After battling for another minute, Chrysalis launched another beam at Shadow, the black hedgehog responding with a variation of Chaos Spear. He fired several smaller spears, all of which hit the beam and held it back for a moment, allowing Shadow to finish charging. He then leapt up as the beam broke through and fired a much larger Chaos Spear at her, which sent her flying back into the force field. As she fell to the ground, the force field finally gave way, shattering into pieces that disappeared as soon as they hit the ground.
Seeing the Changeling Queen collapsed on the ground, Scootaloo cheered, "Yeah, he did it!"
Apple Bloom asked, "Sis, can ya believe he took that mean ol' changeling down all by himself?"
Applejack smiled, "Ah may not agree with some o' his fightin' methods, but that Shadow feller is strong fer sure!"
Sweetie Belle noticed Shadow was walking towards Chrysalis and asked, "What's he doing?"
Knuckles growled, "Simple. Shadow is the predator and the queen is his prey."
Fluttershy whimpered from behind her hooves, "You mean he's going to
As he reached her, the Changeling Queen growled, "This can't be
I am ruler of the swarm
The only one who has defeated Celestia and conquered Canterlot
As he stood in front of her, Shadow said, "I can see why it didn't last. The fear in your eyes says it all." He wrapped his left hand around her horn and raised his right foot over her head (causing some of the members of the group to panic and start moving towards him), saying, "And if I may quote Charles Darwin
Suddenly, a voice yelled, "NO!" Shadow looked up, only to get struck in the face and knocked backwards. After landing on his back, he looked up to see Sonic standing in front of the queen.
"Sonic? You dare get in my way?" Shadow growled.
"I'm over here, dude!" Shadow looked back to see Sonic, Tails, Twilight, Pinkie Pie, Celestia, and Luna standing a little past where the force field had been, but otherwise nowhere near him. He looked back to see the other Sonic still standing in front of Chrysalis.
She chuckled, "Ah yes, I forgot to mention my changeling army. I happened to locate my fellow changelings and bring them together before I came across Ponyville."
Suddenly, Espio yelled, "Surprise attack coming from above!" Everybody turned around and looked up where he was looking, only to see multiple green and black specks coming down from the white sky! Nobody could tell how many changelings there were, but there was a sizable amount and they looked like they were coming in for a bombing run! The changelings began to crash-land near the group, all of them surrounded by their species' green aura. At first, they only landed nearby, but then they began to aim, forcing everybody to move away.
Shadow, meanwhile, turned back to Chrysalis, only to realize she was gone and there were now two Sonics standing side-by-side in front of him! Shadow leapt to his feet and charged them, but the Sonic on his right suddenly changed into a mirror image of him and halted his charge, mimicking the black hedgehog as he tried to push past. Shadow raised a fist to strike the imposter on the head, but as soon as he did, the changeling changed into Rainbow Dash and punched him away with both forehooves. Shadow fell onto his back, landing near Tails and Rouge. Looking up, he realized that the changelings had them surrounded.
Shadow managed to stand up, but the changelings began to change before anyone else in the group could move. And they didn't all change into Twilight and her friends. Some changed into the Cutie Mark Crusaders. Some changed into Gilda. Some changed into Spike. Some changed into the Princesses. And some even changed into Sonic and his friends.
Once they were completely surrounded by lookalikes, Rouge spoke, "Someone remind me again what these little pony beasties are."
Tails looked at her and said, "They're changelings, Rouge."
A group of changelings imitating Tails leaned over and repeated, "They're changelings, Rouge." They all grinned/smirked after saying that.
Luna looked at Celestia and asked, "Sister, what should we do?"
Her sister thought for a moment before saying, "They're all following their queen's orders. If we can defeat her, the changelings should retreat." She looked at Shadow and asked, "Where did Chrysalis go?"
Shadow growled, "She disguised herself again."
Knuckles said, "She's trying to recover by hiding in a sea of lookalikes."
Sonic thumped his right fist into the palm of his left hand, saying, "Then it looks like we're going to have to coax her out."
Knuckles grinned, "I don't have a problem with that."
Getting into a fighting stance, Sonic said, "Remember, once the fighting starts, stick to your own doubles! Don't attack anyone else unless you know for sure that it's a changeling!" Everybody else, including Celestia and Luna, prepared themselves as he finished speaking. The first wave of changelings soon leapt at the group; they responded in kind, a large cloud of dust being kicked up as the brawl began.
For the brief time that they could all tell the difference, everybody lashed out as many changeling imposters as they could, which wasn't hard considering they were all coming straight towards the group. Once everybody began to spread out, however, they all began to focus only on the changelings that were imitating them specifically.
While most of the changelings leapt into the battle ready to fight, some were just now realizing that they weren't used to having hands or standing on two legs. As such, even Spike, who, just like Twilight, was going off of bits and pieces from Rainbow Dash and Applejack for close-quarters fighting, was able to briefly take advantage of their confusion. The rest of them, though, were able to adapt to their new forms quickly and they began to throw down with the rest of them.
In the midst of the fighting, Spike and each of the Cutie Mark Crusaders found themselves being chased by changelings imitating them. As they were running, they all realized they were headed for a four-way collision. At the last second, they all managed to step to the side, resulting in a pileup of changelings. The four of them nodded to each other before they all leapt upon the pile, a Looney Tunes-style dust cloud being raised as they began attacking the changelings, eventually sending them all flying out of the cloud. When the cloud cleared, Spike and the Crusaders were all sitting back-to-back, panting and looking dusty.
Suddenly, they sensed a presence above them and looked up. And standing right over them was a pair of Celestias, both looking down at them with angry eyes! The fillies and baby dragon all yelped and huddled together as the two princess lookalikes extended their wings, rearing back on their hind legs, and raised their hooves over them when suddenly their heads jerked to the side. The two of them looked at each other and then glared at each other, both thinking the other hit them.
Spike, Scootaloo, Sweetie Belle, and Apple Bloom all looked up after a moment and looked on with wide eyes when they saw the two Celestias locked in a hoof/slap fight. A second later, their heads suddenly hit each other, dazing them before something suddenly knocked both of them away. The four of them were confused until Espio appeared right between where they had been standing. Spike said, "Hey, thanks, Espio!"
The chameleon nodded, holding his right index and middle fingers up near his horn as he replied, "Your small sizes give you an advantage. Make the most of it, but be careful." He then camouflaged himself, seemingly vanishing into thin air. Spike and the Crusaders looked at each for a moment before standing up and dashing back into the thick of the battle.
Nearby, Shadow was backing up from a group of Shadow changelings when his backside suddenly came into contact with what felt like fur and feathers. Looking back over his shoulder, he found Gilda looking back at him. The two were on relatively good terms, considering they both had ended up together in the crystal mine, so Shadow turned back to his changelings while Gilda did the same. Before he could attack, however, he felt a burst of magic behind him and turned around, only to find a changeling hissing in his face. Unfortunately for the changeling, Shadow immediately recognized him as a threat and swung his left fist into the side of his muzzle, knocking him away.
While his back was turned, the Shadow changelings took the opportunity to leap at him. Shadow turned to see them all overhead, all with their arms outstretched. As soon as they were within range, however, Shadow pressed his left hand against the ground and held himself up while he swept his legs around with the jets on his Air Shoes spewing flames. And unfortunately, the changelings had no way to dodge the flames in midair, so they all ended up getting burnt.
The black hedgehog turned around at a shout to find the Gilda changelings leaping at him too. Before they could reach the height of their leap, however, the one in the middle suddenly slashed the changeling on her left with her claws and then roundhouse punched the changeling on her right, causing both changelings to crash into the others. Shadow looked at the remaining Gilda as she spread her wings and landed a second later. She grinned at Shadow, "Got your back." Shadow smiled; this was the real Gilda.
A second later, they both heard Sonic shout, "Heads up!" They turned to see Sonic and Amy running towards them, the pink hedgehog holding up her Piko Piko Hammer. They both turned to see a line of Sonics and Amys rushing towards them.
As they got closer, Sonic curled up into a ball and Amy held her hammer back, saying, "Mind if I play through?" She then swung her hammer like a croquet mallet, sending Sonic flying up into a fake Amy and then whacking him into several more changelings before jumping up and sending him down towards a fake Sonic.
As Sonic bounced up after hitting the fake, Gilda glanced back behind Amy to see a fake Shadow coming towards her. Spreading her wings, Gilda flew up and caught Sonic in her right claw and then turned and held her arm back before throwing him directly at the fake. After rebounding off the faker's head and landing, Sonic looked at Gilda and grinned, "Nice throw!" The griffin smirked at him at that. She, along with Sonic and Shadow, then watched as Amy ran after a fake Sonic, yelling something about impersonating her blue beau.
Elsewhere, Rouge was surrounded on all sides by changeling imposters, almost all of them taking the form of a male, be it Sonic, Tails, Knuckles, Shadow, Espio, Cheese, or Spike. The treasure hunter was currently handling the situation well, all things considered, but she was also starting to tire out. After kicking away a Spike imposter and grabbing and swinging an Espio changeling around before throwing it at
someone or something, she placed her hands on his knees as she leaned forward and panted. She looked up at the glaring eyes all around her and smirked, "Take it easy, boys. You'll all get your turn."
Two changelings, one pretending to be Knuckles and the other pretending to be Shadow, suddenly charged her, apparently not the patient kind of changelings. In response, Rouge spread her wings and took off, the two changelings colliding into each other headfirst. As she began to fly away from the gathering, Rouge muttered, "Mashers. I think this is why I prefer spy work over the missions Shadow is usually assigned." Suddenly, she felt something grab her legs and looked back to see a Tails changeling trying to pull her down. "Ugh! You sure are fresh," Rouge quipped.
A shout from in front of her caught the bat's attention and she turned her head to look. And there was Rarity, flying towards with her back leg extended in a flying hoof kick. She wasn't aiming for Rouge, though; she was aiming for the changeling holding onto her. And she struck it square in the chest, knocking the wind out of it and causing it to release Rouge. Rarity landed on her hooves moments after the changeling ended up on its back, Rouge landing behind her a second later. The bat glanced back at her and said, "Hm. Not bad at all."
Rarity looked over her shoulder at her, saying, "I hope you're not giving up, Rouge. Surely you wouldn't dream of ducking out before me?"
Rouge smirked, "Of course not. I just needed a minute to catch my breath." She pressed her hands together and pushed them out before saying, "Let's get back into it. And how about you show me what else you're capable of while we're at it?" Rarity nodded before they charged towards the changelings surrounding them.
And they weren't the only ones working together. They were all still moving around, but everybody was sticking together to help bring down the changeling horde. Sonic and Twilight, Tails and Fluttershy, Knuckles and Applejack, Cream, Cheese, and Rainbow Dash, Espio and Pinkie Pie (and her party cannon), Amy, Spike, and the Cutie Mark Crusaders, Shadow and Gilda, Celestia and Luna
they were all working together to defeat this enemy.
Amidst all the fighting, however, everybody failed to notice that, out of all the changelings, there was one that was not battling. This one kept moving around the field, changing its form and ducking behind other changelings whenever someone came close to it. Now in the form of Twilight Sparkle, the changeling could see how badly the situation was becoming for the changelings and turned to flee towards Ponyville.
Knuckles noticed the changeling as he sent an Applejack changeling flying towards the real earth pony. He yelled, "Hey, Twilight's running away!"
Sonic called to him, "No she's not, Knuckles! She's right here!" He pointed at the lavender unicorn next to him, specifically her horn, which was shooting off a few magenta sparks as she readied another spell.
Tails looked and yelled, "That's got to be the queen!" The Twilight imposter began to run faster at that.
Both Shadow and Gilda heard the fox and, after dealing with one last changeling, turned and started chasing after Chrysalis. As he ran, Shadow called, "You handle the rest of these! We'll take care of her!"
Chrysalis growled when she saw Shadow and Gilda following her, "Confound these
creatures, they force me to do this!" While still running, she let out a loud insect call.
Back near Whitetail Wood, Applejack looked up as she heard the queen's call echo. "What was that?" she wondered.
"It sounded like an insect call," Fluttershy said.
Tails looked at the changelings and noticed that they had all frozen up at the sound of the call. "What's up with them?" he asked. He got his answer a second later when they all suddenly ditched their magic disguises and spread their wings, flying away. "What's going on?" Tails wondered.
"It would appear they are retreating," Celestia said.
"Awesome! That means Shadow must've caught the queen!" Rainbow Dash cheered.
Does that mean what we heard was a call for help? Or perhaps something else?" Luna mused.
Sonic noticed shapes moving in the distance, near the silhouettes of the buildings in Ponyville. A LOT of shapes. "Hey, uh
Does Ponyville look a little livelier now?" he asked.
Twilight looked where he was looking, seeing the same thing he saw. After thinking for a moment, her eyes went wide as she muttered, "Oh no
Spike heard her and walked over, asking, "What's wrong, Twilight?"
The lavender unicorn replied, "Remember when Queen Chrysalis said she gathered her changeling army?" At Spike's confused nod, she gestured towards Ponyville and said, "I think that's the rest of it."
Some of the others exclaimed, "WHAT?!" at this thought.
Sonic looked back at Ponyville and said, "Yeesh! If that's the case, then that must've been a combination regroup/attack call we heard!"
Celestia commanded, "We must get back to Ponyville, immediately!" Not one to deny an order from a princess, they all took off running in the direction of the town.
Sonic and Rainbow Dash, unsurprisingly, were the first ones to reach the buildings closest to Whitetail Wood. Even though they were still near the outskirts of the town, it was pretty clear what was going on. Ponies that had been brought back had been forced out of their now damaged homes and were now running through the streets of Ponyville. The changelings were taking advantage of the confusion, some chasing after the citizens while others posed as the ponies being chased. From where they were, Sonic and Rainbow could see Mayor Mare, the Cakes, Lyra, and Bon-Bon among the ponies being hassled.
Everybody else arrived soon after, all of them quickly taking in the scene before them. "This is terrible!" Cream whimpered.
"Wowie-kazowie! Look at all of 'em! I wonder how many there are!" Pinkie exclaimed.
"I don't think this is the time to be counting them, Pinkie. Especially not with all the other ponies that are being forced into this," Tails said.
Rainbow asked, "Any ideas?"
Twilight spoke, "Um
Change of plans. We, uh, we're going to need somepony to be ready to move the real ponies somewhere safe as soon as we've located them. That should make some of the changelings' disguises useless if the ponies aren't out on the streets."
Sonic suggested, "Sounds like a job for those of us who don't like to fight."
Twilight nodded, "Yeah, good idea." She turned to Fluttershy, Cream, Cheese, Tails, and Amy and said, "Fluttershy, Cream, Cheese, I want you three to stay off to the side while we try to locate the real Ponyville citizens. Once we've found them, I want you to take them somewhere safe." The three of them nodded; Twilight then turned to Tails and Amy, saying, "Tails, Amy, you two will keep an eye on them, both in case the changelings try to attack them and in the event that it's not the real pony." They nodded in understanding.
Sonic said, "All right, guys! Shadow and Gilda are probably already trying to repel them! Let's get in there and help them out!" Everybody nodded and Luna and Celestia took to the skies while everybody else dashed into Ponyville.
As they separated from the rest of the group, Tails called to Amy, Cream, Cheese, and Fluttershy, "Let's see if we can find the Mayor first! The changelings might have decided that she's one pony that needs to be taken care of!" They nodded in agreement and began heading in the direction of the town hall.
When they reached the town hall (after leaping over and going under various ponies and changelings along the way), they found a small crowd of changelings (some of them in disguise) gathered around the front of the building. They all soon noticed the small group behind them and, after a moment, they all adopted menacing smiles. Tails, Cream, Cheese, and Fluttershy were all unnerved at the sight of that many teeth, but Amy remained calm. She raised her hammer over her head and said, "Leave them to me!" She then charged forward as all the changelings leapt at her.
Fluttershy, Tails, Cream, and Cheese all watched on in silence as Amy's hammer began to make short work of the changelings. Most she sent flying with sideways swings while with others she performed a downwards swing, bringing the full weight of her hammer down on them. As the last of the changelings began to regroup, Amy held her hammer out at her side and began to spin around like a top, plowing into the changelings and sending them flying away from the town hall. At the end of it all, there was a pile of twitching changelings surrounding the building.
Cream and Cheese hurried over to Amy after she stopped spinning, the pink hedgehog leaning on her hammer. "You were amazing, Amy!" Cream said. Cheese gave a cheer.
Tails and Fluttershy came over, Fluttershy asking, "Oh Amy, are you going to be okay?"
Although dazed, Amy looked up and replied, "Yeah, I'll be okay, Fluttershy. But I'm going to need a minute; I feel a little dizzy." She looked over at Tails and said, "Go help the Mayor, Tails. I have a feeling you'll be able to cause less damage in an enclosed space than I will."
Tails nodded, "Right." He then hurried past her, saying, "Let's hurry!" Fluttershy, Cream, and Cheese quickly followed him, still thinking of Amy but knowing she would be able to handle herself if anything happened.
Luckily, the front door wasn't blocked, so they didn't need to force their way in. Tails led the way up to the Mayor's office, all of them worried as they made their way past furniture that had been knocked over. They soon reached the upper levels of the town hall, where they found a small horde of changelings trying to break down the double doors leading into the Mayor's office. They were unprepared for the group coming up behind them and were easily subdued by a few tail whips from Tails and some stomping and headbutting from Cream and Cheese. Once they were moved off to the side, Tails knocked on the doors and said, "Miss Mayor! It's me, Tails!"
After a second, one of the doors opened slowly and the tan mare looked out through the crack. "Is it really you? And Fluttershy and
who's this?" she asked.
Tails answered, "Cream and Cheese. And yes, it is us. We have to get you out of here before any more changelings show up."
Mayor Mare murmured, "Okay
But where are we going?"
Tails thought for a second before saying, "As long as it's not damaged, the library. It should be big enough for all the ponies to stay in until this is over."
The Mayor, feeling a little better now, opened the door all the way and replied, "Okay. Does that mean you're going to help the rest of the ponies in Ponyville as well?"
Tails nodded, "We're going to get to them once we've found a safe place for them to go."
Cream added, "We don't want them to get pulled back into all this fighting after we've helped them get away from it." Cheese nodded in agreement.
Mayor Mare sighed, "All right. Lead the way." Cream, Cheese, and Fluttershy moved to the mare's sides and stayed beside her as Tails led the way out of the town hall.
While they regrouped with Amy and started heading for the library, everybody else was hurrying around town, trying to pick out the real ponies from the changelings. In one part of the town, Knuckles and Applejack were hurrying down the street, heading for a group of changelings surrounding a pony with Espio sneaking along behind them. As soon as they reached the group of changelings, the two of them started tearing into the changeling gathering.
After about a minute, all of the changelings had been knocked out. While Knuckles checked to make sure none of them would get back up anytime soon, Applejack trotted over to the pony they had been harassing, which turned out to be Lyra. Applejack offered a hoof to the unicorn, helping her up and saying, "C'mon, darlin', get up. You're okay now." She let go of Lyra's hoof and turned her head to look around. "Now if only Ah could find Fluttershy's group, we could get ya outta here," she murmured. She felt a tap on her shoulder and turned to see Lyra grinning at her. A second later, a green burst of magic enveloped her and she turned out to be a changeling! "Oh, come on!" Applejack cried in exasperation, just before the changeling tackled her.
Knuckles turned to see the orange earth pony on her back and the changeling standing over her, hissing. He immediately dashed towards her and delivered his fist to the changeling's side, sending it crashing into a nearby house. Before he could help her up, Applejack yelled, "Knuckles, look out!" Knuckles looked back over his shoulder and saw three changelings above him, looking to pile on top of them.
Before they could land on Knuckles, however, something slammed into them from the side, knocking one into the other two and leaving them sprawled out on the ground. Both Applejack and Knuckles looked around, Applejack thinking a spell was responsible for stopping the changelings. A moment later, Espio appeared in front of the changelings. Knuckles grinned, "Thanks for the assist, Espio!" The chameleon nodded and then disappeared again.
"Where'd he go?" Applejack asked as Knuckles pulled her up.
"He's a chameleon and a ninja. I'm sure he's around," Knuckles replied. Applejack shrugged and they moved on, searching for more ponies.
A short while later
Luna was flying over Ponyville, her eyes scanning the fight going on below. She'd managed to track down Sonic and Tails a few minutes ago and get a report from them. The changelings had left the library alone, so it was being used as a temporary shelter for the citizens of Ponyville. Since Mayor Mare had been sent there, the real Lyra, the Cakes (they'd been easy to pick out since Cup Cake was carrying the twins and Carrot Cake had been staying close by her), and a stallion with an hourglass for a cutie mark (Tails said he thought he said his name was Time Turner) had been relocated to the library as well, among other ponies. It was clear they were making headway as far as getting the citizens of Ponyville out of danger, but it was difficult getting the word around to the others and still having to deal with lookalikes.
As she continued flying, Luna spotted something. Taking a closer look, she saw that it was Shadow and Gilda with a horde of changelings in front of them and a foal hiding behind them. Looking at the foal, she noticed he seemed familiar
"Pipsqueak!" she exclaimed suddenly, swooping down and landing directly behind the changelings. One of them turned around and let out a cry upon seeing her, some of the others turning around as well. Before they could attack, Luna charged up her magic and fired a lightning bolt from her horn at the changelings, electrocuting and stunning the whole group, which made it easy for Shadow and Gilda to take care of them.
As soon as the way was clear, Pipsqueak stood up and hurried over to the Princess of the Night, crying, "Princess Luna!"
Luna raised a hoof and placed it on the foal's back once he was close enough, comforting him as she said, "Pipsqueak! Art thou well?" The white earth pony nodded shakily.
Luna turned her head when she heard someone call, "Hey!" She saw Sonic running towards her, the blue hedgehog skidding to a stop near her. He spoke, "I saw you coming in for a landing, Luna. Is everything okay?"
Pipsqueak looked up at Luna and asked, "Who is this, Princess Luna?"
Luna looked down at him and replied, "An ally, Pipsqueak, and perhaps a new friend." She then looked up at Sonic and said, "I am fine, Sonic. But it is not safe out here for Pipsqueak."
Sonic nodded, "Okay, then let's
" Before he could finish, a Sonic changeling leapt at him, trying to attack him. Sonic heard him coming and barely managed to avoid the fist that was swung at his face. "Oh, hey there, faker," he grunted before kicking the changeling in the face.
Soon more changelings appeared on the scene, Sonic, Shadow, and Gilda leaping into action to deal with them while Luna held Pipsqueak close. After Spin Dashing a changeling away, Shadow said, "This fight is beginning to get out of control."
Gilda looked up at him as she kept a changeling restrained underneath her and asked, "You mean it was controlled to begin with?"
Leaping back, Shadow clarified, "We cannot keep protecting each other, and especially not when it's hard to tell who's friendly and who's not."
Sonic nodded, "Yeah, things could stand to settle down."
Luna said, "If only we had all of the Elements of Harmony, we could surely drive them all out at once, similar to what Celestia said Shining Armor and Princess Cadance did at the royal wedding."
Sonic asked, "Hm, a way to take them all out at once, huh? That gives me an idea." He started running down the street, calling, "Come on, Luna! We've gotta find Tails and get Pipsqueak to safety!"
Luna nodded, "Ah, yes." She looked down at the little earth pony as she levitated him up onto her back. She looked back at him and said, "Hold on tight, Pipsqueak. I will be careful not to drop you." Pipsqueak nodded and grabbed onto her tightly as she spread her wings. Looking back at Shadow and Gilda, Luna asked, "Will the two of you be all right?"
Shadow replied, "We'll be fine. Just go before any more changelings show up!" Luna nodded and then took off, flying after Sonic.
Sonic hurried through the streets of Ponyville, his eyes scanning for Tails while Princess Luna flew close behind him. After a few minutes, he spotted the fox, along with Cream, Cheese, Fluttershy, and Amy, escorting Bon-Bon to the library. He called, "Hey Tails!"
Tails turned around and saw Sonic and Luna coming towards him. He stopped and waited for Sonic, Cheese and the girls stopping when they realized he wasn't following them. Once Sonic came to a stop in front of him and Luna landed next to the hedgehog, Tails said, "Hey Sonic! Hey Luna! What's going on?"
Luna turned slightly profile and showed him Pipsqueak, saying, "Our young friend here, Pipsqueak, needs sanctuary. Can you escort him there, young Tails?"
The fox nodded, "Of course! Leave it to me, Luna!"
Sonic helped Pipsqueak off the Lunar Princess' back and held him out to Tails. As his friend took the young foal in his arms, Sonic asked, "By the way, Tails, you still have the Warp Ring, right?"
Tails looked up at him and replied, "Yes, of course I do, Sonic. Why?"
The blue hedgehog answered, "I've got an idea that just might take care of all the changelings at once, but I'll need that ring to make it work."
Tails fished his right hand into his right tail for a second and brought the ring out. Holding it out to Sonic, he said, "Here it is. What are you going to do?"
Sonic grinned as he took the ring in his right hand, "You'll see!" He took off running again, calling back to everyone, "I'll catch up with you guys later! I've gotta find Knuckles!"
Luna looked at Tails after a second and asked, "Do you know what he is going to do, Tails?"
Tails shrugged, "No idea, but
I have faith in him! He won't let us down!" He then bowed to the princess and turned, running after Amy's group, who had started moving again, while Luna decided to listen to what he said and took to the air again.
After a few minutes of running, Tails and the others arrived at the library, Amy knocking on the door to alert the ponies inside. Lyra looked out the window on the ground floor and her eyes lit up when she saw Bon-Bon. The door instantly swung open thanks to her magic and she pounced upon the earth pony, hugging her. Tails, Pipsqueak, Cream, Cheese, and Amy all looked on curiously while Fluttershy tried to keep a straight face. She's heard the rumors flying around Ponyville about the two roommates. She hoped she wasn't about to learn whether or not there was any truth to them now of all times.
Thankfully, the Mayor poked her head out through the door and asked, "What's going on out here?"
Fluttershy turned to her and murmured, "Oh, um, sorry Miss Mayor. We, um
Cream helped her, "We brought Miss Bon-Bon and Pipsqueak here so that they would be safe, Miss Mayor!"
The tan mare looked at the pale cream earth pony as said pony leaned back, looking at Lyra's face. "That's a relief. I'm glad they haven't been hurt either. But please, I must ask you that you all come inside now!" Mayor Mare said. Everybody, including Lyra and Bon-Bon, followed her through the doorway into the library, the Mayor shutting the door behind them.
Tails set Pipsqueak down and looked around the ground floor of the library as he stood near the table in the center. "From the looks of those shelves, it looks like everybody's doing okay," he noted.
Mayor Mare came over to him and Pipsqueak and said, "Yes, so far, Tails. We've been doing our best to keep things together."
Amy asked, "What do you mean?"
Mrs. Cake came out of the kitchen carrying Pound Cake in one hoof and said, "My husband and I are the only ones who've had something to do, what with the twins and all, dearie. So far, everypony else has been too worried about what's going on outside to do much of anything."
The Mayor added, "Aside from waiting for good news, that is."
Tails nodded, "I see. Well, hopefully whatever Sonic is planning will take care of our little changeling infestation in a timely manner."
Amy held up her hammer and said, "Come on, Tails! There were some other ponies running around out there and they need our help!"
Tails nodded, "Right." He looked back at the Mayor and waved, saying, "We'll be back, Miss Mayor. And we'll keep you up to date on the situation." He then followed Amy outside, Cream, Cheese, and Fluttershy following him out. The Mayor watched them go with a worried look on her face for a moment before shutting the door.
As she stepped away from the door, Mr. Cake came out of the kitchen carrying Pumpkin Cake with his teeth. Cup Cake noticed him coming over and asked, "Is everything all right, honey?"
Carrot Cake dropped Pumpkin Cake into one of the carriers still on his wife's back before saying, "Nothing to worry about, sugarplum. Pumpkin Cake was just trying to eat one of the towels in the kitchen." He looked up and noticed Bon-Bon standing next to Lyra for the first time. "Oh! Bon-Bon, did you just get here?" he asked.
The pale cream earth pony replied, "Yes, Mr. Cake. Rarity and that bat, er, woman helped me when a group of changelings had me cornered in an alley. Fluttershy and the others with her then walked me over here." She then sighed, "It's safer in here, but I feel so helpless."
Cup Cake looked at her sympathetically, "I don't enjoy being cooped in the library because it's the safest place in Ponyville right now either, dearie, but what else can we do?"
Lyra looked at her incredulously, "What else can we do?! There's plenty of things we could be doing right now, Mrs. Cake! Ponies we know and human-like animals are out there right now, fighting for our homes and town while we're sitting in here doing nothing to help them!"
Bon-Bon nervously tapped her shoulder, saying, "Lyra, take it easy
Carrot Cake was about to say something, but didn't get a chance to before Lyra turned to Bon-Bon and said, "No, Bon-Bon! I've been worried about you ever since we got separated in the confusion! Ever since I got here, I've been trying so hard to keep worst-case scenarios out of my mind that I'm about ready to explode! The changelings already tried to take over Canterlot; you really want to just sit around here and wait to see if they'll succeed with Ponyville?!"
Mayor Mare sighed as she pressed a hoof against her forehead. Repositioning her glasses, she looked at Lyra and asked, "What are you saying, Lyra?"
The aquamarine unicorn looked at the tan mare and replied, "With all due respect, Miss Mayor, if they can fight for our homes, then so can we!"
Tails, Amy, Rarity, Rouge, Twilight, and Celestia were surrounded by changelings on all sides, all the changelings disguising themselves. They had changed strategies; although they were still trying to use their shapeshifting magic to confuse them, the army had regrouped and decided to overwhelm their enemies in sheer numbers. Most of the others were on the other side of the changelings, trying to fight their way through the army to help the ones who were surrounded, but even Espio's camouflage abilities couldn't help him get past them.
In the middle, four changelings jumped at the group, but two of them were quickly shot down by beams of magic energy from Twilight and Celestia. The other two ended up on the business end of Amy's hammer, one sent flying and the other smashed against the ground. On the other side, several more came after Tails, Rouge, and Rarity. Tails grabbed Rarity's forehooves and took to the air, the white unicorn sticking out one of her back legs as the fox began to spin around. Rarity's spinning kick sent two of them flying, but the last one leapt over the attack. It was about to land on Tails when Rouge sent it flying back into the changelings surrounding them with a Screw Kick.
Getting back together after the attacks, Rarity groaned, "This is hopeless! We're completely surrounded and every changeling we take out will only get replaced by another! What are we going to do?!"
Tails looked at her and said, "Well, we can't give up, Rarity! They aren't going to be any nicer to us if we do!"
Rarity cried, "But how are we going to get past this many changelings?!"
Tails said, "We'll think of something! There's got to be a light at the end of the tunnel!"
Rouge smirked at him, "If there's no light, it's not a tunnel, kid. It's a hole. And this one's full of nasty, changeling beasties."
Celestia noticed the changelings at the front were beginning to tense up. "Look out! They're up to something! Twilight, be ready to cast a force field spell if the need arises," she said. Twilight nodded and readied her magic while everyone else took on a defensive position. The changelings began to charge at them
And suddenly, the ground underneath them turned watery, a pair of watery arms suddenly reaching out of the middle of the ground. One arm wrapped around Tails, Amy, and Rouge's waists while the other grabbed Rarity, Twilight, and Celestia. Before any of them could react, the arms pulled them towards the ground, all of them sinking into the ground as it returned to normal. All the charging changelings collided with each other, leaving them all on the ground with very sore heads. The rest of the changelings looked around frantically; where did their prisoners go?!
Celestia, Twilight, Rarity, Tails, Amy, and Rouge suddenly found themselves in front of the town hall, far away from the open area where they had been surrounded by changelings. As they lay on the ground, shocked at the sudden change in scenery, they heard Sonic say, "Sorry to leave you guys hanging, but it looks like we made it back just in time!"
They looked up to see Sonic standing in front of them, holding the Warp Ring in his left hand. On his right side was Knuckles, the echidna holding up a large green emerald. On the other side of the emerald was an echidna girl with peach-orange fur and a creature that was made of water with green eyes. On Sonic's left side was a large red and black robot with a yellow head and the omega symbol on his shoulders and a large dark violet cat wearing a belt and sandals and holding a fishing rod.
"Big!" Amy said happily, standing up and running over to the cat.
"Omega!" Rouge smiled, standing up straight and looking at him.
"Chaos and Tikal!" Tails exclaimed. He looked over at Sonic and said, "So that's what you wanted the Warp Ring for!"
Sonic nodded, "Yep! Since the queen called in reinforcements, I figured we might as well answer in kind!"
Tails, Twilight, and Celestia stood up, Twilight looking over the new arrivals excitedly. "Wow
a robot that's actually on our side," she murmured. She then looked at Chaos and Tikal, muttering, "And that's Tikal
and Chaos without any Chaos Emeralds."
Celestia looked down at the water creature, asking, "It was you who helped us? And your name is Chaos?"
The water creature nodded; Tikal then said, "Please do not be afraid of Chaos. Sonic and Knuckles explained what is happening to us, to all of us, and we all came to help." Omega assumed a fighting position at that and Big nodded slowly.
Tails asked, "So what's the plan?"
Knuckles said, "We should be able to use the Master Emerald and the Chaos Emeralds to expel the changelings from Ponyville all at once. But it's going to take a little time to get the Master Emerald ready, and the changelings might try to run away before we're ready."
Sonic nodded, "So while they're still unaware, we're going to use the Master Emerald's power to expose the changelings and then make sure they don't try to escape for round two!"
Rarity shrugged, "I don't quite see how it's going to remove those wretched changelings, but if you need help protecting your large, beautiful gem, I would be more than happy to help."
Knuckles nodded, "All right." He looked at Tikal and said, "Let's do it, Tikal!" The female echidna nodded and they both placed their hands on the Master Emerald. Everyone watched as they closed their eyes and seemed to focus, keeping their palms flat on the emerald as they mumbled something. Suddenly, it began to glow brighter and unleashed a green wave that spread in all directions!
Twilight asked, "What was that?!"
Knuckles grinned, "Just a little dose of the Master Emerald's power. It should strip the changelings of their disguises and keep them from changing into anyone."
Sonic smiled, "Okay! See if you can get the Master Emerald somewhere where it's less open, but it can still spread out far! We'll keep them busy for you!" Knuckles and Tikal nodded and, except for Rarity and Celestia, everybody headed out into Ponyville. Twilight went with Sonic and Tails, Amy, Big, and Chaos set out to find Cream, Cheese, and Fluttershy, and Rouge and Omega went to look for Shadow.
As Sonic, Tails, and Twilight hurried through the streets, they came across Mayor Mare, who was carrying a golf club on her back. "Miss Mayor! What are you doing here?" Twilight asked as the three of them came to a stop in front of the tan mare.
The Mayor replied, "I know you're all concerned about our safety, Twilight, you and all of your friends. But we've hidden long enough; it's time we fought for Ponyville too."
Tails asked, "What? But what about
The Mayor smiled, "Lyra gave us some real food for thought, Tails."
Sonic pointed behind the tan mare, "Food, huh? Well, he looks kind of hungry to me." The Mayor turned around to see a changeling standing a short ways down the street, getting ready to charge.
The Mayor stepped forward and said, "Let me take care of this one for you." She took the golf club off her back and held it in her forehooves, looking at the changeling as she stood on her hind legs. The changeling soon charged at her, thinking she would be no problem. When it was close enough, the Mayor swung the club back and yelled, "Fore!" as she swung the club, striking the bottom of the changeling's chin and lifting it off of its hooves. It somersaulted several times before landing hard on its back, gritting its teeth.
Sonic, Tails, and Twilight looked on in surprise, though Sonic soon smiled, "Whoa! Nice follow-through, Mayor!"
The Mayor turned and blushed, "Really? You think so, Sonic?"
The blue hedgehog nodded, "Yeah!"
Tails said, "It did look good. But are you sure about this, Miss Mayor?"
The tan mare nodded, "Yes, Tails. And remember, everypony else is helping too."
As the three of them continue on through the town, they saw that the Mayor was correct. Cup Cake and Bon-Bon were working together, Cup Cake using a frying pan and Bon-Bon using a rolling pin to beat back the changelings while Carrot Cake grabbed pastries from a nearby wagon and threw them underneath the changelings' hooves to trip them up. Lyra was going to town on the changelings with a heavy tennis racket, swinging it with her hooves rather than with her magic. And the stallion with the hourglass cutie mark was using a strange device to attack the changelings.
Eventually, they saw Queen Chrysalis, hovering over one of the streets as she watched Gilda and Team Dark fighting off a whole group of changelings, Omega firing lasers while Shadow, Rouge, and Gilda went all out now that the changelings had been exposed. "Why is this happening?! How did they do this?!" she screamed.
Sonic called, "Confusing, huh?"
Chrysalis whipped around and glared at the trio. "You
! I know you three had something to do with this! What have you done to us?!" she yelled.
Twilight smiled, "Sorry, but we can't tell you that."
Sonic said, "Give it up already, 'Queenie'. You've all been exposed and the ponies of Ponyville are fighting back. Face it; you've overstayed your welcome!"
Queen Chrysalis growled, "We are not defeated yet!" She then looked off to the side and yelled, "Take care of them, NOW!" At her command, a bunch of changelings suddenly emerged from the shadows of the nearby buildings and surrounded the trio while Queen Chrysalis flew away to another part of Ponyville.
Looking around, Tails asked, "They sure responded quickly, huh?"
Sonic nodded, "They must want to please their queen." He then grinned at Tails and Twilight, "Too bad we're here to ruin their day." Tails and Twilight smiled at him. Twilight then stepped back while Tails and Sonic took a step towards each other. They both then leapt up, Twilight using her magic to hold them up as they joined arms and spun in a circle. The two then curled up as they broke off and Twilight used her magic to bounce them up and down a few times before redirecting them towards the changelings. Sonic and Tails each struck a changeling at the same time and then rebounded off of them, flying past each other as Twilight helped aim them.
Elsewhere, Cream, Cheese, and Fluttershy were surrounded by changelings, the fact that they had temporarily lost their ability to disguise themselves not worrying them a bit. These looked like the weaklings, after all; who needed to fool them? "Excuse me, but could you all please stop staring at us like that? Miss Fluttershy, Cheese, and I didn't do anything," Cream murmured. One of the changelings hissed at her; he was punched in the face by Cheese, the Chao not fond of anyone who was rude to Cream.
Seconds later, Fluttershy squeaked, "Cream, look out!" Cream looked back to see several changelings leaping towards her. She narrowed her eyes and held out her right hand, Cheese plopping down onto her palm. She then swung her arm back and threw Cheese at the changelings; the Chao curled up in a ball that bounced from one head to another.
Cheese came back to rest in Cream's hands as the changelings began to get closer to her and Fluttershy. Suddenly, they heard Amy call, "Big, get them out of there!" A second later, a hook and line shot over the heads of the changelings, the line wrapping around Cream and Fluttershy and then pulling them over the heads of the changelings as they watched. The line pulled the three of them towards Big the Cat, who caught them in his arms. "Good work, Big! Now, just leave these to us!" Amy said before she and Chaos charged towards the changelings, Amy carrying her hammer with her.
While Amy and Chaos began to pound the love out of the changelings, Cream, Cheese, and Fluttershy looked up at Big, Cream saying, "Mr. Big! I didn't know you were here!"
The large cat replied, "Sonic told me you might be in trouble, and I don't like when my friends are in trouble. Isn't that right, Froggy?" Big's little frog friend hopped up on top of his head and gave a croak of agreement.
Fluttershy looked up at Froggy and said, "Oh my, what a pretty frog! He looks so nice!"
Big set them down and replied, "Froggy's my best friend. But he can be your friend too, pretty pony." Froggy leapt down from Big's head and landed on Fluttershy's, giving a croak.
Amy and Chaos soon came over, Amy dusting her hands as she said, "That takes care of them!"
Cream pointed, "Oh, Amy, Chaos! There are more of them!" The pink hedgehog and water creature looked back and saw several changelings flying directly towards them at high speed.
Chaos turned around and stretched out his arms, socking two of them in the face while the third one got around them as it kept flying. Amy wasn't sure she could stop it with her hammer, so she pointed at the changeling and said, "Big, punch it!"
The cat replied, "Okay." Once the changeling was close enough, Big punched it right in the face with his left hand, not only stopping it but sending it flying back into another group of changelings, which sent them flying like a bunch of bowling pins. "Too hard?" Big asked.
Amy smiled, "Nope, just hard enough!"
Chrysalis growled as she looked down at the scene below her. With the changelings' ability to mimic others still disabled, the reinforcements, and the citizens of Ponyville fighting back, it was quickly becoming apparent that the changelings were fighting a losing battle. Turning away from the battle, she spread her wings and took off, giving a call as she did so.
Twilight looked up when she heard the call. "What was that call?" she asked.
Tails noticed the changelings beginning to fly away and soon saw Chrysalis flying away as well. He pointed, "Look! I think the queen is trying to retreat for real!"
Sonic said, "Then it's time!" He dashed after the queen while calling, "I'll stop her! Get everybody else to the Master Emerald!" Tails and Twilight nodded at each other and ran off in opposite directions to spread the word.
Queen Chrysalis looked back as she flew and noticed Sonic coming after her. "Rrgh
Persistent vermin!" she growled. She looked at her changelings and said, "Stop that hedgehog!" The changelings nodded and broke off, turning around and flying towards Sonic surrounded by their green auras.
Sonic stepped to the side as the changelings charged him, avoiding them without losing any speed. Soon, however, three flew towards Sonic, the narrow street keeping him from stepping around them; he would have to jump over them to avoid their attack. Suddenly, from one of the buildings on the side of the street, a shuriken flew out, which ended up cutting across each of the changelings' wings and throwing them off. Espio appeared soon afterwards and slammed into them from the side. "Espio!" Sonic exclaimed. He heard something behind him and turned to see Gilda trying to hold the changelings that had passed him at bay. "Gilda!" he shouted back.
The griffin called back, "Stay on the queen! We'll handle these things!" Sonic nodded and continued on after Queen Chrysalis.
Chrysalis growled when she realized Sonic was still coming and flew down a nearby alley, hoping to lose him. Unfortunately, he not only followed her down the alley, but he managed to do it without losing a lot of speed. "Go away! Leave me alone!" she yelled back over her shoulder.
Sonic yelled back, "No way! You're not getting a second chance at anything, not while the world is in danger!" Sonic sped up and passed underneath the queen, heading for the end of the alley. Coming to a stop, he leapt up towards the wall at the end, pressing his feet against it and jumping off towards Chrysalis. Before she could fly above him, he curled up into a ball and struck her in the chest. Uncurling, he reached up and grabbed her jagged horn as they fell. As soon as Sonic touched the ground, he took off running while dragging Chrysalis behind him. When he reached the end of the alley, he threw Chrysalis into the building across from it, dazing her while he took off, Espio and Gilda following him as he ran.
They soon arrived at the statue of Princess Celestia, where Knuckles, Tikal, and everybody else except the Ponyville citizens had already gathered. Rainbow noticed the three of them and called, "Sonic, Twilight and Tails told us the story! Did you guys stop her?!"
Sonic slid to a stop in front of the Master Emerald and said, "The queen's down for the count for now and her army's in shambles. Now is probably our best chance at this!"
Tikal replied, "We're ready, just so long as all of you are ready." Sonic, Shadow, and Tails nodded, each of them pulling out their Chaos Emeralds and looking at Knuckles.
The red echidna nodded and, as everyone looked on, placed his hands on the Master Emerald. He then chanted, "The servers are the seven Chaos. Chaos is power, power is enriched by the heart. The controller is the one that unifies the Chaos." As he finished, the Master Emerald began to glow brighter; he then said, "To those who feed off of positive feelings! Show them the true power of the feelings those that hold the Chaos Emeralds have!"
At his words, the Master Emerald began to glow brightly and released three beams of light, one at Sonic's Chaos Emerald, one at Shadow's, and one at Tails'. The three of them began to glow the same color as the emeralds as they gathered their positive emotions together. After a minute, the glows faded and the Chaos Emeralds, now sparking with new energy, floated above the Master Emerald, hovering in a circle. A few seconds later, they suddenly came together and, upon contact, unleashed a green, violet, and yellow sphere of energy that began to spread through the whole town!
Chrysalis had just finished climbing to her hooves when she saw the sphere coming towards her. Her eyes widened; it looked all too similar to the spell that Shining Armor and Princess Cadance's love had created. As it came closer, she screamed, "NOT AGAIN! NOOOOOO!" And then she was caught up in the energy sphere, as was every single changeling in Ponyville, and it pushed them until it reached the very edges of the town, where it sent every one of them flying in all directions, yet again.
Although confused by what just happened, the citizens of Ponyville began to celebrate their victory. Back with the group, everyone watched as the Chaos Emeralds floated back down, coming to rest in Sonic, Tails, and Shadow's hands, their new energy burned off. As Shadow slid his Chaos Emerald into his quills, Amy suddenly glomped Sonic, exclaiming, "Sonic, can you believe it?! We won with the power of love!"
Sonic grumbled, "That's totally NOT how we won, Amy."
Rarity watched them with sparkling eyes. "You're really a shy little thing, aren't you, Sonic? I don't see why; can't you see you two would make a lovely couple?" she thought to herself.
She was brought out of her thoughts when Rouge tapped her on the shoulder, saying, "Hey Rarity." Rarity turned her head to look at the bat; Rouge then said, "You know, you weren't half bad out there. It hurts to say it, but it seems I've misjudged you."
Rarity looked at her in surprise for a moment before saying, "Yes, well, you surprised me as well, Rouge. I didn't think you were such a competent fighter."
Rouge replied, "That's not the only thing I'm competent in. Which reminds me; you might want to make sure your home is locked up nice and tight, or I might decide to let myself in and sneak a few gems out. You have some real beauties, after all."
While they continued conversing, Sonic wiggled away from Amy and walked over to Gilda and Shadow. Looking at Gilda, he said, "Hey Gilda! You did some nice work back there! I'm impressed!"
The griffin smirked at him, "Yeah? Does that mean you're going to take back all those 'turkey' remarks?"
Sonic shrugged, "Mm
Gilda rolled her eyes, though in a good-natured way, and said, "Good enough for me."
Shadow looked between them as he spoke, "Hmph. You two sure like to talk, but I suppose you did all right."
Sonic turned to him and said, "That reminds me, Shadow. When she showed up disguised as you, the Changeling Queen challenged me to a fight. She wasn't just playing the part, was she?"
Shadow replied, "I have been wondering if you've been honing your skills, Sonic, especially after the incident with the Doctor's amusement park
But it can wait for another day." Sonic and Gilda both raised an eye at this, so Shadow explained, "We were both involved in a large battle. It would prove nothing if we fought at anything less than our strongest. Besides, you have a world to save, do you not?"
Sonic replied, "Two worlds. We're helping the ponies' world too."
Shadow shook his head, "Ponies
I still can't believe it."
Sonic retorted, "Hey, it's not like they aren't used to action or anything. They've dealt with the changelings and other things before."
Shadow asked, "Is that right?"
Twilight came over and said, "Both of our worlds have gotten involved in this time-space crisis, but stopping it is not the only reason we're working together. We're doing it because we want to do it, to protect our world as well as yours."
Sonic looked back at Shadow and asked, "And that's what's really important, isn't it, Shadow?"
Shadow regarded them both for a moment. He then reached his left hand back into his quills; when he brought it out again, he was holding the yellow Chaos Emerald, as well as something underneath it. He looked at the emerald and the other object for a second before looking over at Sonic and Twilight and throwing both at them, saying, "Catch."
Sonic caught the Chaos Emerald in his left hand while Twilight grabbed the other object in midair with her magic. She looked down at it and gasped, "This is Fluttershy's Element!"
Sonic looked back at Shadow and asked, "Where did you find that?"
Shadow answered, "I found it in that crystal mine, before I came across Gilda. I didn't know what it was, but I could sense something about it, so I took it with me." He then asked, "It's important in some way, isn't it?"
Twilight replied, "It is the Element of Kindness, one of the Elements of Harmony. I suppose you could say they're kind of like our version of your Chaos Emeralds."
Shadow nodded, "I see."
Rouge looked over at him and asked, "You're just giving those to them?"
Shadow turned to her and said, "I owe Sonic a favor. And there may be changeling stragglers who might try to steal them while we're on patrol."
Rouge gave him a confused look, "Patrol?"
Shadow didn't answer her; instead he turned and started walking away, saying, "Team Dark, move out!" Rouge and Omega looked at each other in confusion before running to catch up with him.
Rainbow Dash flew over next to Sonic and called, "Hey, wait!"
Sonic placed a hand on her shoulder and said, "Don't worry about them, Rainbow. They'll be fine."
Rainbow looked at him in confusion, "Fine? But he
Sonic looked back at the leaving team and smiled, "It's a Shadow thing. It means he trusts us." Rainbow and Twilight both looked at the black hedgehog's shrinking form in wonder.
As he led his team away, away from the ones he was putting his faith in, Shadow allowed himself a rare pleasure.
A small, but genuine, smile appeared on his face.