scootaloo nodded, "Yeah, thanks, you guys. I mean, I wasn't scared, but I prefer being in my body, thank you."
Knuckles said, "Same here. Thanks for the help, everyone, not that I needed it. Still, you all did a good job back there." Everybody silently nodded to each of them as they spoke, Sonic crossing his arms and then holding a thumb up in Knuckles' direction.
Before anything else happened, Spike suddenly came running into the barn carrying Peewee with Owlowiscious flying behind him, screaming. Everybody looked on in shock as he quickly shut the top and bottom of the barn door, leaning his back against it and panting heavily while Peewee hopped up onto one of his green spikes and Owlowiscious flew over to Twilight.
After her owl friend landed on her back, the lavender unicorn quickly trotted over to Spike and asked, "Spike, what's wrong?!"
Spike quickly wrapped his arms around her right foreleg and said, "You gotta help me! She's trying to kill me!"
Sonic gave him an odd look, "Trying to
" He then facepalmed and asked, "You made Amy angry, didn't you?"
Spike let go of Twilight and twiddled his claws together, "Well
" Suddenly, there was a loud banging at the door and he yelped, running behind Twilight.
Applejack cantered over to Twilight and looked at the door, asking, "What's all the ruckus about?"
Amy's angry voice carried through the wood, "Who's in there?! You'd better open this door right now!"
Twilight asked, "Amy? Is that you?"
Spike pulled on her leg and, when she looked at him, said, "Don't open it!"
Amy's voice increased in volume, "I HEARD THAT!" The pink hedgehog started banging on the door again, yelling, "I'VE GOT A BONE TO PICK WITH THAT DRAGON! NOW OPEN THIS DOOR BEFORE I OPEN IT MYSELF!"
Rainbow looked over at Sonic and Tails and asked, "Is that really Amy out there?"
Sonic sighed, "Unfortunately, especially for Spike, yes."
Spike ran over to him and begged, "Please, Sonic, she's got a hammer! Can't you talk to her or something?!"
Sonic replied, "Talking rarely works when Amy is as mad as she sounds right now. Still, I should be able to save you if I time it right." He then picked the baby dragon up and said, "You'd better hold onto your little buddy. We're gonna have to go fast."
Applejack asked, "Could somepony please explain to me what's goin' on here?"
Twilight looked at her and said, "I'm not exactly sure myself, Applejack." She then looked over to see that Sonic had walked over to her, still holding Spike while he held onto Peewee. "Sonic, I'm kind of confused here. What's going on?" she asked.
Sonic replied, "I'll give you the details later. Right now, though, I'm going to need a little help from your magic." He then pointed at the shaking door and said, "When I tell you to, open the top part of that door. I would advise standing back out of the way before you open it, though."
Outside, Amy continued banging on the door. "I. SAID. OPEN. THIS. DOOR!" she yelled. Suddenly, the top part of the door swung inward and, immediately afterwards, a blue blur shot out over Amy's head. She whirled around in enough time to see the blur heading for the arch at the farm's entrance. "SONIC! YOU GET BACK HERE!" she screamed, running after the blue hedgehog with her Piko Piko Hammer over her head.
Tails, Knuckles, Twilight, Owlowiscious, Rainbow Dash, Applejack, and Scootaloo all peered outside of the barn, watching Amy chase after the blue blur. In the distance, they heard Spike exclaim, "WHY WOULD YOU LEAVE ME WITH SOMEONE LIKE HER?!"
They all heard Sonic's response, "WHY DO YOU THINK I SAID DON'T MAKE HER ANGRY?! WHAT, YOU THINK I WAS BEING CUTE?!"