• Published 3rd Jul 2013
  • 3,529 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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Race to Win

Chapter 6: Race to Win

Twilight awoke to a knocking on her door. As she groggily got out of bed, she grabbed a brush with her magic.

“Who is it?” she asked, hurriedly brushing her tousled mane.

“Room service.” a hotel attendant replied “You asked for an early wake-up call, madam. Also, I have brought you a breakfast menu, and some hot tea, as per your assistant’s request.”

Twilight cast a glance at Spike’s sleeping figure. "He really does think of everything.” she thought to herself fondly.
As she let in the hotel attendant, who set out a tray with her tea and menu, Spike groggily awoke.

“Huh? Oh good, breakfast!” he mumbled, rubbing his eyes. “It’s kind of nice to waited upon.”

“There is also someone here to see you, madam.” the hotel attendant added. “He is from G.U.N.”

“Oh! Um… send him in!” Twilight replied.

As the hotel attendant left, she took a quick look in the mirror to make sure she was presentable. But as she turned around, she gave a small gasp.
It was Shadow.
Shadow shut the door behind himself.

“What are you doing here?!” Spike cried angrily, now wide awake.

Shadow looked uncomfortable. “I came to… to tell you that I regret my rash actions.”

Twilight looked surprised. “You’re apologizing?”

“I… suppose.” Shadow said. “I was too hasty. I should have given you the benefit of the doubt. But you do understand I held no enmity towards you. I was merely pursuing who I thought to be a criminal.”

“Yeah, well are you so brutal to all of your targets?” Spike growled.

“Spike, he’s trying to apologize.” Twilight chided. Then she turned to Shadow. “Although Spike is right. I ended up very badly hurt from that. Why were you so… aggressive?”

Shadow shook his head. “I don’t know how things are in Equestria, but around here, there’s quite a few criminals who don’t care if they kill someone. With the level of power you possess, I couldn’t afford to risk myself or civilian lives.”

Twilight stared in shock. “Ponies don’t kill.” she said, sounding horrified. “We only take a life if there is absolutely no other alternative. Only the most evil, wicked villains would kill somepony.”

Shadow sighed. “This is Mobius, not Equestria. Don’t think that everyone fears Eggman just because he’s cruel. He prefers to take slaves, but he isn’t above killing. We’ve all had enough losses to know.”

“Did… you lose someone?” Twilight asked gently.

Shadow sighed deeply. “I didn’t lose anyone to the Doctor. But I don’t want to talk about it.”

Twilight gave Shadow a sad glance. “I… I’m sorry.”

Shadow suddenly gave his head a shake, and he reassumed his cold demeanor. “I have to report back to G.U.N.” he stated. He turned to leave.

“Wait!’ Twilight called.

Shadow paused, his hand on the door.

“I… I never thanked you for saving me.” she said.

“I was just undoing my own mistake.” Shadow replied. “There’s nothing to thank me for.”

Twilight watched him go with a worried stare as he shut the door behind himself. “I think I’m beginning to see why I saw such sadness in his eyes.” she murmured.

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

“Balloons? Check. Confetti? Check. Fifteen types of cake? Check.”

Pinkie Pie was checking off her list as she examined the large room that the hotel had rented to her for the party. Beside her, Sonic was following along.

“Don’t forget chili dogs.” he added. “And no party’s complete without music!”

Pinkie suddenly stopped cold, causing Sonic to bump into her.

“Oh no!” she cried. “I forgot! I usually hire Vinyl Scratch to do music, but she’s not here! Aaaah! I don’t have anypony to do the music!”

“Hey, hey, chill.” Sonic reassured her. “I’ve got it covered. One of the most popular singers in Mobius is vacationing here, and she and I go way back. I’ll just see if she would like to do the music for tonight. I doubt she would turn down a chance to sing.”

“Really? Cool!” Pinkie cried. “I’ve never heard Mobian music before! That sounds like fun!”

“Yeah, Mina’s an awesome singer, that’s for sure!” Sonic stated. Then he looked at the clock on the wall. “Ooh, sorry Pinkie! Gotta go! I promised Rainbow Dash I would meet her at the Green Hills Zone for another race.”

“Yeah, Rainbow told me!” Pinkie squealed. “That’s going to be so fun!”

“Well, later then!” Sonic cried, shooting off into the distance.

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

Rainbow Dash was nervously pacing as she saw the blue streak that was Sonic zipping towards her location.

“Deep breath, Dash.” she told herself. “This time it’ll be more even. You’ve got nothing to fear. You wanna be a Wonderbolt, then you’ve got to face your fears. And even if he is faster, a true Wonderbolt wouldn’t let that get them down. Like Spitfire. She’d try and use her other strengths to win.”

Sonic skidded to a halt by Rainbow Dash’s side. “You ready?” he asked.
“O-of course.” Rainbow Dash replied. She didn’t tell him that she was feeling very nervous.

Suddenly, Pinkie Pie popped around the corner. “Hey guys!”

“AUGH!” Sonic and Dash both screamed in surprise.

“When Rainbow told me about the race, I was so excited!” Pinkie squealed. “So I took the liberty of preparing a little surprise for you!”
Rainbow Dash sighed. “Pinkie, I don’t….”
“Close your eyes and take my hooves.” Pinkie Pie instructed.
Rainbow Dash and Sonic exchanged confused glances, but they nonetheless took Pinkie’s hooves.
As Pinkie led them on, Rainbow Dash was just wishing that she could get this over with. Her entire stomach was in a knot. Waiting was not her specialty.

“Okay, you can open them!” Pinkie Pie shouted.

When Rainbow Dash opened her eyes, she saw that they had been led into an empty tent.

“The surprise is right outside!” Pinkie cried, bouncing excitedly.

Rainbow Dash and Sonic exchanged glances, then pulled open the tent flap and went out.
The glaring sun flashed in their eyes, blinding them for a moment. But the flashing continued, and a roar erupted into the air.
As their eyes adjusted to the flashing lights, Rainbow Dash felt the knot in her stomach become an entire mess of knots.
They were surrounded by makeshift bleachers, which were filled with crowds upon crowds of screaming, cheering people. Flashbulbs were going off everywhere, and camera crews were in helicopters in the sky.

“Pinkie, what the heck is this?!” Sonic shouted above the din.

“I thought that this should be a super-awesome enormously huge super-duper special race if you’re both the fastest from your worlds!” Pinkie Pie exclaimed with a big grin. “So I decided to host the biggest race event I could!”

Pinkie grabbed a nearby bullhorn and hopped into a waiting helicopter, which Tails was driving.

“We’re gonna be announcing the race!” Pinkie squealed. “Good luck!”

“Do your best, Sonic!” Tails cried, looking terribly excited.

As the helicopter took off, Sonic turned towards Rainbow Dash with a horrified expression on his face.
“I-I’m so sorry!” he cried, trying to be heard above all the ruckus. “I had no idea….” he sighed and shook his head. “If you want to, I’ll call the race off. That way, you won’t look bad.”

Rainbow Dash gulped and shook her head. “No.” she said, marching towards the starting line, her face nervous, but set and determined. “If I can’t prove myself to myself, then what difference does it make who’s watching?”
Sonic sighed. “You know, to make this fair, I’m not going to go easy on you.”

Rainbow Dash gave a nervous chuckle. “If you did, I’d have to give you a buck in the stomach for letting me win.”
They both crouched in position as Tails’ voice rang out from the sky.

“Ready… set… GO!!!”

Rainbow Dash and Sonic blasted off from the starting line, rocketing down the path.

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

Rainbow Dash quickly saw that this was far more complex than a simple straightaway race. Hills were not a good description for this part of the zone. Giant cliffs rose all about her. She dove through the rocks, shooting through holes and narrowly avoiding cliff faces.

As she looked down, she couldn’t help but feel a little worried about her odds. Sonic was rocketing off the cliffs like a pinball, running alongside sheer cliffs and looping upside down from time to time.

Rainbow Dash blasted ahead. She might not have had to keep her hooves on the ground, but the environment was still very tricky for her to maneuver.

She shot through a looping rock formation, while Sonic ran through the loop. Although she found it weird that a loop had formed in the rock, she didn’t have the time to question it.

Faster she pressed on, feeling the wind blast past her face.

“Come on!” she told herself. “You’re Rainbow Dash! You wanna be a Wonderbolt? Then BE ONE!”

A thunderous boom filled the air, as a blast of rainbow filled the sky behind her. The blast had shattered the rocks, and they now were beginning to fall. But Rainbow Dash kept her attention straight ahead, not heeding the falling boulders. She dashed around them, dove beneath them, soared over them.

Beside her, she saw to her surprise that Sonic was still keeping pace, leaping from falling boulder to falling boulder. But all the fear of loss had left her heart now. There was only the speed, and the wind, and the path ahead.

As Sonic dashed along beside her, she laughed aloud with the euphoria of the moment, and with impressed admiration of Sonic’s skills. The competition was still there, but it wasn’t as important to her as before. She was alive, gloriously alive. And as Sonic dashed alongside her, she saw that look on his face, that rapture in his eyes. For an instant, their eyes met, and it was as if they could read one another’s minds.

“There’s nothing like it, is there?”

Rainbow Dash laughed again, and Sonic joined in. Both knew that they were some of the few who would ever share this joy, the rush of the moment, the exhilaration of the speed. And at that moment, Rainbow Dash felt her jealousy and dislike slip away. They were much the same, she and Sonic. Kindred spirits of speed. In his face, she saw the same joy that had always filled her own when she was soaring like this.

He knew what this was like.

And rather than feel threatened, Rainbow Dash felt a joy in her heart. For once, for the first time in her life, someone actually knew what it was like for her.

“He’s just like me.” Rainbow Dash thought. Cocky, competitive, and maybe a bit conceited, but with a love for life and a loyalty that nothing could break.

Suddenly, the tumult of screaming cheers filled her ears. With deep disappointment, she left her world of speed, slowing to a halt and digging her hooves into the ground. Beside her, Sonic skidded to a stop.

“Nice to find someone who knows what it feels like.” Sonic said with a smile. “Good race.”

Rainbow Dash sighed, looking towards the sky, the fans and the flashbulbs barely rendering in her mind.
“You know,” she said, “I kinda felt like we shared something back there. Like we were related or something, you know?” She then stuck her face in his and glared. “If you tell anypony I said that, I’ll come back and clobber you.”

“Message received.” Sonic said with a chuckle. “And yeah. I know what you mean.”

Suddenly, Tails and Pinkie Pie came dashing up to them.

“That’s was the awesome race ever!” Pinkie Pie screamed, waving her hooved wildly.

Rainbow Dash suddenly remembered. “Oh, yeah! Um… who won?” she asked, afraid to hear the answer.

“It was a tie!” Tails cried. “You both crossed the finish line at the exact same time! For a moment, I wasn’t sure you were going to stop!”

“Y-you mean we both won?” Rainbow Dash cried happily.

“Tying with Sonic is no small feat!” Tails said encouragingly. “The crowd is going absolutely crazy!”

“No they’re not!” Pinkie Pie replied. “This is going absolutely crazy. Gablalalblaabraralalalablalalawawa!” She began to bounce about, flailing her tongue and spinning her eyes about while waving her hooves.

Rainbow Dash stared up at the crowd, which was cheering her and Sonic’s names. Flashbulbs were going off everywhere.

“Drink it in.” Sonic told her as he waved to the crowd. “You’re famous now. Wouldn‘t be surprised if all of Mobius doesn‘t hear of you now.”

Rainbow Dash’s face lit up, as she heard the crowd cheering her name.

“Ohmygoshohmygoshohmygoshohmygoshohmygosh!”

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

“And then, I did a Sonic Rainboom, and everything started to crash down around us!”

Rainbow Dash was recounting the race for the seventh time as they entered the large room where Pinkie was holding her party. A huge crowd was already present.

“Goodness! That sounds dangerous.” Fluttershy exclaimed.

“Nah, I was too quick for anything to touch me!” Rainbow Dash said nonchalantly. “And Sonic was like, shooting between the stones and ricocheting off of them in mid-air!”

“Glad to see you got your confidence back!” Applejack said. “Just don’t let this new fame go to your head and start overestimatin‘ yourself again.”

“Are you kidding?” Rainbow Dash squealed. “I am too awesome to be overestimated!”

“Glad to see you’re remainin’ humble.” Applejack chuckled, rolling her eyes.

Rarity suddenly came into the room. She was wearing a pair of form-fitting designer jeans, and her stylish midriff shirt showed from beneath her trendy jacket. A fashionable purse hung from her shoulder.

“Woah! What’s with the street clothes?” Rainbow Dash asked.

Rarity looked vaguely miffed. “These are not ‘street clothes’, as you so put it. This ensemble is considered very in vogue right now.” she explained. “And after all, this is one of Pinkie Pie’s parties. Such a celebration calls for an entirely different style than a formal party. When at something like this, one would look dreadfully out of place in a ball gown. Balls are about glamour. Parties like this are all about being up-to-date on the latest trends of fashion.” She gave her flank a shake as she felt the comfortable fabric move. “I must say, I do like trying out something new. After all, style is all about trying new and bold things!”

Sonic suddenly zipped up. “Hey, girls! Nice to see you! Pinkie’s already getting everything ready, so you might as well start enjoying yourself.” He suddenly turned towards Rarity. “Wow. Nice outfit. Where’d you get one to fit a pony?”

“Get one?” Rarity laughed. “Darling, I made this.”

Sonic looked impressed. “Sweet.” he exclaimed. “Say, my girlfriend Sally has been thinking of getting a new outfit. I mean, she normally just sticks with the jacket and boots. She tends to me minimalist, and wants something simple, sporty, and suited for athletics. Kind of an everyday outfit that she can take on the field when we fight Eggman. Think you could whip up something? We’ll have no problem paying for it.”

Rarity shook her head. “G.U.N. is paying for my materials.” she told him. “I would be more than happy to design this Sally a new ensemble for free.”

“Woah, hey, thanks, but we’re more than able to pay you.” Sonic stated in surprise.

“Oh, please.” Rarity laughed. “G.U.N. is paying for everything while I’m here; why would I need your money? No, I’m doing this as a favor to you. The pleasure of designing the outfit will be pay enough.”

“That’s really generous of you, Rarity.” Sonic said thankfully.

“I am the Element of Generosity.” Rarity replied, tossing her mane. “It would be unbecoming to be greedy.”

Suddenly the door burst open, and Spike came in, dragging Twilight by her tail. Tails followed beside them, giving Twilight an odd stare.

“Nooo!” Twilight was wailing. “Just five more minutes! That’s all I ask! Five minutes and another hot chocolate!”

“Sheesh, Twilight, Books-a-Million will be there tomorrow.” Spike grunted as he dragged her along. “You promised Pinkie you would come to the party, and you… are… coming!” He gave her a final yank, then dashed around and slammed the doors shut. “Good grief.” he muttered to himself.

“She… really likes reading, doesn’t she?” Tails asked.

“You have no idea.” Spike replied, wiping his brow.

Twilight sadly got to her hooves. “I… guess we can wait until tomorrow.” she said sadly. “I wouldn’t want to disappoint Pinkie Pie.”

“Nopony’s getting disappointed on my watch!” Pinkie Pie’s voice rang out.

With a loud boom, Pinkie Pie rocketed herself out of her party cannon, shooting through the air in a stream of confetti. Landing deftly upon the large stage, Pinkie grabbed the microphone.

“ARE YOU READY TO PARYYYYY?!” she screamed.

“YEEAAAAAHH!!!” Sonic shouted, as everyone else covered their ears.

“Then put your hooves… or hands or paws or whatever… together for the greatest musician in Mobius!” Pinkie shouted, gesturing with her hoof. “Ms. Mina Mongoose!”

A young yellow mongoose with a stylish outfit and lavender hair stepped up on stage. She waved as the crowd cheered.
“Hello, Solianna!” she cried. “It’s a real pleasure to be playing at this party tonight, because we’ve got some real heroes here tonight! Let’s hear it for Sonic, Tails, Knuckles, and all their new friends from Equestria!” The crowd erupted in more cheers.
“I’m dedicating this song to all our heroes!” Mina shouted. “Here we go with Follow Me!”

As the music began to play, Pinkie leapt out onto the dance floor and began to dance. As everyone joined in, Twilight finally smiled.

“Okay, I’m glad I didn’t miss this.” she said with a grin.

“Told you.” Spike said with a satisfied grin. “Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go see if Rarity needs a dance partner.”

As Spike ran off, Twilight began to dance, wildly waving her hooves to the beat.

“You‘re missing something!” Sonic chuckled, shuffling up beside her.

“Um… what?” Twilight asked.

Sonic smirked. “A dance partner.”

Before Twilight could react, she was whisked off her hooves, and found herself spinning along with Sonic. She gasped in surprise as he dipped her.

“Care to join me?” Sonic asked.

Twilight gave a shy grin. “Sure.”

She laughed as they whirled along to the beat, moving synchronously with the music.
The party lasted long into the night. Nobody wanted it to end.

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

“I can’t believe I actually ate all that food.” Rainbow Dash groaned the next day as the ponies lounged in Twilight‘s room. “I never want to see cheesecake again.”

“Well, I do!” Pinkie Pie exclaimed brightly. “That was sooo fun! I’d say it was one of my best parties yet!”

“I had a smashing time.” Rarity stated happily. “Spike is quite the dancer. Who would have guessed? And of course he was a gentleman as always.”

“Aw, it was nothin’.” Spike replied, blushing. “I had tons of fun, too.”

“Me, too.” Fluttershy said. “I had a really nice dance partner.”

“You had a dance partner?” Rainbow Dash exclaimed in surprise. “Since when did our little wallflower become a party pony?”

“Oh, he was really nice.” Fluttershy assured them. “He’s a lot younger than me, but he said he thought I looked lonely standing by the wall, so he offered to dance with me, and he was so cute, I couldn’t resist.”

“So you have a crush?” Twilight Sparkle asked with an excited smile.

“Oh, no!” Fluttershy exclaimed, to Twilight’s disappointment. “He’s too young for that. He’s kind of a foal. I kind of though I could take him under my wing, since he’s so far from his parents.”

“So who was this young boy?” Rarity asked.

Suddenly a knock came on the door.
“It’s me!” Tails’ voice called. “May I come in?”
“Oh, of course!” Fluttershy cried, soaring over to the door and opening it before anypony else could react.
“Thanks.” Tails said, stepping into the room. “Hey, Fluttershy. Did you have fun last night? You were a really good dancer.”
“Oh, thank you.” Fluttershy said brightly as she shut the door. “You were so nice to help me out. You know, I tend to be really shy.”
“I noticed.” Tails replied. “I kind of tend to be shy myself, so I thought you could use someone who knew your predicament. Oh, and I brought leftovers!” He held out a box of plastic-wrapped food. “I kind of thought there would have been more.” he said thoughtfully.
“You’re dealin’ with my and Rainbow’s appetites.” Applejack chuckled. “And then you got Pinkie Pie. She probably ate an entire cake whole again.”

“Three, actually.” Pinkie corrected her.

“Oh, thank you, Tails.” Fluttershy exclaimed. “You’re so nice. Now, you did brush your teeth last night, didn’t you? All that sugary food could be bad for them.”
“Yep!” Tails replied with a sparkling grin.

“Good grief!” Rainbow Dash cried. “What are you, his mom?”

“Well, he’s far away from his parents, so I figured I could look after him for them.” Fluttershy replied.
“Yeah, Fluttershy’s a great caretaker.” Tails said. “I wish my parents could meet her. She‘s kind of like the older sister I never had.”
“Ugh, spare me the sappiness.” Rainbow Dash groaned. She hopped up, grabbing her suntan lotion. “I’m going to hit the beach. Anypony coming with me?”
“Wee! That sound fun!” Pinkie Pie squealed. “Count me in!”
“I’m up for that.” Applejack agreed.
“I could use a little sunbathing.” Rarity said thoughtfully.
“I’d love to see all the seaside critters.” Fluttershy said brightly. “Do you want to come, Tails?”
“Nah, you go ahead.” Tails said. “I have some research to do on this dark threat that you all told us about.”

“Well,” Twilight said, clearing her throat. “Since it seems that everypony is getting settled in, I was thinking that we could get some research done together. Is that okay with you, Tails?”

“Sounds fun!” Tails exclaimed. “They’ve cleaned up the library by now, and because of the inconvenience, Princess Elise has had an entire new collection of books donated, and has plans to create a new wing. And since you took the fight outside the library both times you were attacked, they don’t hold you responsible for any of the damages.”

“Whew!” Twilight breathed a sigh of relief. “I couldn’t stand to have the people at a library mad at me. How could I get to check out books then?”

“Well, let’s go!” Tails said. “We’ve got a lot to get done!”

“Er, Twilight?” Spike asked. “Is it okay if I stay here? Just in case somepony needs some… assistance or something?” He discretely gestured towards Rarity.

Twilight grinned and rolled her eyes. “Of course.” she replied. “But make sure to come over if I need your help.”

“In a flash!” Spike assured her, giving her a salute.

“All right, Tails!” Twilight said brightly. “We’ve got some books to hit!”

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

At the library, Twilight was surprised to see Vector was there, studying as well.
“Oh, hey, glad I could meet you here!” he exclaimed. “I would just like to apologize for the Chaotix for not helping you guys out during that fight. We just… well, we didn’t exactly know which side was right!”

“No apology necessary.” Twilight replied with a shake of her head. “Considering the circumstances, you were some of the only people who acted sensibly.”

“Heh, thanks for understanding.” Vector said, looking relieved. “Anyway, when G.U.N. cleared your name, I started researching that story you told me about the dark threat, and I came up with a couple interesting facts. One is that the people of Solianna believe that darkness is as important as light. To them, it is essential for balance. But they have a story where the darkness thought that it was superior to the light, and tried to overthrow it, and had to be bound away. Imagine my surprise when the Chaotix interviewed your friends and found out about the story of Nightmare Moon!”

“That’s amazing!” Twilight exclaimed. “If this darkness is the same force behind Nightmare Moon, and if it is coming back, then… history is probably about to repeat itself!”

“There’s more.” Vector stated. “Once your names were cleared, G.U.N. started taking your claim of this threat more seriously. They allowed the Chaotix to do some research and access some various top-secret files, and… well, to be honest, what we found was very disturbing.”

“What was it?” Tails asked excitedly.

Vector looked about warily. “The people of Solianna thought of Solaris as a legend. So one day, the king decided to try and create Solaris.”

“But… you said Solaris was a sun god!” Twilight replied in shock. “You can’t just make a sun god!”

Vector shrugged. “G.U.N. was very hush-hush about that.” he stated. “But I did manage to learn about the experiment. They succeeded in creating a spark, a flame of solar energy. But for some reason, to make it powerful enough to be the sun god they had planned, they needed to use another source of power, an ancient relic called the Scepter of Darkness.”

“I just read about that!” Twilight exclaimed. “It houses a mysterious power of some sort!”

“Do you think that this dark power that your princess spoke of could have been Solaris?” Tails asked. “I mean, with that dark power inside him, who knows what could have happened?”

“What happened to this Solaris project?” Twilight asked urgently.

Vector shrugged. “It was destroyed. The living flame was blown out somehow, and all their work went with it. They tried to recreate it, but when the king died, all his knowledge died with him, and the project was officially cancelled.”

“Still….” Tails murmured, stroking his chin. “I think that this Scepter of Darkness is worth a bit more research.”

“There’s something else.” Twilight said. “Princess Celestia talked about splitting this world into two, and that there is another world like this one, where the magical gems called the Sol Emeralds existed.”

“The Sol Emeralds?!” Tails exclaimed. “So your princess knew about the Sol Emeralds?”

“Of course she did.” Twilight replied. “She made them!”

“WHAT?!” Tails and Vector both shouted, before being shushed by the librarians.

“Princess Celestia made the Sol Emeralds?” Tails asked in a lower voice.
“Dang, I have to meet this princess!” Vector exclaimed.

“There’s more.” Twilight went on. “Princess Celestia said that she had set a guardian over the Sol Emeralds, a princess who she had gifted with a portion of her own power. This avatar of Celestia was said to have absorbed part of this dark power within herself, and left for her own world.”

Tails suddenly looked thoughtful. “I don’t know anything about absorbing any dark power. But I think I can introduce you to this avatar, if it’s who I think it is.”

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

Spike was happily walking down the beach, looking for seashells to adorn the large sand castle he was making.

“Spike, dearie!” Rarity called. “Could you help me for a second?”

“Anything for you!” Spike replied, instantly dashing over to her.

Rarity was lying on a beach towel, and had a sun hat and a pair of stylish sunglasses on.
“Oh, thank you, dearie.” Rarity replied as Spike walked over. “I just needed a little help getting my suntan lotion on. Would you mind rubbing some lotion on my back for me?” She gave him a little bat of her long lashes as she asked.

Spike’s face lit up with a mixture of delight and embarrassment. “O-okay.” he replied, taking the suntan lotion and squeezing a bit into his claws. His face lit up red as he began to massage the white mare’s back.

“Oh, that is simply divine!” Rarity sighed. “Spike, don’t be afraid to put a little more claw in it. Goodness, your claws make for an excellent back-scratching. I should have you do this more often!”

Spike gave a huge grin, despite his nervous stomach. “I would… love to, Rarity.” he replied awkwardly.

Suddenly, he felt a rumbling in his stomach. “Oh, not now. Does she have to send it now?” Spike thought to himself. He tried to hold down the feeling. But before long, he gave a burp, and a note materialized out of his green, fiery breath.

“Whatever is that, dear?” Rarity asked.

Spike hurriedly stuck the note in the sand. “Just a letter for Twilight. Probably just the princess asking about her progress. I can give it to her when she gets back.”

“Well, don’t hesitate to leave if you need to.” Rarity said. “I can find somepony else to help me with my suntan lotion.”

“Oh, that’s okay!” Spike assured her. “I’m sure it isn’t urgent.”

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

Twilight stared in wonder at her surroundings as Tails led her and Vector into the building. Machines and vehicles of all sorts filled the entire place.

“This is the same place I woke up in when you rescued me!” Twilight exclaimed.

“Oh, yeah, sorry I never told you.” Tails replied. “This is my lab.”

Twilight’s mouth dropped open. The huge warehouse was filled with so many gadgets that she couldn’t count them all.
“Y-your lab?” she asked in awe. “Wow! So you’re like some kind of scientist? Where did you get all this equipment?”

“Oh, it’s mostly just some stuff I threw together.” Tails replied modestly.

Twilight stopped to look at an airplane which sat nearby. “Tails… how old are you?”

“Eleven.” Tails replied.

“And you… built all this?” Twilight was hardly able to contain her shock.

“Yup!” Tails answered. He pointed towards the plane. “That there is the Tornado. I use it to keep up with Sonic on missions, and offer him air support. This is in flight mode.”

“Flight mode?” Twilight asked. “You mean it has other modes?”

Tails pulled out a remote and pressed a button on it. In a sudden flurry of whirling parts and unfolding panels, the plane transformed onto a robotic power suit.

“I use this mode when ground combat is necessary.” Tails told her. “Although I have some other vehicles that are more suited for land-based conflict.”

Twilight just stared, her mouth moving, but without any words coming out.

“Anyways, this is what I brought you here for.” Tails said, leading her over to a pair of large rods, each topped with a red orb emblazoned with a star symbol.
“These are Star Rods.” Tails told Twilight. “They enable us to go to different zones. Through this, we should be able to reach the world that the Sol Emeralds’ guardian lives.”

“Er… right.” Twilight replied, snapping out of her shocked daze.

Tails punched in a few coordinates, and the Star Rods began to hum. A sparkling vortex appeared between them.

“Okay, we’re all set!” Tails stated. “I’ll go in first, just to check things out, and then you follow me.”

“Okay.” Twilight answered, looking a little worried.

Tails stepped through the shimmering portal, disappearing into the light. Twilight hesitantly raised her hooves, and, striding forwards, stepped into the swirling light.

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

Twilight felt sand beneath her hooves as she came out onto a sunny beach. Palm trees surrounded them, and the waves of the sea crashed upon the sand before them.
“Well, here we are!” Tails exclaimed as Vector appeared through the portal. “Now, we have to get to the capital city, which should be….”

“Avast!”

The three of them all turned to see a large ship sailing past them, cannons aimed at the beach.

“Identify yourselves, ya landlubbers!” A short figure stood upon the ship’s prow, shouting down at them. “I ain’t afraid to use my cannons if you’re pirates! You blokes are messin’ with the great Captain Marine!”

“Marine!” Tails called. “It’s me, Tails! Me and my friends need to see the princess.”

“Tails?” Marine called back. “Crikey! Bloomin’ long time since I last saw you! Hop aboard!”

As Tails, Twilight, and Vector got aboard the ship, Twilight saw that the great Captain Marine was a young raccoon girl, around Tails’ own age.

“Blimey!” she exclaimed upon seeing Twilight. “Never seen someone like you before! You ain’t a Mobian, are you?”

“No, I’m from the land of Equestria.” Twilight stated. “My name is Twilight Sparkle.”

“Well, any friend of Tails is a friend of mine!” Marine stated cheerfully, shaking Twilight’s hoof. “Welcome aboard!”

With a hop, Marine leapt to the ship’s wheel. “Now, you need to see the princess do you? Then by crikey, nobody will get you there faster than Captain Marine!”

Twilight trotted down the gangplank excitedly as the ship finally docked. (It was kind of a crash, but Marine insisted that everything was fine.) A great deal of koalas stood about, watching their arrival.

“Now, I happen to be a good friend of the princess, so just follow me, mates!” Marine cried.

“That won’t be necessary, Marine.” a voice called out.

The crowd of koalas parted as a figure came striding up to the boat. A lavender-colored cat walked up to Twilight. Her fur was tightly pulled back in a ponytail, and she wore a purple jacket and high-heeled pink shoes. A bindu marked her forehead, and her face was stern but kind.
Twilight and the others bowed before her, and the crowd of koalas did likewise. A voice called out above everyone.

“Hail the Princess of the Flame, the guardian of the Sol Emeralds, Her Royal Highness, Princess Blaze!”

Blaze glanced down at Twilight and helped her rise. “I’m pleased to meet all of you.” she said, turning towards Tails and Vector. “Please, come to the palace. We can discuss matters there.”

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

At the palace, Twilight sipped an exotic tea out of a coconut shell. Blaze was far more laid back about royal procedure then Twilight had first been led to believe, and Twilight and her were already getting along very well.

“Your Highness, may I ask you a question?” Twilight ventured.

“You may, and please call me Blaze.” Blaze replied.

“Well, Blaze, I want to know if you know anything about a dark evil, an evil that dwelt within the Scepter of Darkness, an ancient artifact from the city of Solianna.”

Blaze looked grim for a moment. “I don’t believe that I have heard of the Scepter of Darkness before, but I have heard of Solianna. There was an incident there… an incident I would rather forget.”

Blaze sighed and went on. “In reality, the event never happened. Time was shattered, and when it was healed, all traces of the event were gone. The past had been changed, as it had to be to save the future.”

“But how can you change the past?” Twilight asked. “Believe me, I’ve tried. I only found out that what I did in the past, I had already done in the present.”

“Time tends to work that was normally.” Blaze replied, sipping the tea she held. “But like I said, time was shattered. All my studies point towards this. I was not there at the time, nor am I fully aware of what happened. But I do know that when I again met Sonic and his friends, they did not recall the event. None of them remembered, not even my close friend, Silver. I assume that since I was in a different zone at the time, I wasn’t affected. Sad to say, for the power I bound away that day still lives within me.”

“So you bound the evil away?” Twilight asked. “Can you tell me anything about it?”

Blaze sighed. “I only know half of the coin. The evil we faced was twofold; one half, a scientific experiment gone awry, an attempt at creating a god. Iblis, the Flames of Disaster. An eternal, mindless being, filled with nothing but the urge to destroy. In order to stop it, I had to bind Iblis’s spirit within me. Over time, I have trained it to obey my will , and be more docile, for it can’t really think. That was the other part’s job. But that burning rage still lies within me. I must restrain it, and not let it overcome me.”

Twilight listened with fascination. “And what was the other half of this evil?”

Blaze shook her head. “I don’t really know. All I know is that it was a shadow, a shadow that had power over time and space. And it was intelligent. Oh, yes, it was intelligent. It lied to us, pitting me and my friend against Sonic.”

“What was it called?” Twilight asked.

Blaze sighed, sipping her tea. “It is called Mephiles.”

Author's Note:

Did you see that coming? Mephiles and Nightmare Moon being the same creature all along?

Yeah, maybe not strictly canon, but I think it could work.

Also, Rainbow and sonic get their rematch! Yeah, the ending was kind of expected, but I think it kind of had to be done, to get across the whole "everypony is best at something" idea.
Also, Sonic and Rainbow Dash do end up sharing a close relationship, but not a romantic one. They kind of see one another like siblings, considering how alike they are, and how they were both apparently an only child.

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