• Published 3rd Jul 2013
  • 3,525 Views, 93 Comments

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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What is This Place, Filled With So Many Wonders?

Chapter 3: What is This Place, Filled With So Many Wonders?

When Sonic awoke the next morning, he heard a musical voice wafting in from the kitchen. It was sweet and gentle, and there was something familiarly soothing about it.
Suddenly he remembered that it was the same voice that had so kindly sung gentle lullabies to him as he had drifted off. “That Fluttershy sure is nice.” he thought to himself. “Even by this place’s standards.”
He stretched his legs, which felt much less stiff now. “That zebra sure wasn’t joking about her potions.” Sonic mused. He stood up, stretching his limbs. The pain he had felt yesterday was gone, and his cuts and bruises had all but disappeared.

He quietly walked over to the kitchen, listening to Fluttershy’s musical voice. He stood in the doorway, watching as she was cooking up breakfast. And as she cooked, she sang;

Dear Celestia, I welcome your sun’s shining face,
As sunbeams stream through my window
Surrounding me in their warm, gentle embrace
And lighting my house with their glow.
It blesses us with its sweet ,life-bringing rays
And causes the flowers to grow
It warms everypony on nice summer days
And brings up the seeds that we sow.
And as you guide the sun on its journey through space
It brings life to all creatures below
We all are so grateful, Celestia, your grace.
I just wanted you to know.
I just wanted you to know.

Sonic stood still in the doorway, slightly spellbound by the gentle, soft song. As Fluttershy finished, she turned about, and suddenly gave a little yelp, and her yellow cheeks flushed red.

“That was fantastic.” Sonic uttered. “You have an awesome voice.”

“Um… thank you.” Fluttershy said in a quiet voice, hiding her embarrassed face behind her tail. She hadn’t expected that Sonic had been listening.

“That’s a pretty song. Where did you hear it?” Sonic asked.
Fluttershy mumbled something inaudible.
“Say again?” Sonic asked, cupping a hand to his ear.

“I made it up.” Fluttershy replied in a whisper, turning her eyes away shyly.

Sonic grinned, obviously impressed. “Wow. You’re a natural. You should totally be a singer.”

“Oh no, I’m not good enough for that.” Fluttershy answered, her entire face turning red at the compliment.

“Sure you are!” Sonic replied. “I bet you would be amazing.”

“I… I couldn’t.” Fluttershy squeaked. “I’m too shy. I couldn’t bear having to stand in front of a crowd, let alone sing.”

Sonic sighed. “It’s the world’s loss.” he replied, giving a shrug. “I’d love to hear you sing.”

Fluttershy awkwardly shifted her hooves, embarrassed by Sonic’s blunt admiration. “Um, breakfast is ready.” she said, changing the subject. “I made lots of nice things. I, um, don’t know what you like, so I, um, made a bunch of different things for you.”

She brought Sonic to the table, which was spread with all manner of delicious food. There was wheat toast, fried eggs, an omelet filled with tasty vegetables, biscuits and gravy, oatmeal with cream and fresh fruit, pancakes, fried tomatoes, fried mushrooms, hash browns, cornbread muffins, and a bowl of fresh berries.

“Wow. Good thing I have a big appetite.” Sonic exclaimed as he stared at the huge spread.

As they sat down, Fluttershy felt a little nervous, worried that her cooking would not be satisfactory. But her fears were disproved as Sonic devoured huge portions of everything on the table.
When he had finally finished, Sonic kicked back and put his feet up on the table. “Wow. You’re an amazing singer, a great caretaker and nurse, and an awesome cook.” he stated. “Is there anything you can’t do?”
“I’m glad you liked it.” Fluttershy said, smiling despite her bashfulness.
Sonic sighed contentedly, putting his hands behind his head.

“So, um, what exactly do you do here?” he asked. “I mean, do you have a job or something?”

“Well, I mostly take care of the critters.” Fluttershy stated.

“So, you’re like a vet?” Sonic asked.

“Well, kind of.” Fluttershy replied. “I work as a vet for all the pets in Ponyville, and I sometimes work as an unofficial nurse and pediatrician. But I mostly just tend to the animals here in the woods. You know, helping them if they get hurt or sick, helping them find or make their houses, teaching the little ones, keeping them safe. It’s a full-time job.”
“So, you work, like, at a nature preserve?” Sonic asked.
Fluttershy cocked her head. “Not that I know of. I’m not even sure what a nature preserve is. We preserve all nature in Equestria.”
Sonic looked confused. “So… they pay you to look after all the random animals in the forest?”

“Well, somepony has to.” Fluttershy said. “I mean, this isn’t like the Everfree Forest. Animals don’t have to fend for themselves with nopony to help them. But I would do it for free. I mean, imagine if a birdie lost her nest in a storm? It could be very hard for her to make a new one without any help. And I just love helping out the little critters. And the big ones, too.”

Sonic looked a little confused, but didn’t press the matter, for a that moment, a knock came at the door.
Fluttershy answered the door, to see Twilight Sparkle standing there with Spike, her saddlebags bulging with books and quills and research tools. The Element of Magic was upon her head. Spike wore a backpack, also bulging with supplies.

“Good morning, Fluttershy, and you too, Sonic!” Twilight said brightly. “I though it would be good to be ready for our trip early, although if Sonic needs time to rest, we can wait.”

“I’m feeling fine.” Sonic stated casually.

“Perfect!” Twilight said cheerfully. “Because we don’t have any time to lose! The fate of Equestria and Mobius depends upon it! Fluttershy, have you packed?”

“Well, I… um… I was taking care of Sonic most of the time I was awake last night.” Fluttershy said. “So I haven’t really had much time to pack.”

“Well, we’ll help! Just tell us what you’ll need!” Twilight said, trotting into the house and picking up Fluttershy’s saddlebags. “So! What will you be taking? Other than the essentials, of course?”

“Don’t sweat it too badly.” Sonic said nonchalantly. “We won’t be camping out or anything. My friend Tails can pick us up once we get there.”

“But who will take care of Angel, and all out other pets?” Fluttershy asked worriedly.

“Don’t worry about our pets.” Twilight assured Fluttershy. “Winona is staying with Granny Smith and Big Macintosh, and I’ve found pet sitters for all our pets. Although Carrot Top refused to pet-sit Angel because of the ‘carrot rampage’ incident.”

Suddenly, in a blur of color, Rainbow Dash shot into the room.
“Are you out of your mind, Twilight?!” she cried. “You let Ditzy Doo take care of Tank?! Tank tends to crash into stuff even when I’m there to help him. He and Ditzy are probably going to wreck all of Ponyville together! You know Ditzy, she’s the queen of crashing into things!”

“She’s a nice mare, and Tank is the only pet she wouldn’t probably accidentally hurt by banging into them, thanks to Tank’s shell.” Twilight stated. “And little Dinky was so happy to have a pet to look after, and she’s a very responsible filly. Tank will be fine.”

“Just… don’t let them in my house.” Rainbow Dash said grumpily.

“Are you packed?” Twilight asked.

“Yeah, yeah.” Rainbow Dash said in a bored tone. “It’s not like we’re Daring Do going into the jungle. Sonic said this place is pretty civilized.”

“Yes, but you never know!” Twilight replied. “As for me, I’m bringing as much research equipment as I can. I want to find out all I can about this Mobius, and record anything I can find! Oh, this will be so much fun! I can’t wait to get started!”

“So, when do we leave?” Sonic asked.

“As soon as Fluttershy is packed.” Twilight answered. “We want to get an early start. The others are meeting us at the original portal location.”

It wasn’t long before Fluttershy had packed her things, and soon they were on their way. But had any of them looked back, they would have seen the strange, spider-like creature following them, watching with its unblinking red eye. A creature that watched Sonic’s every move.

Applejack and Pinkie Pie were already there when the others arrived. Zecora was also present.
“Glad to see you girls here so early!” Twilight said to Pinkie and Applejack, then she turned to Zecora. “Are you coming? I know Princess Celestia wanted this to be secret, but she did say only to tell my friends, not just the other Elements of Harmony.”

Zecora grinned and shook her striped head. “I am flattered by what you say, but this is where I must stay. I merely came to say farewell, for somepony must look after Ponyville.”

“Well, if there’s a crisis, I can’t think of anypony who would be better to look after things!” Twilight replied. “Now then, where’s Rarity?”

Applejack rolled her eyes. “That girl is probably still picking out what to wear. I swear, trying to take her anywhere takes longer than it does to grow an apple tree.”

After a few minutes, Rarity finally showed up, with a young stallion dragging a cart filled with suitcases.
“Oh, so sorry to keep everypony waiting,” Rarity apologized, “but I couldn’t possibly go without decent preparation. After all, who knows what styles I might need to give the right impression? Not to mention what types of weather we might encounter. And just to be safe, I’ve brought some of my sewing equipment, just in case I have to come up with something new.” She turned towards the stallion and handed him a few bits. “Thank you for your help, sir.” she stated politely.
“No problem.” the stallion replied, looking satisfied simply by the beautiful mare’s thanks.
Spike gave the stallion a glare. “Well, you’d better be on your way. We have some very important things to do. Top secret things.”
“Who’s the blue guy with the spiky mane?” the stallion asked.
“Will you just go already?” Spike cried.
The stallion looked a little intimidated by Spike’s jealous glare, and galloped off.

“You didn’t have to be so rude, Spikey-wikey.” Rarity stated.

“Yeah, well, I just didn’t like the way he was eyeing you.” Spike said awkwardly. “After all, you’re mine… uh… I mean my first priority to protect. From stallions. I mean ponies. Like the kind that might be impolite to you. You know, because they’re only interested in your looks, not in who you are, like I am. I mean, when I say interested, I mean like a friend. A really, really close friend who I love to be with. Okay, wait, that sounded creepy. What I mean is….”

“I know what you mean, dearie.” Rarity replied with a little grin. Then she turned towards Sonic. “So, do you think I should go ‘as is’, or would an attractive ensemble be more suiting? And I don’t know if the seasons are the same in your world, so it could be useful for me to know beforehand what they might be like, because showing up in a fur-lined winter coat in the middle of summer would be very uncomfortable, not to mention a dreadful fashion faux pas.”

“Oh, fer goodness sakes, just get yer Element on already.” Applejack replied, rolling her eyes.

“Just because you don’t care for the art of style does not mean it isn’t important.” Rarity replied curtly as she used her magic to strap on her Element of Harmony.

“All right.” Twilight said. “Everypony ready?”

The other five ponies stood ready. Light began to flash from their elements, and swirling tendrils of rainbow light linked them together. There was a blinding flash, and suddenly the portal was open again.
This time, the beautiful landscape had a few charred spots, but seemed to be quiet. In the distance, they could hear the sea crashing upon the shore.
Suddenly, out of the bushes, the spider-like orb leapt forwards, scuttling towards the portal.

“Whoa! What the hay?” Spike shouted.

Rarity screamed. Fluttershy stared worriedly, not certain if it was a little creature or something to be scared of. Rainbow Dash and Applejack took defensive positions. Twilight jumped back in surprise, while Pinkie Pie curiously tried to get a closer look.
Quicker than the eye could follow, there was a blur of blue and the sound of crushing metal and electrical sparks, and the orb was smashed, Sonic’s foot on top of the wreckage.

“W-why did you do that?” Fluttershy asked, looking concerned. “Did you hurt it?”

“It wasn’t alive.” Sonic replied. “It was a machine. A robot. And I think I know whose.”

Twilight looked worried. “How did it get here?”

“Likely it came through the portal when I did.” Sonic replied. “I don’t think there are any more. What I’m worried about is that it might have sent some information to Robotnik. I smashed it as quickly as possible, so maybe it didn’t send any info, but… well, I’d close this portal behind us, just to be safe. He’s the last thing you need here.”

“Is Robotnik the dark evil we were sent to stop?” Twilight asked, looking concerned.

“Nope, but I wouldn’t be surprised if he had something to do with it.” Sonic replied. He turned back towards the portal, cracking his knuckles. “Okay, everyone. Let’s do it to it.”

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

As the ponies stepped through the portal, there was a weird sensation, like they were getting off of a train that hadn’t quite stopped. As they stepped out onto the Mobian grass, they looked all around in wonder. Surrounding them were rolling green hills and cliffs, with the sea in the distance. Tropical plants dotted the landscape, and here and there, ancient, moss-covered ruins stuck out from the scenery.

But before they had any time to observe their surroundings any more closely, there was a sudden whirring sound, and dozens of yellow turrets popped up all around them, guns aimed and fully charged.

“One move and my shock cannons will zap you good.” a voice said.

The gang turned about to see a figure, clad in yellow and white robotic armor and at least twelve feet tall. It had a great deal of weapons built into it, all of which were trained on the ponies.

Twilight quickly closed the portal, while Rainbow Dash and Applejack were about to tackle this newcomer, when Sonic stepped out in front of them.

“It’s cool, big guy.” he said with a casual wave. “They’re on our side.”

The figure stopped, and lowered its weapons. “Sonic?” it said, sounding both surprised and relieved.

Suddenly, the figure’s armored chest opened with a hiss, and a small, yellow, two-tailed fox boy jumped out.

“Sonic!” he cried happily, dashing over to Sonic and giving him a big hug. “You’re back! Everyone was so worried about you!”

“That was pretty silly of them!” Sonic said, playfully mussing the fox’s hair. “They should know that nothing Eggman makes will ever take me down for good!”

“Yeah, that’s what I told them.” the fox replied, but it was obvious that he was extremely relieved.
Then he turned towards the ponies and Spike. “Who are they?” he asked.

“A few new friends.” Sonic answered. “They helped stitch me up after the explosion I got caught in. They were trying to create a portal to our world, which appeared just as I was blown through.”

“So they’re from another world?” the fox asked excitedly. “Wow! I can’t wait to hear all about it!” Suddenly, he gave a start, as if he had forgotten something. “Oh, where are my manners? I’m Miles Prower, but you can just call me Tails. Everyone here does.”

“Hey, you’ve got two tails!” Pinkie Pie squealed. “That’s so cool! I bet that’s why they call you Tails! I wonder what it would be like if I had two tails. I mean two ‘tail’ tails, not two of you, although I know a place where I can make another you, but I don‘t go in there ever since I made a bunch of me and they made everything all crazy and I was trying to prove that I was the real me and….”

“Ahem,” Twilight said, cutting off Pinkie’s ongoing stream of speech, “we had better introduce ourselves. I’m Twilight Sparkle, and these are my friends; Spike, Rarity, Rainbow Dash, Pinkie Pie, Applejack, Fluttershy, and Zecora.”
Twilight suddenly stopped and did a double take. “Zecora?! I thought you were staying in Ponyville!”

“I think I should mention that that was my intention.” Zecora answered, looking a little confused. “But when I saw those machines threaten you, I thought that I should help out, too.”

“Oh yeah, sorry about that.” Tails said, pulling out a remote. He aimed it at the turrets and pressed a button, and they all deactivated and retracted back into the ground. “Didn’t mean to scare you. It’s just that, with Eggman’s recent attack on the area, I wanted to make sure it was secure.”
“As you should, being careful is good.” Zecora replied. “But now I should go back to Ponyville. It seems you do not need my skill.”
Twilight looked awkward. “Sorry, Zecora.” she apologized. “But the Elements of Harmony need to recharge between powerful spells like opening a portal to another world. You’ll have to wait until tomorrow.”
Zecora looked about, then gave a little grin. “What a pity I can’t return. When will I ever learn?” She stooped to look at a nearby flower. “It’s a shame I have to stay some more, but this place could be fun to explore.”
“You don’t sound too sad about that.” Spike noted. “Are you sure you didn’t try to come along?”
“I didn’t intend this, but I can’t say that I regret that I must stay.” Zecora replied with a grin. “So many new plants to make new kinds of potions! The things I could make if I had the notion!”

Tails turned confusedly to Sonic. “Does she always speak in rhyme?” he asked.
Sonic chuckled. “So far as I know. It’s a cultural thing. We’ll talk about it later. For now, let’s introduce our new friends to the others.”

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

A little while later, the gang arrived at a beautiful coastal city. Canals wove through it, as gondolas gently sailed past. The sun was shining brightly, and the entire city was bright and cheerful.
“Welcome to Solianna!” Sonic said, spreading his arms. “A beautiful costal city just perfect for kicking back and relaxing. In fact, until Eggman’s little attack, that was what we all were doing. Fortunately, I think Tails and the others have scared him off for now.”
“I contacted everyone else.” Tails told Sonic. “They should be here soon, and I told them we have visitors. We’re all going to meet at the hotel.”

“Sweet!” Sonic replied gladly. “That way, Twilight, you and your friends can get settled in and unpack a bit before we get down to business.”

“I could use some freshening up.” Rarity admitted. “I can’t have this sun damaging my mane.”

“And I wouldn’t mind a snack.” Rainbow Dash added.
“Or a nice cold drink.” Applejack included.
“Well then, let’s go!” Sonic said cheerfully.
“Wait. Shouldn’t we be worried about that dark entity that Princess Celestia warned us about?” Twilight said concernedly.

Sonic shook his head. “Here’s something I learned.” he said, putting a hand on Twilight’s shoulder. “Life’s too fast to waste it worrying. We’ll deal with this once everyone gets here. Until then, enjoy yourself.”
“Yeah, Twilight.” Spike said brightly. “I’ll bet that they have a beach really close by, and perhaps even a library.”
“There is a pretty big library here.” Tails spoke up. “I go there all the time. They have books on virtually everything.”
Twilight’s face lit up. “Really?”
She turned to Sonic. “You’re right. I should enjoy myself. And what better way than to curl up with a good book!” She turned towards Spike. “Come on, Spike! We have some studying to do!”
“Aw, but I wanted to go to the beach!” Spike complained.
“If it’s okay, I could go instead.” Tails volunteered. “I know the library here pretty well, and could show you around.”
Twilight looked at Spike’s pleading face. “Okay.” she relented. “You can go, Spike. Tails… it is Tails, right?… lead the way!”

As Twilight and Tails walked along, Twilight asked question after question about Mobius, and Tails was more than happy to answer them. He would point out important parts of the city and tell her about their history.

“This is the center of Solianna.” Tails said, pointing towards a large, circular structure. “This is where the people of Solianna celebrate the annual Sun Festival. They believe that, thousands of years ago, the sun came down upon this very spot, bringing light and chasing away the darkness.”

Twilight stared in amazed surprise. “Just like the Summer Sun Festival back home!” she squealed excitedly. “This must be where Princess Celestia came when she visited your world!”

Tails looked confused. “Princess Celestia? That’s someone from your world, right?”

“Oh yes.” Twilight happily explained. “She is the ruler of Equestria, and she is the one who raises the sun every day. I studied as her student for quite some time. She said that she came to your world long ago to fight an evil power that came here from our world. And these people still remember her!”

“Not very accurately, if you’re right.” Tails stated. “They believe it was the sun god Solaris that saved them. Although to my memory, no being such as Solaris ever existed, or it hasn’t shown up around here for a long time. Perhaps the stories got confused….” Tails suddenly drifted off. “How old are you?” he asked.

“I’m not yet a full-grown mare, if that’s what you’re asking.” Twilight answered. “Why?”

“You said you were a student of this Princess Celestia.” Tails asked. “Just how old is she?”

Twilight shrugged. “I don’t really know. She’s ruled Equestria pretty much since there was an Equestria to rule, and she’s been around for thousands of years. She is immortal, after all.”

Now it was Tails’ turn to look fascinated. “Wow! I would love to meet her!” he exclaimed. “Imagine all the stuff she’s seen, and all the things she knows!”
“Well, maybe you will meet her!” Twilight said brightly. “I’m sure I could introduce you, being a close friend of the princesses myself.”
“That would be great!” Tails said cheerfully, turning to walk up the stairs of a large building. “Well, here we are. The Solianna library.” He pushed open the doors, and they stepped into the silent building.

Twilight stared about excitedly. Shelves stretched all about, and there were three entire levels just packed with books. History, art, science, fantasy and science fiction stories, reference guides, magazines, comics, cookbooks, advice books, and so much more. It was like paradise for Twilight.

“It’s… beautiful.” she said, her eyes wide with excitement.

“It is a pretty great library.” Tails agreed. “So, what would you like to see first?”

Twilight swept her hoof through the air, gesturing towards the entire library.

“Everything!”

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

At the hotel, Spike dropped off his and Twilight’s bags, making sure to stash the Elements of Harmony away safely in the magically protected case Twilight had brought, and went to meet the others.

Everyone was outside, enjoying the sunny day. Rarity was wearing a wide-brimmed sunhat and a pair of stylish sunglasses, which complemented her light, breezy skirt. Spike stared for a while, entranced by the beautiful mare.
“Enjoyin’ the view, sugarcube?” Applejack asked with a smirk, as she approached the bedazzled dragon.
“Yeah.” Spike sighed. Then he suddenly caught himself. “Er, I mean, it’s such a lovely day!” He grinned awkwardly, trying to sell the excuse.

Applejack leaned closer to Spike. “Are you trying to pull one over on the Element of Honesty?” she chuckled. “I already know about your crush on Rarity.”

Spike’s face went red. “What?! Since when?”

“Since that time your were daydreamin’ and were puckerin’ up. For a second I had though you were trying to kiss me!”

“Oh, yeah. You remember that, huh?” Spike asked awkwardly.

“Sugarcube, that ain’t easy to forget!” Applejack chuckled.

Spike shrugged. “Well, I am a charmer. ” he said jokingly, casually posing.

There was a blur of pink as Pinkie Pie shot up to join the conversation. “Did you try the piña coladas? They are sooo delicious and fruity! They just taste so beachy! I just made that word up. And speaking of beaches, you should check the beach out! It’s gorgeous, with palm trees and coconuts and sand! Oo! We could build sand castles and then go swimming and then go hunt for shells and….”

“Hold on now, Pinkie.” Applejack interrupted. “We are here on a mission from the Princess. Duty before pleasure, after all.”

“Oh, do lighten up, Applejack.” Rarity said, overhearing the conversation. “When Twilight gets back, we can start worrying about things then.” Rarity picked up a glass with her magic and handed it to Applejack.
“Come on now.” she coaxed. “It has apples in it. You’ll love it.”

“T’aint Sweet Apple Acres apples.” Applejack grumbled, but she tried a sip nonetheless.
“Well, I suppose it ain’t bad.” she said, taking a second sip and smiling.

Rainbow Dash trotted over, looking grumpy. “Hedgehog. Hmph! More like glory hog.”

“Whatever is the matter, Rainbow Dash?” Rarity asked.

“It’s those stupid pink human creatures.” Dash mumbled.

“Oh, they ain’t so bad.” Applejack stated. “So a couple of ‘em asked for a ride. They didn’t mean no harm.”

“Not that.” Rainbow Dash replied, pointing her hoof. “That!”

As the others looked where she was pointing, they saw a bunch of humans gathered around Sonic, asking for autographs and cheering.
“Well, he did mention that he was rather famous here, dear.” Rarity reminded Rainbow Dash.
“Yeah, well I’m at least 20% cooler than he is!” Rainbow Dash griped. “I mean, I come from another dimension! Don’t you think that would account for something?”
“Sounds like somepony’s a mite jealous.” Applejack said with a grin.
“Am not!” Dash retorted, folding her hooves.
Rarity suddenly looked about. “I say, has anypony seen Fluttershy?”

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

Fluttershy walked into the garden, looking about shyly. She had heard someone say that there were some sort of creatures here, and she couldn’t hold back her curiosity. She hadn’t wanted to bother the others, so she had slipped away quietly.

“H-hello?” she called softly, looking about. There was no response.

“Maybe they’re just further in the garden.” she thought.

As she trotted through the hedges, she suddenly saw a small creature bent over by the lake. It was a little Mobian girl.
The girl turned towards Fluttershy, who yelped and dove behind a bush. The girl approached and looked through the bush.

“It’s okay.” it said in a high voice. “I’m friendly.”

As Fluttershy saw the creature’s face, she realized that it wasn’t very frightening at all. In fact, it was very cute. It looked like a bunny, but larger and wearing a little orange dress, and with ears that were large even for a rabbit. Since it was a bunny, it reminded her of Angel, which was comforting. She stood up, feeling a little less nervous.

“My name‘s Cream!” the creature said brightly. “I’ve never seen anyone like you around here! What‘s your name?”

“I’m… Fluttershy.” Fluttershy replied in an almost inaudible whisper.

Fortunately, Cream’s large ears were able to easily hear her, so Fluttershy didn’t have to repeat herself. “So where are you from, Fluttershy?” Cream asked.

“P-Ponyville.” Fluttershy answered. “It’s… really, really far away.”

“Do you have Chao gardens in Ponyville?” Cream asked.

“Well, we have gardens, but I don’t know what a Chao garden is.” Fluttershy admitted.

“Well, this is a Chao garden!” Cream explained, spreading her little arms and gesturing to the surrounding area. “Here is where Chao gather. I just adore Chao! They’re so cute!” Cream cocked her head. “Would you like to meet them?”

“Oh, yes!” Fluttershy said happily. “I just love cute little animals!”

“Chao are very intelligent.” Cream explained, leading the way. “I think you’ll like them.”

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

“So, when are the others coming?” Pinkie Pie asked impatiently. “I wanna meet everypony! I mean everybody, since they aren’t ponies. Maybe we could have a beach party!”

“They should be here soon.” Sonic said, casually walking up. “They’re used to quick responses.”

“Enjoying the fans?” Rainbow Dash asked grumpily.

Sonic shrugged. “Eh, what can you do? I mean, a cool guy like me’s just bound to have fans.”

Rainbow Dash gave an exasperated sigh and rolled her eyes.

“Say, sugarcube, is that one of yer friends?” Applejack asked, hurriedly trying to change the subject as she pointed towards an incoming red echidna.

“Sure is.” Sonic replied, then gave a wave to the red echidna. “Hey, Knuckles! Over here!”

Knuckles strode over to Sonic and the ponies. “Um… I trust these are the ‘new friends’ you wanted me to meet?” he asked.

“Well, most of them.” Sonic replied. “Twilight Sparkle is at the library with Tails, and Fluttershy seems to be elsewhere. I think she left to explore or something.”

“I guess I’ll go look for her.” Rainbow Dash said. “Fluttershy doesn’t do too well in new places.” She turned towards Knuckles. “Knuckles, right? Name’s Rainbow Dash. Sorry I can’t stick around, but I do have to look after Fluttershy. Don’t want her getting lost.” Without another word, Rainbow Dash shot up into the sky and zipped off.

“Interesting friends you made, Sonic.” Knuckles said as he watched Rainbow Dash leave.

“Oh, we are soooo interesting!” Pinkie Pie piped up, stretching her head over towards Knuckles. “You know what else is interesting? Those big gloves you’re wearing! You’ve got, like, big spikes on your knuckles. Hey, that’s probably why they call you Knuckles! What do you use them for?”

“Mostly smashing Eggman’s robots and climbing walls.” Knuckles replied, shying back slightly from Pinkie Pie’s uncomfortably close face. “I’m kind of the muscle of the team.”

“Well, I’m kind of the muscle of our gang, too!” Applejack spoke up. “I’m guessin’ you’re a plain ol’, hard-workin’ fella like me.”

Knuckles shrugged. “I like things nice and simple.” he agreed. “I help my friends. I pummel my enemies. And I keep the Master Emerald safe.”

“We heard about the Master Emerald!” Rarity piped up. “I hear it is a powerful magical gemstone that is used to protect your world. And you guard it?”

“Yeah, I’m the appointed Guardian. It’s a title passed down from parent to child. If I were to fail, and it were stolen, Angel Island would fall out of the sky.”

“Angel Island is floating in the sky?” Pinkie Pie gasped. “That’s so awesomesplenderific! I would love to see a flying island! Is it made of clouds, like Cloudsdale, or is it made of rock and dirt?”

“Rock and dirt.” Knuckles replied.

“And it flies? That’s fantastic!” Rarity exclaimed. “The Master Emerald must have great magical power indeed!”

“It sure does.” a sultry voice interrupted.

Everyone looked up. Standing atop the rooftop of a nearby building was a white bat wearing a black leather ensemble with a pink top.

“Rouge.” Knuckles growled. “What are you doing here?”
“As a favor for an old friend.” Rouge replied calmly, gracefully leaping down to the street below.
“You and Sonic don’t really know each other very well.” Knuckles pointed out.
“I was talking about you.” Rouge said smoothly, stroking a finger down Knuckles’ cheek.
Knuckles pushed her hand away. “Don’t try that. Every time you put an arm around someone, your other hand is in their pocket.”
“Moi?” Rouge asked innocently. “I’m just a jewel collector, not a pickpocket.”

“A jewel collector?!” Rarity gushed, instantly interested. “How utterly fascinating! I have a penchant for jewels myself. After all, nothing says glamour like jewels!”

“You sound like quite the expert.” Rouge said, raising an eyebrow.

“Oh, well, I don’t know about that.” Rarity replied modestly, but she obviously enjoyed the compliment. “I do tend to have some skill with jewels. Finding them for example.” She didn’t notice Knuckles’ wild gestures to stop talking.

“So you can find gems?” Rouge asked, looking interested. Behind her, Knuckles vehemently shook his head mouthing, ‘no’ repeatedly.

“Yes, well, it is a special talent of mine.” Rarity replied. “I can use magic to detect where gems are.”
Behind Rouge, Knuckles slapped his forehead.
“Are you feeling alright, Mr. Knuckles?” Rarity asked. “You seem a trifle distraught.”
“No, no, I’m fine.” Knuckles replied. “I just… feel very sorry for you for what you just did.”
Rouge looked thoughtfully at Rarity, paying no attention to Knuckles. “So… you can locate where gems are? How far away?”
“Quite far, although I’ve never fully tested the limits.” Rarity replied. “When I was a filly, I once located a cache that was miles away.”
“Really?” Rouge said. She looked merely interested, but Knuckles saw a momentary gleam in her eye that he knew all to well. “That poor pony.” he mumbled to himself.
“Indeed!” Rarity stated proudly. “That was when I got my Cutie Mark, which as you can see, shows my talent for jewels.” She turned to show the triple diamond mark on her flank.

“Um… Cutie Mark?” Sonic asked.

“Oh, they’re special marks which only appear when we discover our true talents!” Pinkie Pie piped up. “See, mine is balloons, because I’m so good at throwing parties! Applejack is a great orchard farmer, so she has apples for her Cutie Mark! And the others all have their Cutie Marks based on their super-special talents!”

“How do they appear?” Knuckles asked, still shaking his head.

“Magic, of course, silly!” Pinkie Pie giggled.

“Oh, that makes sense, in a strange sort of way!” Sonic said in realization. “That’s kind of cool. All this time I was wondering why you all had tattoos on your rumps.”
Pinkie Pie burst out laughing at this, rolling on her back. “Ha ha ha ha ha! Tattoos on our rumps! Ha ha ha! He said ‘rump’! Ha ha ha!”

Suddenly, she stopped laughing, and began to twitch.

“Twitcha-TWICHA-twitch!” Pinkie squealed narrowing her eyes.

“What is it?” Sonic asked.

“My Pinkie Sense!” Pinkie Pie replied. “It lets me know when stuff is about to happen!”

Suddenly she whipped about, tackling the air. There was an audible thump, and the figure of a purple chameleon materialized.

“There you are!” Pinkie giggled. “I knew somepony… er, someone, was sneaking up on me! How didja do that? You turned invisible! Are you like a unicorn? You have a horn like one, only it’s on your nose!”

“You could detect me?” the chameleon asked, looking surprised.

“Pinkie Sense.” Pinkie said, helping the chameleon to his feet. She stared him in the eye, squinting her right eye for emphasis. “The Pinkie knooows.”
The chameleon brushed himself off. “Extrasensory perception. Interesting trait.” he commented.
“Espio, what the heck are you doing spying on us?” Knuckles shouted.
“My apologies.” Espio replied, bowing. “I wanted to ascertain some information about our visitors before I introduced myself. I noted during my investigations that one is present at the library, and one is present at the nearby Chao garden.”
“Chao garden? What’s in tarnation is that?” Applejack asked. “Never heard of a Chao before. Is it some kind of fruit?”
“Chao are creatures.” Sonic explained. “Cute little guys too. They have some very unique abilities, and tend to absorb traits from their environment, or from people they hang around.”

“I guess we know where Fluttershy went.” Spike exclaimed. “You know her and animals.”

Espio turned to Pinkie Pie again. “I must say, this is the second time today one of your kind has detected me. Perhaps I have been careless.”

“Second time?” Rarity asked. “When was the first time?”

“I wanted to investigate the individual upon the hotel roof.” Espio stated. “She possesses extraordinary senses. She is obviously a master of the body and mind.”

“On the hotel roof?” Sonic said confusedly, as everyone looked towards the roof. Atop the hotel, performing a headstand atop an upright staff of bamboo, was Zecora, her hooves placed in a meditative position.
“Now that’s a sight.” Sonic breathed.
“Nice poise.” Rouge commented.
“Dude, that’s creepy.” Spike muttered.
“I’ve seen it a dozen times before, and I never get used to it.” Applejack stated.

As they stared, Zecora deftly swung herself down with perfect balance, standing atop the roof for a second before sliding down, leaping from the trellises, and finally landing upon her hooves at the bottom.

“You have a very impressive meditation technique.” Espio commented. “I would be interested in learning it, if you would share your knowledge.”

Zecora smiled. “We meet again, my invisible friend. Of course I shall help if you want to learn, but this is a skill which you must earn. This type of meditation takes extreme dedication.”

Espio bowed. “I am a ninja, ma’am. Dedication is what I am.”

Zecora gave him a nod. “ Then perhaps you could stop by, whenever you want to give it a try.”

Espio gave another bow. “You have my thanks, ma’am.”

“Not at all, feel free to encroach.” Zecora stated, then turned to look down the street. “It seems that more of your friends approach.”

“Knuckles! Espio!” a loud voice shouted, as an alligator and bee approached. “Good to see ya! I should have guessed you would be here first, Espio.”
“Yeah, so you could investigate and spy on people!” the bee added.
Knuckles cleared his throat. “Everyone, this is Vector, head of the Chaotix detective team,“ here he gestured towards the alligator, “and this is Charmy, junior member of the Chaotix.” Here he pointed at the bee, which was difficult because Charmy was buzzing about in every direction with excitement.
“S’up, girls?” Vector said coolly.
“Wow!” Charmy squealed. “Ponies from another dimension! Wait until I tell Saffron!”
“You’re detectives?” Spike asked. “Cool! So, what kind of cases do you get?”
“Ah, mostly just lost items and stuff nowadays.” Vector replied. “Business has been a bit slow lately.”
“Not for long!” Charmy piped up. “Sonic said something about you guys knowing about a dangerous evil shadow thingy that was gonna threaten Mobius, and wherever you come from, too!”

“Well, Twilight is off doing some research with that two-tailed fox,” Applejack stated, “but frankly, we don’t have much more of an idea of what we’re lookin’ than y’all do. Even Princess Celestia, (that’s our ruler,) don’t know much other than that this thing attacked your world not too long ago, and it caused terrible events in our world over a thousand years ago.”

“Now this is more like it!” Vector exclaimed, rubbing his chin. “This is just the kind of case to get the ol’ juices pumping!” He slid the shades on his head down over his eyes. “Don’t worry, girls! The Chaotix are on the case!”
“Yeah, we’ll find out what that nasty thing is!” Charmy added.

“Well, if it helps, Twilight Sparkle is at the library.” Spike stated. “She’s really good at research, and has been trying to find out about this whatever-it-is herself. Maybe you could work together.”

Vector looked thoughtful. “I don’t usually allow civilians to get involved, but considering that she probably holds a lot of important information about your world, she could be very useful in discovering the connection between these events.”

From above, there was a sudden whoosh, and Rainbow Dash returned, closely followed by Fluttershy, Cream, and a number of Chao.

“I found Fluttershy hanging out with these little things.” Dash explained. “She and this little girl were talking and playing with them. Gah! It was so sappy and cute, I could hardly bear it! Seriously, somepony get me a Wonderbolts magazine to rub on myself to regain my cool!”

Cream landed gently upon the ground, as Fluttershy landed next to her. “See, these are the friends I was telling you about.” Cream said to Fluttershy. “They’re really nice.”
Fluttershy’s eyes grew big, and she huddled behind Cream.

“Well, aren’t you going to say hello?” Cream asked cheerfully.

“H-hi.” Fluttershy squeaked, quivering and hiding behind her tail at the sight of so many new faces.

“Don’t worry, they really aren’t scary.” Cream reassured her.

“Er, don’t look now,” Rouge stated, pointing down the road, “but I’m afraid you’re about to be proven wrong.”

As everyone turned, they saw a huge, hulking mass of metal tromping down the street towards them. It towered over even Vector, and its luminous red eyes stared unblinkingly at the group. Spike gulped. Fluttershy squealed and covered her eyes. Rarity took a cautious step back. Even Applejack and Rainbow Dash looked a bit intimidated by the approaching juggernaut.
The being turned towards Rouge. “E-123 Omega reporting as ordered.” it stated in a deep, metallic voice.
Rouge sighed. “Omega, dear, you don’t have to be so ominous. You’re frightening our new friends.”

“I wasn’t frightened!” Rainbow Dash replied, quickly trying to hide her unease.

Omega turned towards the ponies. “My apologies. I am a designated combat unit, and am designed to be physically intimidating.” he stated.

Pinkie Pie, unafraid as always, dashed up to Omega. “Wow! Are you a robot?”

“Affirmative.” Omega replied.

Pinkie jumped up and down squealing with excitement. “Wee! That is so cool! You’re a real robot! I’ve never seen a robot before! Well, except for that creepy little thing that Sonic smashed, but I didn‘t really see that for very long.”

“Now hold on a minute.” Applejack said. Now that she had gotten over her initial surprise, she was now more discerning. “No offense, Mr. Omega, but… well, we ain’t heard much good about robots in this world. I though they all worked for that Eggman fella.”

Omega’s eyes flashed, and despite his expressionless features, it was obvious that he was angry.
“ Dr. Eggman is a cruel master. He created me, but he abandoned me in a storage area, treating me like an ordinary machine that had become obsolete. After that, I swore to defeat Eggman, and stop him from doing to others what he did to me.”

“Wait… that Eggman fella built you, but y‘all are against him?” Applejack asked in surprise.

“Affirmative.” Omega replied. “I was created to be an intelligent unit, not a mindless machine like most of his creations. He learned how to create life from machinery, but he did not respect that life, as he does not respect any life. As I was one of his living units, I saw that following him was not in my best interests. So now my objective is to make him pay for his crimes.”

“Omega’s a good teammate.” Rouge put in. “He’s really a nice guy, and a loyal friend. But… well, you don’t want him for an enemy.”
“I can imagine I wouldn’t.” Applejack concurred. She turned towards Omega. “Sorry if’n I was rude. I guess you’ve had a pretty rough life.”
“Perhaps.” Omega replied in his flat, metallic voice. “But I have lived. Very few machines have been that lucky.”

“So, who else is there?” Sonic asked himself. “Big’s on a fishing trip, and the Freedom Fighters are off in New Mobitropolis. So that only leaves two more….”

“Sonic, sweetie!” a high voice called out. “My darling Sonikins!”

Sonic shook his head. “Just roll with it, Sonic.” he told himself.

A pink hedgehog in a red dress came bounding down the street. “There you are, Sonic!” she exclaimed. “Sorry I was late. The train had a breakdown. Something crazy was going on and there was a bit of a crash or something, but nobody got hurt, and they got the train going again, and so here I am!” She suddenly stopped to notice the new visitors. “Are these the new friends you said saved you?”
“Yep!” Sonic confirmed. “They helped look after me after the explosion.”
“Well, thank you all so much for saving my Sonic!” the pink hedgehog said. “Any friend of Sonic’s is a friend of mine!”

Pinkie Pie zipped up. “I just love your color!” she squealed. “My name’s Pinkie Pie! What’s yours?”

“I’m Amy Rose!” the pink hedgehog replied. “Nice to meet you all!”

Sonic looked around. “Well, I guess you’ve met nearly everyone.” he said.
“Aren’t you forgetting someone?” Rouge asked.
Sonic shook his head, looking awkward. “Nope, that’s everybody!”
“What about….” Rouge began.
“He’s working. Some important mission tracking down some criminal or something.” Sonic interrupted.
“He said he’d be stopping by later on today.” Rouge said with a sly smirk.
Sonic slapped his forehead. “You know, I’m not sure he’s the greatest person to introduce these ponies to.” he muttered. “And I don’t think he would like meeting them either.”
“Well, I’d like to meet him!” Pinkie Pie piped up. “Who is this mysterious mystery person?”
Sonic sighed. “Shadow the Hedgehog.” he replied. “He’s… not exactly the friendliest hedgehog around.”

“Hey, he may have some rough edges, but he’s a good guy.” Rouge stated firmly. “Just because he and you don’t get along isn’t any reason for you to say bad things about him.”
“I know he’s a good guy… mostly.” Sonic replied. “He’s just… seriously angsty. I don‘t think he would give our guests a good impression.”

Rouge was about to retort, but she suddenly got a call. She looked at her phone. “It’s G.U.N.” she said. “New updated objective on the criminals who broke into the G.U.N. vaults and stole a top-secret sample.”
As she looked at the picture on her phone, she suddenly looked worried. “Um, Sonic? I think we should get down to the library.”

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

“This is fascinating!” Twilight Sparkle said as she flipped through the massive pile of books she had acquired. “According to these books, Sonic has been present to stop nearly all modern catastrophes!”

“Yeah, well, that’s Sonic.” Tails said with a chuckle. “Always tries to be there for everyone. He usually is, too.”

“And this stuff about the history of Solianna, and their belief in Solaris, is surprisingly close to some of the facts about our own Princess Celestia!” Twilight went on. “And this stuff about the Echidna Empire! The Echidnas were absolutely amazing! And look at this! It’s a picture of you! You were there when the rule of Dr. Robotnik was overthrown?”

“Yep!” Tails said proudly. “I helped Sonic and the Freedom Fighters finally take down Eggman and free Mobius! Eggman’s still a threat, but at least he doesn’t rule the world anymore.”

“Do you think you could tell me about it?” Twilight asked excitedly.

“Well, it’s a long story.” Tails said.

“Please?” Twilight begged. “Pleasepleasepleasepleasepleasepleaseplease?!”

“Alright, alright!” Tails chuckled. “I suppose I should begin with the….”

His voice trailed off as a loud bang sounded through the library as the doors slammed open. Walking through them was a back hedgehog with red highlights on his spines. In his hand, he carried a device that Twilight had never seen the likes of: a machine gun.

Twilight was miffed at this rude intruder. “Excuse me!” she said firmly, walking up to the hedgehog. “This is a public library. You don’t just bash around so loudly. People are trying to read here!”

“Shadow, what are you doing here?” Tails asked.

“Stay out of it, Prower.” Shadow said grimly. He then pointed an accusatory finger at Twilight Sparkle. “You are hereby under arrest for the thievery and destruction of G.U.N. property, trespassing on government property, and conspiring against the Mobian government.”

Author's Note:

Oh, ponyfeathers. Twilight hasn't even been on Mobius a full day and trouble's already found her. What the hay is Shadow talking about? And will things get ugly? Find out next chapter!

And we all knew that Rouge and Rarity would end up meeting. What the future holds for them could be very interesting....

So the Mane Six, along with Spike and Zecora, are finally introduced to the heroes of Mobius. But just how long will the peaceful negotiations last?

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