• 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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Fun and Games Pt. III: Dreams and More

The sky blue beam and circles appeared for a moment before vanishing as the group reappeared, all of them looking around. It looked like they were still in the city, but in a new location as the more prominent blue coloration around them contrasted with the yellow that most of them had become used to.

“What happened? Where are we?” Cadance asked.

Spike looked around, seeing that they were surrounded by a wall on all sides save for one. Looking up in the direction of the opening, he saw the word ‘START’ lit up in orange and yellow overhead. “It’s… a racetrack?” he shrugged.

The others looked as well, Tails saying, “A racetrack? Now that you mention it, that screen did mention racing to the end to complete the second challenge, didn’t it?”

Sonic looked further ahead to see that the path curved to the left up ahead. “So the second challenge is a race to the finish, huh? Seems legit,” he said.

The flying box from earlier suddenly came down from above, stopping in midair between the group and the arch in front of them. The screen turned on, displaying a simplified map of the course ahead. “Yep, definitely a race,” Tails remarked, his eyes going over the map and noting the spots that looked like potential shortcuts.

Shining looked left and right, checking how much space there was before saying, “Looks like there’s enough space for us all to line up side by side.”

Rarity asked, “So we’re all taking part in this?”

Sonic shrugged, “Seems that way. Unless you want to hope you’ll win by doing absolutely nothing?” Rarity shook her head in response and everyone, including Cadance and Fluttershy, lined up side by side a fair distance from the starting arch. They all began to stretch and ready themselves, getting into position to begin running… when suddenly, large transparent balls formed around all of them!

“Hey, what is this?!” Rainbow Dash yelled as everyone felt and pushed against their round prisons.

Shining lowered his head and stuck his horn into the ball, causing it to pop and releasing him. He grinned, but a second later, the ball reappeared around him! “Wait, what the -?!” he exclaimed.

The stallion was about to try popping it again, but Sonic stopped him by saying, “Wait, Shining! I think we’re supposed to run this race in these things.”

Pinkie exclaimed, “Ooh! That sounds like fun!” She began bouncing up and down as she continued, “It’ll be like a bumper ball race! I’ve always loved balancing on top of balls, but this time I get to be inside one! It’s like being a hamster!”

Tails noticed something about Pinkie’s ball as she continued bouncing. “Why does it keep inflating and deflating?” he wondered aloud.

Twilight looked back at the hovering screen and noticed it was now displaying a simple diagram about the balls they were in. It showed a ball getting bigger when it was in motion and getting smaller as the ball slowed down and came to a stop. “I think Sonic and Tails are right. It looks like these balls get bigger or smaller depending on how fast whoever’s inside is going,” she said after a moment.

Tails shrugged, “Well, I’m pretty sure this wouldn’t be the weirdest thing we’ve ever done.”

Pinkie grinned, “I dream about this sort of thing all the time!” The others decided not to question the pink pony on what exactly she dreamt about, instead all of them moving to a standby stance as a countdown timer appeared on the hovering screen. It counted down from ten, everyone beginning to shake or fidget as the anticipation continued to mount.

When the counter hit zero, everybody made sure to lean forward as they ran, all of them taking off from the starting line at different speeds. Unsurprisingly, Sonic got off to an early lead, the hedgehog leaning to adjust the angle of his running to get him through the winding path ahead without losing much speed. As he went into a covered section of the road that was angled sharply downwards, Shining Armor suddenly caught up with him! “Whoa! Where’d you come from? Royal guard training kicking in?” Sonic asked as he glanced over at the stallion.

Shining Armor smirked as they got to the bottom of the slope and continued on, “I saw what you were doing back there. That’s when I realized this is partly a thinking game!” To further show this, when they reached the end of the covered section of road and it curved to the right, Shining was able to slow down and angle himself enough to stay on the inside of the curve while Sonic was forced to stick to the outside.

As he reached the end of the curve, the unicorn stallion saw an overhang that was close to the ground, too low for his Air Ball to fit through at its current size. He quickly brought his hooves down and held them to slow down, his ball shrinking in size enough to allow him to squeeze through. As he came out from under it and was about to start running again, Sonic suddenly leapt over the overhang and landed in front of the stallion without losing too much speed! “Whoa, what?!” Shining exclaimed at this.

Sonic glanced back and called, “Sorry, Shiny! You didn’t think quick enough this time!” Looking forward, he saw a pair of double rails just ahead and decided to chance it, jumping up towards the rails. He landed between them, the size of his ball keeping him from falling as he continued to run while Shining, having noticed the rails too late, was forced to stay on the main path. The others soon reached the same spot, Applejack, Rainbow Dash, Pinkie Pie, and Tails following after Sonic while the rest took Shining’s path.

Sonic followed the double rails until they ended, jumping to a floating flat platform and bouncing upon landing to another one that he used to jump to a pinball table, which Shining Armor, Princess Cadance, and the others were approaching as well.

As Rainbow slowed down for a moment in the middle of the first platform, Applejack came up behind her and bumped into her Air Ball, both of them being pushed away from the impact. Rainbow was pushed far enough that, when Pinkie came off the double rails, she was able to bounce off of her ball to the second platform.

Applejack, meanwhile, yelled, “Rainbow Dash! What was that for?!”

Rainbow just glanced back as she made her jump and snickered, “Sorry about that, AJ! That’s what you get for being too slow!”

Applejack growled, “OH! That does it!” She shot forward after the cyan pegasus, unintentionally throwing Tails off as he reached the platform. The orange earth pony quickly made the first jump and almost immediately made the second, moving to join her rival and the others on the pinball table.

On the table, Sonic grinned as Shining, Cadance, Twilight, and Rarity arrived with Spike and Fluttershy coming through the tube they had come out of. “Hey! You guys are catching up already, huh?” he asked.

Shining smiled back, “Of course! In a race like this, there’s no way you’re just gonna- Whoa!” The last was a shout of surprise as Rainbow Dash’s ball collided with his, throwing him off and causing him to roll around with his ball for a few seconds.

Sonic was thrown off as well a moment later when Applejack bounced off of his ball, catching him by surprise and making him stop moving on his own. “Hey, I’m walking here!” he exclaimed as he bounced to the side.

Applejack paid him no heed, her eyes focused entirely on Rainbow Dash. “You wanna see fast, Dash? Ah’ll give ya fast!” she said as she charged towards the pegasus, cutting her off from trying to take the lead and instead bumping her towards the other side of the table and getting in the way of Twilight and Rarity. This ignited Rainbow’s competitive spirit all the more, causing her to answer her earth pony rival’s bump with a bump of her own, causing her to crash into Princess Cadance.

This set off a scuffle between the two on the table, and with its small size, everyone ended up forcibly caught up in it. When Tails reached the table, he managed to bounce off of Pinkie’s ball towards the top of the table, which he took advantage of to leap over the heads of everyone and into a slot in the middle. Spike, thanks to his smaller size, was able to maneuver between all the Air Balls crashing into each other and follow the fox down, the two of them continuing on towards the finish line.

After about half a minute, Sonic, Twilight, Shining Armor, and Cadance managed to get knocked loose from the rival clash and got to the bottom of the pinball table, getting onto the section of road. As they came to a stop on the road, they all looked up at the ongoing feud, seeing Pinkie, Rarity, and Fluttershy get ejected from it as well moments later. As they all grouped at the bottom, Fluttershy murmured, “Why are they doing this now?”

Rarity shook her head, “This is turning into that one ‘Running of the Leaves’ all over again, isn’t it?”

Cadance said, “This isn’t the time for them to be fighting. We have to stop this.”

Sonic spoke up, “Not disagreeing with you, Cadance, but I don’t see how we’re going to keep them apart from each other when all we can do is bounce.”

Shining said, “I think he’s right, Cadance. There’s some kind of anti-magic field in these balls since I can’t summon my magic right now. You feel it too, right?” Cadance nodded, as did Rarity and Twilight.

Twilight looked up at her two friends and asked, “But what should we do about them?”

Sonic replied, “I’m sure they’ll work it out, or at least remember that they’re in the middle of a race and head for the goal. That ought to help snap them out of it. Now come on!” He turned back to the road, looking back to the others and saying, “Last one to the finish line is a rotten Eggman~!”

The others snapped back to attention at that last line, all of them smirking as Rarity said, “Oh, it is ON, now!” With that, they all took off running, all of them being more mindful not to hinder each other too much as they ran.

Up ahead, Spike and Tails were still racing to keep ahead of the others, going through a loop that ended with a ramp that deposited them on a new table with a hole in the center. It took about a minute for them to relax and let the incline carry them down to the hole so that their Air Balls were small enough to fit through. Once they landed on the road below, it was a straight dash to the goal with only a gap at the end that they needed to get over to reach the finish.

It was a mad dash towards the goal for the two, but Tails just managed to pull ahead of Spike and cross the finish line first, the baby dragon coming in right behind him. “Wow! That was something else!” Tails said. He turned to Spike and asked, “Are you okay, Spike?”

The baby dragon replied, “Yeah, I’m fine, Tails. It would’ve been really cool if I’d come in first, but I’m not mad. I mean, check it out: sidekicks for the win!” He and Tails then bumped their Air Balls against each other.

Sonic soon leapt over the gap and joined the two at the goal. He looked at them and said, “Hey, nice job, Tails! That was awesome! And Spike! Sneaky little guy, aren’t ya?”

Spike snickered, “Heh heh, if you only knew.” The three of them then turned and watched as Shining Armor joined them, followed by Twilight, Rarity, Pinkie Pie, Princess Cadance, and Fluttershy. Spike looked around at them and asked, “Where’s Applejack and Rainbow Dash? Why haven’t they gotten here yet?”

A moment later, a pair of Air Balls dropped down from the hole above the road, Rainbow Dash’s Air Ball bouncing off of Applejack’s Air Ball and shooting towards the goal. In retaliation, the orange earth pony shot after her, soon crashing into her from behind and throwing them both off. “Uh, that’s why?” Sonic shrugged.

After a few seconds, both mares made it across the finish line, both panting heavily. “Heh heh, Ah won this time, Dash!” Applejack gloated.

“Yeah right, AJ! I won this race!” Rainbow argued.

“No ya didn’t, Rainbow Dash!” Applejack said.

Sonic spoke up, “I’d call it a tie.” The two mares turned to look at him and noticed for the first time that they were not the only ones there.

“A tie?!” Applejack asked.

Rainbow started, “Does this mean…?”

Pinkie grinned, “Yep! You two tied for last again!”

Rainbow Dash groaned, “Aw man! How did this happen again?!”

Tails shrugged, “Well, I’m sorry to say this, but you two kind of did get caught up in your game of bumper balls.” The two mares hung their heads at that.

Fluttershy was about to go over and comfort them, but then realized that she was still in her Air Balls, as were the others. “Um, are we supposed to still be in these… balls?” she asked while looking at the rest of the group. Applejack and Rainbow looked up when she finished speaking.

“That’s a good question, Fluttershy. What’s supposed to happen now that the race has ended?” Rarity wondered. Her thoughts, as well as everyone else’s, were interrupted when, in a split second, they heard a loud POP, like the sound of a balloon bursting, and Sonic let out a shout. They all turned to see that his Air Ball had been popped and he was quickly sinking into a black portal under where he’d been standing, vanishing before their eyes!

“Sonic!” Tails exclaimed before his Air Ball suddenly popped and he disappeared the same way. One by one, the same thing happened to the rest of them, none of them able to react in time before they all vanished to parts unknown!


A black portal opened up in midair and Sonic fell out of it, the hedgehog heading straight towards the ground as another appeared near the first one and Tails came out of it. More portals appeared in succession, the third one releasing Spike and the rest dropping the ponies out of them before they disappeared. In less than a minute, the entire group had been released from their portals, all of them falling down and landing on a brown, hard stone floor.

As they all recovered and some of them recovered from a rough landing, Rainbow Dash groaned, “Okay, this whole randomly warping thing is getting really old! Seriously, it’s not even fun anymore!”

Rarity moaned, “I’m going to need a much-needed spa trip when this is all over…”

As she and the others stood up, Applejack grunted, “So now where’d we end up?” They all looked around, seeing a raised gray platform in the middle of the room with stairs leading up to the top of it and a large wooden door across from it nearby. The wall that the door was attached to seemed actually be rows of large rings that were made of horizontal rectangular plates. These rings were constantly spinning and were placed on top of each other, forming a dome. Despite the dim lighting of the room, they could all see fine.

“This is a very strange place,” Shining commented.

Twilight looked at Sonic and Tails and asked, “Where are we?”

Sonic said, “This place looks familiar, but I don’t think we’ve been here in a while.”

Tails nodded, “Yeah. It’s right on the tip of my tongue…”

Suddenly, the room began to brighten up, the light coming from above. Everyone looked up to see what looked like a giant crystal hanging in the air near the top of the chamber, the light shining brightly from within it. “Whoa, look at the size of that crystal!” Spike gasped, his mouth beginning to water at the sight of it.

Sonic spoke, “That’s… It’s got a name, what was it again? Some kind of… stone? Priceless…” He snapped his fingers, “No, wait, it’s the Precioustone!”

Tails gasped, “That’s right! That means… we’re in Maginaryworld, in the Temple of Light!”

Twilight raised an eyebrow, “Precious… stone?”

Cadance asked, “Maginaryworld? Temple of Light?”

Rainbow tilted her head to the side, “What are you guys talking about? What is this place?”

Sonic turned to the others and said, “Well, to put it simply, this is the world of dreams!”

Spike and the ponies gasped, Twilight asking, “The world of… dreams?!”

Sonic nodded, “Yeah! Part of it, anyway. And this temple is right in the middle of this world.”

Fluttershy asked, “But… Well, we know Princess Luna can enter other ponies’ dreams, but she’s never said anything about dreams making up a world. How does this world exist?”

Tails explained, “We were told a little about this world when we were here. If I remember correctly, Maginaryworld is created from the dreams of people in other dimensions. We only saw a little of it, but it seems like pieces of everyone’s dreams help make up this world.” He gestured up at the floating crystal as he went on, “That Precioustone is the essence of everyone’s dreams, and its power is said to make dreams come true.”

Rainbow gasped, “Whoa, really?!” She looked up at the Precioustone, “If that crystal can make dreams come true, and the dreams of a bunch of different people are inside of it, then I can make my dream come true! I can finally become a Wonder- Oof!” She let out a grunt as something suddenly landed heavily on her back, pushing her to the ground. Twisting her head around, she was met with an angry pink face. “Pinkie?! What are you doing?!” the cyan pegasus asked.

“You can’t touch that shiny stone, Dashie! That could cause it to break and make bad things happen to this world!” Pinkie exclaimed. She looked at Sonic and Tails and asked, “Right?”

Sonic nodded, “Right. The Precioustone shattering is why we got to have a dream-hopping adventure here once.”

As Pinkie climbed off of Rainbow Dash, Shining asked, “What happened?”

Tails explained, “The Goddess of Dreams, Illumina, guards the Precioustone here to protect everyone’s dreams. But one day, she became consumed with self-doubt and lost sight of her own dream. It got so bad that she split into two beings: Lumina Flowlight and Void. Void shattered the Precioustone when he touched it, sending the pieces all across Maginaryworld, so Lumina sent out a message for help and Sonic, Knuckles, Amy, and I were brought here because we received it. We were able to retrieve the pieces of the Precioustone and restore the dreams that Void was altering, and got him and Lumina to rejoin to bring back Illumina. It saved Maginaryworld from being plunged into darkness.”

Twilight said, “Wow… So, where’s Illumina now?”

Tails looked towards the raised platform and said, “She should be here in the Temple of Light, guarding the Precioustone. I wonder if the damage caused by that monster has had an effect on Maginaryworld as well and she had to leave to help take care of it…”

Sonic thought to himself, “I don’t think Illumina would stray too far from the Precioustone, especially after losing herself once. She’s probably close by somewhere; if there’s a problem in Maginaryworld, she might’ve asked NiGHTS for help. …Hm, I wonder how NiGHTS is doing…

Applejack got everyone’s attention when she spoke, “Hey, uh, maybe this is just me, but Ah kinda expected a world of dreams ta look… Ah don’t know, a bit flashier.” As if in response to her, the spinning rings suddenly began to lift up, everyone looking up as the rising rings exposed what lay beyond the Temple of Light to them. “…Well, shoot,” Applejack muttered after all the rings had been lifted away and she and the others looked at the new sight.

It looked like the group was in the middle of the night sky, varying shades of blue and violet surrounding them as far as the eye could see. In addition, stars, clouds, and various objects swirled around the Temple of Light, easily seen against the blues and violets. Nobody was sure if they were dream locations or simply pieces of dreams floating freely.

“Whoa… This is incredible,” Rainbow Dash breathed.

“Simply gorgeous,” Rarity breathed.

Twilight looked at Sonic and Tails and asked, “Did you guys see this when you came here the first time?”

Tails nodded, “Yeah. We didn’t really get a chance to admire it, though, since Lumina was telling us what was happening in Maginaryworld when we arrived.” Looking back up, he said, “But now that we actually get a chance to look at it, it really is beautiful.”

Sonic nodded, “Yeah.” He lowered his eyes and, upon noticing something, looked around with a raised eyebrow. “Hey, what the… When did all these mirrors get here?” he asked after a few moments. Everyone looked down and around for themselves, soon seeing what he was seeing.

Dotting the entire Temple of Light’s circumference was a number of mirrors, and each of them looked exactly the same. A circular frame contained the mirrors and a trapezoidal base with two fins sticking up on the sides held the mirrors up.

Twilight looked at Sonic and Tails and asked, “Uh, I’m going to guess these mirrors aren’t supposed to be here?”

Tails shook his head, “They weren’t here before. Last time, Lumina led us to the first dream location through those doors, and then we just warped from one location to the next. I don’t know what the story is with these mirrors.”

Sonic looked over at one with a hand on his chin, “I wonder if that’s all they are?”

Rarity trotted over to one while saying, “Don’t be silly, Sonic. Of course they are!” She stopped in front of the mirror and looked up at it as she continued, “Just look at how well-made this is! How reflective the surface is! Why would this be anything more than just a mirror?”

Sonic shrugged, “Because mirrors can be magical?”

Rarity rolled her eyes, “Oh, I doubt that, highly!” She looked back at the mirror and said, “These really are lovely mirrors. A shame they’re so tall or I’d see if I could take a few home with me and…” The white unicorn was suddenly cut off as the surface of the mirror rippled, causing her to fall over with a shriek!

“Rarity?!” Spike exclaimed as he and the others hurried over to her. As they all gathered around her, they looked up when the sound of the mirror rippling stopped; a second later, something appeared on the reflective surface.

It was a moving image, showing a younger Sonic and Tails in the original Tornado as they flew over the ocean. The younger Sonic was standing on the biplane’s wings with his hands on his hips, both he and younger Tails seemingly looking for something. The image soon showed them flying towards an island in the middle of the ocean.

“What is this?” Applejack asked, confused.

Tails spoke after a moment, “That’s… Angel Island. This has to be when we met Knuckles for the first time, when we were searching for the Death Egg after it crashed.”

Spike asked, “So why is it showing up on this mirror?”

Tails held a hand to his chin, “Maybe the mirror shows past events? Or maybe it’s a portal…?”

Twilight said, “Well, whatever it is, it must be a magic mirror if it’s able to show this.”

Sonic leaned down next to Rarity and smugly asked, “So books can be magical, but a mirror being magical is preposterous, huh?” Rarity chuckled nervously as she glanced at him at that.

Pinkie called to the others, “Hey! Look at this one, look at this one!” They all turned and walked over to the party pony, two mirrors down from where they were.

They all looked up at the mirror, which showed an image of Sonic standing on top of a plane that looked more like a motorized hang glider while Tails was the pilot, unsurprisingly. They were flying over what looked like an ocean towards a mountain that had a metallic Eggman face near the top of it. As they got closer to the mountain, the face started shooting at them. After several missed shots, one hit the plane and Sonic fell into the water below while Tails was forced to fly away in order to avoid crashing. The blue hedgehog vanished beneath the waves…

“Oh no, Sonic!” Fluttershy gasped as she looked at the mirror.

Spike looked at Sonic and asked, “Why did you fall off there?”

Sonic kept looking at the mirror with his hands on his hips, watching as the hedgehog shown in the reflective surface snuck underneath the mountain with the help of underwater friends. After a couple of seconds of watching it, he finally said, “I’m not remembering ANY of this.”

Tails held a hand to his chin, “Me neither. When did we ever have a plane like that?”

Cadance asked, “So… you’re both saying this never happened?”

Sonic shrugged as he turned and walked away, “I don’t think so, but I do know I can’t keep watching this!” As he was saying this, the mirror showed him using what looked like a giant pinball system to make his way around the inside of the mountain.

Tails thought for a moment before saying, “I think we did do a flying approach when Eggman built one of his bases on top of a mountain, but I’m pretty sure it didn’t play out like this… Maybe… it’s another universe?”

Shining asked, “You really think that’s what it is, Tails?”

Cadance held a hoof to her chin, thinking, “That mirror that Aunt Celestia and Aunt Luna had sent to the Crystal Empire… They said it was to safeguard it, but why did they say it had to be guarded? Was it because…?

Her thoughts were interrupted when Sonic called, “Hey guys, come take a look at this one!” They all turned and saw him standing a couple of mirrors away. They all walked over and looked at what was on the mirror’s surface.

The mirror showed a moving image of a gathering of eight ponies and a baby dragon in a grassy meadow. Only one of the ponies in the group appeared to be a colt; he was an earth pony with a dark blue coat and a lighter blue mane and tail, and he wore a pink bandanna and had a white stripe through his mane and a football for a cutie mark. There were three pegasi ponies, and one of them, a white pony with a silver-white mane and tail (with a yellow ribbon tied around her tail) and a cutie mark of a silver teardrop-shaped medallion with a green jewel in the center, appeared to be a princess as she wore a light purple cone-shaped hat with little hearts on it.

Spike noticed the baby dragon’s colors were similar to his own and said, “Hey, that dragon looks like me! …Are they supposed to be us?”

While hovering with her wings, Rainbow stated, “Those ponies look… fat.” She then smirked at Sonic, “Kind of like you did in those other two mirrors.”

Sonic glared at her, “Hey, I didn’t exactly have a lot of places to run to back when I first started fighting Eggman, okay?”

They both turned back to the mirror when Pinkie said, “Ooh! That looked like it hurt!” They saw that an orange earth pony with a yellow mane and tail, her tail having a blue ribbon tied around it, had crashed into a tree, some apples raining down around her.

Noticing her coloration and the apples on her flank, Sonic raised an eyebrow, “Is that Applejack?”

The group’s Applejack seemingly took offense to this, saying, “It better not be! She might be an apple pony, but she looks like a klutz!”

In the mirror, two ponies came over to help the orange earth pony, one a unicorn and the other an earth pony. The unicorn had pink fur and a blue ribbon tied around her white with a purple streak tail (her mane was the same color) while the earth pony was yellow with a pink mane and tail and a green ribbon tied around her tail.

Tails looked at the earth pony and noted, “That pony kind of looks like Fluttershy.” The aforementioned pegasus shrunk down shyly when some of the others looked at her.

Twilight looked back at the mirror; looking at the unicorn, she asked, “That… looks like Mom?”

Shining looked as well and, after a moment, said, “It kind of does, Twily. But that pony has nine stars on her cutie mark, and you know as well as I do that cutie marks do not change over time.”

Rarity looked at the other unicorn, noting to herself that the pony looked as elegant as her, and asked, “So would this be a different universe as well? And does anypony have any idea yet as to how we’re going to get out of Maginaryworld and back to Twinkle Park?”

Pinkie piped up, “Of course it is, Rarity! Why else would it look so similar and yet so different? And if these mirrors really are magical and they can warp us places, maybe we can use one of them to warp us back to Twinkle Park!”

The others stared at her for a few moments before Sonic asked, “Does anybody else like that idea too?” The others nodded in agreement and they all split up to check the other mirrors, searching for one that showed Twinkle Park.

As Rainbow Dash and Pinkie Pie were about to break off to check mirrors as well, something from the pony mirror caught their attention. Peering into it, they saw the other two pegasi, one pink with a blue mane and tail and a purple ribbon and the other white with a neon yellow mane and tail and a purple ribbon. The latter was zipping around crazily and seemed to be shouting while the former was trying to catch her.

“Whoa, check that pony out! And that other pony is crazy fast! Imagine if either of them were Wonderbolts! Not that they would have a chance against me, though,” Rainbow stated.

Pinkie snorted to herself and said, “Yeah, that one pony would be a real… surprise!”

Meanwhile, the others were examining the other mirrors carefully to determine what exactly they were showing. Twilight, Shining Armor, and Cadance were examining one that seemed to be ordinary, as no image appeared on it, when suddenly a silhouette, shrouded in shadow and looking almost human-like, appeared on it, startling them! And the strange thing about it was that it seemed pony-like as well…

Spike looked between two mirrors, each one showing a different image of a large city similar to Central City, though thankfully neither one looked like it was actively being destroyed. Still, it looked like there was a lot going on from what he could see, both cities looking like they had been involved in some epic battle recently. The difference he seemed to note, though, was that the first one looked more familiar, like something he’d seen in one of his comic books, while the other definitely looked a lot more like Central City.

Nearby, Tails was writing something down on his radar’s touch screen while looking in a mirror that showed alternate versions of himself, Sonic, Knuckles, and Amy, specifically of the beams they were using to make their way along an ancient stone path. Sonic glanced at him as he passed by, moving to the next mirror and looking at it. After a moment, it showed what looked like Canterlot, but it almost looked like the life was being choked out of the city and its surroundings. Sonic couldn’t be entirely sure, though, since the image appeared to have some static around it, preventing him from seeing the full image.

Sonic was tempted to jump into the mirror and find out where it led, but he restrained himself, remembering there were more urgent concerns. He moved onto the next mirror and looked up at it. His eyes brightened when he saw floating, spinning rings and a brightly colored curved road within a colorful void. He turned and called, “Hey guys! I think I found the one we’re looking for!”

Tails, Spike, and the ponies quickly made their way over to him and looked at the image in the mirror themselves. “That… doesn’t look like Twinkle Park at all, Sonic,” Shining said confusedly.

Tails smiled, “No, but it does look like the Special Zone!”

Cadance asked, “The Special Zone?”

Twilight said, “It’s one of the places the Chaos Emeralds can end up. Anybody who completes the Zone’s challenges can retrieve the Emeralds from it.” She noticed Spike, her brother and sister-in-law, and her friends staring at her. She shrugged, “Tails told me about it earlier.”

Rainbow rolled her eyes and muttered, “Bonding eggheads…”

Applejack looked at Sonic and Tails and said, “But y’all already got all the Chaos Emeralds. Ain’t no reason ta take some challenge if it ain’t got anythin’ else.”

Tails held his right finger up, “Actually, that’s not the only thing. To get into the Special Zone, you need a warp, and to get out you need a warp, and it’s possible to influence where you come out.”

Applejack raised an eyebrow, “So?”

Tails replied, “So, with time and space as messed up as it is, and this entryway into the Special Zone…”

Cadance asked, “We might be able to warp back to Twinkle Park if we complete whatever challenge the Special Zone gives us?”

Sonic nodded, “Exactly!

Tails looked at him a moment later and asked, “You do realize that, if we all go in together, we’ll be breaking the challenge, right?”

Sonic shrugged, “Well, what do you suggest we do when our worlds are in danger? Go one at a time?”

Tails thought about this for a moment before replying, “I guess not.”

Shining looked at the mirror again and asked, “Can you guys tell what the challenge is from here?”

Tails and Sonic looked as well, the former saying after a moment, “Well, from the look of it, it’s the half pipe challenge.”

Rarity asked, “And that would involve…?”

Tails replied, “It’s a collecting challenge. It’s a simple idea, but the layout is what determines how hard it is.”

Sonic nodded, “Basically what we’re gonna do is run through a half pipe while collecting rings that are placed throughout it. We’ve gotta pick up enough several times or the Zone will boot us back out. Pretty much we can collaborate and make sure to cover all the spots so we can get all the rings we need. It’s a cheap way to win, I know, but we’re in a hurry here.”

Twilight said, “Can’t really argue with that.”

Pinkie shook her head, “Nuh-uh!” Everyone else agreed, knowing they didn’t have time to do things the regular way.

Shining Armor asked, “Is there anything we’ll need to look out for while we’re in the half pipe?”

Sonic nodded, “Yeah, there’s probably going to be bombs in it at times. Don’t touch them, obviously, or, besides getting an explosion to the face, you’ll probably drop some rings. Other than that, we shouldn’t see much else that’ll be dangerous.”

After working out a plan so they wouldn’t get in each other’s way, Spike climbed up onto Twilight’s back and they all jumped into the mirror, all of them disappearing through it. Once they were all gone, the mirror and all the others disappeared, the spinning rings coming back down and surrounding the Temple of Light once again.

Inside the Special Zone, a circular opening appeared, out of which came Sonic, Tails, Rainbow Dash, Applejack, Shining Armor, Princess Cadance, Twilight and Spike, Pinkie Pie, Rarity, and Fluttershy in that order. They all soared through the air for a few moments before dropping into a violet and purple half pipe that had yellow arrows telling them where to go. As they started running forward, letters floated in front of the group for a moment reading ‘GET 80 RINGS!’ before breaking up and floating away.

“Eighty rings?! How are we going to collect that many?!” Twilight exclaimed.

Sonic called back, “Don’t worry! There’s usually more than enough, and all we have to do to collect them is touch them! Just hang back and pay attention!” As he finished speaking, they all went to the right through a curve, and once the path straightened out again, the game began.

Batches of twelve rings started to appear on the sides of the path, alternating between the left and the right. With the straight path, they could see them coming up, so Sonic and Tails had an easy time grabbing them, each ring they grabbed disappearing with a jingle. After four batches of rings, the path curved to the right again and twelve more rings appeared on the left side. Sonic and Tails didn’t manage to get them, so Applejack grabbed them when she saw them

Just as the road began to slope down ahead, Sonic called back, “Heads up! Bombs!” Applejack looked ahead and saw Sonic and Tails leap over the bottom of a ring of spiky black and red spheres. She did the same, not wanting to find out what the explosions felt like, and the others also heard it and did the same.

As they reached the bottom of the slope, more rings appeared to the right as the path curved to the left. While Rainbow Dash grabbed them, they all heard Pinkie shout, “Pinkie Sense tingling~!”

Sonic soon called back, “More bombs!” They all had to jump as they were coming up a slope, but again they all managed to avoid getting blown up.

After getting another batch of rings and avoiding another set of bombs, they passed over a section of the path that turned orange. As they ran over it, the letters came back, this time spelling out ‘COOL!’ with a hand surrounded by a ring giving a thumbs up behind the letters. After the letters broke up again, new letters appeared to tell them ‘GET 190 RINGS!’. Now that Spike and the ponies knew what this involved, they all steeled themselves, ready for the next section.

As they started, the middle of the path had bombs on it. Thankfully, the rings were in trails now and they went around the bombs so they stuck to the trail, Shining Armor, his sister, and the rest of her friends grabbing the rings that Sonic, Tails, and Applejack missed while Rainbow Dash and Cadance flew up to grab the rings situated right above the path. They then had to weave to grab the bunches of rings while avoiding bombs, narrowly avoiding anyone getting blown up as they made it through the section.

After reaching the end and getting another clear message from the Special Zone (seemingly), it told them ‘GET 270 RINGS!’. This final segment started with a corkscrew loop that the running ponies initially weren’t sure they would get through, but they were able to keep running without falling into the void. After dodging another ring of bombs, they continued collecting rings, lines of rings showing up on the two other corkscrew loops in this section.

When they reached the end of this section, instead of the letters appearing like they had before, a pink gem appeared above them, floating backwards. The group only saw it for a few seconds before it gave off a flash and a portal opened up where it had been. Sonic and Tails started running faster, the former calling back, “This is our exit, guys!”

The ponies began running faster to keep up with them at that. As they got closer to the portal, Tails called, “Everybody! Think Twinkle Park!” Taking that into account, a few seconds later, they leapt one by one into the portal, which vanished once they were all through. The pink gem reappeared afterwards and then shot upwards, disappearing into the Special Zone somewhere.


The robotic tour guide hovered near the Friendship Express, seemingly taking in its surroundings. It spoke to itself after a few moments, “I suppose this park is interesting as it is, but it still seems boring. I can think of one thing that would definitely make it better: a big old storm of…” It never got a chance to finish as it was suddenly crashed into from the side, the group having been launched out of a portal right into it.

As they lay in a pile on top of the robot, they were all either laughing or panting a bit, all of them seemingly refreshed from their brief visit to the Special Zone. “Oh man, that was a lot of fun! And that warp was a lot better than some of the ones we’ve had lately!” Rainbow exclaimed.

As they relaxed, they all took notice of their surroundings. “It worked! We’re back in Twinkle Park!” Twilight said.

Looking ahead, Sonic noticed something a short distance away. He pointed, “And look! There’s the Warp Ring!” Everyone looked and saw the ring lying on its side where he was pointing.

Spike managed to squeeze out of the pileup and ran towards the Warp Ring while saying, “I’ll get it!” He grabbed the ring with his claws and held it up in front of him, looking it over. He turned a second later as he heard the others let out a shout, the robot tour guide having thrown them all off of it.

Spike let out a yelp as the robot shot towards him, but he was unable to turn in time before it grabbed him, or more specifically the Warp Ring, with its left hand. The baby dragon held on, dangling from the ring as the guide held the ring up. It looked at Spike and said, “Excuse me, but I’m afraid I must ask you to let go of this object.” It then began to shake the ring up and down, trying to force Spike to let go.

After recovering from the throw, Tails saw what the robot was doing and quickly spun his namesakes around, shooting towards the two and wrapping his fingers around Spike’s claws, securing and reinforcing the baby dragon’s grip. “Hey, what are you doing?!” Tails asked the tour guide.

The robot answered while trying to pull the ring away, “I am taking possession of this lost object. It must go to the Lost and Found so it can be reclaimed by its proper owner.”

Twilight and Rarity got to Tails’ sides and grabbed on, helping him and Spike pull. “That ring belongs to Tails and Sonic here! They are its proper owners!” Rarity argued.

The robot said, “If that is true, I must see proof that they do own it.”

Tails asked, “Proof? We don’t… We don’t have any proof. Sonic is the one who found it.”

The robot replied, “Then until proof of ownership can be provided, I’m afraid I must take it to the Lost and Found.”

Twilight raised an eyebrow, “Where did YOU find the ring, anyway?”

The tour guide was silent for a moment before answering, “Unimportant. It was lying on the ground, so clearly someone had dropped it. Now please release your grips. This matter must be taken care of so we can get back to more important matters.”

Sonic and the other ponies had made their way over to the debacle by this point. Sonic asked, “Like what?”

The robot answered, “Oh, you know. Distracting- I mean, making sure you have fun and causing- preventing chaos. You all agree that’s important, yes? Right on!”

Sonic zipped right in front of the robot and said, “No, right OFF!” He then reached up and, with his right hand, began quickly tapping the power button on the robot’s panel, its screen switching between dark and lit up as the blue hedgehog pressed his index finger against the button. After a few seconds of this, it released its grip on the Warp Ring and a powering down noise was heard, its head rolling back before it fell over onto its back.

Tails shifted Spike so the baby dragon was sitting on the crook of his arm before saying, “Looks like that works too.”

Rarity looked at the robot and huffed, “So uncivilized! Why would they allow something like that to work in a park like this, where there are children?”

Sonic knelt alongside the robot and, while looking at it, said, “Last I heard, they didn’t. I know I’ve never seen a robot like this before.”

Tails set Spike down and moved to the bottom of the robot. Kneeling down and lifting up one of its arms, he examined it while saying, “Yeah… This thing was really weird. Even Omega isn’t quite this, uh… easygoing, I guess?”

Twilight asked, “Do you think it could’ve been sent out by that creature?”

Tails let the hand drop and held a hand to his chin, “Hm, maybe. If I can get a look at the inside of this thing…”

Suddenly, a beeping sound started coming from the robot, and a few seconds later, it exploded! Sonic, Tails, and the others shielded themselves when it went off, but thankfully it seemed to have been a small explosion as no one felt themselves getting bathed in flames. Looking back, they saw no trace of the robot, save for a long scorch mark on the ground.

“Well, that idea literally blew up in our faces,” Sonic commented.

“Yeah, well… good riddance to that thing, all the same,” Applejack said.

Tails felt along the scorch line, but every time he pressed his fingers down against it, he only felt the ground. “It left nothing behind. No spare parts or anything…” he sighed.

Rainbow Dash flew around him and grabbed his shoulders, getting up into his face and saying, “Hey, this isn’t the time to worry about that right now! Let’s just get out of here before something else happens!”

Pinkie gasped, “Dashie’s right! We could start getting warped around again if we stay here!”

Shining asked, “Pinkie, I thought you were the one who wanted to go on some more rides?”

The party pony pressed his face right up against the stallion’s and grabbed the sides of his head with her hooves, “No time! We have to go now!” She then shot towards the train, dragging the unicorn stallion along with her. The others quickly followed after them, Tails taking a moment to take the Warp Ring back from Spike and tuck it away.

Once they were all on board, Tails and Pinkie started the train up, the water tank still filled to the brim from earlier. Everyone else took their seats in the car, settling down as the train began moving up the tracks towards the exit portal.

As they got closer, Shining looked over at Sonic and asked, “What do you think that robot was, Sonic?”

The blue hedgehog waved a hand, “I have no idea, dude. There aren’t a lot of robots I know of that have been quite that animated, and the last one I met was a lot nicer.”

Curious, Cadance asked, “Do you think we’ll meet him, or can you tell us about him?”

Sonic was silent for a moment, thinking, before shrugging, “Maybe.” He looked at Twilight and said, “I’m guessing we’ll be coming out of the tunnel once we leave here. How much further did you say we had to go to get to Canterlot?”

Twilight quickly calculated in her before saying, “Uh, we just have to go along the side of the mountain once we reach it. There’s one more tunnel we have to pass through.”

While glancing out the window, Sonic said, “Then we’ve got plenty of time for whatever.” As the train began to leave the park, he added, “We could probably even sneak a few things in, too.”

Author's Note:

Hey there! Back so soon? ...Yeah, I know. That was bad.

Anyway, I'm kind of glad I didn't pick Casino Park/BINGO Highway for the "Sonic Heroes" level. Just like with Twinkle Park, I don't think it would've worked out very well without the Main Six reunited. Now you get to see what I had been planning... obviously with some tweaks. I hope some of the things I included didn't ruin this chapter. I honestly don't know how to feel about it.

Better get right down to business, I suppose.

The race challenge is, as I may have mentioned before, the Dream Sprint event from "Mario & Sonic at the London 2012 Olympic Games". The course and the rules are exactly the same.

I would've liked to do more with Maginaryworld, but I didn't think doing much more with Sonic's first Mario Party-styled game would go over all that well. Ah well, maybe in the sequel (possible hint?)...

Sonic's thought about NiGHTS is, partly, a reference to one of the Easter Eggs in "Sonic Shuffle": if the Dreamcast's internal clock is set to December 24th or April 1st, NiGHTS or Reala, respectively, replace Lumina Flowlight as the host of the boards.

The mirrors that show up are based on the Mirrors of Soleanna from Sonic '06. The scene with the group peering into them and seeing different universes/times was inspired by the TMNT 2012 episode "Wormquake!", when the Turtles, April, and Casey Jones are trapped between dimensions and see into other universes, particularly the 1987 TMNT universe. The universes/scenes shown here are, in order of appearance/reference:

*The opening of "Sonic 3 & Knuckles".

*Intro scene from "Sonic Spinball" (the reason Sonic and Tails don't recognize it is because the game was not developed by Sonic Team; Tails' words imply a similar but alternate version may have happened).

*G1 My Little Pony universe (in addition to Spike and the Main Six's counterparts, Quarterback, the leader of the Big Brother Ponies, and Princess Tiffany, the most well-known princess, are meant to represent Shining Armor and Princess Cadance).

*Equestria Girls universe (the silhouette that appears is supposed to be Sunset Shimmer in her human form).

*Maretropolis from the Power Ponies' universe.

*Station Square from the "Sonic X" universe.

*"Sonic Boom" universe (what Tails saw was one of the levels from the E3 2014 demo).

*Mirror universe (from the "Reflections" arc in the comics; the image of the alternate Canterlot isn't clear because the portal is supposed to be closed at this point in time).

The Special Stage the group goes through is the eighth, unused Special Stage from the Christian Whitehead re-release of Sonic 2 (it's the only Special Stage in any version of Sonic 2 to have a corkscrew loop). The pink gem that sends them back to Twinkle Park is based off the pink Chaos Emerald that was in the games at the time.

Sonic's last comment is meant to imply that, if the inspiration strikes, I might try to do some extra levels set between the end of this chapter and the start of the chapter I'm going to be working on next.

So that's all guys. I really hope you all liked this...


Challenge Transition - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=puzyA5pRaRo

Race Challenge - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YdeMiOkhyYk

A Very Strange Place - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GQhYFNqp4nE

Mirror Search - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3HplKkKNFfQ

Special Stage - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zcawz-L5DNg

Warp Ring Scuffle - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jnDrHQNnFlA

Leaving at Last! - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8PWBzQH5iF8

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