Chapter 4: Coming Up With Answers
Twilight surveyed the two racers and sighed. "I have a bad feeling about this."
"Aw, quit yer worryin' Twilight," whispered Applejack who was standing to her left. "This right here's just a good ol'-fashioned race."
"Yes darling, Applejack's right," said Rarity, who was standing to Twilight's right, in a voice much louder than a whisper. "You can be such a drama queen sometimes." At the look the purple unicorn gave her, she added with a sheepish smile, "Relatively speaking, of course."
"Hello everypony!" shouted Pinkie Pie from up in her hotair balloon. "Welcome to Ponyville's first ever inter-universal race!"
Ugh, I can't watch this! "I need to go home and, uh, do some studying," Twilight told her friends. She didn't give them a chance to reply as she immediately made her way back through the crowd towards the library.
Once she was inside the library, she saw Tails sitting in the center of the room tinkering with some yellow gadget. At the sound of the door, he looked up. "Oh, hello Twilight."
"What's that you're working on?" Twilight asked, pointing a hoof at the yellow device and closing the door.
"This," Tails replied, holding it up, "is a sort of multi-purpose gadget. It can be a scanner, a translator, a communicator, and it can even play Galaga!"
"That's pretty impressive," said Twilight. "Did you build that yourself?"
"Yep, I built it a few years ago, around the time when Eggman unleashed Dark Gaia and turned Sonic into a werewolf," explained Tails.
Twilight's eyes widened. "He was turned into a werewolf!?"
Tails nodded. "Oh yeah, but he doesn't change anymore; the dark energy that caused the transformation was sucked out of him."
"Well, that's a relief," Twilight said, "I didn't want to have to deal with any were-hogs."
Tails laughed. "Me neither. But anyway, this scanner won't work in this universe for some reason. It doesn't recognize the molecular structure of anything."
Twilight thought for a moment. "Hmmm... that must mean that objects in my universe must be different at the atomic level from objects in your universe, even if they're the same type of object."
"That's what I was thinking," Tails said, putting the scanner away. "But, as you said earlier, the real question is what created the crack that brought me and Sonic here and why?"
"Well, we are in a library so why not use it?" Twilight gestured towards the shelves of books. "There's got to be at least some clues in all of these books."
Tails shook his head. "I highly doubt it. If there had been travel between our worlds before then someone would've noticed and I think the book that that someone would've written would stand out."
"Yeah, you're probably right," Twilight conceded. "Other than that, I have no... wait a second, I do have an idea! Tails, what were you and Sonic doing before you went through the crack?"
"Well, we had just said goodbye to our younger selves," Tails answered.
"Younger selves? So, your previous adventure involved time travel?" the purple unicorn queried.
"Tell me all about it," Twilight said, sitting down next to Tails. "This may help us figure out what made that crack."
"... And then the crack appeared," finished Tails. "So, did you get any clues?"
Twilight thought over everything Tails had said. "What exactly did you say this Time Eater thing did?"
"It went through time and changed history. Every time it changed something, the more damage it did to the world," Tails explained. "But we fixed everything when we defeated both Eggmen... unless--"
"Unless there was something that wasn't fixed," Twilight said, finishing Tails' sentence. "Do you know what happened to the Eggmen?"
"No," Tails began, "but whatever happened to them must've been the thing that caused the crack!"
Twilight smiled. "Exactly."
Suddenly, a loud boom sounded from outside and both Twilight and Tails rushed to the nearest window. The crowd was gathering around the front of the library but off in the distance, in the direction of the Everfree Forest, they saw a large cobalt-blue wave of energy and a small blue dot racing away from it, heading towards the library at an incredible speed.
"That looks a lot like a sonic rainboom but it's just plain blue," Twilight observed. "That must mean--"
"Yeah Sonic, woohoo!" exclaimed Tails, jumping into the air.
Only a few seconds later, that blue dot had stopped in front of the library. As they had predicted, Sonic was indeed the one who had created a sonic rainboom and, unquestionably, was the winner.
Twilight turned toward the door. "Let's go congratulate him." That Sonic must really be fast if he beat Rainbow Dash, she thought.
"Yes ma'am!" said Tails who was following right behind her.
Upon opening the door, they were greeted by Pinkie Pie's magnified voice. "Um, uh... our winner is the blue blur himself, Sonic!"
As the crowd began cheering, Twilight noticed something odd; there was no sign of Rainbow Dash. "Where's Rainbow Dash?" she asked. She heard Pinkie Pie ask the same thing off to her right.
Sonic turned around an looked at her. "Um..." He paused and turned back the way he came. "Uh oh..."
Applejack walked up and glared at him suspiciously. "What do ya mean 'uh oh'?"
A guilty look crossed his face and he gulped. "I'm not entirely sure but it's possible that my, um, sonic rainboom thing may have slammed her into a tree... or something."
By the time he had finished, the five ponies had galloped off to help their friend.
Sonic facepalmed and shook his head. "Why do all the races I participate in end badly?"
"I don't know," said Tails, leading Sonic back into the library. "Maybe you're just too fast."
"Look Rainbow Dash, I'm really sorry," repeated Sonic for the hundredth time.
"It's alright dude, no harm done," replied Dash who's forehead was currently being wrapped in bandage by Fluttershy. At first she'd refused but the gash on her forehead had been bleeding pretty bad.
They were all back in Twilight's library; all six ponies and both Sonic and Tails. The ponies had all seemed pretty ticked off at Sonic for hurting Dash, but after Sonic and (surprisingly) Dash explained that it had been an accident, they had cooldd down. Now they all sat around the cyan pony, watching Fluttershy put the bandage on her. Sonic stood next to Dash and Tails stood close behind him.
"I mean it, I am sorry," repeated Sonic for the hundredth and first time.
Just then, Fluttershy backed away from Rainbow Dash and said, "There, done. That should stop the bleeding."
Dash stood up and stretched. "Thanks Fluttershy, I appreciate it."
Sonic started up again. "I'm very--"
Dash cut him off by sticking her hoof in his mouth. "Yes, I know. It. Is. Alright. See, look, no harm done." She pointed towards her bandage with the hoof she'd just stuck in his mouth. "So, please, just shut up!"
"Yes ma'am," Sonic said, wiping his mouth with the back of his hand.
"Of course, it's still only around noon, why not go for a rematch?" Dash asked, a smile stretching across her face.
"Anytime," replied Sonic who was smiling right back at her.
Suddenly, Pinkie Pie was in their faces. "A rematch!? That sounds terrific! Let's go gather the crowd back up and we can get this party start--"
"NO!" shouted everyone but Pinkie, Dash, and Sonic.
"Sonic," said Tails, putting a hand on the hedgehog's shoulder, "me and Twilight have something to tell you."
"Let me guess," Rarity began, looking from Twilight to Tails, "you two are getting together. Oh, Twilight dear, I really must insist that you rethink this. I mean, you only just met him today. He's not even a pony for goodness sake!"
Both Twilight and Tails were now blushing a furious red. "No no, nothing like that," the purple unicorn said. "It's just that we may have figured out what created the crack that brought Sonic and Tails here."
"Really?" asked Sonic, all thoughts of a rematch gone from his mind.
"Yep," answered Tails.
Applejack snorted. "Well why didn't ya say so earlier? Tell us what it is and stop messin' around."
"Okay," started Tails, "but first, me and Sonic need to explain to you guys what happened to us before we were sucked into the crack."
"We do?" asked Sonic, scratching his head.
Tails nodded. "We do."
"Oooo, this sounds like it's gonna be a great story!" said Pinkie Pie enthusiastically. "Does anypony have any popcorn?"
Everyone shook their heads.
"Uh, anyway," continued Tails, "it all began when we were celebrating Sonic's birthday..."
"... Then we got sucked into the crack that brought us here," finished Tails for the second time that day. "Anyone catch any clues?"
Everyone, except Twilight, shook their heads.
"Buddy," Sonic said, frowning down at Tails, "I lived through that and I still don't see
"Remember how every time these Eggmen guys changed history, the further time and space deteriorated?" Twilight asked the blue hedgehog.
"Yeah, but I still don't see what that has to do with--"
"Oh, I know," piped up Fluttershy. "Oh, um, I'm sorry for interrupting."
Tails smiled. "No,no, keep going."
"Okay, well, it's obvious isn't it? I mean, it's got to be the aftereffects of that mean old Time Eater," Fluttershy said.
Twilight nodded. "It's that and also the fact that something happened to this Eggman guy. Whatever happened to him must still be upsetting the fabric of time and space."
"So wait, does this Eggman dude cause trouble like this often?" asked Dash.
"Oh yeah," Sonic chuckled. "It's like our job to thwart his schemes. Can you believe he tried to enslave and entire alien race just to power his machines?"
Fluttershy gasped. "Oh no, that sounds terrible!"
"I'm going to have to agree with Fluttershy," said Rarity. "This Eggman sounds absolutely dreadful."
"A Meanie-McMeaniepants," agreed Pinkie Pie.
Dash shrugged. "But hey, at least we know how you guys got here now and what caused it."
Everyone but Applejack nodded.
"I hate to spoil yer guys' fun," started the orange pony, "but how are y'all gonna get
Twilight sighed. "I thought about this and the answer isn't good." She looked at Sonic and Tails. "Unless another crack opens up back to your world, you guys are stuck here."
Their faces fell. "You can't be serious," Sonic said
Tails shook his head. "There's got to be another way back."
Twilight could hear the hurt in their voices and it broke her heart. "I'm sorry but that's the only--"
She was interrupted by crashing sounds from outside and what sounded like extremely heavy footsteps getting closer each time they sounded. Over this racket, an electronically magnified voice could be heard, "I'm coming to get you Sonic! You won't escape this time!"
"What in tarnation is that?" asked an annoyed Applejack.
Even through the electronic filters, Sonic recognized that voice. The voice he had learned to associate with evil, oppression, and, surprisingly, incompetence; a voice he'd heard for years.
Sonic's eyes widened in horror and he gulped. "That, Applejack, is Eggman."