Adventures on the Friendship Express

by GreenS21


The Alpha and the Omega Pt. II - Crisis City (a)

RETURN TO THE DARK FUTURE

Sonic, Cadance, Spike, Lucario, Pikachu, Suicune, Link, and Yoshi stood on the edge of a rocky cliff looking at the land before them. Overhead, thick black clouds filled the sky, blocking out the rays of the sun. Not too far away, they could see a modern human city below, the only real notable landmark in what was otherwise a bleak landscape. If one could see only the silhouette of the city off in the distance, they might think the city stood as a stark contrast to the land around it, but they wouldn’t have to get too close to see that it fit in quite nicely with its surroundings. Even from where they were standing, the group could see that its buildings were on fire and had been destroyed to varying degrees, a number of them no longer standing upright.

~So this is the world you live in?~ Suicune asked Sonic as she continued to look out at the ruined landscape. Lucario and Pikachu stood at her left side, both of them remembering a time when they had been in a ruined world shrouded in eternal darkness. Although this world seemed brighter than the world they had seen, it nonetheless brought back memories of that brief time, memories of darkness and fear.

Sonic shook his head, “It can’t be my world, not in my time anyway. I’ve never seen a city like this, and I’ve been all over the world.”

Spike nodded, “Yeah, and we’ve been in all sorts of different places in your world today, Sonic. None of them looked anything like this, except for that volcano place.” He held a claw to his chin, “Do you think they could be in the same dimension or whatever?”

Sonic looked down at the baby dragon, “Maybe, Spike.”

Yoshi looked over, Link looking at him as he said, “Yoshi! Yoshi yosh yoshi? Yoshi! Yosh yoshi. (Hey! You know what it could be? The future Silver came from! This kind of looks like the world he once mentioned.)”

Sonic pointed at him, “That could be it, Yoshi. This and the place Spike mentioned could both be in a world that hasn’t happened yet, one that could still be prevented.”

Lucario glanced down and murmured, “Much like the world we hailed from…”

Pikachu looked up at him worriedly and asked, “Pi pika? Pikachu?”

Lucario looked down at him, “I’m fine, Pikachu, don’t worry.” He looked up, “We should go investigate that ‘city’.”

Cadance looked at him and asked, “Do you think Groudon could be down there, Lucario?”

The Aura Pokémon stood up straight and closed his eyes, the locks on the back of his head beginning to shake as he focused. After a few seconds, he lowered his paw and opened his eyes, saying, “We’re still too far away for me to be able to sense it clearly, but I do believe that’s where the Aura I sensed is coming from. It could be from Groudon, or it could be that it’s inhabited. I won’t know until we get closer.”

Suicune looked towards the city again as she said, ~With the clouds covering the sky there, I would say he couldn’t be there, but it may be that he hasn’t been awakened by what’s going on. Normally when he’s awake, the sunlight becomes harsh and clears the skies due to his power. If he hasn’t been awakened yet, that would make it harder to find him, but easier for us to get him back to where he belongs when we do.~

Cadance nodded, “Then let’s not waste any time. Let’s see if we can find this Groudon, and hopefully if the others came here, we’ll find them while we’re searching as well.” Team Defenders, Sonic, Spike, Yoshi, and Link all nodded in agreement. Yoshi let Link sit on his saddle and Cadance lowered her body to allow Spike to easily climb onto her back. Once they were both situated, everyone began making their way down the cliff, following the rocky paths and jumping down when there wasn’t too far a drop. It wasn’t long before they reached the bottom and began making their way across the barren plains towards the city, Cadance flying while everyone else ran.

While running, Sonic thought to himself, “I know Cadance is going to be keeping an eye on me to make sure I don’t overexert myself, but I gotta be ready to recognize when I’m hitting my limit too. I’m still not a hundred percent, but I can’t just sit by after that whole explanation earlier, especially if Tails, Shining, and the girls could be in danger. Man, of all the things I’ve woken up to, I think I might just have a new winner…

MEET AND GREET

Flashback

Sonic, Cadance, and Spike sat on the edge of the bed Sonic had been sleeping in while Link and Yoshi sat on the edge of the bed across from them. The members of Team Defenders had spread out a little, Pikachu on top of the bed adjacent to Sonic, Spike, and Cadance while Lucario leaned against the bedposts of the two beds with his arms crossed. On the other side of the room, Suicune was lying down next to the back bunks, her legs pulled up underneath her. They had already gone around the room introducing themselves, with Sonic helping Yoshi and Lucario helping Pikachu, and now they were getting down to business.

“You all come from the world of Pokémon?” Cadance was asking. Lucario and Pikachu nodded in reply.

“What’s a ‘Pokémon’? Are there more just like you three?” Spike shrugged.

Lucario replied, “Not quite. ‘Pokémon’ does not refer to a single species; it can be used like that, but it generally refers to hundreds of different types of similar yet very different creatures.”

Sonic tilted his head, “Hundreds?”

Lucario nodded and said, “The Expedition Society in our world is still trying to complete a map of the world and report on all the different species of Pokémon, but last time I checked, over seven hundred different species have been identified in the world.”

Spike’s jaw fell open, “Over seven hundred?! That’s… That’s crazy! Who can keep track of that many?!”

Lucario replied, “It is a large number. Perhaps the Expedition Society will eventually make a reference that any ‘mon that wants to learn more can access.”

Sonic asked, “What about, like, besides Pokémon? What else lives in your world? You ever heard of humans?”

Lucario flinched for a moment at that question, but he replied, “There are legends about humans in our world. Some regions of the world even have old ruins left behind by humans. It’s likely that humans all died out or otherwise disappeared a long time ago.” He looked over at Link, “You’re a human, aren’t you?”

The boy took a breath in as he opened his mouth to reply, but he was interrupted when Pikachu spoke up, “Pikachu pika? Chu pika, pi pika. Pikachu pika?”

Lucario turned his head to look at him and said, in a slightly irritated tone, “That’s not relevant to this conversation, Pikachu! There’s only one part of that that I still think about, and it’s certainly not that! There’s no need to talk in great detail about that.”

Pikachu looked up at him with a saddened expression, one of his ears drooping. “Pika?” he asked. Lucario raised his right paw to his neck and made a swiping motion, telling the Mouse Pokémon to drop the matter.

“What are you two talking about?” Sonic asked.

Lucario turned to look at the blue hedgehog, his arms falling at his sides as he glared slightly, “Personal matters. It’s none of your business.” Sonic raised an eye at that, but didn’t comment on it further.

Before anyone else could say anything, Suicune cleared her throat and, when everyone turned to look at her, telepathically said, ~I am pleased that you brought up the matter of legends, Lucario, because that is exactly why we left our world and ended up here.~

Sonic raised an eye, “You… came here to look for humans?”

Suicune refrained from rolling her eyes and explained, ~Like Lucario said, there are many species of Pokémon that inhabit our world, some rarer than others. Some are less populous in certain parts of the world while others are harder to find in general. In the case of a Pokémon that is known to others as Legendary, such as me, there are no others, or if there are, they’re incredibly rare.~

Yoshi asked, “Yoshi yoshi? (What makes you different from other Pokémon, Suicune?)”

Suicune looked at him blankly, so Sonic clarified, “He wants to know why you have a Legendary status, Suicune.”

Suicune nodded and explained, ~Long ago, I was once a different Pokémon. I don’t remember what I was, but I remember that my life came to an end in a fire. But that was only the end of one life; the great phoenix Ho-Oh, with her sacred flames, gave me and two other Pokémon who had died a new life as new Pokémon. I became Suicune, the embodiment of the north wind. I was blessed with a long life and new powers. One such power is the ability to clean any body of water simply by touching it.~

Cadance said, “I see. I’m sure your other powers are equally as amazing, Suicune, but that sounds like a wonderful power to possess.”

Sonic asked, “Any chance I could convince you to come to the Oil Ocean Zone and clean that water up?” Suicune stared at him, an unreadable expression on her muzzle. “Relax, I’m just kidding,” Sonic shrugged.

Suicune replied, ~I’m afraid this is not a good time to joke. The reason I’ve brought up Legendary Pokémon is because two of them have gone missing from our world – Groudon and Kyogre.~

Spike asked, “What are they known for?”

Lucario spoke, “They’re more mythical than some Legendary Pokémon. The myths say that long ago, they were the ones who brought about the existence of the land and sea. Groudon, with his ability Drought, intensified the sun’s rays and created the land. Kyogre, with his ability Drizzle, called forth heavy rainstorms and created the seas. They were opposites, and as opposites, they came into conflict with each other, battling across the two domains they had created.”

Cadance’s eyes were wide. “Two Pokémon were responsible for your world’s dry land and oceans? Wow…” she said in wonder.

Sonic crossed his arms, “You said they were both guys. You sound like you know them.”

Lucario gave a slight smirk, “Well, that’s because we do.”

Spike asked, “You do?! So why were you talking all mythical just now?!”

Lucario replied, “Those are the tales that most ‘mons know, but Pikachu and I have met them before. See, we’re Exploration Team Defenders.” He tapped the badge on the Treasure Bag with his paw, “We travel around the world, exploring locations and taking various jobs. Over the course of our adventures, we have actually encountered Kyogre and Groudon and convinced them to help us from time to time.” He gestured to Suicune, “Suicune was a slightly different case. She had posted a job for us and agreed to help out after we completed it.”

The Aurora Pokémon spoke, ~At first, I was against the idea of those two being on any team together. I have witnessed a time when they had been awakened long ago and saw the aftermath of their ‘sibling rivalry’ as it were. It is not that they hate each other, but their rivalry is so fierce that it is very difficult to calm them when they become enraged at each other. Over time, though, I began to see them become more docile around each other, being able to tolerate being in the other’s presence. They’re still prone to bouts of rage, but things have changed between them.~

THE SITUATION

Cadance asked, “You said that they’re missing, right? What happened?”

Suicune started, ~We Legendary Pokémon have something of a connection with one another. Not that long ago, I was contacted by Dialga and Palkia, the guardian deities of time and space in our world. They said that both time and space were beginning to disappear, being devoured in a way. They could not pinpoint the cause, but unlike previous times where time and space have been in danger, they believed they knew where the problem was originating from.~ She looked around the car, ~Wherever we are now, this is where they believe the problem lies.~

Sonic turned to look at Spike and then Cadance, “In that case, I think we’re already well aware of what the problem is.” Cadance and Spike both nodded in reply.

Yoshi asked, “Yoshi yoshi? Yosh yoshi? (You guys know what’s going on? Why didn’t you tell the rest of us?)

Sonic replied, “We were going to get to it after they were done, Yoshi. They kind of steered where this meet and greet was going.”

Cadance spoke, “This talk about time and space being destroyed, or devoured as you put it… it happens to sound like what our worlds have gotten caught up in. There’s a creature of some sort that has appeared both here in Equestria and in Sonic’s world that is responsible for this.”

Lucario asked, “You’re not all from the same world?”

Cadance replied, “No. From what I understand, this creature is capable of tearing holes in time and space, and because it opened a rift between our worlds, they’re both being affected by its actions. Sonic, my sister-in-law Twilight, Spike here, and all of their friends have been working all day to repair the damage done and keep it from getting worse.”

Spike added, “Yeah, we’ve been jumping through portals leading to different parts of Sonic’s world or Equestria and doing whatever it takes to either close them or bring life back to the areas. At the moment, we’re on our way to Canterlot, which is where we think that creature might be.”

Suicune spoke, ~I see… I’m afraid that confrontation will have to wait. As much as Dialga and Palkia would like to have time and space restored to normal as soon as possible, the potential danger posed by Groudon and Kyogre’s disappearance is too great at the moment, especially if they have ended up somewhere in one of these two worlds.~

Sonic asked, “I’m gonna go out on a limb and say you’re not just saying that because their land and sea making powers could be wreaking havoc somewhere, right?”

Suicune nodded, ~You would be correct. It is not intentional, but as I’ve said, their fighting when they lose control of their tempers tends to result in massive damage wherever they’re fighting. That would be bad enough, but imagine what other kind of damage they could cause when time and space are in danger of falling apart around them.~

Spike shivered, “I don’t think I need to imagine that. With the power to create the land and the sea, they would probably end up destroying everything we’ve been trying to save.”

Cadance asked, “I was wondering, how did they disappear, exactly?”

Lucario answered, “When we met with Dialga and Palkia earlier, they said they both felt a disturbance in their respective domains and went to investigate. They both said they witnessed a black hole open underneath both Legendary Pokémon and swallow them up without a trace. It’s only because of their mastery over time and space that they can still sense their presence.”

Spike commented, “Sounds like you didn’t need any extra convincing when you heard that.”

Lucario replied, “I like to think that one tends to take things said by guardian deities seriously, especially when, in the past, that one has had to deal with said deities in a state of uncontrollable rage.”

While Spike considered that, Cadance looked over at Yoshi and Link and said, “I wonder if the same thing happened to you two as well, and that’s how you ended up here.”

Yoshi crossed his arms, looking a bit upset as he replied, “Yoshi! Yoshi yosh yoshi! (I hope so! I had just eaten a delicious lunch and was enjoying a nice nap before I woke up here!)”

Sonic gave him a sympathetic smile before looking at Link and asking, “And the last thing you remember before all this is stopping under a tree in the middle of your travels to get some rest, right?” The boy nodded in response.

Suicune spoke, ~The rift between your two worlds must be widening if these holes you’ve described are starting to open in other worlds. It could also be partly related to Kyogre and Groudon’s disappearance.~

Sonic asked, “And that’s why your deities sent you here to deal with this, right?”

Lucario nodded, “Correct. This is something our team in particular is used to resolving. To get us here, they combined their powers to create a Magnagate that had the power to travel across time and space. Magnagates, at least the ones that are stable, tend to send travelers straight to a destination, but I guess in this situation, this is as close as they could manage to get us.”

Pikachu looked up at him and asked, “Pika Pikachu?”

Lucario looked down at him, “Well, we can certainly hope that they’ll send him along if he does show up, Pikachu.”

Spike raised an eye, “What are you two talking about now?”

Lucario looked over at the baby dragon, “Right, sorry. We were actually supposed to have a fourth member with us for this, but the Pokémon we asked for help… He’s an interesting case to say the least.”

Cadance asked, “How so?”

Lucario rubbed the back of his head with a paw, “Well, it’s not any fault of his for him being the way he is, I’m not blaming him for that, but even though he’s a member of our team, he doesn’t exactly have the best assembly record at the moment. Sometimes he’s nowhere to be found, sometimes he’s there whenever we need him, and other times he isn’t quite there or he’s a late arrival. He just happens to be a bit…” He took his paw off of the back of his head and held it in front of himself, shaking it up and down and side to side a bit.

“Inconsistent?” Cadance suggested.

Lucario pointed at her, “That’s the word I was looking for, thank you.”

Suicune stood up, ~Well, now that all of you are caught up, I believe we should be going. We have two missing Legendaries to track down after all.~

Before she could move, Spike spoke up, “Hey, wait! Maybe there’s something we could do to help you guys with this.”

While Suicune glanced over at him, Cadance loudly whispered, “Spike!”

The Aurora Pokémon said, ~I would suggest you listen to her. Considering how much of our time you’ve all wasted, I don’t see how you could possibly help us.~

Sonic, Spike, Yoshi, and Link all gave her annoyed looks at that. Seeing this, Lucario spoke, “You’ll have to forgive her for being so blunt. She gets like that when she’s really serious.” He looked at Sonic, Spike, and Cadance, “We would be grateful for any help that you can provide.” Pikachu nodded with a supportive “Pikachu!”

Cadance thought for a moment before saying, “Well, we might be able to point you in the right direction.” She gestured towards the front of the train, “After we dealt with a portal in our path earlier, our friend Tails picked up another one further up that one of my sister-in-law’s friends may have gone into.”

Sonic interrupted, “Why are you just mentioning this now, Cadance?!”

The pink alicorn gave him a stern look, “Because I knew if you knew, you would take off after them without a word.”

Sonic continued to look at her, “So?”

Cadance answered, “So you’re still healing, Sonic! You can’t go anywhere right now!” Sonic let out a groan and shook his head. Cadance looked back at the Pokémon, “Tails said that the portal seemed unstable. After hearing all this, it may be possible one or both of the Pokémon could be on the other side of that portal.”

Suicune nodded, ~I see. Thank you. If we see your friends, we will tell them to return to you. This situation is ours to handle now.~ She started to move towards the door, but Link and Yoshi suddenly slid off their bed and got in front of her, looking at her. She looked back at them, ~Move out of my way.~ Despite projecting an authoritative tone into their minds, the two didn’t back down. Suicune quickly noticed her teammates were not moving to support her and glanced to her left to find out why.

Lucario was looking down at Sonic with his left paw on his chin and his right paw under his left elbow. “You say he needs to heal. Is he sick? He doesn’t appear to be injured,” the Aura Pokémon noted.

Cadance looked at Sonic closer at that and saw that, while they were still there, many of his wounds were much less noticeable. “Well, yes, he does appear to be better now, but he was badly hurt earlier. He got knocked unconscious and could’ve drowned,” she explained.

“Yeah, well, that nap did wonders! I feel great now!” Sonic argued.

Lucario glanced over at Yoshi and Link and saw how they were blocking Suicune. When they looked over at him, he recognized the looks on their faces. It was clear to him, even without reading their Auras, that they had felt slighted by Suicune’s comment and wanted to prove that they weren’t useless. It was a look both he and Pikachu had made plenty of times during their early days as an aspiring Exploration Team.

He took his paw off of his chin as he glanced at Suicune and said, “You know, Suicune, maybe they could help us further.” At the Aurora Pokémon’s incredulous look, he clarified, “I’m sure we could handle whatever we find like we always do, but these three, while they’ve been trying to save their worlds, have been aiding Dialga and Palkia’s to maintain time and space with their efforts. Whatever it is they do, they can probably help us, especially if Groudon and Kyogre are awake and angered. And these two… they haven’t said much about what they’ve done, but I sense an unusual Aura from both of them. If they would like to accompany us as well, I would be glad for the opportunity to learn more about what they can do.”

Suicune glanced between him and Pikachu a few times before looking at Sonic, Spike, and Cadance and then at Yoshi and Link. Seeing the looks on all of their faces, she sighed, ~I understand what you are saying, Lucario, but it is ultimately their choice, not ours.~ Both Link and Yoshi gave affirmative cries at that, indicating they were on board.

Sonic turned to Cadance and said, “Come on, Cadance, I swear I’m feeling better now. I won’t pass out on you! You know I can’t just sit by when there’s trouble.”

Cadance softened her gaze, “I do know that.” She took her right hoof out of its shoe and placed it on his forehead. She lowered it after a moment and said, “Your temperature seems to be back to normal now, so I guess that nap did help. …We can go with and help on one condition.” Sonic and Spike looked at her questioningly at that. “I will be keeping a VERY close eye on you the entire time. If you look like you’re about to collapse at any time, I will stop you and all three of us will come back here without another word, is that clear?”

Sonic held his hands up, “Crystal clear.” He then swung his hands down to clap with Spike, both of them excited at finally getting the chance to do something other than wait.

Suicune gave an internal sigh. This was becoming more complicated than it needed to be, but she knew she couldn’t go back on her word now. ~Very well. We shall give this a try.~ she said. Everyone got up at that, Link picking up his sword and shield and putting them on his back.

TIME TO GET MOVING

Sonic, Cadance, and Spike led the way out of the room into the hallway. Yoshi, Link, Lucario, and Pikachu had no trouble following them, but Suicune, due to her larger size, had to do a bit of twisting and squeezing to get her body out of the room. It got worse when they headed toward the front of the train and reached the door leading to the next car over. After everyone else jumped down on the right side, they turned to look and noticed that Suicune appeared to be stuck, the Aurora Pokémon having difficulty twisting her body around in the smaller space. ~Accursed door frames… Hasn’t anyone heard of making these things bigger?~ she groaned as she kept trying to get herself out.

Lucario looked over at the others and held his left paw up beside his mouth as he murmured, “It’s a good thing she joined up with us after we graduated. Getting her down to dinner in the guild would’ve been a nightmare.” He was blasted with a stream of water a moment later, the force not strong enough to push him into mountainside but enough to have him burbling.

Everyone looked up at Suicune and saw that the water was coming from her. She stopped after a few seconds and gave the Aura Pokémon an irritated look, ~I heard that, Lucario.~ She resumed trying to pull herself out, managing to get half of her body out, though she didn’t have much space to get the rest of herself out. She was about to reach a paw forward and slide the door in front of her open to get a little more room, but Yoshi suddenly stepped forward and opened his mouth, his long lizard-like tongue shooting out and coming into contact with Suicune’s neck just under her head. She looked down at it. ~What…?~ was all she could manage before Yoshi’s tongue retracted, pulling her with it.

The action pulled Suicune completely out of the doorframe, but she ended up with her head inside of Yoshi’s mouth. While everyone else, aside from Sonic, was shocked by this, Lucario and Pikachu were less than pleased with what they were seeing. “What do you think you’re doing?!” Lucario yelled even though Yoshi wasn’t able to respond. Despite her head being in someone’s mouth, Suicune didn’t struggle; instead, as everyone watched, Yoshi’s belly began to bloat from her spraying water down his throat. It didn’t take long for the two to pull away from each other, Suicune pulling her head out of his mouth.

While Yoshi turned away and pressed his hands down on his stomach to force the water back up his throat, Suicune used a paw to wipe the saliva off of her face before turning to glare at the green dinosaur. ~What were you hoping to accomplish with that action?~ she questioned. Yoshi didn’t respond since he was still spraying the excess water out of his mouth.

Sonic spoke up, “Hey, he was just trying to help!”

Suicune turned to look at him, ~I would hardly call him pulling my face into his mouth helping.~

Sonic held his hands up, “Will you relax? Yeah, he does have a big appetite sometimes, but he still has his limits. I’m pretty sure you’re too big for him to swallow whole.”

Suicune gave him an annoyed expression, ~Is that supposed to be a joke at my expense?~

Sonic put his hands behind his head as he replied, “No, I’m just saying there’s probably no chance you would’ve ended up in an egg.” Everyone gave him an odd look at that.

After Yoshi finished expelling the water, he came over to the others and Suicune turned to look at him. ~I thank you for trying to help, in your own way, but if you know what’s good for you, you’ll keep that tongue far away from me from here on out,~ she stated. Yoshi nodded in reply and the group began moving in the direction of the portal to Station Square.

It didn’t take them long to find the portal, still open off to the side of the train tracks and the image on it still unclear, but as they got closer, they realized that there was another portal open nearby, this one floating above the middle of the tracks. Like the portal to Station Square, the image of its destination was flickering and unclear. “Are these those ‘portals’ you mentioned?” Lucario asked as the group came to a stop near them.

“Yes, but… Tails didn’t say anything about there being a second portal,” Cadance replied.

Yoshi looked at Sonic, “Yoshi yosh, yoshi? (Must’ve opened up after they left the train, huh?)

Sonic shrugged, “I guess so.” He looked forward, “So… which one should we check?”

Cadance shook her head, “I don’t know. I didn’t see what Tails’ radar. It probably showed the location of the one he picked up on.”

Lucario stepped forward, “Let me try something.” He stopped when he was about halfway between both portals and held his right paw up in front of him as he closed his eyes. As everyone watched, a blue flame suddenly appeared from his paw, surrounding and billowing around it.

Everyone except his teammates stared in surprise at this. “What is that? Is he able to create fire with his mind?” Spike asked.

~That is his Aura, young one. It is an energy field produced by all living beings. Lucario and his pre-evolved form, Riolu, are very sensitive to it and can utilize it in different ways, such as being able to sense it like he’s doing now,~ Suicune explained.

Sonic scratched his head, “Uh, ‘pre-evolved’? What does that mean?” Cadance and Spike also looked confused by the term while Yoshi looked over but didn’t seem as curious and Link wasn’t really familiar with it.

Before Suicune could explain, Lucario opened his eyes and turned, running back over to the others and saying “I’m detecting a stronger presence coming from that portal.” He pointed to the portal open above the tracks.

Cadance asked, “What do you mean by that, Lucario? Do you sense Groudon and Kyogre, or…?”

The Aura Pokémon replied, “I could not hone in very well from here, but I was able to sense, very faintly, the presence of Aura on the other side of that portal. The other one, I wasn’t able to sense anything.”

Sonic asked, “So it’s probably more likely that your missing Legendaries and our friends are in the livelier one, right?”

Lucario nodded, “That is my guess.”

As they all started moving towards the portal, Cadance thought to herself, “Oh, I really hope Shining, Twilight, and the others haven’t encountered Kyogre and Groudon yet.”

End flashback

ARRIVAL AT CRISIS CITY

As the group approached the city, they started to notice more cracks running across the ground as well as holes that steadily became deeper as they got closer. By the time they reached the city limits, there were steep drops that went down far below the ground around the city. As they searched the area for a spot where they could get into the city without too much difficulty, they looked down to see lava flowing far beneath them. “So much destruction… How did this happen?” Lucario wondered aloud as he looked up at the buildings.

Cadance looked at Sonic, “Do you have any idea at all what could’ve caused this, Sonic?”

While looking up at the burning buildings, Sonic replied, “Well, at first, I thought maybe we’d ended up in the Ifrit’s dimension. There was a city like this there, but I think it was smaller. So I’m starting to think Spike called it earlier. In that case, maybe that Iblis creature we fought is responsible for this.”

Spike nodded as he looked down at one of the fissures while still riding on Cadance’s back, “Yeah, a giant lava worm like that would probably have no problem digging through rock and making all of these holes.”

Cadance looked back and asked, “Spike, you mentioned it was a volcanic region, correct? When did you go to that place?”

Spike held a claw to his chin, “Uh…” He looked at Sonic, “What was that place where we stopped for something to eat, Sonic?”

The blue hedgehog replied, “Chun-Nan.”

Spike nodded, “Right, that place. You and Shining Armor joined us after we’d finished finding Vector and Big Macintosh, so that volcano place was the last place we went to before we went there.” Cadance was still a little confused, but she nodded, deciding now might not be the best time to ask a lot of questions.

Suicune looked over at Lucario and asked, ~Can you sense any trace of Groudon, Lucario?~

The Aura Pokémon held up his right paw and a blue flame surrounded it. “No, but I am detecting a great number of Auras within the city’s walls. From what I can sense, they’re not very friendly. We’ll have to be on our guard once we enter,” he replied a moment later.

Suddenly, Yoshi came to a stop and pointed straight ahead, “Yoshi!” Everyone looked and saw he was pointing at a sizable chunk of rock that extended over one of the fissures into the city. They all saw what he was thinking and moved towards it, making their way up the sloped part of it on their side once they reached it. Lucario, Pikachu, Suicune, and Yoshi were able to climb up it quickly while the others went a little slower, Sonic due to Cadance and Spike being close behind him and Link because he had to climb a little slower due to the rough terrain. Upon getting to the top, they were able to use the rock as a makeshift bridge to cross into the city.

After a short walk, they came to a stop on a ledge surrounded by the large buildings overlooking some of the toppled buildings and damaged roads. Sonic glanced around, “Well, we’re in the city. What now?”

Lucario closed his eyes and focused his Aura, his locks shaking as he scanned the area. After several seconds, he opened his eyes and said, “I don’t sense Groudon… but my sight has cleared up somewhat. It may continue to clear if we go further.”

Cadance looked down, noting that the toppled building below was angled upward, forming a bit of a slope. “Well, until we can get a better idea of where to go, we can start by following this… makeshift road and see where it goes. We’ll have to watch our step, of course, but it seems like a good starting point,” she suggested. Nobody else really had any ideas at the moment, so they all agreed with her idea.

Before they could start moving, they all heard an explosion from the building to their right and turned to look. Looking up, they saw a chunk of the outside of the building falling from one of the upper floors, the burned piece crashing down onto the piece of the rock they were standing on and breaking apart. Thankfully, they weren’t close to where it had landed. “Whoa, that could’ve been dangerous,” Spike breathed.

~This rigid jungle is not natural. It was made by means I am unfamiliar with, and it is currently structurally unsound. I would not be surprised if that continues to happen,~ Suicune said.

Lucario nodded, “So we’ll have to watch our surroundings as well.”

As Yoshi looked over at the broken pieces, he noticed that some brown pieces of metal had come off of the inside that were rectangular in shape and looked big enough to support a person. He turned to Sonic and asked as he pointed with his right thumb, “Hmm? Yoshi… yoshi yoshi, yoshi? (Hey Sonic? Those brown pieces… we might be able to use them, don’t you think?)”

Sonic looked over at the pieces he was pointing at for a moment before turning his head to look down at the building below. He thought for a moment before nodding, “Yeah… yeah, we should be able to get down a little quicker if we use those.” He looked back at the green dinosaur, “Good thinking, Yoshi!”

Spike looked confused, “What, what did he say, Sonic?”

Sonic turned to look at the baby dragon and asked, “You remember when we had to get away from all those police cars after we saw what the ARK was capable of, Spike?” The baby dragon thought for a moment before nodding when he remembered what Sonic was referring to. “Well, Yoshi’s idea is to do what you and Scootaloo did so that we all have a little fun,” he said.

~This is hardly the time for having fun,~ Suicune glared.

Sonic looked at her, “This is all new to you, isn't it?” While they were talking, Yoshi ran over to the broken piece of building and gathered up some a couple of the brown pieces he had been looking at. He then ran back to the others and gave Lucario, Sonic, and Link a piece, keeping one for himself.

INTO THE BURNING CITY

Lucario stared at the brown piece in his paws with a raised eyebrow, turning it over and around a few times in confusion. “What am I supposed to do with this?” he asked after a couple of seconds.

Sonic and Yoshi looked at him while holding their pieces in both hands, the former saying, “Observe.” They both faced forward and backed up a bit before running forward, jumping when they reached the edge and putting their pieces under their feet while they were in the air. As soon as they landed on the side of the building, they immediately began sliding down it, their makeshift snowboards making sparks as they slid.

The Pokémon seemed surprised by this while Link seemed amazed more than anything. “Yeah, Scootaloo and I did do something like that since she had her scooter!” Spike said.

Cadance spread her wings and flapped them a bit to hover above the ground as she called, “Sonic, wait up!” She then flew after him and Yoshi, Spike still smiling as he held onto her.

With a nod, Link went next, jumping when he reached the edge of the ledge and putting his piece underneath him before he landed, imitating what he saw Sonic and Yoshi do as well as pulling his small sword out of its sheath and holding it in his left hand as he followed after them. Lucario closed his eyes and shook his head afterwards, opening his eyes a moment later and saying, “Let’s catch up with them.” He looked down at Pikachu, “Climb on, Pikachu.”

The yellow mouse nodded, “Pika!” He climbed up the right arm Lucario offered him and perched himself on the Aura Pokémon’s shoulder as he followed the others’ example, his right shoulder pointing forward as the two began sliding down. Suicune followed them after a moment, making big leaps down the metal and glass slope instead of running.

Although he had a little trouble keeping his balance at first, Lucario was able to get the hang of it and was soon able to steer his board well as he slid down. He leaned forward and back to maneuver around the standing buildings and geysers of flames that would shoot up in places after a small explosion. Suicune followed close behind, leaping from one spot to the next as he and Pikachu went down, all of them noticing more parts of the buildings around them breaking off or exploding at points.

When they went down a mangled part of the outer wall of a building, they saw Link beginning to slide down a section of street that had been warped into a half pipe. Suicune leapt up onto the left side and ran atop it, somehow able to keep her footing on such a tight strip. As she ran, she saw Sonic, Cadance, Spike, and Yoshi close together about halfway down the street and was relieved to see that they hadn’t fallen too far behind. Out of the corner of her vision, however, she noticed some bird-like creatures made of magma appear out of thin air from bursts of fire. Were it not for the bits of solid rock that stuck out of their body as well as other small differences, she might have thought of them as little Moltres offspring. They flew down the road past Sonic’s group and disappeared back into fire when they reached the end.

As they dropped down onto another fallen building, a few golem creatures that looked familiar to Sonic and Spike appeared in front of them, Yoshi, and Cadance. “Aw man, not these guys again!” Spike exclaimed.

“Yep, totally called it,” Sonic muttered. He then called, “Let’s go around these guys!” He and Yoshi weaved around the creatures while Cadance flew over them before they had a chance to attack.

As Suicune reached the end of the road ahead of Link and stood atop the narrow rim of the half pipe, one of the golems noticed her and summoned a lava ball to its left hand, holding it above itself. In response, Suicune narrowed her eyes, opening her mouth as she said, ~Hydro Pump!~ She then released a high pressure stream of water from her mouth that struck the creature in the chest and sent it flying off of the building.

As he slid down, Link saw her attack and was amazed, so amazed that he stopped paying attention to where he was going. As a result, he nearly crashed into one of the other golems when he looked forward again, but a quick Spin Attack prevented the crash, the blue whirlwind he created by swinging his sword pushing him to the right enough to avoid a crash. The attack also did some damage to the golem, Lucario finishing it off when he came down by unleashing a small burst of Aura from the palm of his paw in a Force Palm attack as he slid past.

The building didn’t last long before the group ended up on a paved road again. They came across a fork in the road a little further up and Sonic, Yoshi, Cadance, Spike, Lucario, and Pikachu took the left fork and Link and Suicune took the right. The two forks met up at the end, the road leading to a short damaged tunnel that ended when the road sloped downwards. When it flattened out again, the road went straight for several seconds before it came to an abrupt end, everyone on boards ditching them as they fell. Sonic, Yoshi, and Lucario landed on another piece of road with Link landing on Yoshi’s back with a grunt and Cadance and Suicune landing near them.

While dusting himself off, Lucario commented, “Okay, I will admit, that was pretty fun.” Pikachu, Yoshi, and Link all nodded in agreement.

Suicune said, ~Yes, that turned out to be a good idea.~ She looked over at Sonic and noticed he was down on one knee with Cadance and Spike around him. She immediately looked concerned, ~Are you okay?~

The others looked over as Sonic replied, “Yeah, I just… landed a little harder than I thought. I’m good, though.”

Cadance spoke, “Are you SURE about that, Sonic? Don’t forget what I told you before…”

Sonic looked up at her, “Yeah, I remember, Cadance, and yes, I’m sure. Look.” He quickly stood up and leapt straight up, curling into a ball and uncurling before landing, hopping up and down in place a few times afterwards. “See? Didn’t even wince. I’m good,” he said. He looked over at Suicune and noticed perspiration seemed to have formed on her face and body. “Hey, you all right, Suicune? You look like you’re sweating…”

The Aurora Pokémon blinked, ~I do?~ She ran a paw down the front of her face and felt the droplets there. ~Hm, it would appear I am.~

Spike asked, “Why are you sweating? Did we go too fast for you?”

Suicune replied, ~No, that’s not it. As a Legendary Pokémon, I suppose I have a better tolerance to heat than most Water Type Pokémon, but it still has an effect on me.~

Cadance asked, “Water Type?”

Suicune nodded, ~Yes. While some may have more than one Type, all Pokémon have specific Types that they can be classified as. As I said, I am a Water Type.~ She gestured to Lucario and Pikachu, the former scanning the area with his Aura as she spoke, ~Pikachu is an Electric Type, and Lucario is both Fighting and Steel Types, formerly only a Fighting Type when he was a Riolu. The Types help determine what a Pokémon is strong and weak against.~

Spike held a claw to his chin, “So that spray of water you did before, that would be like a Water Type thing, right?”

Suicune replied, ~Move. Water Type move. The one you saw before is called Water Gun, and the one I just did is called Hydro Pump. Every move has a Type as well, and they all have different strength levels.~

Before anyone else could say anything, Link let out a gasp and everyone except Lucario looked at him and saw he was pointing up behind them. They all looked to see what appeared to be an orange dragon with wings not much bigger than the teenage dragons flying overhead. As it flew over them, they got a better look at it. It had a yellow belly, blue on the inside of its wings, and, perhaps most surprisingly, a sizable flame on the tip of its tail. It continued flying past where the group was, heading deeper into the city. “Yoshi? (What was that?)” Yoshi asked.

Suicune figured that Yoshi had asked what the others were probably thinking, so she said, ~That was a Charizard, a Fire and Flying Type Pokémon. But how did it get here?~

Sonic asked, “You said you were told that Kyogre and Groudon had disappeared because they got sucked up through like a vortex, right? Could that be happening to other Pokémon too?” Suicune stared at him in surprise, realizing he was probably right.

A moment later, Lucario opened his eyes and said, “I think he’s right! Now that we’re deeper into the city, I’m able to sense more, and I just sensed the presence of normal Auras further ahead!”

Spike shrugged, “‘Normal Auras’? As opposed to like, what, unusual Auras?”

Lucario nodded, “Exactly. Normally I see blue when I’m sensing another creature’s Aura, but those creatures that appeared earlier, their Auras were red, indicating hostility.” He closed his eyes for a few seconds to sense again before opening them and saying, “The Auras I’m sensing appear to belong to Pokémon, and just now I picked up on more red Auras that appear to be moving towards them!”

Cadance gasped, “If there are more of those creatures, they must be moving to attack the Pokémon!”

Suicune spoke, ~We have to get those Pokémon out of there! Lucario, lead the way!~ The Aura Pokémon nodded and closed his eyes, Pikachu hanging onto him as he ran ahead and leapt up the side of a damaged building in front of the group, leaping onto the broken pieces of its structure to climb up, everyone following behind him.

After some careful moving and leaping across the tops of a few buildings that had magma running underneath the bits of solid land on top, Lucario came to a stop next to one of the larger buildings, everyone stopping behind him and looking up. High above them, they could see a large hole in the building, opening it up to the outside. Lucario closed his eyes and focused for a moment before saying, “Those red Auras I saw are up there, and so are those Pokémon! We’ve got to help them!”

Sonic looked around and said, “We gotta find a way to get up there first, man. That building’s not as destroyed as the others we’ve seen, and there aren’t a lot of buildings close to here.”

Suicune communicated, ~I can help with that. Everyone, gather close together.~ Lucario and Pikachu instantly knew what she had in mind, Lucario holding Pikachu in his arms while everyone gathered around them, despite their confusion.

Once they were all together, Sonic noticed Suicune stepping back and asked, “What are you gonna do, Suicune?”

The Aurora Pokémon smiled, ~It is time for you all to ride the north wind. Gust!~ As she said the last word, she swung her head skyward, the hexagon on her forehead glowing bright and her streamer-like tails waving more rapidly. Everyone noticed the wind beginning to pick up around them after a moment. While holding her stance, Suicune called, ~Everyone, jump!~ They all did as she said and, suddenly, a twister began swirling up from underneath them! It shot straight up, carrying everyone within its funnel as it went and stopping when it reached the hole in the building, though it did give them a bit of a push towards the hole, ensuring that they all landed inside.

While the rest of them recovered from the uplifting experience, Pikachu ran over to the hole and peered out, seeing Suicune still standing in her spot, though she appeared to have relaxed her stance. “Pikachu pika! Chu pika Pikachu?” he called.

Suicune communicated up, ~Don’t worry about me, Pikachu! Find the Pokémon in that building and rescue them! I’ll search for a way up and assist you as best I can!~ With that, she turned and ran away from the building, searching for a place to climb up. Pikachu turned back to the others and saw that they all seemed to have their feet/hooves/paws under them again in a figurative sense, so they started moving.