• Published 3rd Jul 2013
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Sol Umbrae - Dream Bolt



Twilight Sparkle is sent to a new world to face an old threat, only to find that this new world shares a lot more history with Equestria than she suspected.

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The Clock is Ticking

Chapter 13: The Clock is Ticking

Rouge huddled with Rarity in a cave. She had been making calls nonstop, and had been trying to comfort the frantic Rarity.

“If Eggman gets into Ponyville, what will happen?!” Rarity cried. “My mom and dad and little sister live there! Not to mention a great deal of wonderfully nice ponies! And my boutique! And Opalescence! And… and… and….” She burst into tears again.

“Look, get a hold of yourself.” Rouge stated. “I’m trying to call in the others. Once Sonic and Shadow show up, we’ll see what we can do, but we’ll just have to wait until then.”

As Rarity continued to cry, Rouge gave a sigh. She was trained to be tough, but she couldn’t help but feel sorry for this mare, when her home and family were in such danger.

“Hey, honey, don’t get all hyped up just yet.” she stated. “I’ve faced the Eggman Empire plenty of times. And Sonic the Hedgehog has taken him down more times than you can imagine. Seriously, we’ve overcome worse. And don’t worry, we usually manage to save everyone, with minimal to no losses. Trust me.”

“I just… I never really expected that this could get so bad.” Rarity sniffed. “This dreadful Mephiles character, and Eggman, and… I’m all alone. I’m used to fighting with my friends, but I’m all alone right now. And I don’t like it.”

“I know how you….”

Rouge’s reply was suddenly cut off as a transmission came through.

“Rouge the Bat.” a flat, grating voice called. “We detected your signal. Stand by for evac.”

“Omega? Omega, is that you?” Rouge cried, her face lighting up.

“It’s more than just the metalhead.” a familiar, confident voice called out from the cave front.

A single ray of sunlight illuminated a figure who stood with spread wings, the wind blowing her colorful mane.

“Rainbow Dash!” Rarity cried, leaping towards the pale blue pegasus and throwing her hooves around her neck.

Rainbow Dash was rather taken aback by this affectionate display. “Hey, no need to get mushy, Rarity.” she stated. “I heard about the situation. This Eggman guy is going down. I’ll have him out of Ponyville in ten seconds flat.”

“Oh, Rainbow, I missed you so much!” Rarity exclaimed, happily prancing while still holding onto Dash’s neck. “I’m so happy to see you! I felt so lost and alone here, out in the frozen wastelands, fearing the worst.” She suddenly stopped and looked at Dash’s wing. “I say, weren’t you injured?”

“Twilight healed me up.” Rainbow Dash explained. “Now would you please cut the sappy, hugging stuff?”

“So Twilight’s here, too?” Rarity asked, looking very happy as she removed her hooves from around Rainbow Dash.

“Nah, she left to go after some guy who claimed he could help us.” Dash replied. “But don’t worry. We’ll meet up with her soon.”

With a rush of jets and smoke, Omega landed next to them. Fluttershy followed with a much quieter landing.

“A G.U.N. airship is waiting nearby.” Omega stated. “We arrived here in search of the Elements of Harmony. But your transmission has shown that the situation has grown more complicated.”

“We have to get to Ponyville!” Fluttershy stated with an uncharacteristic firmness. “I can’t bear to think of what Eggman would do to everypony.”

“We’re waiting for the others to show.” Rouge stated. “Twilight Sparkle is out of communications, but everyone else should be showing up.”

There was a flash of light, not far off, and a few second later, Applejack galloped up, with Knuckles close behind.

“This Egg fella has crossed the line!” Applejack was shouting. “When I get there, I am gonna buck his fancy machines all the way to Appleoosa!”

“Save some for me!” Knuckles added. “I have a whole bunch of scores to settle with the Doctor.”

With another flash, Zecora, Spike, and the Chaotix Team appeared on a nearby ledge.

“Sorry for the delay, but we had to rally the Chaotix up and the little fire-breather up.” Espio explained. “I heard the scoop. Tails will be arriving shortly with Amy and Sonic. Once they’re here, and hopefully when Shadow shows up, we’ll go in.”

“We’re goin’ in without Twilight?” Applejack asked.

“You guys are.” Spike replied. “I’m staying here with G.U.N. to wait for her. If she shows up, I’ll tell her what happened.”

A third flash suddenly appeared in the sky, and Pinkie Pie and Shadow fell down next to everyone. Shadow landed deftly on his feet, while Pinkie glided down softly, a bunch of balloons tied around her waist.

“What were you thinking?!” Shadow cried. “I was supposed to be the one to use Chaos Control!”

“Oops. Sorry!” Pinkie replied, tossing him the Chaos Emerald. “I just wanted to see what it was like. I thought my Pinkie sense said something would be falling!”

Shadow shook his head as he caught the Emerald. “Sonic is going to pay for teaming me with her.” he growled to himself.

“Ooh! Wait!” Pinkie stretched her arms and grabbed the Emerald back, disappearing in a flash. A few seconds later she returned, with a whole bagful of baked goods.

“Sorry, I forgot these.” Pinkie explained, tossing the Chaos Emerald back to Shadow again. “Care for a cupcake?”

Shadow simply gave a snort and walked off, muttering to himself.

“Anypony… I mean, anyone want some goodies?” Pinkie asked waving the bag around. “I’ve got some super-delicious donuts and cinnamon rolls and baklava! I love baklava! I just like saying ’baklava’! It’s such a funny word! Baklava, baklava, baklava!”

“I’ll have a donut with sprinkles!” Spike exclaimed.

The sound of a plane suddenly filled the air. From above, everyone saw the Tornado come swooping in. As it landed nearby, Sonic leapt out, closely followed by Tails and Amy.

“Got the scoop.” Sonic said hurriedly. “Where’s Twilight?”

“Checking with some guy who said he might be able to help us.” Rainbow Dash replied. “She’ll have to catch up. Right now, we need speed if we want to rescue Ponyville.”

Sonic grinned. “So, you think you’re fast enough, Dash?”

“Oh, yeah!” Rainbow Dash exclaimed, pawing the ground.

Sonic nodded towards everyone. “Chaos Emerald ready! We’re going to have to teleport close to that portal and get through it before Eggman can stop us. Everyone got it?”

Everyone nodded.

“Alright, let’s hear our cry for freedom!” Sonic shouted. “Let’s do it to it!”

“Let’s do it to it!” everyone else (except Shadow) shouted, raising their hands or hooves high in the air.
Shadow held up his Chaos Emerald.

“Chaos Control!”

There was a flash, and they were suddenly surrounded by metal and concrete, and hundreds of robots.
Sonic grinned, getting himself in a ready position.

“All right. Let’s juice.”

*************************************************************************************************

Vinyl Scratch dove for cover. More Eggman robots were coming in by the dozen. Big Macintosh and herself were helping clear a path to the Egg Dome, but it wasn’t easy to hold off the hordes.

“Everypony, go, go, go!” Vinyl shouted.

The ponies charged at the Egg Dome. Big Macintosh was in front, ready to break down the great doors.

But suddenly, laser-fire began to erupt all around them. From the surrounding buildings, robots leapt out of hiding. The ponies fought hard, but now they came to a terrible realization.

They were surrounded. Nopony could retreat now.

It was a trap.

*************************************************************************************************

The Mobians and the ponies were blasting through Eggman’s forces as they fought to get to the portal. The air was filled with flying debris, lasers, lightning, bombs, and cake.

The ponies were fighting with all their might. This was now personal. Their home was at risk, and they weren’t about to let it fall into the hands of a madman.

“Y’all are not gonna take my home!” Applejack shouted, bucking a robot into a pile of crates.

Vector crashed down next to her, leaping onto a pair of robots and smashing them, then crushing a third in his mighty jaws. Swinging about, he smashed another with a powerful punch.
“Nice goin’ sugarcube!” Applejack hollered, lassoing an airborne robot and swinging it about, smashing away the other surrounding flying robots.

A flurry of throwing stars and colorful potions filled the air as Espio and Zecora joined the fight.

“Well, I did say I would offer you training.” Espio stated. “I just didn’t know it would be on-the-job.”

“You would have taught me much, I’ll bet.” Zecora replied. “But experience is the best teacher yet.”

A rainbow mushroom cloud erupted as Rainbow Dash crashed into a horde of giant robots, blasting them away.

“Oh, yeah!” she shouted. “Anyone care to try and match that?”

“Chaos… BLAST!!!”

Rainbow Dash covered her face as an explosion of crimson energy tore through Eggman’s forces, leaving nothing but scrap metal.
Shadow leapt out of the smoke, hurling Chaos Lances left and right.

“Okay, that was kind of cool.” Rainbow Dash admitted.

Shadow merely gave a snort and smashed another robot with a homing attack.

Rainbow Dash soared up and grabbed one of the dark clouds hovering over the base. Striking it, she sent lightning blasting down below, shocking the robots and shorting them out.

“Nice trick!” Tails shouted as he soared past, bombing the enemy with a flurry of Dummy Ring Bombs.

Below, the robots’ line was being torn through by Omega and Pinkie Pie.
“Eradicate all Eggman forces!” Omega cried with an uncharacteristic fervor as his machine guns ripped through the robotic armies.

“Let them eat cake!” Pinkie Pie screamed, firing all three of her party cannons in rapid succession, sending pastry blasting through the ranks of robots. One robot got too close, and Pinkie smacked it in the face with a pie.

From the roof, a group of robots fired a stream of missiles at Omega and Pinkie, but they were caught in midair, being hurled back at the robots who fired them.

Rarity dashed up, clad in a suit of light, flexible armor, her horn glowing as she threw a series of crates at the surrounding robots.

“Take that, you heartless automatons!” she cried.

Omega fired off a stream of missiles of his own. “Your support is welcome.” he stated. “Your defensive capabilities are impressive.”

“Thank you, dearie.” Rarity replied, blocking another incoming missile and hurling it into a group of robots.

“Hey, Rarity, where’d you get the fancy metal outfit?” Pinkie Pie asked brightly.

Rarity tossed her mane. “I quickly fashioned it from scrap metal for some added defense.” she explained, obviously proud of her work. “Not exactly something I would wear to Canterlot, but considering the circumstances, I’m quite pleased with it.”

A blue blur shot past, decimating the nearby remaining robots.

“Guys, the path is clear, let’s go!” Sonic cried, skidding to a momentary stop. He then did a double take at Rarity.

“Scrap metal?” he asked.

“Only material I could find quickly enough.” Rarity explained.

Sonic grinned. “Nice work. Do you do shoe design?”

“Come on, y’all!” Applejack cried. “No time to lose! We gotta’ move fast!”

“That’s my specialty!” Sonic and Rainbow Dash both exclaimed at once.

The team charged towards the portal. Sonic grinned at Rainbow Dash as they zoomed towards it together.

“You worried?” Sonic asked.

Rainbow Dash stared ahead determinedly as she replied.

“If you have time to worry, then run.”

*************************************************************************************************

Scootaloo kicked and struggled against the guards.

“Let me go!” she cried. “You aren’t going to robotatitasize me or my friends!”

“Bring them inside already!” Eggman cried. “I can’t wait till they are finally obedient, and most importantly, QUIET!”

Suddenly, they heard a blaring alarm on the other side of the radio.

“Sir, is there a problem?” the first guard asked.

“It appears that we have company.” Eggman replied. “I’m picking up some life forms approaching from the other side of the portal and….” Eggman’s voice suddenly trailed off.

“Sir?” the guard called.

For a moment the radio was silent. Then Eggman’s shouts blared out as he ranted like a madman.

“No! Not him! How did he even get here?”

“Sir, what should we do?” the guard asked.

“All units, mobilize!” Eggman cried. “It’s that blasted hedgehog!”

“Sonic, sir?”

“Yes, of course it’s Sonic!” Eggman bellowed. “And there’s another signature closely following him at high speeds! And they’re approaching this area!”

“What is this other….”

The guard’s question was gut off by a loud boom. Everyone looked up to see a blast of color in the sky.
Scootaloo’s face lit up, and her eyes grew wide with wonder.

A bolt of color streaked towards the robots.

“Mayday, mayday!” the guard cried. “Incoming….”

The guard was cut off as a rainbow blur smashed the robot into pieces, then whipped through the others, smashing them into scrap metal.
As Sweetie Belle helped Apple Bloom up, Scootaloo dashed over to the colorful figure of Rainbow Dash as she skidded to a stop. She threw her hooves around her neck, crying tears of sheer relief and joy.

“I knew you’d come.” she exclaimed.

Rainbow Dash grinned, returning the hug. “Course I would, kiddo. I am loyalty, after all.”

*************************************************************************************************

Big Macintosh was smashing robots left and right, but he was getting weak. Beside him, Vinyl Scratch struggled to keep her bass cannon aimed as fatigue began to set in.

Lyra and Carrot Top were hurling pies every which way, and Derpy was smashing into the flying robots, but they too were becoming weary. Granny Smith still struggled away despite her age, slowly tossing pie after pie.

Bon-Bon popped a sweet into Big Macintosh’s mouth. “That’s the last of the healing sweets.” she told him. “We’ve got to retreat.”

“I’m afraid that isn’t an option.” Octavia exclaimed, collapsing heavily beside Vinyl, her body covered in foamy sweat. “They have us surrounded, and their forces are far superior in numbers.”

“Somepony might still come and save us!” Derpy stated.

“Come on, Octy!” Vinyl Scratch cried. “We can’t give up!”

“I wouldn‘t, even if it would make any difference.” Octavia wearily replied, shakily getting to her hooves. “But I’m afraid that this shall be our last stand.”

Vinyl Scratch stared for a moment, a look of despair on her face. Then, she gave a grim smile, and shouldered her bass cannon.

“Then let’s go out rockin’.”

“I would have it no other way.” Octavia replied.

“Nor I.” Bon-Bon agreed.

“Eeyup.” Big Macintosh added.

Lyra put a hoof over Bon-Bon’s shoulder. “Together to the end.”

Carrot Top pulled out her giant carrot. “Let’s make them remember the name of Ponyville.”

Octavia nodded. “For Equestria.”

“On my signal, we charge.” Vinyl Scratch stated. “Ready… set….”

“Wait!” Derpy suddenly cried. “Don’t you feel that?”

“Feel what?” Carrot Top asked.

Derpy looked about herself, her mane whipping about as the air picked up speed. Something was approaching: a blur of blue.

“It’s the wind.” Derpy replied. “It’s like it’s alive.”

Suddenly, something tore through the robots with the force of hurricane. A streak of blue shot past, smashing the surrounding automatons, but leaving the ponies unscathed.

“W-what is that?” Carrot Top shouted above the rush of the wind.

The wind suddenly died down, and a strange blue creature seemed to materialize out of it.
He turned towards them. “The name is Sonic. Sonic the Hedgehog.”
The ponies stared in wonder at this strange being. Octavia was the first to regain her composure.

“Your aid is most welcome.” she stated. “We need all the help we can get.”

“Well, then you’re in luck!” Sonic replied. “I brought backup.”

Suddenly, with a great battle cry, the heroes of Mobius and Equestria charged out, plowing through the robotic forces.

Octavia fell on her haunches with relief and exhaustion. “The Elements have returned.” she breathed. “Thank Celestia.”

Carrot Top turned towards Sonic. “We need to get everypony into the Everfree Forest. We’re hiding out there.”

“Just like old times.” Sonic chuckled. Then, in a flash, he was gone.

*************************************************************************************************

Once everypony retreated back to the ancient ruins in the Everfree Forest, they finally were reunited with their friends and family.

“Applejack!” Granny Smith and Apple Bloom shouted with joy as they and Big Macintosh ran towards her.
Applejack caught her family up in a big group hug. “I am so glad y’all are safe.” she stated, sighing with relief. She sniffed.

“Applejack, are you cryin’?” Apple Bloom asked.

“No!” Applejack replied hurriedly. “I just… had a little sentiment in my eye.”

Apple Bloom grinned and snuggled against her sister, happy to have her back.

Rarity was trudging along beside Sonic, Tails, and Rouge, helping them as they started preparing a more trustworthy bridge to set across the canyon, when she was suddenly tackled by a powerful force.

“Rarity!” a familiar voice cried. A cold, metallic cheek nuzzled against hers, and strong, metal hooves hugged her tightly.

But in the joy of returning, Rarity didn’t notice this. All she knew was that sweet voice, which sounded more musical than ever before.

“Oh, Sweetie Belle!” she cried. “Thank Celestia! I swear, I will never yell at you again, not even if you rip every one of my dresses!”

“Even the red one?” Sweetie Belle asked.

“Well, I might raise my voice a little.” Rarity admitted. Then she suddenly stopped and looked at Sweetie Belle. “Dearie, what’s wrong? Did you step into some Poison Joke?”

From behind her, Rarity felt a rush of air as Sonic dashed over.

“Oh, no.” he uttered. “This is bad.” He whipped his head around. “Tails! Get over here!”

Tails dashed over, and gasped as he saw Sweetie Belle.

“Eggman’s got a roboticizer.” he breathed.

“I was afraid of this.” Sonic growled. “That lousy jerk, picking on a little kid.”

“I feel okay.” Sweetie Belle assured everyone. “I was kind of loopy for a while, and I think that that Eggman dodo had hypnotized me or something, but I got over it!”

Sonic shook his head. “Well… at least she retained her free will.” he muttered.

“Whatever are you talking about?” Rarity asked, getting to her hooves.

“Eggman has a machine called a roboticizer.” Tails explained. “It turns ordinary creatures like Mobians or ponies into robots which mindlessly serve him.”

“Sometimes the person regains their free will.” Sonic added. “Like Sweetie Belle here, or my Uncle Chuck.”

“But can it be reverted?” Rarity asked.

Tails shuffled uncomfortably. “We’ve devoted huge amounts of research and resources to try and find out how, but… well, we still don’t know how to fix it.”

“So Sweetie Belle will be a robot forever?” Rarity cried.

“Hey, don’t get too worried just yet.” Sonic replied. “We don’t have a reliable source for a cure, but people have been deroboticized before. And since I have no idea what Equestria is like, perhaps your magic might have something to revert her.”

“It’s not so bad, sis.” Sweetie Belle stated. “At least we’re together again.”

“That we are.” Rarity admitted, hugging her sister.

She then turned and looked at the ‘bridge’, then at the surrounding ruins.

“Goodness, this place is a mess.” she mentioned. “It certainly need a touch of style.”

“Rarity, you need to rest.” Sonic exclaimed. “You’ve been going all yesterday and through the night, fighting Eggman’s robot crab, hunting down the Emeralds, then fighting through to the portal, then fighting to save Ponyville. You need to sleep.”

Rarity shook her head wearily. “The sun has only been up for a couple hours.” she stated. “I’ve worked late nights before.”

“Not fighting for your life half the time.” Sonic replied.

Rarity held her head up high, despite the bags beneath her eyes. “I’ll sleep when I have a decent place to sleep in. I’m not about to lie down on some dirty rocks or moss. And you haven’t had any sleep, either.”

Sonic shrugged. “Suit yourself. But I’m getting a couple winks, and I’m pretty sure everyone else is, too. Except maybe for Pinkie Pie.”

“Don’t worry, I can look after myself.” Rarity replied.

*************************************************************************************************

When Sonic awoke, it was already late afternoon. To his surprise, a lovely surrounding of garlands hung from trellises surrounded him. Not far away, within a chamber made of sticks and flowers, Rarity was sprawled across a soft mattress of heather lain atop some bales of hay, murmuring in her sleep.

“Well, if that Rarity don’t beat all.” Applejack whistled as she walked up to Sonic. “I was only asleep a couple hours, and she made all of this?”

“I like her style.” Sonic stated with admiration. “We need people… er, ponies with good construction skill.”

“Say no more!” Applejack announced. “We Apples are natural-born builders! Why, I’ve helped raise our barn in less than a day. Of course, I suppose I didn’t have to cut all the planks of wood myself, and we had an easy supply of tools and nails and such, so I might not be that quick here.”

“Then we’ll improvise!” Pinkie Pie cried, popping out of nowhere. “We can use gum to stick things up, and I once made a tiny log cabin out of sticks of candy! Now, all we need are some huge candy canes….”

“Pinkie, even if that worked, you know you would eat it all within the day.” Applejack replied.

Pinkie Pie sighed. “You’re probably right. Still, eating an entire house made of candy would be totally sweet!” She giggled at her own joke. “Do you get it? Sweet? Hee hee ha ha ha!”

“Well, I’d better get to work.” Applejack stated. “I already slept longer than I planned to, and there’s lots to be done.”

“Um… excuse me.” Fluttershy said softly as she walked up. “I was wondering if somepony could help me go to my house and collect some things. I mean, if that’s okay with you. It isn’t far, and it’s right next to the forest, so I don’t think it will be too dangerous. But I have to make sure my animal friends are okay, and I have a lot of medical supplies that could be very helpful.”

“Sounds like a good idea.” Sonic said. “Hey, Knuckles! Over here!”

Knuckles walked over, setting down the load of firewood he had collected. “You called?”

“Fluttershy needs an escort who’s strong and can carry stuff to go with her to check out her house.” Sonic stated. “You up for it?”

“Sounds more fun than collecting firewood.” Knuckles replied. “I’ll go. But someone has to collect firewood in my place.”

Sonic chuckled. “I can have that done in no time. After all, Sonic’s the name, and speed’s my game.”

Knuckles turned towards Fluttershy. “Okay. Lead the way.”

“It’s right this way.” Fluttershy said, pointing her hoof.

*************************************************************************************************

Fluttershy and Knuckles gently glided down outside of Fluttershy’s house. Fluttershy gasped, putting her hooves over her mouth, as she saw a few laser scorch marks. Worse, all her animals were missing.

“Oh no!” she cried. She dashed towards the house before Knuckles could stop her.

As she threw open the door, she suddenly froze. Standing in the room towering over her, was a giant robot.
Fluttershy squealed, quivering uncontrollably, unable to run from sheer fright.
The robot charged at her. She covered her eyes.

But to her surprise, the robot scooped her up and hugged her.

“Um… hello?” Fluttershy said, extremely relieved but very confused.

Suddenly, Fluttershy noticed all of her pets and animal friends climbing out of hiding spots all around her. They all squeaked or chirped in delight, and dashed over to her, surrounding her.

Knuckles suddenly burst in. “Fluttershy, you should be more….” Suddenly he noticed the robot, and raised his fists. “Get behind me, Fluttershy!” he shouted.

“Oh, it’s okay. I think he’s friendly.” Fluttershy replied, as the robot nervously backed up.

Knuckles looked suspiciously at the robot. “One false move, and I’ll scrap him. The only reason I’m not scrapping him right now is because I’ve seen a couple bots who’ve rebelled before.”

Fluttershy looked about. Her happy face suddenly became worried again. “A lot of my friends are missing.” she mentioned worriedly. “And… Angel? Where’s Angel?!”

“Who’s Angel?” Knuckles asked.

“My cute little pet bunny.” Fluttershy replied. “He’s gone!”

The robot suddenly waved its arms, pointing towards itself.

“You know where Angel is?” Fluttershy asked.

The robot nodded.

“Where?!” Fluttershy exclaimed.

The robot took a picture from the wall. It showed Fluttershy and a small, white rabbit. The robot pointed at the rabbit, then back at itself.

A dawning look came over Knuckles’ face. “Just how intelligent are the animals in Equestria?” he asked.

“Well, they all are quite intelligent, even if not many ponies can understand them.” Fluttershy said. “Angel was really smart. He would even look after me, sometimes.”

Knuckles turned towards the robot. “I think I can guess what happened.” he said.

He walked over to the robot. “Don’t worry.” he stated to the robot. “I’ve done this lots of times, and nobody’s ever gotten hurt.”

Before anyone else could react, Knuckles delivered a series of shattering blows to the robot.

“Knuckles!” Fluttershy shrieked. “He’s nice! You shouldn’t….”

As the sparks and smoke cleared, Fluttershy suddenly saw a small figure climbing out of the wreckage.

It was Angel.

“Angel!” She cried with relieved joy, scooping him up and hugging him.

Angel hugged her back. “You got no idea how glad I am to see ya, babe.” he said in his rabbit speak.

“H-how did you get in that robot?” Fluttershy asked.

“Eggman has been doing this since his earliest years.” Knuckles replied. “He uses animals as a biological power source to power his robots. Kind of like batteries. It’s sick.”

“He… does… WHAT?!” Fluttershy screamed. Knuckles took a few steps back, surprised and a little frightened by the sudden outburst of rage coming from this normally meek and shy mare.

“Relax. It don’t hurt or nothin’.” Angel told her. “Just really uncomfortable. But I guess that Eggman chump ain’t used to animals like me. I took control of the tin suit, and blasted his robot palookas. Then I came here. Me and some of the others have been doin’ our best to break out the other animals that Eggman caught.”

“Oh my.” Fluttershy stated.

Knuckles looked confused. “You can understand him?”

“Of course.” Fluttershy replied. “It’s a special gift of mine.”

“Who’s the red chump?” Angel asked.

“Angel , this is Knuckles. He’s helping us stop Eggman.” Fluttershy explained.

“Helpin’?” Angel squealed. “I had myself a tail-kickin’, bad-flank robot suit, and he goes and busts it up! What’s up with that?”

“He gave me a nasty look with that last squeak.” Knuckles said.

“Oh, Knuckles was just trying to free you.” Fluttershy explained to Angel.

“Well, tell Knucklehead here that thanks to his dumb moves, we’re down one more soldier!” Angel squeaked. “It ain’t comfy in there, but this is war, and I needed that tin can to fight! I have half a mind to teach this chump a lesson or two!”

“What’s he saying?” Knuckles asked.

“He’s a little disappointed that he can’t use the robot to help us.” Fluttershy replied sweetly.

Knuckles shrugged. “Well, maybe Tails can do something with it. In the meantime, let’s get those supplies, and get these critters someplace safe.”

*************************************************************************************************

“Got everything, sugarcube?” Applejack asked as Knuckles and Fluttershy returned.

“Oh, yes. We got everything we’ll need, and we even found Angel!”

“Well, that’s mighty lucky for y’all!” Applejack replied, setting up some logs to make a fence. “Winona has been stayin’ here most of the time, chasin’ off the varmints and whatnot. And Derpy brought Tank here when they came. Lucky for us we got pet-sitters. Octavia made sure to bring Opalescence along with her, and Lyra’s got Gummy. Owlicious was smart enough to head to the woods once the invasion started, so, he’s here, too!”

“Who?” Owlicious cried from a nearby branch.

“You, ya silly bird!” Applejack repeated.

Knuckles set down the supplies, then suddenly stopped and stared.

“What’s so interestin’ sugarcube?” Applejack asked, turning about. Then she suddenly put a hoof over her mouth to keep from laughing out loud.

Shadow was walking past with Pinkie Pie, and he was looking angrier than Applejack had seen him in a long time.

But there was a very big difference.

He was pink and glittery, with purple highlights.

“I told you, never, ever walk in Poison Joke!” Pinkie Pie was saying. “Although actually, I like this color on you! It’s very….”

“Just stop talking about it.” Shadow stated abruptly.

“You’d… better see…mrmph, heh heh… you should see Zecora about that, sugarcube.” Applejack said, trying very hard not to laugh. “She’s dealt with this stuff before.”

“I hope she can make it quick.” Shadow growled, stomping off.

As soon as he was out of earshot, Applejack, Knuckles, and even Fluttershy burst into hysterics. From afar, an even louder laugh, and some angry, unpleasant words testified that Sonic had just noticed Shadow’s condition as well.

“Well, that’ll do wonders for morale, at least!” Applejack laughed.

*************************************************************************************************

A short while later, Knuckles and Applejack were finishing up the fence.

“Hoo-wee!” Applejack exclaimed. “I need a breather, and a nice cold apple juice. Then I guess we should start gettin’ to work on some of those shelters.”

“Your work will not be necessary, Applejack.” a gentle, beautiful voice called from the heavens.

Everyone looked towards the sky. Against the sun, a winged equine figure was silhouetted. Her flowing mane shimmered with magic. The sun glinted off of her golden crown as she landed.

“P-Princess Celestia, y-your majesty.” Applejack stuttered, bowing. Everyone else followed suit, except Sonic, who gave a friendly wave.

“She’s the princess! Y’all are supposed to bow!” Applejack whispered.

“Sorry, not my style.” Sonic stated casually. “My respect is earned by who someone is, not by a title.”

Celestia gave a gentle chuckle. “Bold but wise words, Sonic the Hedgehog of Mobius.” she replied. “It is refreshing to see someone who doesn’t judge me as a princess, but as an equal.”

“No offense intended.” Sonic replied. “I don’t bow for most of the rulers of my world, either.”

“I am not offended at all.” Celestia replied. “In fact, I am pleased. It has been so long since anyone has treated me as an equal, rather than as a ruler.”

“But what Equestria need now is a ruler.” she continued, spreading her wings. Her eyes flashed with white fire, and her voice became thunderous. “And my people have been threatened. My patience is great, but I will not tolerate any who dare to harm my subjects!” She stomped her hoof, sending trembles through the earth, and flames licked out from her hoofprints.

She turned towards the ponies and the Mobians. “This Dr. Robotnik shall pay for his cruelty. I bid you all, stand up and fight beside me! Through the power of friendship, we shall overcome! For your homes! For your loved ones! For both Equestria and Mobius!”

“For Equestria, and for Mobius!” everyone shouted.

Celestia nodded, smiling kindly. “I have faith in each and every one of you.” she stated. Then her face became serious. “But where is Twilight Sparkle?”

“We… don’t know.” Fluttershy replied. “She went to meet someone who said they could help us.”

Celestia looked grave. “I cannot wait. Robotnik shall harm no more of my little ponies.”

“But we can’t go without Twilight!” Rainbow Dash stated. “We were waiting here for her!”

Celestia smiled. “Twilight shall come. I have faith in her.”

Sonic grinned. “You know something, don’t you, ma’am?”

Celestia gave Sonic a secretive smirk. “Every cloud has a silver lining.” she stated. “And please… call me Celestia.”

Author's Note:

Yes, Pinkie Pie having three party cannons is... canon. (I see a potential pun there.) It was mentioned in a Hub-certified Hot Minute with Pinkie Pie. Just a cool little thing.

Also, I've always imagined Angel kind of like a tough New Yorker, for some reason. Fluttershy's ability to communicate with animals allows me to give a voice to the cute little critters she hangs out with, which is pretty fun.

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