Sonic and Rainbow Dash stood in front of the Ponyville Library, Sonic holding the shrunken down Warp Ring in his left hand. The frozen forms of Tails and Twilight were behind them, standing in front of the library's open door and their backs to each other as Rainbow Dash surveyed the scene before them. She stuttered, "You
you weren't kidding, Sonic
The library's still here, but
it's like the rest of the town doesn't even exist now
Sonic placed his right hand on her shoulder and said, "I know this is a tough thing for you to see, Rainbow, but don't worry. We'll find a way to get Ponyville and our friends back."
Rainbow looked back at him and asked, "Get them back? How are we supposed to do that?"
Sonic looked away and muttered, "Of course you'd have to ask that right away
" He then looked back at her and said, "Look, just because that creature's messed with everything doesn't mean the effects aren't irreversible. There has to be some kind of connection between that place we were just in and the portal being here in your friend's library. So
The blue hedgehog was unable to finish his sentence as a shimmering sound caught his attention and he turned to look back at the library, Rainbow Dash turning to look too. They could see a sparkling white wave beginning to creep up the base of the library, the tree's natural color returning wherever the wave passed over. As they watched, both the exterior and interior of the library slowly regained its natural coloring until every leaf on the tree was green again.
Sonic and Rainbow walked up to the front of the library, Rainbow saying, "Wow! How did that happen?"
Sonic shrugged, "Maybe I was right. Well, somewhat anyway." Looking back at Tails, he added, "Now if only that could happen to you two too."
Suddenly, it did happen. Both Sonic and Rainbow ran in front of Tails and Twilight as a white, sparkling wave began to creep up the bodies of the latter two. The wave made the white vanish as it crept higher, Tails' fur returning to its natural yellow color while Twilight's coat, horn, and mane returned to their natural colors. They both blinked before beginning to move, both of them realizing that they were back to normal. Tails soon turned to Sonic and said, "Thanks, Sonic! I thought I was dead! Floating without a body in a black limbo
I'm gonna have nightmares for weeks."
Behind him, Twilight sighed, "My thoughts exactly. That was so creepy." Looking up at Rainbow Dash, she smiled, "Thanks for saving me, Rainbow." She then realized what she had said before that and whirled around as Tails did the same. They both stared at each other for a minute, both of them trying to make sure they were really seeing what they thought they were.
Rainbow Dash eventually broke the silence, "Uh, hey! Twilight and, uh, Tails, right? Why are you two just looking at each other?"
Twilight turned her head to look back at the cyan mare while Tails looked over the unicorn's shoulder at her. Twilight soon turned around completely while Tails turned back to Sonic.
"WHAT IS GOING ON HERE?" they both asked at the same time.
Rainbow Dash looked back at Twilight blankly for a moment before she remembered, "Oh right, you weren't there when we
Sonic nodded, "Right, explanations and all that." He gestured towards the inside of the library and said, "This could take a bit, so why don't we go inside, sit down, and start talking about this. Calmly and slowly, that is." Tails and Twilight both looked at him for a moment (Twilight doing so a little cautiously) before nodding and walking through the library's front door, Rainbow and Sonic following them inside. Sonic grabbed the doorknob and pulled the door closed while Twilight used her magic to summon several cushions down to the library's ground floor.
One long, descriptive explanation later
"Okay, so let's recap, just to make sure me and
Tails understand everything. After that creature took us all away, Rainbow Dash woke up in this 'green hill' place. Sonic, meanwhile, woke up outside of the library, which was completely white, after his friends got taken by the same thing during a friendly gathering and found a portal to the 'green hill' area in the basement. You two ran into each other, worked out your differences, and found the two of us and brought us back here, where we were brought back. Is that everything?" Twilight asked.
"Not quite, Twilight. You didn't mention all of the robots or Badniks or whatever they're called that I took out!" Rainbow Dash said proudly.
Twilight deadpanned, "I didn't forget them, Rainbow Dash. I was trying to recap with a short version of the story."
Rainbow complained, "But that means you skipped over all the good parts!"
Tails said, "Well, we're caught up now, Rainbow Dash. And I totally wish I could've seen you and Sonic in action. It must've been awesome!"
Rainbow grinned, "It was! In fact, it was totally awesome!"
Sonic, who had only chipped in with what he had been doing, due to Rainbow Dash wanting to tell the story, turned to look at Tails and asked, "Didn't that place seem awfully familiar, Tails?"
The fox boy shrugged, "Uh, not to me, Sonic." Standing up, he walked over to one of the library's windows as he said, "But it looks like something sucked all the life and color out of this place. I wonder how much of Equestria was hit or if Ponyville's the only place where that thing appeared."
Twilight said, "Hard to say. That thing knocked out Rainbow Dash and, until a little while ago, I was floating around just like you were. This whole thing is really strange."
She and Rainbow Dash looked over at Sonic, who had also stood up and was currently looking at some of the books on the shelves as he said, "Well, I'm sorry if I'm a little misinformed about what kind of adventures you and your friends get into, Twilight, but what's happening right now doesn't seem all that strange."
Twilight raised an eyebrow, "Really?"
Sonic turned to look back at her and nodded, "Sure. It's no stranger than rescuing genies in magic books or saving aliens in an interstellar amusement park."
Rainbow Dash asked, "Are you serious?"
Sonic shrugged, "Sound hard to believe? I know you've got no reason to believe me, but I've been through all that before. Right now, though, I'm more concerned about finding everyone who was taken." Both Twilight and Rainbow Dash nodded in agreement.
After a moment, Tails called back to them, "Hey guys, come look at this!" Sonic turned and walked over to him while Twilight and Rainbow stood up and did the same. When they were all standing behind the two-tailed fox, he pointed out the window, "Is that Ponyville?"
Both Twilight and Rainbow peered out the window, Twilight soon saying, "Yes! But why are all the houses and everything white? Did the same thing happen to the whole town?"
Rainbow Dash added, "Not only that, but from here, it looks like some of the buildings are missing. How come only part of Ponyville has reappeared?"
Sonic said, "Well, we're not gonna find any answers just standing around here. Come on, we'd better check out the town." Tails, Twilight, and Rainbow Dash all nodded and exited the library, Sonic stepping out first with Rainbow and Tails following him. Twilight walked out last, using her magic to close the door behind her. The four of them then ran towards Ponyville, Rainbow Dash opting to stay on the ground for now.
After what was likely a couple of minutes (since they weren't sure there was any time in this white world), the four of them walked over a bridge and approached the town hall. "Hey, we'd better make sure the Mayor is okay," Rainbow said. Everyone nodded and walked up the steps at the front, opening the doors and stepping inside.
Glancing around the entrance, Sonic asked, "I suppose the Mayor's office is upstairs?"
Twilight nodded, "Yeah. I normally don't like to barge in like this, but this is an emergency. Come on." She led the way to the upper levels of the town hall, using her magic to open the double doors leading into the Mayor's office.
As soon as the doors were opened all the way, they saw the Mayor standing in the middle of the room, frozen just like Twilight and Tails had been. Rainbow Dash immediately flew over to her and groaned, "Oh no, even the Mayor's been frozen!"
Twilight trotted up alongside her and said, "It's all right, Rainbow Dash. You and Sonic managed to get me and Tails back to normal, I'm sure we can do the same for the Mayor."
Sonic and Tails began to look around the office as Rainbow turned to Twilight and said, "But I don't even know how we did that! I mean, sure, we found you in that place and brought you back here, but we really didn't do anything else! Was it magic or something? Sonic said there might be some kind of connection between Ponyville and that portal, but that was just a guess! And who knows how many portals there are in Ponyville, maybe even in Equestria!"
Sonic called over to the mares, causing them to turn their heads towards him as he said, "Hey ladies! Over here!" He and Tails were standing next to a sizable bookcase. The duo nodded to each other and started to push it. After a few feet, they stopped pushing and then turned to look at the wall. Twilight and Rainbow quickly saw why they had done that. In the wall, right behind where the bookcase had been, was another portal.
"Whoa! Talk about lucky!" Rainbow grinned.
"Yeah," Tails nodded. The two ponies then walked over to Sonic and Tails and they all stood around the portal, peering into it. It displayed an image of gears, pistons, and large wheels.
Twilight asked, "So we're going to go in there?"
Sonic said, "Until we know better, we're gonna have to believe that checking out these portals will help restore your town and the ponies in it to normal. And who knows, we might find some of our missing friends in there."
Rainbow nodded, "Good enough for me!" She then leapt forward, going through the portal. Sonic leapt in after her, Tails and Twilight soon following them in.
Once her hooves touched the ground, Twilight looked up and saw Tails, Sonic, and Rainbow Dash in front of her, all of them having landed on their feet/hooves as well. Glancing around, she spoke, "Uh, this is probably a silly question, but where are we?"
Sonic took a sniff and gagged, "Ugh! Not someplace you want to live if you like to breathe properly." Looking off in the distance, he said, "Ah, no wonder." He raised his right hand and pointed in front of him, "Look at all those smokestacks and steel buildings. We must've landed in a city or something."
Tails took a few steps forward and looked down. "Well, it looks like we landed on top of one of the buildings. Look how far down the ground is!" Sonic, Twilight, and Rainbow Dash walked over to him and looked down over the edge of the building. They immediately agreed with Tails; they were high up.
Rainbow Dash looked up and asked, "Do you guys actually live in a place like this?"
Sonic replied, "We don't, thankfully. Of course, if it were up to a certain mad scientist, this is the kind of place everyone would live in."
Twilight looked at him and asked, "Somepony actually thinks this is a good place to live?"
Sonic shrugged, "Well, maybe not 'live', exactly. As long as it fits his vision of what the world should be like, he could probably care less about what everyone else thinks." Peering down below again, he noticed a skylight and pointed to it, saying, "That looks like a good place to start exploring."
Twilight asked, "What about the rest of this place? I mean, having a place to start is good and all, but if we're going to find our friends, we might have to search every building here."
Rainbow protested, "Twilight, that'll take forever! We don't have time to go around searching every spot in this place!"
Tails suggested, "What if we split up? I'm sure we could cover more ground that way."
Twilight said, "Yeah, I suppose that could work. How do you think we should split up, Tails?"
The fox replied, "Well, since Sonic and Rainbow Dash are the fastest ones here, they should probably check out what's under that skylight. Meanwhile, you and I can search the city."
Rainbow said, "That could work, Tails, except for one thing. If you wanted to make progress searching in a place this big, you'd need to be fast or at least be capable of flight. And I don't see either skill in either you or Twilight."
Before Twilight could say anything, Tails spoke, "Well, actually
" He then began to spin his twin namesakes around, lifting off the ground and hovering over everyone's head.
Rainbow Dash's jaw dropped at this. "You
you can fly?!" she exclaimed.
Sonic grinned, "With those two tails, he sure can! He may be a fox, but he's one of the best flyers I know!"
Twilight smiled, "Wow! I wondered if both of those appendages did something special together." She then blushed as she added, "To be honest, at first I thought
Tails flew over to her and landed in front of her before saying, "That's okay, Twilight. I'm not mad that you would think that. Before I met Sonic, people would actually make fun of me for having two tails; thinking they're unusual is completely different, comparatively anyway." The lavender unicorn smiled in relief at that.
Sonic turned to Rainbow Dash and asked, "So? Is it okay for Tails and Twilight to stick together and look around?"
Rainbow looked at him and dumbly replied, "Uh, sure. As long as you're sure they'll be okay together."
Sonic nodded, "Tails is a lot more capable than he might look, and I have faith that Twilight is full of surprises as well."
Twilight said, "Well, I don't know about that, Sonic, but I'll do what I can
Wait, if we're going to be splitting up, we should meet up somewhere later."
Sonic examined the cityscape before his eyes came to rest on a building in the distance. He pointed at it and said, "There. We'll meet up there, either inside or out front. Let's shoot for ten minutes, half an hour tops. Does that sound reasonable?"
Twilight nodded, "Sure."
Sonic nodded back, "Good. Oh yeah
" He turned to Tails and reached into his quills, pulling out the Warp Ring. He held it out towards Tails and said, "Here, you hold onto this, buddy. I don't want to accidentally drop it somewhere."
Tails took it and gave a salute, "You can count on me, Sonic!"
Sonic replied, "I already know I can count on you." He then turned to Rainbow Dash and asked, "Ready?" When the pegasus nodded, he said, "Then here we go!" He then leapt off the edge of the building, both Twilight and Rainbow Dash's eyes widening at this sudden, impulsive action. Dash immediately dove off the building after him while Tails and Twilight moved to the edge to watch.
Sonic's free fall was cut short after a minute when he his feet came into contact with the building. He ran straight down the side, the ground rushing up to meet him. Before reaching the bottom, he curled up into a ball and shot down towards the skylight, making a hole in it. He then landed on the ground below the window, crouching down on one knee after landing. Rainbow Dash appeared above him a moment later and said, "That was really crazy, you know."
Sonic stood up and said, "I know. I just like doing stuff like that."
After a moment, Rainbow grinned, "This is going to be fun, isn't it?"
Sonic grinned back, "You know it! Let's roll!" With that, they took off, heading into the depths of the city.
Up on the roof, Twilight turned to Tails and asked, "Is he going to be okay?"
Tails turned to her and nodded, "Sonic does stuff like that all the time. You'll get used to it." Twirling his twin tails around, he lifted up off the ground and said, "Here, give me your hooves." Twilight slowly held her legs up and Tails wrapped his hands around her hooves, just past her horseshoes. He then flew off the building while carrying Twilight, angling down to fly down closer to the ground.
"Look out, Twilight!" Tails exclaimed, spinning his twin namesakes around and making an aerial dash for the lavender unicorn, his hands coming into contact with the back of her neck and pushing her forward, just in time to avoid a spike that came flying towards her.
"Whoa! Thanks, Tails," she breathed. After Tails let go and moved to stand in front of her, she looked back and asked, "Where do these
Asteron things keep coming from?!"
Tails glanced in the other direction and sighed, "I have no idea. They seem to pop up when you least expect them to." He looked up at a nearby building and said, "Let's see if there's anything in here." Twilight looked up at the building and nodded, following behind Tails. As soon as they stepped inside, they were greeted by an unwelcoming sight: three Slicer Badniks. "Oh no," Tails groaned as they pulled their claws back.
Twilight growled as they sent their claws flying at them, "Not gonna go through that again." Her horn lit up, surrounded by her magenta aura. The same aura appeared around the claws and caused them to slow down in midair. After fighting with them for a moment, Twilight managed to get them to stop and change direction, flying back and slicing through the Badniks they belonged to.
Tails turned to her and said, "Wow, that was great, Twilight!"
The mare turned to him and blushed, "Uh, thanks, Tails. I didn't go too far, did I?"
Tails shook his head, "Nope. You've seen how hard it is to avoid those claws once they're launched. Those things deserved to get a taste of their own medicine."
Twilight replied, "Okay, if you say so." She then started walking around the building's interior, looking around. It appeared to be some kind of warehouse, as there were lots of boxes stacked up, many of them unlabeled. After looking around for several minutes, Twilight made her way back towards the entrance. As she came around a stack, she said, "There's nothing in here. Maybe we should head for that building Sonic said to meet up at." She noticed Tails was examining the remains of the Slicer Badniks and asked, "What are you doing?"
Without looking up, Tails replied, "I've been checking out all the Badniks we've seen so far. They're all really old models; it's been a long time since I've seen some of these." Picking up a microchip, he added, "But their internals are pretty interesting. They could be useful for something. I just need a minute or two to see what's left here and then we can get going."
Although confused, Twilight replied, "All right then." She then looked off to the side and murmured, "I hope Rainbow Dash and Sonic are okay."
Meanwhile, underneath the city
Sonic leapt over a pit of molten metal, narrowly avoiding the claws of a Shellcracker Badnik, while Rainbow Dash flew after him. After landing on the other side, Sonic leapt over the claw of another Shellcracker and used his right hand to propel himself over it. Seeing her chance, Rainbow flew towards it at fast speed, smashing right through it. She laughed as she followed Sonic through a spinning mesh-work dynamo, "Ha ha, this place is a blast, isn't it!"
Sonic, while running along the inside of the dynamo, replied, "Aside from near-death experiences and close shaves with Badniks, I guess this place isn't so bad." Coming out of the other end of the dynamo at the top of it, he performed a flip and landed on his feet, skidding to a halt on the ground as he said, "Not that I'm into the whole life-consuming industrial wasteland thing, but you know what I mean."
Rainbow Dash looked up and said, "Man, this place is a lot bigger than I thought it would be! There must still be a ton of Badniks around here to smash!" Flapping her wings, she started to fly up a shaft.
"Dash, wait!" Sonic called. But he was too late; as soon as the cyan pegasus reached the top of the shaft, she was gone in a flash of rainbow. Sonic sighed to himself, "Hoo boy. I'd better catch up to that pony before she gets herself hurt." He ran over to a large nut around a spiral that went up the shaft and hopped on it, using his speed to spin it around and use it as an elevator to get up the shaft.
Sonic continued on through the city while looking for Rainbow Dash, dodging Badniks and making use of parts of the city to move forward. Eventually, he heard the rainbow-maned pegasus let out a shout from the other side of a vent covering. He dashed towards it, curling up into a ball and calling, "Hang on, Dash, I'm coming!" After breaking through the covering, he uncurled and came to a stop. He saw Rainbow Dash a short distance in front of him, surrounded by balloons that looked like Dr. Eggman in his Egg Mobile. Wasting no time, Sonic curled up again and started spinning in place, orbs of light rushing towards him as he spun. Once he was ready, he uncurled and shot towards the balloons in a Light Speed Attack, popping them all.
Rainbow Dash plopped down on the floor after Sonic landed and wiped her forehead with a hoof. "Whew
Thanks, Sonic. I couldn't get those things to pop," she sighed.
Sonic walked over to her and helped her up, saying, "Well, I'm glad you're okay, Rainbow. Just don't go flying off like that again. I know you're excited to have some fun, believe me, but sometimes it's better to curb that excitement."
Rainbow Dash blushed, "Yeah, I get it. I guess that was kind of
well, I guess I really didn't think it through, huh?"
Sonic grinned, "Not really. Still, it looked like you were doing your best to hang in there. Why'd you shout, anyway?"
Rainbow replied, "One of them managed to get on top of me. I was surprised by how much pressure it put on me. I'm glad I managed to get it off."
Sonic nodded, "Yeah. From now on, let's try to stick together in dangerous places like this, all right?" Rainbow nodded and they shook on it.
Suddenly, they heard a familiar voice call, "Sonic!"
Sonic and Rainbow Dash turned to see Tails flying towards them while carrying Twilight, the lavender unicorn calling, "Rainbow Dash!"
Rainbow called, "Hey Twilight!"
Sonic waved, "Tails!"
The fox let Twilight go once they were a little closer to the two, the lavender mare landing on her hooves. She walked over to them as Tails landed, saying, "Looks like we managed to catch up to you after all. Are you both okay?" Both Sonic and Rainbow Dash nodded in response.
Tails came over to the group and addressed Sonic, "We've been in this city before, haven't we? It sure feels familiar, anyway. All these dynamos, the pumping pistons
" He then looked off to the side and added, "Not to mention all the annoying Badniks that keep popping up everywhere."
Sonic replied, "You're right, Tails. This place is giving me déjà vu, though not necessarily in a good way."
Twilight giggled and then said, "We didn't find anyone or anything in the city. What about you two?"
Sonic shrugged, "Not really. Since Tails mentioned all the Badniks around here, I'm gonna guess you know what these things are like." Twilight gave a nod in response.
Rainbow Dash was about to say something, but was cut off when Tails pointed towards a nearby window and asked, "Sonic, isn't that a capsule over there?"
Sonic looked where he was pointing. Near the window was what appeared to be a large capsule, the kind that Eggman used to store small animals. "Hm, I think it is, Tails. Let's see what's inside," he said, running over to it. Tails, Twilight, and Rainbow Dash started to walk over as he leapt up and pressed down on the button on top of it. As soon as he did, the sides of the capsule broke off and a small white cloud escaped from within.
As soon as the cloud cleared, everyone could see inside of the capsule, which contained two figures. Twilight gasped at the sight of a baby dragon inside and ran over to the capsule. She then placed her hooves on the shoulders of the baby dragon and shook him, exclaiming, "Spike! SPIKE!"
Sonic bent down and leaned over the side of the capsule, asking, "Spike? You mean the little dragon you and Dash mentioned?"
Twilight looked up at him and said, "Yes!" She then looked down at the baby dragon, whose face was frozen in a look of fear, and shook him again. She said, "He's frozen, just like the mayor was!"
Sonic glanced down and said, "Not to mention like you and Tails were."
Tails, who was standing on Twilight's right side while Rainbow Dash stood at her left, added, "Don't forget Amy. She's in here too."
Sonic peered down at the other side of the capsule and saw that he was right. "Oh, right," he muttered.
Rainbow Dash placed her hooves on Twilight's shoulders and pulled her back away from Spike, saying, "Twilight, calm down! Look, you and Tails were restored when we brought you back to Ponyville! We can probably restore Spike and Amy the same way! Now stop shaking him already!"
Sonic stood up and leapt down from the capsule. He then said, "Rainbow's right, Twilight. I don't know how it worked, but bringing you back to Ponyville somehow restored you and Tails to normal. There's no reason to think that Spike and Amy wouldn't be restored too."
Twilight sighed, "You're right, you're right. You're both right. Just
unless there's anything else we need to do, I'd like to leave this place."
Sonic nodded, "Same here." He turned to Tails and asked, "Tails, you still got the Warp Ring?"
The fox kit fished into his tails and, after a moment, pulled the ring out. He nodded, "Right here. Let's go." He tossed it to the side, the ring becoming bigger with a *PHVWOW*. Tails then turned and went over to help Sonic get Amy out of the capsule. They both then stepped through the Warp Ring, Twilight immediately following them.
Rainbow Dash turned to take one last look at the Metropolis Zone and muttered, "Somepony's gotta have a twisted mind to think that this is a great place to live. If I ever meet the guy who built this place, I'm gonna give him a good buck to the head for thinking that." She then turned and leapt through the ring, which disappeared after she went through it.
A second later, Rainbow found herself standing near Sonic, Twilight, and Tails out in front of the town hall. Tails was holding the shrunken Warp Ring, Sonic had his hand on Amy's shoulder, and Twilight was still clutching Spike with her right foreleg. They walked over to the stairs leading up to the front doors and stood both Spike and Amy on the sides of the stairs. Twilight asked, "So, what happens now?"
Sonic replied, "Just give it a minute. If it's going to happen, it shouldn't take too long." Sure enough, not long after he said that, a white, sparkling wave began to climb up the base of the town hall, restoring it to its normal appearance. A second later, a similar wave began to creep up Spike's body. Once he was fully restored, his eyes looked around and then he looked his body over, even flexing his muscles.
Twilight smiled at the familiar behavior of her number one assistant. "Spike!" she exclaimed.
The baby dragon looked up at her and said, "Twilight!" He leapt up and wrapped his arms around her neck as Rainbow Dash came over, saying, "Oh man, I'm so glad to see you! You wouldn't believe the creepy experience I just went through!"
Twilight hugged him back and said, "Actually, I probably would, if it's anything like what I went through earlier."
Rainbow spoke, "Yeah, Twilight got a dose of it too, apparently. Anyway, it's good to have you back, Spike!"
The three of them then looked over at Sonic and Tails, who were standing in front of a now-restored Amy as she finished spinning in place. The pink hedgehog then said, "You saved me, Sonic. I was afraid I'd never be able to flirt with you again!" Sonic sighed to himself as he turned around and pressed his right hand against his head, shaking it as Tails looked at him sympathetically.
Spike turned his head to look up at Twilight and asked, "Uh, Twilight? What's going on here?"
Before she could reply, everybody flinched as they heard the Mayor scream, "WHAT HAS HAPPENED TO PONYVILLE?! AND WHERE DID THIS HOLE IN THE WALL COME FROM?!"
Rainbow Dash grinned weakly, "Sounds like the Mayor's back to normal too."
Twilight nodded and said, "I guess we'd better go explain the situation to her as well."