Chapter 2: Hedgehogs and Chili Dogs
Fluttershy sat next to the creature as it began to stir.
“Um… hello.” she said shyly. “How are you feeling?”
“Like I was hit by a train.” the creature groaned. “I guess Eggman must have gotten a lucky shot.”
Suddenly, the creature stared at Fluttershy. It blinked a lot, then rubbed its eyes. “Oh, great. Am I dead? Because that would be a really lousy way to go.” The creature looked at Fluttershy’s wings, then back at her face. “Wow, angels sure look different than I imagined. Although you are kind of adorable.”
“Um, thank you, but I’m not an angel.” Fluttershy said confusedly. “I’m a pegasus. And you’re still alive. I nursed you back to health. Thank Celestia you didn’t have any broken bones or sprains. I must admit, I’m pretty surprised.”
“Eh, I’ve been through worse. This is kind of commonplace for me.” the creature said as it sat up and looked around. “Although I can’t say I’ve ever seen a creature like you before, a pegasus or whatever. Um… by the way, where am I?”
“Oh, this is my house.” Fluttershy said.
Twilight suddenly trotted into the room. “Ah, you’re awake!” she said happily. “Are you able to talk?”
The creature stared at Twilight with a look of disbelief. “Um, is it just me, or am I seeing a purple unicorn?”
“Oh, you can talk!” Twilight said cheerfully. “So, I’ll bet you have loads of questions, because we have lots about you!”
“The only question I have right now is if I hit my head too hard.” the creature answered. “I’m seeing pastel-colored ponies. What next, they’ll be riding on rainbows?”
“You got a problem with rainbows?” Rainbow Dash asked, zipping into the room.
The creature blinked as it stared at Rainbow Dash for a couple seconds, then it sighed.
“That’s it. I’m officially nuts.” he said as he rolled over on the couch. “I’m just going to lay here until Tails or Dr. Quack discover a cure for me.”
Twilight walked over to the creature. “You’re not nuts. Well, not that I know of. You just came through the portal we created.”
The creature turned back towards her. “Say what?”
“I know this may be hard to grasp,” Twilight continued, “but we used the Elements of Harmony, some of the most powerful magical artifacts in all of Equestria, to open a portal to your world, because Princess Celestia warned us that a great evil is rising, and that we have to stop it.” She sighed. “I’m aware that this may be hard to believe, and very confusing….”
“Nah, I get it.” the creature said, sitting up again. “Other dimensions, princess, magical artifacts, evil power trying to take over. This kind of stuff happens to me a lot more than you would expect.”
Twilight looked a little surprised at the casualness with which the creature accepted the situation, but decided to continue. “My name is Princess Twilight Sparkle.” she said politely. “Although I would prefer you just call me by my name. I don’t like titles. And this is Fluttershy.” Fluttershy gave a shy little wave.
“I’m Rainbow Dash.” Rainbow Dash introduced herself.
“Well, thanks for helping me.” the creature said. “My name’s Sonic. Sonic the Hedgehog.”
Fluttershy looked confused. “Um… I thought hedgehogs were little creatures that scurried about in the forest.”
Sonic gave her a weird stare. “Your world sounds pretty strange.” he said. “Anyways, maybe you should bring me up to speed. If there’s a world-threatening monster, then I’m your guy. I’ve done this loads of times before.”
“You’ve fought monsters?” Rainbow Dash asked. “Cool! I’d like to see that!”
“Princess Celestia told us we might meet some heroes in your world who could help us.” Twilight mentioned. “Are you one of them?”
Sonic chuckled. “Hey, once we get back to my home turf, try to find somebody who doesn’t know the name of Sonic the Hedgehog!”
“It’s ‘somepony’.” Twilight corrected him.
Sonic looked confused for a moment before replying with a chuckle. “Oh, yeah, I guess in this world that’s what you say. But a lot of the people in my world aren’t ponies, so we say ‘somebody’.”
“Don’t mind her, she’s an egghead.” Rainbow Dash replied, ignoring the frown Twilight gave her. “Ponies aren’t the only race in Equestria, and there are other kingdoms all over the world.”
The conversation was interrupted by Sonic’s stomach growling.
“Oh, you poor thing!” Fluttershy said kindly. “You haven’t had anything to eat yet. Would you like me to get you something? I’ll make whatever you want. That is, if I can.”
“I don’t want to trouble you.” Sonic replied.
“Oh, it’s no trouble.” Fluttershy insisted. “I’m a very capable cook, and you’ll need to keep your strength up if you want to heal all those bruises.”
“I feel fine.” Sonic said, standing up, then wincing and abruptly sitting down again. “Okay, maybe I’m a little sore. But I’ve been through worse.”
“Please, it would make me feel better if I knew you were happy here.” Fluttershy pleaded. “Is there anything you would like?”
Sonic sighed and gave her a questioning look. “You… wouldn’t happen to know what a chili dog is, would you?”
“Chili dogs!” Rainbow Dash cried out. “Great choice! I know a place I can get some for us!” She turned towards Fluttershy and Twilight Sparkle. “So, you girls want any?”
“Um, no thanks.” Fluttershy replied. “I’ll just make myself a salad.”
“I just read a book on the health problems greasy food can cause.” Twilight Sparkle answered. “Greasy and oily foods have a significant impact on the body’s cholesterol….”
“That’s a no.” Rainbow Dash interrupted. “Anything on your chili dog, Sonic?”
“A bit of everything!” Sonic replied. “I’ll need the energy!”
As Rainbow Dash shot off, there was a knock upon the door.
“Oh, that must be Zecora.” Fluttershy said. “I asked her to make a nice, soothing ointment to help heal your injuries.”
Fluttershy opened the door, letting Zecora in. The zebra wore her usual traveling cloak, and carried a small saddlebag filled with potions.
“Oh, Zecora, thank you for coming!” Fluttershy cried. “He’s not too badly hurt, but he’s got a bunch of cuts and bruises and a few burns, and he’s sore all over.”
“I have just the thing to do the trick. This potion should heal him up quick.” Zecora replied in her usual, rhyming way. “Though he may have come through a portal, my potions can help any mortal.”
Pulling a salve out of her saddlebag, she leaned over Sonic and rubbed some of the salve on her hooves, then began to rub it upon Sonic’s injuries. Instantly, they began to sting a little less.
“Thanks for being so nice to me, you guys.” Sonic thanked them. “I just hope I can repay you.”
“Perhaps you can, my friend of blue.” Zecora stated. “We all are curious about you. Perhaps a tale of your world you can tell, that is if you’re feeling well?”
“Sure, sounds fair to me.” Sonic said.
“Wait!” Twilight interjected. “Let’s wait until the others get here. I’m pretty sure that they’ll want to hear this, too.”
“Fine by me.” Sonic shrugged. “I just hope I can heal up soon. I’m gonna go crazy if I can’t get a good run sometime soon.”
“Your injuries are superficial, and my potions are very special.” Zecora told him. “Get some rest, and tomorrow’s day, you will be able to go on your way.”
“Thanks again.” Sonic replied. “By the way, not to seem rude, but do you always talk in rhyme?”
“I prefer to speak in rhyme, at least a good deal of the time.” Zecora answered with a grin. “It helps one think before they say something they may regret one day.”
“That’s got to be difficult.” Sonic stated. “What if you have to rhyme something with ‘orange’?”
Zecora laughed. “I have found ways to avoid problems like that, by changing the place the word ’orange is at.”
“Wow, you’re good.” Sonic chuckled. “You should try your hand… er, hoof at songwriting!”
There was a sudden series of rapid knocks on the door. Fluttershy opened it, and three fillies dashed in.
“Where’s the creature that came through the portal?!” they all shouted at once.
Twilight sighed. “How did you three find out about that?” she asked.
“My sister’s the Element of Honesty.” stated the first little pony, a yellow filly with a red mane tied with a big bow. “Lyin’ ain’t her specialty. Why? Was this supposed to be a secret?”
“I probably should have remembered to tell that to everypony beforehand.” Twilight mumbled to herself as the three fillies excitedly dashed past her.
“Now, now, girls.” Fluttershy said softly. “He needs his rest.”
“Nah, I’m good.” Sonic replied with a casual wave of his hand. “I’m kind of used to fans.”
The three fillies scrambled into the room.
“Wow, he can talk!” cried the first one.
“The name’s Sonic. Sonic the Hedgehog!” Sonic replied, assuming a causal, cool pose.
“Hedgehog? I thought that hedgehogs were small and prickly.” a white unicorn filly with a purple and pink mane stated.
“He’s from another dimension! Duh!” the third filly, an orange pegasus with a purple mane, replied.
“Now, now, girls.” Twilight stated. “Why don’t you introduce yourselves?”
“I’m Apple Bloom!” the yellow filly with the bow said.
“I’m Sweetie Belle!” the white unicorn filly said with a wave.
“And I’m Scootaloo!” the orange pegasus cried out.
“Well, nice to meet you all!” Sonic replied.
“Applejack told me all about how you came through that portal!” Apple Bloom squealed. “What was it like?”
“We’re waiting for the others to arrive before Sonic here tells his story.” Twilight explained. “Rainbow Dash went to get him something to eat, and should be back here quickly.”
“Quicker than quickly!” Scootaloo cried. She turned to Sonic. “Rainbow Dash is the fastest pegasus in all of Equestria! Maybe the world! In fact, she’s probably the fastest thing alive!”
Sonic raised an eyebrow. “Really?” he asked with a grin. “I’d like to see that.”
Rainbow Dash suddenly shot into the room at breakneck speed, carrying a large brown paper bag that was stained with grease.
“I got you, like, seven of them. I don’t have any idea how much you eat, so I decided to get extras. And of course I got some for myself. Oh, yeah, and there’s some fries in there. I got both potato and hay fries, because I wasn’t sure which type you’d prefer.”
“Potato fries are fine.” Sonic said, reaching into the bag and pulling out a couple foil-wrapped bundles. Then he looked again. “There’s fourteen chili dogs in here.” he pointed out.
“What can I say? I need my energy, too.” Rainbow Dash replied with a toothy grin.
As Sonic began to eat his chili dog, he made an unusual face. “This tastes… different. I mean, it’s good, but the hot dog tastes kind of different.”
“Well, it is made with the some of the best vegetables.” Rainbow Dash replied. “At least, that’s what the sign said.”
“Ooohhh.” Sonic said in realization. “These are vegetarian chili dogs. I thought it was odd that a pony was eating one.”
“Why?” Fluttershy asked. “What are your hot dogs made out of?”
Sonic shrugged. “I have no idea. Considering most of our citizens are animals, I think they’re just made of artificial stuff, although some people think otherwise.”
“So, Dash, did you see the others on your way here?” Twilight asked.
As if to answer her question, Applejack burst in through the door. “Sorry, everypony.” she apologized. “I had some things I had to get in order, in case we’re still leavin’ on that quest Princess Celestia gave us.”
“We will be, hopefully by tomorrow, if Sonic the Hedgehog is feeling well enough.” Twilight replied.
“Sonic the Hedgehog?” Applejack repeated, turning towards the blue hedgehog with a confused frown. “I guess hedgehogs are different where he comes from.”
“Everyone seems to say that.” Sonic replied with a shrug.
Applejack looked taken aback for a moment, but quickly regained her hospitable demeanor. “Well, roast my rump and stick an apple in my mouth! He can talk same as us!” She tipped her hat. “Name’s Applejack. Mighty nice to make your acquaintance.”
“Right back at ‘ya.” Sonic replied. “Gee, I was lucky I ended up where I did. Everyone here seems so nice.”
“Aw, shucks.” Applejack replied. “That’s just how Ponyville is. ‘Course we ain’t without a couple unfriendly folk, but we do our best to make visitors feel welcome. Speakin’ of which….” She reached into one of her saddlebags and pulled out a fresh, rosy apple. “I don’t know if things are different where y’all come from, but around here, most hedgehogs love apples, and my family grows the best apples in all of Equestria. Care for one?”
“Sure!” Sonic replied, taking the apple and biting into the crisp, sweet fruit. “Mmm. You’re not kidding. This is the best apple I’ve ever tasted!”
“Freshly picked!” Applejack said proudly.
The door banged as it opened, and Rarity’s musical “Yoo-hoo!” filled the room. Behind her, Spike waddled along, struggling to carry a large suitcase and a pile of pillows.
“Sorry about the wait, dears.” Rarity stated. “It’s going to be another late night if I want to fill my orders at the Carousel Boutique and get everything ready for our trip, which Spike tells me will be tomorrow.”
Using her magic, she lifted the suitcase and pillows from Spike’s grasp, setting them down on the floor. “Isn’t he such a gentlecolt? Well, not a colt, per say, but still, he offered to carry these for me. I of course wouldn’t think of burdening little Spikey-wikey, but he insisted.”
“Anything for you, Rarity.” Spike gushed.
“Well, I trust that our new friend could use a little extra comfort while he waits.” Rarity stated, using her magic to lift a couple of the pillows into the air. “So, how is he doing?”
“I’m doing fine for now.” Sonic replied. “Thanks for helping me out, though.”
Rarity smiled. “Not at all, darling. By the way, my name is Rarity. It‘s quite a pleasure to meet you.”
Sonic stared as she fluffed some of the pillows and put them upon the couch for him to lay upon, then finally asked, “Aren’t you going to be surprised that I talk?”
“Oh, goodness, no!” Rarity replied with a laugh. “I mean, it’s rather convenient that you speak a similar language, but anypony who has any sense could tell that you are intelligent just by your clothing. Most animals don’t wear clothes, unless Fluttershy is dressing them up.”
Rarity then gave Sonic’s shoes and gloves a stare. “Let me guess. You’re athletic, with a specific focus on speed, and you prefer a casual, trendy style. And by the state of your gloves, I would say that you aren’t unaccustomed to hands-on labor. I also noticed some oil on them as well. Could you perhaps be an athlete with an interest in mechanics?”
Sonic chuckled. “My buddy Tails is the mechanic. I just specialize in taking machines apart. But how did you guess all that?”
“One’s wardrobe tells a great deal about them.” Rarity replied casually. “I must say, your shoes bear a modern, stylish flair. I can imagine that it would be quite popular with the younger ponies around here.”
“Well, that’s everypony.” Twilight said. “Except for….”
“Is he awake?” a voice asked. Twilight turned to see a shadowy figure hiding outside the window.
“Oh, good, he is!” the figure said in answer to her own question. “Now I can give him a proper welcome.” The figure then ducked out of sight. There was some rustling in the bushes, and then some unusual sounds from outside the front door.
“What exactly is that noise?” Sonic asked.
Twilight sighed. “Oh, that’s just….”
The door suddenly burst open in a blast of confetti, and a pink blur shot into the room like a cannonball.
“…Pinkie Pie.” Twilight finished.
Pinkie Pie dashed up to Sonic, pulling out a great deal of instruments. She began to dance about on her hind hooves, playing all the various instruments, and as she did, she sang;
Hello there, I’m Pinkie Pie! I just dropped by to say hi!
I wanted you to feel at home, so here’s a special big welcome!
Welcome, welcome, welcome!
Our spiky visitor!
Welcome, welcome, welcome!
I hope you’ll stay some more!
I’m sure we’ll be the best of friends! I hope that this fun never ends!
So everypony sing along, and join me in the welcome song!
Welcome, welcome, welcome!
Our visitor of blue!
Welcome, welcome, welcome!
I hope you like us, too!
As Sonic sat on the couch, staring with a stupefied expression at Pinkie, she dashed up to him.
“How was that! Was that the most super-spledorific awesomest welcome you’ve ever gotten?!” she squealed.
Sonic regained his composure. “I admit, not many people greet me so enthusiastically. Except for one person, and she’s pink, too.”
“I made you some cupcakes!” Pinkie cried with a big grin, holding out a basket of tasty-looking cupcakes with orange frosting. “Cupcakes are my favorite! And I make really good cupcakes! And if you want other stuff, I’m an excellent cook! I can make any type of pastry there is!”
“I’ll keep that in mind.” Sonic replied with a grin, taking the cupcakes.
Twilight cleared her throat. “Well, now that we’re all here, would you mind telling us about your world a little bit?”
“Yes, yes!” the three little fillies, (and Pinkie Pie,) all cried out, hopping about excitedly.
Sonic sighed and leaned back, looking towards the roof. “Wow, where to begin. I suppose I should start with the basics….”
I come from a world where many types animals have evolved into fully intelligent beings, like me. That was because of some alien weapon that combined our DNA with the dominant race at that time, but that’s another story. We call our world Mobius, and the animal-people are called Mobians. There are also a race called humans, tall, pink things who only have hair on their heads. They were the original dominant race, but I’m pretty foggy as to what happened to them, because they weren’t around for a long time during the rise of the Mobians. Except for a few, and one in particular who did arise to become one heck of a pain in the tail.
Anyhow, we ended up forming our own societies and cultures, and eventually our own countries.
“So, are there other critters and birdies who walk and talk like you?” Fluttershy asked.
“Yep!” Sonic replied. “Foxes, rabbits, walruses, hawks.”
“So when Princess Celestia told us about the Echidna Empire, she was talking about real echidnas?” Twilight Sparkle asked.
Sonic’s eyes widened in surprise. “Wait. You guys know of the Echidna Empire?”
“Only what Princess Celestia told us.” Twilight admitted. “She claimed to have visited your world long ago, to chase out an old enemy who had taken up residence there. She told me she used to visit your world, before she had a problem with some of the… humans, was it? Anyways, they tried to steal her power or something, which by the way, is ludicrous to even attempt, and so she left, and only watched over the world occasionally, to make sure it was safe.”
Sonic shrugged. “Eh, I guess I shouldn’t be surprised. I come across interdimensional meetings almost every other week, and have met my share of demigods and such.”
“Come on, already! Tell us the rest!” Rainbow Dash said impatiently.
“All right, where was I?” Sonic mused. “Oh, yeah….”
Well, long story short, a lot of stuff happened, and the Mobians thrived. Eventually humans rose to become a big part of the world again, although that only happened in my lifetime. Before that, the few humans we knew were viewed as unusual creatures. Even they were uncertain as to their origins.
Anyways, humans and Mobians actually managed to get along pretty well, considering their differences, and the bad example set by one specific human. In fact, that one human is why I flew through that portal you made.
“So, this specific ‘human’ creature caused that explosion?” Applejack asked, looking more than a bit angry. “He could’a hurt somepony real bad! Pinkie barely saved Twilight from gettin’ injured.”
“Well, he was trying to hurt somebody.” Sonic sighed. “To be specific, me. He and I go waaaay back. He tries to take over Mobius, I stop him, he tries again, I stop him again, et cetera, et cetera. We’ve been doing this since I was little more than a kid.”
“You were a kid and you were fighting bad guys?” Scootaloo asked, her eyes wide with excitement.
“Yeah, well, didn’t have a choice.” Sonic replied. “ This bad guy took over our world, and my parents and I got separated, so I was pretty much a homeless orphan. I teamed up with a bunch of other kids, most of whom weren’t old enough to drive yet, and we tried to do our best to take Dr. Eggman down, calling ourselves the Freedom Fighters.”
“Eggman?!” Pinkie Pie giggled. “That’s a funny name!”
Sonic chuckled. “It’s a nickname. His real name is Ivo Robotnik. We just called him Eggman because of his round belly. For some reason, he liked the name, and kept it.”
“So how powerful was he?” Sweetie Belle pressed excitedly. “Was he like Discord?”
“Darling, our guest probably doesn’t know who Discord even is.” Rarity said to Sweetie Belle.
“Well, I might not,” Sonic stated, “but I can tell you that Eggman succeeded in taking over our entire world once, and almost has again on multiple occasions. He’s a brilliant genius when it comes to science, and he’s built all sorts of weapons, not to mention armies upon armies of robots.”
“You have robots in your world?” Twilight asked, now looking as excited as the fillies. “I thought they were only in science fiction! The scientific knowledge to make such a machine would be amazing!”
“Now hold on a minute.” Rainbow Dash said, looking skeptical. “You’re telling me that you fight entire armies?”
“Pretty much.” Sonic replied casually. “My friends of course are indispensable, but they always call me in when the going gets tough.”
“And you did this as a kid?” Dash pressed.
“Yup.” Sonic answered. “Not as awesomely as I do now, mind you, but even back then I was scootin’ and rootin’. Nobody messed with Sonic the Hedgehog and the Freedom Fighters!”
“So this Eggman is still a threat in your world?” Twilight asked.
“Sadly.” Sonic admitted. “He sure can’t take a hint. Beating him hundreds of times hasn’t seemed to stop him from trying again and again and again.”
“Well, if we’re to be traveling to your world, we’ll need to know whatever you can tell us so that we can be prepared.” Twilight stated.
“Now hold on, I’ve been doing some explaining already.” Sonic interrupted. “But I have a question, now. Just what is this dark power that you heard is threatening my world?”
The ponies all looked at one another in worry. “We… don’t actually know, really.” Twilight admitted. “Not even Princess Celestia knew what it was. All we know is that it is responsible for one of the greatest dangers Equestria ever faced: Nightmare Moon.”
“What is Nightmare Moon?” Sonic asked.
“I have a potion that will show exactly what you want to know.” Zecora stated, pulling some green dust from one of her saddle bags. She blew it into the air, and it began to take shape, forming figures that moved as if they were alive, acting out the famed story of Nightmare Moon.
As the ponies told Sonic about their world, and Sonic told them about his, none of them bothered to look out the window and see a strange metal ball, with spindly legs and a single red eye, staring inside and watching their every movement, and hearing every word.