Sonic glanced around as he spoke, "Do either of you recognize this place? Because I know I've never been here." At the moment, he, Twilight, and Applejack were walking through a corridor that greatly resembled the corridor leading to the tower where Princess Celestia kept the Elements of Harmony. The only difference was that the rug they were walking on was black, the tiled floor beneath it was completely gray, and a shroud of darkness seemed to cover the corridor. It wasn't dark enough that they were unable to see the walls and windows, but the black was still apparent.
Twilight said, "This LOOKS like the corridor in Canterlot Castle leading to the tower where the Elements of Harmony are stored, but I don't think that's where we are. There's something
off, about it. I mean, besides the lack of color and the darkness, of course."
Applejack looked up at one of the stained glass windows on the right side of the hall and said, "Ah don't know about that, Twilight. Look, these are the same windows we saw when we came after Discord broke out." All three of them came to a stop and Sonic and Twilight looked up at the window Applejack was looking at. It showed Princess Celestia and Princess Luna using the Elements of Harmony to seal Discord in stone for the first time.
"Who's Discord? That snake-looking thing up there?" Sonic asked while pointing up at the draconequus on the window.
Twilight looked at him and nodded, "That's right, Sonic. Discord is a draconequus."
Sonic looked at her with a raised eyebrow, "A what?"
Twilight repeated, "Draconequus. It
well, he's kind of made up of different body parts from different creatures. He's got a horse-like head with a deer antler and a goat horn on it, an eagle claw, a lion's paw, a lizard leg, a goat leg
Applejack spoke up before she could continue, "There's more where that came from, but ya look like ya get the idea."
Sonic looked back up at the window and said, "Huh. Sounds charming." He then started walking down the hall while looking up at the stained glass windows, Twilight and Applejack following.
While walking, Applejack said, "He sure ain't. He done got this freaky chaos magic that can make ponies not act like themselves. Ah should know; he turned me into a liar until Twilight broke his spell!"
Sonic looked back at her and Twilight and asked, "Why would he do that?"
Twilight said, "To him, I think it was all a game. I mean, I don't know if he was 'bad' exactly, but he certainly loved his chaos too much. Then again, I guess that's why he's the Spirit of Disharmony."
Sonic nodded, "Hm." Looking forward, he said, "Sounds like somebody I know. Although compared to him, this Discord guy doesn't sound too bad. I don't know since I've never met the guy personally like you have, but I'm pretty sure Eggman's got him beat in the 'evil' category."
Twilight asked, "Eggman?"
Sonic replied, "Dr. Eggman. Mad scientist, wannabe world conqueror, has no regard for the environment or anyone he hurts as long as he gets what he wants."
Applejack chuckled, "'Eggman' sounds like a silly name for the kind o' guy yer describin', Sugar-hog."
Sonic shrugged, "It was meant to be a joke; I think his name is actually Robotnik, since his grandfather had that name, but even he refers to himself as Eggman."
Twilight tilted her head to the side as she spoke, "Hm. Interesting." She looked back up at the stained glass windows and said, "Look, there's the window of us with the Elements of Harmony." Sonic and Applejack looked up at the window and all three of them came to a stop in front of it.
Looking further down the hall, Applejack spoke, "And there's the one o' us sealing Discord back into stone. That settles it, then! We must be at Canterlot Castle!"
Sonic turned around and looked at the windows on the other side of the hall. He started walking back the way they came as he said, "I don't think so, Applejack. I'm pretty sure I don't have a spot on the castle windows." Both Twilight and Applejack looked back at him, seeing him standing a ways back and looking at one of the stained glass windows. They walked over to him and looked up at the window. It looked similar to the mural in the Hidden Palace, as it depicted Super Sonic battling Dr. Eggman for the Master Emerald.
Twilight spoke, "You're right, Sonic. I thought it was kind of odd that some of the windows that were supposed to be on this side of the hall were on the other side, but this confirms it. I know I've never seen this window before."
Applejack, "Huh, Ah guess you're right, Twilight. Are there any more?" They started walking down the hall again, now looking at the windows on the left side of the corridor. These windows depicted some of the events in Sonic's world. There were windows of Super Sonic battling Perfect Chaos, Super Sonic and Super Shadow using Chaos Control to stop Space Colony ARK, Team Dark, Team Rose, and Team Chaotix cheering on Team Sonic as they battled Metal Sonic, Super Shadow fighting Devil Doom, and many more.
When they reached the last window, which depicted Sonic and the Wisps giving Eggman a taste of the rainbow with the Final Color Blaster, Applejack asked, "Say Sonic, how come right now you're true blue, but some of these windows show ya bein', well, yellow?"
Before Sonic could respond, a voice the hedgehog recognized boomed through the corridor, "Enjoying your trip down memory lane, Sonic?" The blue hedgehog, along with Twilight and Applejack, turned to look at the end of the corridor. There they saw a white light shining out of a door they didn't see before, which was where they had heard the voice from.
"Dr. Eggman?!" Sonic exclaimed, both Twilight and Applejack's eyes widening a bit at what he said.
Another voice was heard, this one sounding familiar to the unicorn and earth pony, "I suggest you enjoy looking at your final moments as well, my little ponies. It will be the last thing you'll get to see before I close your eyes forever!"
Twilight gasped, "Princess Luna?!"
Applejack asked, "What the hay's goin' on here?" Suddenly, the all heard a rumbling and saw something begin to creep in front of the white light coming from beyond the door. "Hey, the door's closing!" Applejack exclaimed.
Sonic leapt back between her and Twilight and wrapped his arms around both of their midsections. Before either of them could ask, he said, "Hang onto your hat, AJ!" He then shot towards the door while carrying them both.
Rainbow Dash appeared at the opposite end of the corridor just in time to see Sonic disappear through the door with Twilight and Applejack. "What the
?! Hey, wait up, guys!" she exclaimed before flying towards the door as fast as she could. Unfortunately, the door closed completely before she could reach it and the cyan pegasus crashed head first into it, sticking to it before sliding down onto the rug a moment later.
Sonic emerged from a portal, still holding Twilight and Applejack as his feet touched stone ground. He immediately released the two mares and Applejack walked in front of him and said, "Land sakes, Sonic! Ah sure didn't expect that, but it was pretty fun, actually! Looks like Twilight wasn't lying when she said you were a speedy little critter!"
Sonic grinned, "Heh, thanks, Applejack. I would've given you more of a warning beforehand, but I didn't how long that door would be open. At least you didn't lose your hat." He then looked around and asked, "So, where are we now?"
Twilight had been looking up at the full moon in the night sky above while the two of them were talking. At Sonic's question, she lowered her gaze to look forward, looking at a large pedestal a short distance in front of them with five protrusions extending from the top. She spoke, "I know where we are." She turned back to Sonic and Applejack and said, "We're in the Ancient Castle of the Royal Pony Sisters!"
Sonic glanced around and asked, "Castle of the Royal Pony Sisters?"
Applejack explained, "It's the remains of an old castle in the Everfree Forest. Ah guess Princess Celestia and Princess Luna lived here before Luna became Nightmare Moon. Why else would it have that name?"
Sonic nodded, "Ah. Yeah, that makes sense."
Twilight then looked back up at the night sky and asked, "But why is everything still in color here? I'm pretty sure even the Everfree Forest was affected."
Sonic suggested, "Maybe that gate we went through sent us back to a specific point in time. That might be why all the places we've been to so far have had color."
Twilight looked over at the doors that led to the chamber and noticed the portal they had come through was right in front of them. She then said, "You may be right, Sonic." She then looked down and murmured, "That seems to fit in with this idea I've been working on, but I need a little more evidence to prove it
She was snapped out of her thoughts when Sonic spoke, "So, if that is the case, can either of you tell me just how far back in time we've gone?"
Applejack walked up to the pedestal in the center of the chamber and looked up at it. She then looked back at him and said, "Can't be too far back. Those stones that used to be the Elements of Harmony ain't here."
Twilight nodded and then held a hoof to her chin as she said, "But I wonder why we heard Princess Luna back there. Why was she talking like that? Where is she? And why would she be with this Dr. Eggman?"
Sonic glanced back over his shoulder as he heard a slight whooshing sound and saw that the portal had vanished. He then looked back at Twilight and said, "Well, looks like we'll have plenty of time to answer those questions now. Where do you think we should start looking?"
Applejack called to them, "How about there?" They both looked in her direction and saw her pointing out one of the castle's windows. They hurried over to her and stood at her sides, all of them looking out the window. It gave them a clear view of one of the castle's battlements, one that both ponies recognized.
Twilight looked at Applejack and asked, "Isn't that
Applejack turned to look at her and replied, "You got it, Sugarcube. It's the same place where we faced off against Nightmare Moon." She then turned and headed for the double doors, calling, "This way, y'all!" Both Twilight and Sonic ran after her, Twilight following behind Applejack while Sonic followed behind her.
After a few minutes of running, they made it inside the battlement and started climbing the stairs leading to the chamber where Twilight and her friends used the Elements of Harmony to restore Princess Luna to normal. When they reached the chamber itself, they found that it appeared to be empty. It looked exactly as it did when the princesses and the Elements returned to Ponyville courtesy of Pinkie Pie's split-second teleportation. They all looked around, half expecting something to come leaping out at them any second, but the chamber remained still. "Darn it! Ah would've bet money we'd find something in here!" Applejack exclaimed.
Sonic walked into the chamber as he said, "Hm, I don't what to tell you, Applejack. I mean, it was a good idea and all, but it's probably not such a big deal if there's nothing at the first spot we look. I think we're all kind of guessing here right now."
Applejack followed him, as did Twilight as she spoke, "Ah suppose that's true, Sugar-hog. We ain't exactly been here since that fateful night, so Ah guess there's no tellin' how much castle we haven't seen."
They came to a stop a short distance into the chamber and turned to face each other. Twilight said, "Maybe we should do a full examination of this chamber while we're here. Just to make absolutely sure that there's no
" She was cut off by the sound of flashing lightning and they all turned to look up at the ceiling. From where they were standing, they could see lightning shooting out of a cloud that appeared to be made up of starry, purple mist. As they watched, a silhouette began to form inside the mist
"Are you sure you're okay, Rainbow Dash? From the way you were up against that door just now, I'd say that was a nasty crash," Tails said while crouching down and examining the cyan pegasus' face.
"I'm fine, Tails, I swear!" Rainbow Dash exclaimed while pulling her face away from the fox's hands. She leapt to her hooves a moment later and stood up straight as if to prove her point.
Tails held up his hands and said, "Okay, I'll take your word for it." He then stood up, still eyeing the mare worriedly.
Spike, who was standing next to Scootaloo by Rainbow Dash's side, asked, "So you saw Twilight, Sonic, and Applejack go through this door just now?"
Rainbow nodded, "Yeah. I tried to follow them through, but it was already partway closed when I came in. Sonic must've been closer at the time; it's the only way he could've made it through while holding Twilight and Applejack. I don't think he would've made it without my help, otherwise!"
Scootaloo said, "Of course, Rainbow Dash! Nopony can outrun or outfly you! Sonic just got lucky this time!"
Tails scratched his head as he said, "Uh, sure, Scootaloo." He then turned to look at the door and examined the design on it. After a moment, he asked, "Hey, is that a unicorn with wings on the door?"
Rainbow, Scootaloo, and Spike all looked closely at the door. Spike soon said, "Yeah, you're right, Tails. In fact, it kind of looks like
"Nightmare Moon?!" Twilight and Applejack exclaimed as the mist near the ceiling condensed to form the mane and tail of the black mare in question. The Mare in the Moon shot both of them and Sonic a dry look as she spread her wings, slowly descending to the ground, her hooves touching the raised platform at the back of the chamber.
Nightmare Moon folded her wings and spoke, "Indeed it is I, little ponies. We meet again at last. And this time, the night will be eternal!"
Sonic, seemingly unfazed by the appearance of the black mare or what she said, spoke, "So you're Princess Luna, huh?"
Nightmare Moon simply said, "That name has no meaning to me. I am Nightmare Moon, little hedgehog, and I will be the last thing you will ever see."
Applejack leaned over to Twilight and asked, "Twilight, what are we gonna do?"
The lavender unicorn shakily replied, "I
I don't know, Applejack. Even if Rainbow Dash and the others were here, we don't have the Elements of Harmony. I don't know how she became Nightmare Moon again, but we can't bring Princess Luna back without them!"
Applejack looked back at Nightmare Moon and suggested, "Maybe she didn't change back? She might not be real. It could just be
She was cut off when Nightmare Moon exclaimed, "Silence! You doubt that it is truly me? Then allow me to enlighten you!" She bent her head down, pointing the top of her head at the trio as a surge of magic rushed up her horn (which, almost unnoticeably, seemed to curl near the end instead of being perfectly straight) before being fired as a white beam.
Sonic quickly grabbed both Twilight and Applejack and dove to the side, dodging the beam and rolling behind one of the pillars. Nightmare Moon spoke, "That will not help you, fool. You will either come out yourself or I will force you out!" She charged up another beam and fired it upwards, the beam causing an explosion as a crack formed in the ceiling and bits of it began to rain down into the chamber.
None of the falling pieces came close to landing near the pillar the three of them were crouching behind, but Nightmare Moon's display was worrisome nonetheless. "Well, Ah'm convinced. What are we gonna do, y'all?!" Applejack asked.
Sonic held a hand to his chin as he said, "Well, it's pretty clear she's not going to let us go, so even if we could get back to Ponyville, she'd just follow us. So there's only one way out of this." He lowered his hand and looked at the two mares with a determined stare, "We're going to have to fight her."
Twilight almost shouted, "We can't fight Nightmare Moon! Can you imagine how much magic it must've taken to return from the Moon when she was freed?!"
Sonic crossed his arms as he said, "Well, traveling to Earth from the Moon isn't as easy as walking down the street, I know that. Still, what does that have to do with anything?"
Twilight sputtered, "Everything! She captured Princess Celestia when she broke free! She used magic that I've still never read about! And she broke those stones we found with a single stomp! We only stopped her last time because we had the Elements; we stand no chance without them!"
Sonic replied, "A minute ago, you said the only way to turn her back to Luna was to use the Elements of Harmony. You didn't say anything about beating her. I'm not denying that she's got some serious magic at her disposal, but that doesn't matter. I've faced way worse stuff in the past and I've always found a way to come out on top. Even if we can't turn her back, there has to be a way we can beat her!"
Applejack looked at Twilight and said, "Ah think he's got a point, Sugarcube. Ah know this ain't an ideal situation, but we don't have a lot of choice in the matter. If we don't try to stop her, there's no tellin' what she'll do to us! We're gonna have to take the chance!"
Twilight looked down and murmured, "But
what about Luna?"
Nightmare Moon fired another beam, breaking off more of the ceiling, causing everyone to flinch at the explosion. After the rain of stone died down, Sonic placed a hand on Twilight's shoulder and said, "If she really is your friend and she can see what she's doing right now, she probably feels horrible about not being able to control herself. She'll forgive you for fighting her as long as it's to help her regain control. And I want to help her just as much as you do, Twilight. But we can't do anything as long as she's bringing the ceiling down on our heads. We don't have to seriously hurt her; we just have to subdue her. Now, aside from these beams she's shooting, what else can she do?"
Twilight held a hoof to her chin as she thought about what little she about Nightmare Moon and, by extension, Princess Luna's magic. She soon spoke, "Well, she can transform into other things, like that cloud of mist earlier. When she's like that, she can take on the form of illusions, manipulate objects, and teleport. She can also manipulate the weather to summon clouds or lightning, and she can bring inanimate objects to life."
Applejack looked at Sonic and asked, "Is any o' this helpin', Sugar-hog?"
Sonic nodded, "It is, actually. I've got a better idea of how to approach something dangerous when I have an idea of what to expect." He then turned his head to the side and said, "Before we try anything, though, let's see if I can get her to move."
Nightmare Moon began to charge up another beam, but she stopped when Sonic leapt out from behind the pillar. She watched as he began to stretch, soon realizing he was planning to charge her. "You're kidding. You're kidding, right?" she dryly asked.
Sonic got back into a running stance and said, "Dead serious, 'Moonie'!" He then started running towards her, though at a much slower pace than he would normally run.
Nightmare Moon glared at him, "I don't have time for fools like you. Begone!" Suddenly, a bolt of lightning shot over her head towards Sonic, but the hedgehog simply performed a Quick Step to the right and the bolt shot past him. Nightmare Moon growled at this and began firing more lightning bolts at him, but he continued to dodge them as he veered towards the wall on his right.
He began to run up the side of the wall as he got closer and, after dodging another lightning bolt that narrowly missed his quills, he leapt down towards Nightmare Moon, landing at her hooves and then leaping backwards as one of her bolts struck the spot where he had been standing, just missing the black mare's hooves.
She looked down at the blackened spot on the stone and then up at Sonic and said, "You are more agile than I expected. Very well; it's time for a change in tactics!" She then spread her wings and flew up, flapping her wings to remain in place. She then flew towards Sonic while using her magic to make white spots form in the air behind her, each one firing a sphere of magic energy at him. Sonic quickly performed a back flip before the first one could hit him and, upon landing, turned a full 180 and curled up into a ball, shooting off towards the entrance to the chamber as more magic shots shot towards him.
Nightmare Moon was forced to break off her attack when Sonic got close to the entrance, the hedgehog uncurling and sliding to a stop across from Applejack and Twilight, who were still behind the pillar, while the mare made a U-turn. As the mare hovered in the middle of the chamber, Applejack called to Sonic, "Hey, uh, Sonic? Ya mind if we come out now?"
Sonic called back, "Not at all. I was actually just about to ask if you two wanted to join in." At that, both Applejack and Twilight came out from behind the pillar and moved to his side as he stood up straight.
Nightmare Moon, upon seeing them all together, asked, "So you all intend to stand against me? Even without your precious Elements of Harmony?"
Applejack said, "You'd better believe it!"
Twilight, after working up her courage, added, "Sonic's our friend, and we're not about to let him stand against you all alone! We'll bring you down together, Nightmare Moon, and we'll free Princess Luna from you!"
Nightmare grunted under her breath, "Ugh, her and her bravado again
it's still so nauseating." She then looked up at the trio and yelled, "Fine, you can all stand against me if you're so foolish! I ignored you ponies last time, but not this time! This time, you're not even going to touch me!"
Applejack raised an eyebrow and looked over at Twilight, asking, "What's she talking about? She didn't ignore any o' us last time we saw her. She
Before she could finish, Nightmare Moon exclaimed, "Take this!" She then began firing beams that looked like lightning bolts from her horn at the parts of the ceiling that had fallen to the ground. As the beams struck the stones, they began to change. A small hole opened up on the front of the stones and hermit crab-like creatures soon poked out of the holes, each one's size varying based on the size of the rock it was a part of.
"Whoa! What's this?" Sonic asked.
"It's got to be her animation spell! She brought those stones to life!" Twilight exclaimed.
Nightmare Moon pointed her hoof at the trio and said, "Get them!" At her command, all of the stone creatures started scuttling towards them.
Applejack adjusted her hat as she said, "It's gonna take more than a bunch o' rock brains to stop us! Ain't that right, y'all?"
Sonic nodded, "You bet, Applejack! Come on, Twilight; let's clear a path to that mare!" Twilight nodded and the three of them ran towards the stone creatures.
As they got closer, the crab-like creatures extended their pincers to attack. When she saw this, Twilight came to a stop and her horn lit up as it was surrounded by her magenta aura. This same aura enveloped all of the closer creatures and caused them to freeze in place, allowing Sonic and Applejack to move in. They both did, Sonic bowling over some of the smaller creatures while Applejack gave them a taste of her strong workhorse legs. Once he was close enough, Sonic leapt up into the air and launched a Homing Attack at Nightmare Moon.
Before he could hit her, however, she suddenly turned into a cloud of mist, Sonic hitting nothing but air. He managed to land on his feet, but before he could react, Nightmare Moon suddenly rematerialized above his back and she fired a beam from her horn at him, knocking him down onto his face! Above him, Nightmare Moon laughed, "You might as well give up. I'm far more powerful than you are; like I said, you can't touch me!"
To her surprise, Sonic simply stood up, turned to look up at her, and grinned, "Is that so? Well, let me tell you something. That beam of yours just now? It really didn't hurt all that much. I think hitting the ground hurt me more than your beam did. You're not giving me the impression that your magic is all that powerful, you know. Besides, I know a guy who knows how to teleport, and I've beaten him before. Let's see what you've got, Nightmare Moon!"
While Sonic and Nightmare Moon faced off, Twilight and Applejack were faced with problems of their own. The stone creatures that Nightmare Moon had brought to life were more resilient than they first suspected, and now they were coming after them! At first they were able to hold them off, Applejack bucking them away while Twilight used her magic to throw them, but then they changed their tactics.
Twilight's magic was, unfortunately, limited to grabbing only what was in her range and only so much at one time, and the stone crabs quickly recognized this. When she grabbed two that came at her, several more rushed her after she threw the two and grabbed onto her before she could react. They grabbed onto her neck and sides, but they didn't immediately go at her with their pincers. Twilight immediately tried to shake them off, but Applejack could see that they weren't going to let go easily, so she ran towards the unicorn while calling, "Hang on, Sugarcube!"
Twilight saw her coming in the midst of her thrashing and called back, "No, wait Applejack! I can get these, don't worry about me!" But Applejack kept coming and, when she was in range, came to a stop and turned around, bucking the crab hanging onto Twilight's neck off of her. It didn't take them long to get the rest of them off.
"Hah! These things ain't no trouble fer me!" Applejack grinned.
Twilight, on the other hoof, was a little less optimistic at the moment and said, "Applejack, trouble!" Before either of them could react, they were suddenly tackled by the creatures that had been following Applejack and they fell over onto their sides.
"Hey, quit pinchin' me!" Applejack exclaimed as they began to snap at the two mares. Twilight could see more of them coming and she wasn't in the mood to find out just how hard these things could snap. So she called upon her magic and, a moment later, both she and Applejack disappeared in a flash of magenta. They reappeared away from the creatures and, after the aftereffects of the sudden teleportation wore off, they both climbed to their hooves. "Whoa! Good move, Twilight!" Applejack said.
Twilight smiled, but then she looked off to the side and noticed that the creatures were already scuttling towards them. "Darn! They sure figured that out fast!" she exclaimed.
Applejack walked up behind Twilight and put a hoof on her tail and said, "Fire up that magic o' yours, Twilight. We're done playing with them!" Twilight was confused at first, but then she remembered what happened in Canterlot and nodded, her horn being surrounded by her magenta aura once again. Applejack grabbed onto the end of her tail and began to rotate it in a circle while aiming her. As her tail spun around, Twilight released magenta-colored shots of magic energy from her horn, each shot hitting one of the stone crabs thanks to Applejack's good aim.
Farther back in the chamber, Sonic and Nightmare Moon were still focused on each other. So far, Nightmare had been trying to get on Sonic's nerves, breaking into mist just as he was about to strike and then attacking him from behind, but that only really worked the first time. Now that he knew she wasn't above doing that, he kept a closer eye on his surroundings and tried to anticipate where she would reappear. She still managed to catch him off guard with her lightning a few times, but he was keeping cool in spite of her tricks, doing his best to keep from attacking with reckless abandon.
Nightmare Moon disappeared after Sonic dove towards her in the air and floated back while he managed to hit the wall he was heading for feet first and ran up it. He then leapt off of it and launched into another Homing Attack as Nightmare Moon reappeared. Before she could disappear again, she was suddenly struck in the side by one of the creatures that had been thrown back farther than normal from Twilight's magic. The impact stunned her for a moment, giving Sonic all the time he needed to connect with his attack and slam Nightmare Moon into the wall, leaping back and landing on his feet while Nightmare Moon fell to the ground.
After recovering from the rough landing, Nightmare Moon looked up to see Sonic, Twilight, and Applejack standing in front of her, the latter two having taken care of her stone crabs. Instead of being worried at the sight of them, she simply smirked, "So you're all here, are you?"
Applejack replied, "That's right, Nightmare Moon! You couldn't split us up fer long! Now that we're back together, it's over fer you!"
Nightmare Moon continued to smirk, "Oh, I beg to differ. Let's change this up a little." Before any of them could react, she turned into mist once again and began to swirl around the trio like a tornado, causing all of them to shield their eyes. A few seconds later, they all disappeared from the chamber.
Seconds later, Sonic, Twilight, and Applejack found themselves standing on the roof of the battlement. They looked around for Nightmare Moon and found her hovering above the edge of the battlement, looking down at them. She smirked, "Still think your victory is assured?"
Applejack replied, "Well, sure! Why wouldn't it be?"
Nightmare Moon explained, "Because I have the advantage here. I'm far enough out of physical attack range and I can easily see what all of you are doing. So if you try to attack me, you'll be in for a long fall, and if you try to cast magic, I can easily prevent you from completing any spells. There's no chance you can escape me by teleporting, and sooner or later, the ground underneath you is likely to collapse due to the damage the ceiling sustained earlier."
Applejack blinked, "Oh
Ah guess ya have a point there."
Sonic said, "Okay, it's a slight setback, I'll give you that, Nightmare, but so what? You haven't won yet!"
Twilight nodded, "You're right, Sonic! We just have to work together like we've done so far!" Applejack smiled and nodded in agreement.
Nightmare Moon rolled her eyes, "Oh please
Let's see how confident you're feeling after a lightning strike!" Immediately after she said that, a bolt of lightning shot down past her towards the battlement. The trio dove aside, managing to avoid getting struck, but the strike created a new crack in the floor. Nightmare Moon grinned, "Not enough for you? How about this?!" She threw her head back and then jerked forward, releasing a white beam from her horn at Twilight! The lavender mare avoiding getting hit by the beam, but the explosion it generated threw her towards the middle of the battlement.
Sonic saw Nightmare Moon charging up another beam and made a dash for Twilight. He reached her just as Nightmare unleashed her beam and scooped her up before leaping towards Applejack, the beam creating a gaping hole in the middle of the battlement. When they landed, Applejack asked, "You okay, Twilight?"
After Sonic set her down, the unicorn replied, "Yeah, I think so, Applejack." She then looked back at the hole and said, "But I don't think we're going to have something to stand on for much longer."
Sonic spoke, "You're right. We've gotta stop Nightmare Moon!"
Applejack asked, "But how? You heard what she said; we're not exactly in a position to be attacking right now!"
Sonic rubbed his chin for a moment, thinking, but then he flinched along, as did Twilight and Applejack, when Nightmare Moon fired a beam towards the opposite side of the battlement. Seeing this, Sonic turned to Twilight and asked, "Twilight, can you create shields?"
Twilight replied, "I can create force fields. But if I were to make one big enough for all of us, I'm sure Nightmare Moon would try to break through it before letting us drop down."
Sonic asked, "What about a small one, then? Like one big enough for me?"
Applejack raised an eyebrow, "What good would that do, Sonic?" The blue hedgehog leaned over and quickly whispered his idea to the two mares, all of them ducking in the middle of it to try to avoid attracting a lightning bolt Nightmare Moon summoned. When he was finished, they all leaned back and Applejack said, "Okay, Ah get it now!"
Sonic asked, "So what do you think?"
Twilight nodded, "Let's do it!"
Sonic nodded back and then stood up, running over to the edge closest to Nightmare Moon. Hopping up on the stone slab in front of him, he called, "Hey, 'Nightingale'! Why are you being so distant? Do you like being alone that much?"
Nightmare Moon growled, "I would prefer to be alone than be with a loudmouth like you! Besides, this vantage point will provide an excellent view of your demise!"
Sonic grinned, "Oh, okay, I get it. That makes sense, considering you're not as powerful as you seem to believe you are. After all, you had to bring those stones to life to distract Twilight and Applejack before you'd face me. I bet if you came even just a little bit closer, you'd risk losing, and that simply wouldn't do."
Nightmare Moon growled and yelled, "You dare mock me?! So be it; if you want to speed up your demise, I would be happy to help you!" With that, she flew towards the battlement, coming to a stop a short distance away and hovering above it.
Sonic smiled, "I had a feeling that would work. Twilight, Applejack, let's go!" At his call, both the unicorn and the earth pony popped out from hiding behind the nearby stone slabs, having taken the chance to creep closer to him while he was distracting Nightmare Moon. Twilight channeled her magic energy into her horn, and seconds later, a force field formed around Sonic like a bubble.
Nightmare Moon laughed, "Ha! That will not help you, fool!" She then reared her head back as she began to charge another beam.
Applejack ran up behind Sonic and turned around. While raising her hind legs into the air, she called, "Oh yeah? Well, what if Ah did this?!" She then thrust her hind legs forward, both coming into contact with Sonic's force field and launching him up towards Nightmare Moon as she fired her beam at him.
When the beam struck the force field, it began to slow down before beginning to get pushed back down. At that moment, Sonic curled up and began spinning, pushing forward. The force field and the beam held for a moment before they both ran out of energy, both of them dissipating at roughly the same moment. Sonic, however, was still spinning and shot up towards Nightmare Moon, striking her before she had a chance to get away. As soon as he hit her in the chest, he uncurled and wrapped his arms around her neck, swinging himself around so that he was sitting on her back, just in front of her wings.
After recovering from the hit, Nightmare Moon began to thrash around in the air, trying to shake Sonic off. She was so focused on him that she forgot about Applejack and Twilight, who were watching the display unfold. Applejack soon looked over at Twilight and said, "Ah think it's time ta end this. Why don't ya help him out, Twilight?"
Twilight nodded, "Sure thing." She began to channel her magic energy into her horn again, concentrating it into a single source. Sonic saw what she was doing and, before she released the energy, he stood up and leapt off of Nightmare Moon's back, falling towards Applejack. The earth pony caught him on her back just as Twilight released the energy from her horn in a magenta-colored beam. The beam engulfed Nightmare Moon before she had a chance to get away, bathing her in magic energy for several seconds before the beam stopped.
Twilight's knees buckled under after the beam stopped, her breathing becoming labored due to how much energy she put into that attack. Both Sonic and Applejack came over to her, both of them relieved when she told them that she would be all right. But their relief was cut short when Applejack looked up and said, "Whoa Nelly! She's comin' in for a landin'!" Both Sonic and Twilight looked up at that and saw she was right; Nightmare Moon was falling towards them! "That beam shook up the roof enough as it is! If she crashes here, then it'll definitely give way!" the orange earth pony exclaimed.
Sonic growled, "Shoot! And we're not going to be able to catch her and slow her down in time at this rate! Maybe if we got up on the slabs
Twilight spoke, "Wait! I think I still have enough strength left
" Before either Sonic or Applejack could protest, her horn lit up again and soon a magenta light began to shine on her, Sonic, Applejack, and Nightmare Moon. A second later, they all vanished from the battlement, reappearing in the chamber below. Sonic, Applejack, and Twilight appeared near the entrance to the chamber while Nightmare Moon crash landed on the raised platform at the other end of the chamber.
After making sure they were all still in one piece, Twilight, Applejack, and Sonic looked across the chamber at Nightmare Moon. For a minute, she just lay there, but then her eyes opened and she stood up straight, although it took a bit of effort on her part. "Ya gotta be kiddin' me! She's still rarin' to go?" Applejack exclaimed.
Twilight said, "Maybe. It looks like she's having trouble staying upright." After saying that, she managed to straighten her own legs and get her breathing a little more under control before Applejack could comment.
Sonic shifted his legs into a pre-running stature and said, "Well, let's finish this, then! As long as we can knock her out, she won't be able to bug us, and we'll be an able to keep an eye on her while we're looking for the rest of the Elements of Harmony!" Neither Applejack nor Twilight could argue with that, so they lined up along his sides and prepared to charge. At the other end of the chamber, Nightmare Moon was doing the same and, as soon as Sonic and the girls started running, she charged towards them as fast as she could! The gap between them began to close, both sides getting closer and closer
Suddenly, a purple explosion erupted between the two sides just before they could reach each other, throwing everybody onto their backs! Sonic sat up, as did Applejack and Twilight, and placed a hand against his forehead as he shook his head. He then looked up to see Nightmare Moon surrounded by a dark purple sphere, which was being pulled upwards. Looking up, he saw a familiar monster floating in front of a vortex above them. "Hey, is that the same thing you girls saw?" he asked, directing his question at Twilight and Applejack.
Both mares looked up and their eyes widened, Twilight saying, "Yes, that's it! That's what we saw!"
Nightmare Moon, meanwhile, was struggling to escape the sphere surrounding her. As she flailed, she yelled, "What is this?! Stop! Release me at once! I command you! No! NOOOOOOOOOOO!" The monster ignored her yelling and, once she was closer to its face, disappeared with her back into the vortex it had created. The floating hole disappeared almost immediately after they went through it.
Sonic, Applejack, and Twilight all stood up, all of them still looking up at where the monster had been. "Wha
what's goin' on around here? Why'd that thing take Nightmare Moon?" Applejack asked.
I don't know, Applejack. I think I have an idea of what's going on around here, but it doesn't explain what we just witnessed," Twilight said while looking over at the orange earth pony.
Sonic looked down and he noticed something shining on the raised platform where Nightmare Moon had been. "What's that?" he asked before running towards the platform.
Twilight called, "Sonic, what's the matter?" When the blue hedgehog didn't call back to her, both she and Applejack ran after him.
Sonic soon reached the platform and ran up the steps, stopping when he reached the top. He then looked down and found, at the center of the platform, a green gem and an orange apple-shaped necklace. He quickly walked over to them and snatched them both up, looking at them for a moment. Twilight and Applejack reached the foot of the stairs after a moment and Applejack called up, "Hey, what's goin' on up there, Sugar-hog?"
Sonic turned around and came back down the stairs, saying, "Check it out!" He held up the necklace as he reached the bottom step and asked, "Does this look familiar to either of you?"
Applejack gasped, "Mah Element of Honesty necklace! Ya found it!"
Sonic nodded, "Yeah. Don't know how it ended up here, though. Someone must've dropped it." He walked over to Applejack and said, "Here, let's keep it around your neck for now." He reached around behind her neck and clipped the necklace around her, taking a few steps back when he was done.
Applejack smiled down at the necklace and then looked up at Sonic and grinned, "Thanks, Sonic!"
Sonic nodded and Twilight giggled. The lavender unicorn then started, "Um, Sonic?" When the blue hedgehog looked over at her, she spoke, "I hope you don't mind me asking, but
what's that?" As she spoke, she pointed her right hoof at the gem in Sonic's left hand.
Sonic looked down at the gem and then back up at her and said, "No, I don't have a problem telling you." He held it up and explained, "This is a little something from my world: one of the seven Chaos Emeralds!"
Both Twilight and Applejack looked concerned at his words. "Chaos Emerald? That doesn't sound like a good thing," Applejack said.
Sonic raised an eyebrow, "What do you mean?"
Twilight asked, "Remember when we told you about Discord?" At Sonic's nod, she continued, "Most of his magic is actually chaos-related. When he got loose, he didn't just mess with my friends and all the other ponies of Equestria. He also pretty much turned Equestria upside-down with his magic. He made cotton candy clouds, ballet-dancing buffalos, chocolate milk rain, and a bunch of other, well, chaotic things. I think we've kind of come to associate anything chaos-related to him."
Sonic held his right hand to his chin as he said, "Well, I guess I can understand that. But not to worry; you remember that Master Emerald that Tails mentioned?" Both Twilight and Applejack nodded, so he went on, "That emerald was actually created to control the power of the Chaos Emeralds. In the ancient past, a lot of people actually tried to misuse the Chaos Emeralds' power, so the Master Emerald was made as kind of a controller to keep that from happening again."
Twilight asked, "Really?"
Sonic nodded, "Yeah. There is good chaos and bad chaos, after all. Knuckles' people actually had a prayer for the Master Emerald that would allow it to negate the Chaos Emeralds' power. Like I said, though, it was just to keep people from abusing their power for the wrong reasons. As long as the person holding the emeralds can control them and knows how to use them, nothing can go wrong. I'm sure it would never happen, but I think it would be possible for somepony to abuse the power of your Elements of Harmony if they ever fell into the wrong hooves."
Twilight glanced down at the ground as she said, "Hm. You know, I never thought about that before, but you may have a point there, Sonic."
Sonic shrugged, "Well, like I said, I'm just guessing here." He then glanced down at the Chaos Emerald as he said, "All the same, though, I think you'll agree that it's better that we have this instead of somebody else."
Applejack nodded, "Based on what you said? Definitely!"
Sonic nodded; he then glanced around and said, "Let's get out of here and get back to everybody else. They're probably worried about us."
Twilight spoke, "I agree, but how do we get back? The portal closed up, remember?"
Sonic replied, "Yeah, I remember. But maybe it reappeared after that thing showed up. If not, we should be able to use the Chaos Emerald's power to get back. So let's go check it out!" Both Applejack and Twilight nodded and they headed for the chamber entrance after Sonic tucked the Chaos Emerald into his quills.
When they got back outside, they headed for the castle entrance, where they found a dark purple wisp floating in front of the doors. "Well, this is where it was, but what's with that little light there?" Applejack wondered.
"Maybe the portal is still here, but it needs some kind of energy to open all the way?" Twilight suggested.
Sonic reached back into his quills and pulled out the green emerald, saying, "Well, I guess it's worth a shot, then." He walked up to the wisp of light and looked at it for a moment. He then pulled his arm back and thrust it forward, saying, "Chaos
Control!" At his words, the emerald began to glow brightly and, after a moment, the portal suddenly opened!
"Whoa! How'd ya do that?!" Applejack asked.
Sonic turned to her and replied, "Oh, that? That's a little something I picked up from one of my friends. Unless you're really powerful, you can't do Chaos Control without a Chaos Emerald, due to how much power it requires."
Twilight asked, "And you don't have to worry about the Chaos Emeralds running out of power?"
Sonic shook his head, "Nope! These things have unlimited power, and even if they do get drained, it's still possible for them to regain their power. I know because it's been done before. Anyway, we should get going. I'm sure Tails can explain it better than I can, anyway." Twilight and Applejack nodded and, after Sonic slipped the emerald back into his quills, they all leapt through the portal. It deposited them back in the dark corridor. When they realized this, they ran back down the corridor, heading back to where they originally entered the corridor from.
When they stepped through the doorway at the end of the corridor, they found themselves back in the pavilion in the town hall. They also found Tails, the Mayor, Spike, Rainbow Dash, and Scootaloo waiting for them. As soon as they stepped down off the raised platform, they were rushed by Tails, Spike, and Rainbow Dash, each hugging one of them in relief. They soon stepped back and Tails asked, "Are you guys okay? You were gone for a while."
Sonic replied, "We're okay, Tails, don't worry."
Applejack looked at Rainbow Dash and said, "Hey, ya got yer Element back, Rainbow! Ya managed to beat that griffin, Ah assume?"
Rainbow replied, "Of course I did! You expected me not to?" She then looked at Applejack and said, "I see you managed to get a hold of your Element as well."
Sonic spoke, "That's not all we managed to get." He reached into his quills and pulled out the green Chaos Emerald.
Tails said, "Wow! You guys found a Chaos Emerald too?" He reached into his twin namesakes and pulled out the violet Chaos Emerald to show them.
Twilight breathed, "Wow
That means we've got two Elements and two Emeralds already."
Sonic asked, "Where'd you get that, Tails?"
Spike spoke for Tails, "We got it after we defeated this robot called Metal Sonic. He was tough, but Tails did a great job taking him out!"
Sonic grinned, "Sweet!"
Rainbow asked, "What about you guys? Where'd you find the Element of Honesty and that emerald?"
Applejack replied, "Sonic found 'em after we beat Nightmare Moon at the Ancient Castle of the Royal Pony Sisters."
Rainbow's jaw dropped at that. "Nightmare Moon?! Are you serious?! How is that possible?!" she exclaimed.
Twilight spoke, "That's a good question, Rainbow. Thanks to that encounter with Nightmare Moon, I think I can give you an answer, because I think I've figured out what's going on."
Tails said, "Yeah, me too."
Applejack asked, "Why don't both o' y'all start explain' it together? That way you can work out any differences as ya go."
The Mayor agreed, "Yes, please do. If you know what's happening to Ponyville, I want to hear it as well."
Both Twilight and Tails nodded and then they looked at each other. The fox nodded at Twilight, giving her permission to go first. The unicorn nodded back and then started, "Familiar, yet very different forms
Tails added, "Places and enemies from both of our pasts
Twilight said, "There's been a split between different universes
Tails nodded, "Ponyville has ended up in the middle of the split
They both then finished, "And we're traveling through time and space!" That explanation left everyone's mouth hanging open. Sonic and the Mayor looked at each other, as did Rainbow Dash and Applejack and Scootaloo and Spike.
Sonic soon closed his mouth and, after scratching his head, asked, "How did this happen?"
Twilight said, "I think it has something to do with that thing that took Princess Luna." She shook her head, "I mean Nightmare Moon.
You know what I mean."
Tails giggled and then said, "And I'm sure it's the same thing that took all of our friends, too." Twilight nodded in response.
Before anybody else could say anything, the ground started to shake and they all heard a loud sound outside. They all rushed over to the pavilion windows and peered out, Sonic, Tails, Twilight, and Spike looking out one window while Rainbow Dash, Applejack, Scootaloo, and the Mayor looked out through the one next to it. "There it is!" Tails exclaimed upon seeing the monster flying around outside. After flying around the town hall once, a vortex appeared in the sky and it disappeared through it.
"Where'd it go?" Scootaloo asked.
Tails said, "With the way that thing can go wherever it wants, there's no telling where it went."
Sonic turned and addressed everybody, "Well, one thing's for sure. We need to find that thing, and fast!" Everyone nodded in agreement; Sonic then turned to Tails and asked, "Tails, is your radar still working?"
The fox nodded, "Yeah!"
Sonic said, "Then fire it up. We've got friends to find and save, and that includes Princess Luna!"