• Published 2nd Dec 2013
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Adventures on the Friendship Express - GreenS21

Spin-off story to "Sonic Generations: Friendship is Timeless", taking place during the train ride to Canterlot.

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The Alpha and the Omega Pt. III - Delta (b)

Lucario noticed the red in her eyes and held out his left paw to tell her to stop, hoping that she was still within reason despite her anger. “Rayquaza, please calm down! We’re all aware that we have come up here without your permission, but we wouldn’t have done so if it wasn’t serious! We need your help!” he said. Rayquaza responded with a loud, angry cry that Lucario noticed had no words to it, but he could still understand what she was saying. “She’s like how Primal Dialga was at the Passage of Time… but she hasn’t been changed like that yet! There must be something else that’s causing her to act this way,” he realized.

Spike stepped up beside Lucario and Pikachu and asked, “She’s a Dragon Type or something like that, right? Do you think she might listen to a fellow dragon?” Before either of them could respond, Rayquaza opened her mouth and began gathering blue energy in it again, quickly charging up a Dragon Pulse and firing it at Spike and Team Defenders.

Lucario had already sensed what Rayquaza was planning to do with his Aura and grabbed both Pikachu and Spike, jumping away before the Dragon Pulse hit, everyone that was standing close to where it hit jumping back as well. After landing, Lucario answered Spike’s question as he set him and Pikachu down, “I don’t think so, unless you know that you grow wings at some point and can quickly get them. Even then, though, I think she’s too enraged to listen.”

Yoshi spoke, “Yoshi; yoshi! Yoshi! (She can’t attack us like this; we didn’t do anything to her! She’s being mean!)”

Tails said, “Well, Pikachu did kind of electrocute her, Yoshi, but she was going to attack Sonic after grabbing him unaware and slapping Rainbow with her tail.”

Sonic looked over at Lucario and asked, “I’m guessing we’re going to have to convince her to help us the old-fashioned Pokémon way?”

Lucario nodded, “That appears to be the best option available to us right now.”

Rainbow said, “Well, all right! Let’s get cracking and start fixing this mess!” Everyone readied themselves for battle at the pegasus’ words.

Rayquaza curled up the lower portion of her body, still hovering above the clouds. With a growl, she dipped her head down and charged headfirst at the group, everyone jumping to the side to avoid her. While Rayquaza was not very large around, the top of the Sky Tower was not very big, so they didn’t have a lot of room to move around, especially with such a large group. They all took a moment to look around and get a better idea of how big the area was while Rayquaza stopped herself and turned around to face them all again.

After a moment, Pikachu attacked first by unleashing a Thunderbolt attack at Rayquaza. The attack hit and looked like it did some damage, but it was clear afterwards that it didn’t do a tremendous amount as she shook it off and let out an angry growl at the yellow mouse. Sonic and Lucario moved next to catch her attention, Sonic dashing forward and attacking Rayquaza’s body several times with his Homing Attack while Lucario crashed into her with ExtremeSpeed. They were able to make her reel back a bit, but she tried to catch them off guard when she swiped at them with Dragon Claw. Lucario was able to evade the attack by dropping down onto the clouds while Sonic, having gone up after his series of Homing Attacks, was able to twist his body around as he fell to avoid it.

After they landed, Rayquaza set part of her long lower body down on the clouds and swept her tail around in a circle. Lucario managed to jump over it but Sonic was swept off of his feet, the long tail almost reaching the others as well. “Oh my goodness!” Fluttershy murmured afterwards as she noticed Rayquaza’s focus had gone back to Sonic, the shy pegasus spreading her wings and flying towards him, grabbing him by the shoulders as Rayquaza lunged at him. She managed to pull him up out of the way in time, leaving the green dragon with nothing but air. While her head was close to the clouds, Yoshi, Applejack, and Pinkie charged forward to attack, Yoshi jumping up and kicking his feet across the top of her head multiple times, Applejack bucking as hard as she could, and Pinkie bouncing up and down on top of the dragon’s head.

Sonic’s attempt to thank Fluttershy after she set him down was cut off when Rayquaza let out a roar and swung her head up, sending Yoshi, Applejack, and Pinkie flying. Cadance and Rainbow flew up to catch Yoshi and Pinkie while Twilight used her magic to stop Applejack in midair. As they looked up at Rayquaza, she began to hover above the clouds again. Unable to take standing on the side anymore, Shining began firing beams from his horn up at her, Twilight, Rarity, and Cadance joining him after a moment. Their magic seemed to be having an effect on her since each beam that hit made her flinch, but she soon growled as she twisted her body around and over, flying down along the outside of the Sky Tower.

“Where did she go?” Shining asked. Tails and Rainbow flew up near the sides of the top to look down to try to stop Rayquaza while Lucario closed his eyes and focused his Aura to locate her.

A few moments later, Tails cried “Whoa!” as he darted backwards, Rayquaza shooting straight up past where he had been a moment later. She took on a more horizontal flight path a second later, occasionally going up and down as she continued to fly above everyone. The way she was flying brought up memories of another dragon for Link, but he shook his head to try to banish the thought while the ponies began firing up again.

As the magic shots began firing up at her, Rayquaza hardly even batted an eye; she continued to twist and turn as she flew, her distance and long body making it difficult to land a shot on her. Rainbow quickly got annoyed with the dragon’s ability to dodge and flew up to intercept her, shooting up as fast as she could and slamming her hooves up against Rayquaza’s underside, surprising her. Her momentary shock was enough to allow several beams to hit her, throwing her off further and causing her to descend somewhat. It didn’t take her long to recover, however, and she quickly twisted her head around, locking her gaze on Rainbow Dash. The cyan pegasus was able to avoid Rayquaza’s mouth snapping at her, but the dragon followed after her and grabbed one of her hind legs with a claw.

Rainbow let out a shout as she found herself being swung through the air, unable to stop herself when Rayquaza let go of her leg. Fortunately Tails was able to fly up and get in her way to stop her from being thrown too far from the tower, but she ended up crashing into him, stunning him and causing them both to quickly fall down towards the tower. Twilight, Cadance, and Shining were going to use their magic to catch them, but Yoshi beat them to the punch when he extended his tongue, latching it onto one of Tails’ tails and pulling the fox and Rainbow Dash towards him. He ended up with the majority of the two tails in his mouth, his snout pressed up against Tails’ backside. “Uh, thanks, Yoshi,” Tails uttered after he was let go, the fox letting go of Rainbow Dash and looking back at his wet namesakes while Yoshi let out a happy coo.

Link turned to look up at Rayquaza and saw that she was hovering closer to the Sky Tower’s roof, having not ascended back up to her previous height. She let out a roar a moment later and he guessed that she was about to move again. Not wanting to give her that chance, he suddenly ran towards the edge of the tower and pulled out his Hookshot as he came to a stop. Taking the tool in both hands, he pointed it up at Rayquaza, aiming for the end of her tail, and shot it at her with a *BOING*. It managed to reach her before it extended to its full length and latched onto her tail, Rayquaza letting out a cross between a growl and a roar in surprise at the feeling.

She was only surprised for a moment, however. She then extended her body and began to fly up and away from the tower, Link letting out a cry as he began to get pulled closer to the edge! Before he could go over, Sonic, Yoshi, and Lucario ran to his sides, all three of them grabbing onto the Hookshot and pulling as hard as they could. They were able to stop Link’s sliding and Rayquaza’s flying, but the green dragon didn’t give up trying to pull them over the side. They were soon joined by the others as well, everyone pulling together to go backwards and bring Rayquaza back to the tower. They seemed to have more strength than her at the moment as she slowly but surely started to be pulled back.

Suddenly, it seemed like they were starting to move backwards faster, causing Lucario to look up at Rayquaza. His eyes widened when he saw she had turned her head around and was gathering orange energy in her mouth. “Hyper Beam!” he exclaimed, causing everyone else to look up as well.

Pikachu let go of Spike and jumped to the side to get a clearer look at Rayquaza, his cheeks sparking with electricity. Sonic noticed when he tensed his body and yelled, “No, Pikachu…!” It was too late though as Pikachu unleashed what appeared to be a weak wave of electricity at Rayquaza that wrapped around her when it hit. It clearly affected her as she began growling and electricity sparked along her body, but the others didn’t feel it coming back to them. “What?” Sonic asked.

“Thunder Wave. It’s a non-damaging Electric Type move that paralyzes that target. Now’s our chance!” Lucario said. They all began pulling harder at that, many of them still expecting a shock to travel along the Hookshot’s chain. Now that she was paralyzed, Rayquaza offered much less resistance and was quickly pulled closer to the tower. When she was right next to the tower, it seemed like the paralysis was beginning to wear off, so Link let out a shout to the others. Not knowing what he was getting at, they all let go.

Suddenly, he jerked the Hookshot down and to his left and then to his right, pulling Rayquaza a little bit closer each time. He then finished by standing up straight and holding the Hookshot over his head as he spun in a circle, jerking it down hard as he faced forward again. Rayquaza was brought down by the final pull, her head and her body slamming against the top of the tower, temporarily stunning her. Despite their surprise at this display of strength, everyone quickly took advantage of Rayquaza being brought down to their level and rushed forward to attack her while Link put his Hookshot away.

After several moments of her being attacked by everyone, Link ran in front of Rayquaza and held his right arm straight up, a burst of yellow-colored energy radiating out from him as he stood there. It slammed into Rayquaza and lifted her up off of the tower, flipping over once before she landed in a pile at the edge. She raised her head straight up a moment later and let out a roar before she tried to fly up, only to quickly flip over and fly straight down along the side of the tower. Everyone quickly rushed to the edge and looked down to see that a portal had opened not far down from them. Realizing that Rayquaza had gone into it, they quickly leapt down into it after her.

As they came out of the other side of the portal, the group didn’t feel any sudden changes in orientation so the bipedal members landed normally while the ponies set their hooves down first before bringing their hind legs down. Reassured that their legs were securely underneath them, everyone looked around to see where they had ended up. They quickly realized that they had seemingly ended up back in the white space, yet they couldn’t see Ponyville or Canterlot anywhere they looked, and there was no sign of Rayquaza in the space either.

“Where’s Rayquaza? She should be easy to see now that we’re back here!” Rainbow said.

Shining nodded, “That’s true. Anything with color should stand out in this white world. Maybe she managed to fly far away before we exited that portal.” When everyone looked at him, he shrugged, “Well, we can’t see Ponyville or Canterlot anymore. We have to be pretty far away not to see any trace of them.”

Pinkie piped up, “I don’t think so.” Everybody looked over at her and saw her sitting a short distance away. She raised her right hoof and moved it a short distance to her right, making a tapping motion with it, a sound being made each time she did it. She then did the same with her left hoof, once again making a tapping sound.

Sonic looked up above Pinkie a moment later and noticed something he hadn’t seen before. The space behind the pink pony seemed to converge right behind her, almost like a corner. Looking back down at her, he asked, “You think we’re in a room, Pinkie?” The party pony nodded in confirmation.

“Well, if we’re in a white room, Rayquaza should definitely be in here! Where is she?” Twilight wondered.

Tails looked at her, “If she was in here, she must’ve found a way out.” He reached into his namesakes and pulled out his radar and opened it to check the readings. “Let me take a look around. I might be able to find where she exited,” he said as he began to walk slowly, still looking down at the dual screens. Pikachu walked after him, curious.

Suddenly they all heard a “Yea-hey!” ring through the air. Everyone (save for Tails, who was fixated on his radar) turned to look behind them, where the voice seemed to have come from. Not that far away, in what was presumably the center of the ‘room’, they saw a man about their height holding up a yellow star in his hands, which had white gloves on them. In addition, he was wearing brown boots, blue overalls, and a green shirt and hat, the latter of which had a green ‘L’ in the white circle on the front of it. He had a small but fine brown mustache and his brown hair ran down the back of his head, sticking out from underneath his cap.

Yoshi immediately recognized the man, letting out a “Wow!” before running towards him. As he got closer, he said, “Yoshi! (Luigi!)”

At the sound of Yoshi’s voice and his running, the man’s arms dropped down and he looked at the green dinosaur in surprise for a moment. “Yoshi? How did-a you get here? I thought you were back in the…” He trailed off as he looked behind Yoshi and noticed the rest of the group, Sonic and a few of the others waving to him. Luigi’s eyes widened and he turned to look at Yoshi, nervously saying, “Uh, I’m-a gonna go now, okay? I’ve got to help the other Yoshi and Mario rescue Princess Peach. …Oh, and find and rescue Wario, too.” He then turned around and began running in place for a moment before shooting off with a cry, running towards a door the group hadn’t noticed before and going through it. The group could see there was a room on the other side of it, but they were too far away and the door wasn’t open long enough for them to get a good look at it.

Yoshi tilted his head to the side in confusion, “Huh?”

Twilight looked at Sonic and asked, “Do you know who that was?”

Sonic nodded, “Yeah. That was Luigi.”

Lucario asked, “Friend of yours?”

Sonic replied as he scratched his head, “Yeah. Didn’t seem like he recognized me or Tails, though…”

Fluttershy said, “Well, he seemed nice.” Sonic nodded in agreement.

Cadance spoke, “That door seems to be the only way out of here. Do you think Rayquaza could’ve gone through it?”

Shining replied, “I think she probably would’ve crashed through it rather than going through it all proper based on how she was acting earlier… but she might have, Cadance.”

Applejack said, “Well, let’s follow that Luigi fella then. This room is givin’ me the creeps.”

Rainbow nodded, “Me too. I’ve never seen a room this white before…”

Before they could move, Tails called, “I think I found it, guys!” They looked and saw him crouched about halfway down the wall to the left. They all walked over and gathered around him, seeing a glowing spot on the floor in front of him.

“What is it?” Rarity asked.

“I’m not sure exactly, but based on these readings, I think we might be able to use it to open a portal,” Tails said. He lowered his radar and looked down at the glowing spot, “Now if we could just find a way to energize it…”

Pikachu spoke up, “Pika, Pikachu!” Everyone looked at the yellow mouse and noticed his cheeks were beginning to spark. They quickly backed away as his body became surrounded by electricity, a bolt shooting at the glowing spot. He stopped after a few seconds and opened his eyes to look. The spot was surrounded by electricity for a few moments before the spot began to glow brighter, the electricity disappearing as it did. Suddenly a beam of white light shot out from it and stopped a few feet later, a portal opening out of thin air a second later.

“Whoa!” Yoshi exclaimed.

“Well, I guess that works,” Tails commented.

Lucario nodded down at his partner, “Good thinking, Pikachu.” The yellow mouse gave a “Pika!” at that and they all began jumping into the portal, which closed after they were all through it.

Upon exiting the new portal, the group immediately found that they had ended up in a much more colorful location. In addition to the blue sky overhead, they could see grass, dirt, and bushes with fruits around them, and when Rainbow flew up to get a better look, she said that she could see mountains nearby and a larger landmass to the north. As she flew back down to join the others, they all noticed a nearby structure nestled close to several trees. Curious, they started walking towards it to investigate.

As they got closer, they could see a white picket fence, a mailbox, a table with chairs around it, and what looked like a lit fireplace with a chimney attached to it near the trees. “Is that a… house?” Twilight asked. After a moment, Yoshi let out a “Wow!” and ran on ahead of everyone, everyone running after him to find out what had him so excited.

When they reached the house, they saw Yoshi standing on the table and using his tongue to eat the fruits growing on the trees as well as the name on the mailbox. “‘Yoshi’. I guess this is his house then, huh?” Spike asked.

“Well, some Yoshi’s house, anyway,” Sonic shrugged.

Shining said, “Well, it seems like a nice house, even if it is a little open to the elements, but we don’t have time to sit down and relax. We need to find where Rayquaza’s gone. Yoshi…!” He stopped short when he looked up and saw that the green dinosaur, after eating all of the fruits on the trees, seemed to be sitting down and taking a nap near the fireplace.

“Looks like he wants to catch up on that nap he was having,” Tails commented.

Lucario spoke, “It’s true that we don’t have time to sit around, but why don’t you all sit down and rest for a few minutes? Pikachu and I will go look for Rayquaza; if she’s here, we should be able to find her. We’ll come back once we know for sure one way or the other.” Pikachu nodded and climbed up on Lucario’s shoulder, the blue jackal taking off afterwards.

“Well, that sure was a quick decision,” Fluttershy murmured.

“So what, we’re just supposed ta sit around here and let them search by themselves?” Applejack asked.

Rainbow spoke, “Yeah, I’m not doing that. Who knows how long it could take those two to find Rayquaza? We’ll find her much faster if we help, especially since we’re dealing with a dragon that lives in the sky.”

Tails said, “That’s a good point, Rainbow. That would be the most likely place for Rayquaza to go right now.”

Rainbow nodded, “Right! Unless that guy’s Aura or whatever is supersensitive, he’s not gonna have an easy time spotting Rayquaza if she’s above the clouds. So I’m gonna go up and see if I can find her there. Be back soon!” With that, she spread her wings and shot up towards the sky, searching for the green dragon.

Twilight looked at Sonic and asked, “What do you think we should do?”

Sonic looked at her, “Well, why don’t you guys do what Lucario said and sit down for a few minutes? It’s probably not gonna take Dash long to search the sky over Yoshi’s Island and the Dinosaur Land or whatever the neighboring island is called for Rayquaza.”

Spike asked, “What about you?”

Sonic replied, “I’m gonna go help Lucario and Pikachu speed up their search. Might as well try to rule out as many places as we can as quick as we can.” He got into a running stance, “Give me a ring if Dash finds anything! I’ll be back soon otherwise!” He then ran in the direction Team Defenders had gone.

As he and the others watched Sonic disappear across the plains, Spike suddenly heard the sound of steps close to him and turned his head to the right to look. He saw Sonic standing there with his right hand on his brow, looking in the direction he had just gone. “Whoa!” Spike exclaimed, surprising everyone else and causing them to notice Sonic standing there, the blue hedgehog waving at them all. “You weren’t kidding when you said you’d be back soon! I thought you just left!” Spike commented. Sonic tilted his head at this as he looked down at the baby dragon. Spike pointed, “You know, you went to go help find Rayquaza.” Sonic had crossed his arms while Spike was talking and turned his head to look where the claw was pointing. A second later, he turned and took off running, his arms at his sides.

“Uh, okay? That was… weird for him,” Shining said.

“Super weird! He didn’t even say anything! That is so unlike him!” Pinkie agreed.

Applejack nodded, “Yeah. A simple ‘didn’t find anythin’’ would’ve worked.”

Twilight looked confused as Sonic vanished into the distance again. “Did he… look a little different?” she asked after a moment.

Tails turned to look at the lavender unicorn, “So it’s not just me.”

Rarity said, “I must admit he did look a bit younger than he did a minute ago. I swear, if he has a secret method that he doesn’t want to share…” Link and a few ponies looked at her for a moment before looking at the path again. They didn’t ponder Sonic’s odd behavior for long, instead deciding to do what he said and take the opportunity to sit down like Yoshi.

After a few minutes of waiting, Rainbow Dash flew down and landed on the grass, the cyan pegasus having had no luck finding Rayquaza in the sky. Given the annoyed look she had when she landed, it was safe to say she was pretty upset about this fact, but she calmed down after a minute and sat down with everyone else. Afterwards, it was another couple of minutes before Sonic and Lucario came running in, Pikachu still sitting on Lucario’s shoulder. Putting aside any questions about Sonic’s earlier behavior, Tails asked him after he and Lucario came to a stop, “Did you guys have any luck finding Rayquaza? Rainbow checked the skies, but she said there was no sign of her.”

Sonic answered, “Well, we didn’t see her per se, but Lucario said he picked up on her Aura.”

The blue jackal nodded and said, “I sensed it while we were on the next island over, and it was in the last place one would expect to detect Rayquaza: underground.”

Yoshi, who was still sitting near the fireplace totally undisturbed by anything that had happened since he fell asleep, suddenly woke up at that. He looked at Lucario as Twilight asked, “Underground? How far underground? Like you said and Tails explained to us, we’re on islands right now; if it’s essentially going to require us to go underwater to find her…”

Lucario held up a paw to silence her before saying, “Don’t worry, Twilight, we don’t need to go that far down. The area I detected Rayquaza’s presence in appears to be some sort of valley below the island, however there appears to be more than one way down to it. We found some sort of winding tube on the next island that Sonic called a ‘Warp Pipe’ that is connected to this cave. We came to get the rest of you before going further.”

Shining stood up, “Then let’s not waste any more time.”

Rainbow nodded, “Yeah, let’s get going!” Everybody else got up at that.

Before they could start moving, Yoshi suddenly jumped up and ran over to Sonic and Tails saying, “Yoshi!” When everyone looked at him, he said, “Yoshi… Yoshi yoshi! (That place Lucario described… Its sounds like the Valley of Bowser!)”

Sonic held a hand to his chin, “‘Valley of Bowser’, huh Yoshi? Sounds familiar… Is that where Bowser’s ‘Disco Palace’ was?”

Tails spoke up, “I think the name everyone used was ‘Neon Castle’, Sonic.”

The blue hedgehog looked at him and shrugged, “Same thing.”

Tails deadpanned, “Not really.” He looked at Yoshi and asked, “Is there something we should know before we go there, Yoshi?”

The green dinosaur nodded, “Yoshi! Yoshi yo yoshi, yoshi! Yoshi yosh, yoshi! Yoshi, yoshi! (Yeah! That Warp Pipe you found does go down to the valley, but the other end is on the top of a steep cliff! That would be a difficult climb, but don’t worry! Me, Mario, and Luigi found another spot where the valley can be accessed from, and it would put us right on the castle’s front step!)”

Tails said, “Well, your way does sound better, Yoshi. Is there a catch to it?”

Yoshi shook his head, “Yoshi! Yoshi! (Nope! In fact, the closest entrance isn’t far from that Warp Pipe!)”

Sonic smiled, “Well, all right then! Let’s get over there and you show us where it is, Yoshi!” The green dinosaur nodded and he, Sonic, Tails, Lucario, Link, and Pikachu set out for it.

Spike and the ponies were stuck in place for a few moments, a bit stunned by the whole exchange. “Seriously, Fluttershy being able to understand animals is one thing, but how do they know what that guy is saying?” Rainbow asked, voicing the thought they all had. They all looked at each other for a moment before they hurried to catch up with the others.

After making their way across the island and crossing the bridge to the next island, the group went off the beaten path and to the right around the lake to the spot where Sonic, Lucario, and Pikachu had found the Warp Pipe, off to the side of a spooky-looking house. There, Yoshi led the group to a second path that led to a secret alcove containing a glowing yellow star-shaped rock on the ground. Yoshi pointed at the rock with an excited “Yoshi!”

Cadance asked, “What is it?”

Tails answered, “If I’m not mistaken, it’s an entrance to a secret location called the Star Road.” Yoshi nodded and then jumped up onto the rock. Everyone watched when he jumped a moment later and began spinning before shooting up towards the sky.

“Cool!” Sonic said before jumping on the rock himself, the same thing happening to him when he jumped. When the spinning stopped, he found himself in a new location. Looking around as he stepped off the star rock he had ended up on, he saw that the area he and Yoshi were in was shaped like a five-pointed star with a hill in the middle of it, both of them on the lower left point. Up above, the sky was clear, showing the stars lighting up the sky.

After several moments, Yoshi and Sonic looked to see Tails joining them, the fox looking a little dizzy as he stepped towards them. “Uhhh… I think my head is still spinning…” he uttered as he held his left hand up against the side of his head. They were soon joined by everyone else, Twilight, Spike, and Fluttershy appearing dazed like Tails while everyone else seemed to have handled the jump fine. Once they had gotten their bearings and everyone noticed where they were, Yoshi led them to the star’s lower right point and leapt on the star rock there to leave the Star Road, everyone else doing the same.

The warp deposited the group amongst some moderate-sized rocks. As they walked away from the rock, they were able to peer beyond some of them and see that it did look like they were in a valley, albeit a barren one. Looking forward, they saw Yoshi peering over a rock at their destination: a large castle with thunderclouds around it and a sign on the roof with letters that spelled ‘BOWSER’. “Wow… that’s a large castle,” Shining breathed.

Cadance asked, “What did you call it, Tails? The ‘Neon Castle’?”

The fox nodded, “Yeah. I’m guessing the neon hasn’t been on since Bowser got out.”

Sonic looked over at Lucario and asked, “So? Is she in there, Luca’?”

The Aura Pokémon closed his eyes and focused for a moment before opening them and saying, “Yes… Yes! Her Aura is coming from inside that castle! But she doesn’t seem to be moving…” Pikachu looked shocked to hear that and the two of them leapt out from behind the rock, heading for the castle’s front entrance. Sonic and the others were quick to follow, crossing the bridge leading to the opening left by the now missing front door.

Stepping inside, they instantly found themselves in the castle’s main foyer. While it was a little hard to tell for sure due to how big the foyer was, there appeared to be doors leading to other parts of the castle in the walls. “Hm. This is roomier than I thought it would be,” Tails commented, noting the high ceiling.

It didn’t take long for them to spot Rayquaza, or rather her head and part of her body, near the center of the room. The rest of it seemed to be down a circular hole as there was a guardrail encircling her beyond the reach of her claws that Lucario and Pikachu were standing near. Rayquaza’s eyes appeared to be closed and there were metal bands wrapped around her arms and body that seemed to be attached to the circumference of the hole. “Hey, someone’s captured Rayquaza!” Rainbow realized, everyone moving towards her at that.

Lucario and Pikachu, meanwhile, were looking down the hole to see that there were more metal bands wrapped around Rayquaza’s long body, effectively keeping her from moving when she regained consciousness. “I don’t know who would do this to her, but we have to set Rayquaza free!” Lucario said. Pikachu nodded and sparks began to come out of his cheeks; Lucario noticed this and quickly said, “Uh, that might not be such a good idea right now, Pikachu.” The yellow mouse guessed what he was getting at and nervously rubbed his head with a paw. Turning back to Rayquaza, Lucario held out his left paw and began gathering energy for an Aura Sphere, “This should be enough to break those.”

Suddenly, a loud “Ye hee hee hee!” rang out through the air, causing Lucario’s focus to break and the rest of the group to stop in place, everyone looking around for the source of the laughter. A moment later, while Lucario and Pikachu were looking off to the sides, something appeared in front of them from a puff of smoke and shot forward, crashing into them and knocking them backwards. As everyone else ran over to the two, they all heard the voice come from the new arrival, “You intruders do not belong here! And after all the trouble it took to get this dragon here, it’s not going anywhere!”

Everyone looked to see that their new arrival had a yellow-colored turtle face with two fangs sticking out of the side of its mouth. It wore thick black-rimmed glasses and a pointy blue hat. They couldn’t see much below its head as it was in what appeared to be a large white bowl with a smiley face on the front of it, the mouth orange and the eyes blue, and a green propeller on the bottom of it. Tails looked at the turtle’s face for a moment before saying, “A Magikoopa… Kamek?!”

The Koopa wizard said as he flew up above everyone, “One of Lord Bowser’s lesser enemies remembered me. I’m touched.”

Sonic asked, “Speaking of which, how’d you get Bowser to let you use his Clown Car?”

Kamek replied, “That’s for me to know, hedgehog!” He held up his right hand, revealing he was holding a wand with a red jewel atop it, “You won’t be finding out because you and your friends are going to be burnt alive!” He waved the wand around, multicolored magic coming off of its tip and surrounding the Koopa Clown Car. After a moment, flames appeared on the underside of it and the eyes changed to a yellow color, taking on an angry appearance. The mouth then changed to an ‘O’ shape and spat several fireballs at the group, forcing them to break up.

Link let out a grunt as he finished rolling to the right, remaining down on one knee as he pulled out his bow and readied an arrow, firing it up at Kamek’s magic wand. The Koopa wizard let out a yelp when it hit and almost caused him to lose his grip on the wand, but he held on and turned to glare down at Link afterwards. He had to duck to dodge another arrow, but he then said, “You’ll pay for that, you little brat!” He waved his wand and sent a shot of swirling magic at the next arrow, saying, “How do you feel about Bob-Ombs?!” When the magic hit, it stopped the arrow and changed it into a black bomb with white eyes and legs a moment later, the bomb immediately running towards Link with its fuse lit.

Link was able to avoid getting seriously hurt by holding up his shield, but the explosion still sent him flying backwards. Lucario saw this and glared up at Kamek as he held his left paw out and prepared an Aura Sphere, letting go of it when it was ready. The attack was reflected when Kamek created a magic field in front of himself, however, redirecting the sphere up into the ceiling. Some of the stonework that made up the ceiling came loose when it hit, causing it to rain down and throwing off Rainbow Dash as she was going for a direct attack, allowing Kamek to dodge around her. The wizard then aimed his magic at several of the falling stones, changing them into robotic Koopas. “Mechakoopas!” Tails said as they directed their attention at the members of the group.

“You like that, fox? Well, how does THIS bowl you over?” Kamek asked as he waved his wand around, creating a large metal ball and dropping it down on the ground, causing it to roll forward.

“Whoa, it doesn’t!” Sonic exclaimed as he leapt over the ball while Twilight, Applejack, and Shining scrambled to get out of its way. As he came down, Sonic bounced on the heads of two of the Mechakoopas, causing them to slump to the ground. He looked down at one of the robots and then up at Kamek before looking down at the Mechakoopa with an idea. As he picked it up with both hands, he quipped, “Looks like you Mechakoopas just got a new name: MASHED Koopas!” He then spun around once before letting it go, sending it flying up at Kamek. The wizard managed to duck to avoid it and swerved to avoid the second one when Tails ran over and sent it flying with his namesakes. Kamek looked down at the two and held up his wand, waving it around in a circle again.

Suddenly, the Koopa Clown Car doubled in size, the crate’s eyes locked onto Sonic and Tails as it lowered down. After a moment, its eyes narrowed to slits and it began to bounce across the ground, trying to crush them underneath. Tails hopped backwards to get out of the way while Sonic fell forward, both of them managing to avoid it. As he raised his head up, Sonic noticed the last Mechakoopa land in front of him and looked to see Pikachu a short distance away gesturing to him. Sonic nodded and rose up onto his knees, hitting the Mechakoopa on the nose with his right fist as he said, “Enough of this clowning around, broom boy!” He stood up and grabbed the Mechakoopa, swinging it around and letting go as he finished, “You’re KOOP-put!”

The Mechakoopa flew towards Pikachu, who redirected it with his tail as he was using an Electro Ball attack, the ball of electricity causing the robot to shoot up towards the Clown Car, which was currently holding position overhead. It seemed to be too strong an attack as it looked like it was going to overshoot the Clown Car’s opening, but Lucario, having already sensed what Pikachu was planning, had Yoshi throw him up at the vehicle. He ended up meeting the Mechakoopa above the opening, at which point he yelled “Knock Down!” as he swung his right paw down, sending the robot down into the opening. While he was still in the air, he saw Kamek being bounced around inside after letting out a cry from being hit. He also saw the smile on the Clown Car change to a frown as it began to lose altitude.

It wasn’t over yet, however, as the damaged Clown Car began to fire fireballs on its own, which had grown in size with the car. The first one it fired where the face was directed towards the floor, the fireball creating a crater when it hit. It kept firing even as the vehicle flipped over and Kamek held onto it. “If we don’t stop that thing, it’s going to bring this whole castle down!” Shining yelled over the explosions.

Kamek held onto the car with his left hand as he attempted to use his magic wand, but Sonic wasn’t about to give him the chance to do whatever he was planning. He ran towards the Clown Car and curled up into a ball, shooting up towards it. Rainbow was about to do the same thing with Kamek, but a light blue ball suddenly shot inside the castle and beat her to the punch, crashing into Kamek and sending him flying out of the back of the castle while Sonic sent the Koopa Clown Car spinning end over end out through the front of the castle, where it smashed against the ground, finally shutting down. As he was flying through the air, Kamek muttered to himself, “Lord Bowser is not going to be happy about this…”

Back inside the castle, Sonic landed on the ground crouched on one knee while the one who helped him landed on both feet, arms held out sideways. Sonic turned to look, as did everyone else. Its back was to all of them, but they could make out plenty of details from that alone. Its fur was a lighter shade of blue, yet it had familiar though shorter spines going down its back, familiar red shoes, and familiar white gloves. And when it turned around slightly, the face was almost exactly the same… Everyone’s eyes widened as they realized they were looking at another Sonic.

Tails looked at his Sonic in surprise for a moment before looking at the other Sonic and saying, “Sonic!” Both blue hedgehogs instinctively turned to look at the two-tailed fox at the sound of their name, surprising everyone further. The two hedgehogs then looked over at each other silently, Sonic rising to his feet and walking towards the shorter hedgehog as he did the same. When they were in front of each other, they both stared at each other’s face, examining. The two perfectly mimicked a few poses and actions before they went back to staring at each other with their hands on their hips, neither one sure what to make of what they were seeing, though Sonic was getting the nagging feeling that there was something familiar about this.

The silence in the air was suddenly broken when a small form ran up to the shorter Sonic’s side, exclaiming, “There you are! I finally caught up with you!” Both Sonics and everyone else looked at the source of the voice to see what looked like a smaller version of Lucario that lacked spikes and with only one dreadlock on both sides of the back of his head. The smaller Pokémon, a Riolu, continued to speak to the shorter Sonic as everyone else just looked on, “Your Speed is amazing! Are you sure you’re not a Pokémon? You sure are fast enough to be one that’s hard to find!”

Pikachu could only stare at the Riolu in disbelief, even as he looked between him and Lucario, who seemed just as shocked as him. After several seconds of listening to him run his mouth at the shorter Sonic, who was unsuccessfully trying to back away, Pikachu called to the Riolu, “Pika, Pikachu!”

The Riolu heard what he said and stopped talking as he looked over at the yellow mouse, his eyes lighting up as he saw him. He ran over to Pikachu, causing the shorter Sonic to breathe a sigh of relief, and said, “Pikachu! You’re here too? It’s so good to see you! This guy I bumped into seems pretty cool, but I’m so glad to see a familiar face here, wherever here is!”

Pikachu held out his paws as he carefully spoke, “Pikachu, pika… Pi pika pi, Pikachu…”

Riolu seemed to stop paying attention to what Pikachu was saying as he began to look around while he was talking, his eyes falling on Lucario after a few moments. He ran over to the Aura Pokémon before he could react and looked up at him. “Hey, aren’t you…?” he started.

“No. Not necessarily. Just because we are from the same evolutionary chain does not mean anything,” Lucario quickly said as he turned his head to the side and held his right paw up in front of his eyes to avoid making contact.

“You didn’t even let me finish,” Riolu argued.

“You’re a Riolu. Your Aura alerts others to how you are feeling. And I am a Lucario. I’ve become rather good at sensing certain things. Perhaps with the proper discipline, you too will be able to do that someday,” Lucario half-lied, still trying to avoid looking at Riolu.

Everyone looked on at the odd exchange taking place, particularly the two Sonics. They looked back and forth between Riolu and Lucario several times before they both blinked in surprise and looked at each other. The taller Sonic was finally beginning to understand what evolution meant for Pokémon, but more importantly, both Sonics were realizing something important about each other.

They weren’t alone in this realization either, as Pinkie suddenly popped up behind them and wrapped her forelegs around them, saying, “Ooh, I get it now!” She shook her left foreleg slightly as she held onto the shorter Sonic, “This Sonic is actually you, Sonic, only from a different point in time! He looks younger than you! That would make him… Classic Sonic!” She let go of the two Sonics, spinning them around as she sat down with a hoof on her chin and a contemplative look on her face. “Hm… nah, that’s what everyone who’s reading this is going to expect me to call him. There’s gotta be a better name for him…” She suddenly smiled, “I’ve got it! He’s… Old-Timey Sonic! And you’re Fun-Timey Sonic! Those names are much better! Use those names from now on, Greenie!” Old-Timey Sonic turned to his older counterpart while pointing a thumb at Pinkie in confusion, Fun-Timey Sonic just shrugging to him in reply.

The awkward silence was broken when Rayquaza suddenly let out a roar, reminding almost everyone present what they were there for. They all looked to see that was awake and trying to get out of her bindings, but that wasn’t the only thing they noticed. As her eyes opened and closed, they saw that they were alternating between the glowing red color they had seen before and her normal yellow eyes. They could also see some sort of purple mist seeping out of her mouth, more of it coming out when she began to cough.

As the mist hit the ground, it began to spread around the room, everyone looking at it as it seeped around them. “What is this stuff?” Twilight asked as she eyed it.

“It doesn’t appear to be Phantasmal Fog… but it sure looks familiar,” Tails noted. After a few moments, he heard Link let out a gasp and looked over to see a pillar of mist rising in front of the boy. “Link?” Tails asked as the mist began to take on a more definitive shape, becoming a blackish-purple copy of Link that was slightly larger and had glowing red eyes. It also had its sword and shield drawn, prompting Link to draw his own sword and shield. The copy suddenly swung its sword downwards, causing Tails to call, “Look out!” Link simply responded by thrusting his shield, striking the sword’s tip and knocking the copy backwards. He then quickly stepped forward and stabbed it in the torso with his sword, causing it to be knocked back.

“What… What’s happening?” Rarity asked. Any sort of answer she might’ve gotten was interrupted when they heard what sounded like a spring coming from in front of the two Sonics. Looking up, they all saw that a ball of mist had shot up into the air, the ball changing into a copy of Fun-Timey Sonic when it reached the height of its jump. As gravity began to pull it back down, it stuck out its right foot and shot down towards the two Sonics.

F-T Sonic braced himself at this and, as the copy got closer, he dropped onto his back and held up his left foot, halting the copy’s foot when it reached him. It wasn’t done, though, since it immediately lunged forward, trying to grab at him. Reacting quickly, F-T Sonic dropped his left foot down and brought up his right foot, getting it underneath the copy and pushing straight up, letting the copy’s momentum send it flying. Sonic sat up afterwards and looked back at the copy lying on the floor and quipped, “Ninja’d.”

As the copy began to get up, Yoshi ran over and extended his tongue, latching it onto the side of the copy and pulling it into his mouth. Instead of swallowing it down, he held it in his mouth and began moving it around inside while biting it, causing more damage. He was interrupted when something crashed into him from the side, causing him to let out a “Wah!” as the seemingly smaller copy was spat out of his mouth. It became apparent that he had been attacked by two things due to a second weight suddenly being thrown on top of him. The first was a copy of Rainbow Dash and the second was a copy of Yoshi himself. It didn’t take long for everyone to realize that the mist was forming a copy of each of them, including Riolu and O-T Sonic.

Seeing that their doubles had no intention of being friendly, Rainbow spread her wings and shot towards Yoshi, crashing into her copy and throwing the copy of Yoshi off as well. She began wrestling with the doppelganger while everyone else turned their attention on their own doppelgangers. Despite them all being the same blackish-purple color, there were enough physical differences amongst the ponies for them to identify their doubles, everyone, including Fluttershy, choosing to focus on dealing with their own copy first.

In the midst of their fighting, everyone was able to get at least a quick look at how O-T Sonic and Riolu fought. While they both used jumps, kicks, and their speed against their doubles, F-T Sonic also made better use of his fists and used more stylish, varied moves in his fighting compared to O-T Sonic. Riolu, as far as anyone could tell, lacked the long-distance attacks of his evolved counterpart, though he did pack a powerful punch and a forceful palm in his fighting. It also became apparent that as they hit the dark doubles more, they began to get smaller.

It didn’t take long for everyone to shrink their copies down to normal size and make them smaller than that, each one breaking apart in a burst of mist afterwards. Having defeated her own copy and noticing that everyone else had done the same, Rainbow dusted off her hooves as she asked, “All right, anything else we need to do? Or can we leave with Rayquaza now?” The green dragon in question had finished coughing up the last of the mist a while ago and seemed to be recovering from it, though she was still straining to get free.

As if in answer to the pegasus’ question, all the mist left behind by the destroyed doppelgangers suddenly shot to the center of the crater in the floor the Koopa Clown Car had created with its fireball earlier, swirling together and starting to form a solid shape once again. “Ah wish ya hadn’t said anythin’, Rainbow,” Applejack groaned, not really feeling up to any more surprises at the moment.

As the mist swirled more closely together, discernible features began to appear. Two two-toed feet that were black-gray in color were the first to appear, followed by legs that connected to a torso that sprouted a long bulb-tipped tail that stood straight up behind the new creature. Lucario noticed how the tail seemed to curl around the underside of the creature joining with its front and, as its upper body began to form, he began to get uneasy. “Oh, it couldn’t be… It can’t be taking on HIS appearance!” he yelled.

His hopes went unanswered as a pair of arms took shape below the creature’s shoulders as its head began to form. Once the cat-like creature had finished forming, its cold purple eyes looked at everyone for a moment before it hunched over, bringing its arms and legs close to its body for a moment before bringing them out, causing a cloud of darkness to spread out from it. With as quick as the cloud was rushing towards them, nobody had a chance to get away, so they all instead tried to shield themselves as best they could as the cloud engulfed them. They tried to stand their ground as best they could, but the ground beneath them began to shake before something began shooting out of it where the cloud had been, everyone on the ground being sent flying towards the creature by whatever had burst out of the ground.

Upon landing, everyone looked up and around to see that they were surrounded by numerous dark purple crystals sticking out of the ground, some much larger than others. The larger crystals blocked out their view of Rayquaza, but that was the least of their worries right now. They soon heard what sounded like a grunt and turned to see the new creature lowering itself to the ground, landing on the tips of its feet. They all noticed the long orange crystal sticking out of its left shoulder as it glared at them all with its cold purple eyes once again.

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