2. Life Happens
Dash continued to follow Sonic into town. Once he actually reached the buildings, he slowed down a bit further, making it easier for her in her exhausted state to catch up. She noticed a lot of people staring, and while they were staring at her, she could tell from their stares that it was the fact that she was with Sonic that brought the stares, rather than her appearance...at least for the most part. The stares from the males in her age group - and some quite a bit older - made her alternately blush and pale, respectively. The stares turned to shocked whispers when Sonic led her into a restaraunt...even though it was plainly a fast food joint. Dash chuckled at that. Sonic glanced towards her. "What's so funny?" he asked.
She grinned. "Just wondering if you eat anything other than FAST food!"
Sonic laughed. "Not if I can help it." He went up to the counter, pulling out his wallet. "Two chilidogs, please." After paying, the order was processed, and the clerk handed Sonic two trays. He quickly plucked the food out of the trays and tossed one to Dash. "Catch."
She caught the food and examined it. The exterior appeared to be fome form of pastry, and it was covered with some sort of spice mix she didn't recognize, and she couldn't identify the interior...but it smelled delicious. Not wanting to be rude, she took a bite, briefly pleased with her catch. Hands were pretty useful.
The taste was a bit more intense than she was ready for. The spice of the topping was a sharp tang, but at the same time sent a warm sensation through her, like a fire in her mouth, but pleasant. The pastry shell was soft and warm, and the interior...the texture was odd, with an interesting spicy flavor that immediately caught her attention, and left a wonderful taste in her mouth that she couldn't quite describe. "This is good!" she said at last after swallowing. "What is it?"
"A chilidog," Sonic said, eating his in a few bites. "Not the best in the world," he said as he licked his fingers, "but not bad. No offense," he said to the clerk.
The clerk laughed. "Considering you've probably tried them all, I'd say it's a good recommendation if you'd be back again."
"Yeah, I'd stop here again," Sonic said with a grin.
Dash couldn't help but laugh. It was clear Sonic was a celebrity of some sort. "No, I meant what's it made of?" she clarified.
"Beef, beans, spices and bread. What did you think?" Sonic asked with a grin.
"Beef?" Dash stared at the half eaten chilidog in her hand. "I'm eating...meat?" It was all she could do not to drop it.
"Yeah...sorry, are you a vegetarian or something?" Sonic seemed genuinely concerned.
"Herbivore," Dash corrected. "Never had much beyond apples, carrots, hay, and dishes made from them. I didn't know I could eat meat..."
Sonic grinned. "Herbivore's a matter of heritage. You don't have to limit yourself; you shouldn't have any problems with meat. And if you do..." He shrugged. "If you're going to have regrets in life, better to regret what you did than what you didn't do, right?"
Dash thought about that for a bit. "You're right," she said with a grin. "ANd I know I'd regret not finishing my first chilidog!" She took another huge bite.
"That's the spirit!" Sonic said happily. Once she was finished eating, he gestured. "Come on, now that you've refueled, let's see about building up your wind. We'll make a quick run to Tails' lab." He raced out into the streets.
"Wait up!" Dash called after him as she pursued. As she raced out of the restaraunt, she noticed them putting up a sign with Sonic's picture on it, saying, "I'd eat here again." She chuckled to herself. Definately a celebrity, but he didn't seem to even think about it at all.
Outside the city, Sonic set a good pace, not too fast, but eating up the distance. He watched her carefully as they ran, though. Anytime she looked like she was starting to get short of breath, he'd slow the pace a bit, just enough for her to get her breath back. Of course, this necessitated running backwards...which meant he didn't see the solid rock wall coming up behind him. "Sonic, watch out!" she shouted.
Suddenly Sonic leapt up, flipped over, and curled into a ball, spinning rapidly. He punched through the stone wall, leaving a tunnel behind him. Dash leapt over it, staring at him in shock. "How'd you do that?" she asked, shocked.
He grinned at her. "Spin dash," he said happily. "By putting a bit of my energy into my quills, they become sharp enough to cut through stone...or even steel!"
"Wow!" Dash exclaimed. "That's so awesome! You gotta teach me that one!"
Sonic laughed. "When you've built up your wind a bit more, I will. Look, here's Tails lab!"
In the distance, Dash could see a large, strangely configured building. She grinned. "Last one there buys the next meal!" she shouted, pouring her all into the dash as she shouted, taking wing to quickly climb the incline.
"Wait a minute!" Sonic shouted, turning around to put on a burst of speed. Unfortunately for him, Dash's trick had given her too much of a lead, and she beat him...barely."No fair!" he said in mock anger, giving her a playful shove.
She laughed. "You're just saying that because you LOST!" They shared a laugh. Sonic knocked on the door.
A two tailed fox answered. "Hey Sonic. Who's this?" he asked, turning to Dash.
"This is Rainbow Dash," Sonic said. "Aptly named, since she can actually keep up with me!"
"No way!" Tails said in shock. "That's pretty impressive!"
"I know!" Sonic grinned. "Come on, Dash, you're probably tuckered out, so let's hit the couch and rest, huh?"
"Sounds good," Dash said, breathing a bit heavily. "I could use getting off my hooves for a bit."
Once inside, Tails brought them both some cool drinks, and Dash drank gleefully. Then Tails started the conversation. "So Dash," he said, since the nickname had apparently stuck...not that she minded. "Where are you from?"
She put the drink down. "Ponyville." She hoped one of them would recognize the name.
Sonic smirked. "Is that where all the horse folk come from?"
"No, Canterlot's a bigger population center nearby," she said with a shrug and a sigh. Obviously, he'd never heard of it.
Seeing Tails confusion and Dash's depression, Sonic sat up and leaned forward. "Dash, before you got here, did anything strange happen?"
Dash thought for a bit. "Well...I was demonstrating the Sonic Rainboom to a few filly friends of mine...but just before it happened I went through some wierd light distortion that knocked me out. When I came to, well..." She shrugged. "Everything was different." That was certainly the understatement of the year.
Tails nodded. "That's why we've never heard of your home; you come from an alternate dimension."
"An alternate dimension." Tails proceeded to explain. "Basically, this world we're in now is just one of many, and you come from a different one, bound by different rules. You've probably found things here are much different from where you're from."
"Yeah," Dash admitted. "Clothing isn't entirely optional, for one thing." She looked away with a blush. Out of the corner of her eye, she noticed a tinge of red on Sonic's cheeks as he rubbed at his nose. For some reason, that made her unaccountably happy and made her blush even further.
Tails continued to speak. "After you passed through the portal-"
"-the light distortion, what was the first thing you noticed?"
Dash thought back. "You mean besides the pain in my entire body and the splitting headache?"
Tails nodded. "Yeah, besides that."
Dash smiled. She found Tails annalytical approach to things rather comforting, as it reminded her of Twilight Sparkle. "Well, there was a creature that looked like it was made of metal. That was the first thing I saw."
"Can you describe the robot?" Tails asked.
Dash blinked. "Raw-boot? I didn't mention his shoes."
Tails shook his head. "The metal creature...it's called a robot."
"Oh. ...what's a robot?"
Tails thought for a bit. "Umm...do you know what a golem is?"
"Okay...a robot is an artificial lifeform, constructed from metal and circuitry and powered by electricity."
"Ooh..." Dash tilted her head, intentionally put on her most vacant expression - her Pinkie Pie impression - and asked, "What's a life form?"
"It's..." Tails stopped and blinked at her. "You're messing with me, aren't you?"
"Uh huh!" Dash said with a grin. They all shared a laugh. "The robot was round, and it's head bounced back and forth. I didn't see the other one."
"Other one?" Tails asked.
"Yeah...it was talking to someone it called Dr. Eggman." Dash noticed them both getting very quiet. "What?"
Dr. Eggman smacked Yesbot across the room. "Now look what you've gone and done, Yesbot! Now we have no control over her, she's befriended Sonic, and Tails is bound to find a way to send her home!"
Yesbot bobbled to his feet. "Yes indeed, Dr. Eggman. Exactly according to plan!"
Dr. Eggman paused. "...how, exactly? How are we supposed to make her fight Sonic?"
Yesbot's head bobbled. "If Sonic faces a true opponent, he fights at full strength, and he wins. The only way to hobble him so he will lose is to make him fight a friend, like when you used the mind control ray to make him fight Tails."
Dr. Eggman nodded. "Yes, but she's much too fast to get a neural manipulator on. Besides, if the friendship is strong enough to make him not want to fight, it will be strong enough to break mind control."
"Ah...but that is where your latest brainchild comes into play, Doctor." Yesbot displayed some blueprints.
"...when did I design these?" Dr. Eggman asked, staring at the blueprints.
"You did order me to get a complete scan of the specimen when she arrived and load it into the robot engine, Doctor."
"I did?" Eggman asked. "Well of course I did, I'm brilliant. And when we send this robot after Sonic, he won't fight it for fear of harming his precious Dash!"
"Oh, but sir!" Yeasbot said. "That wasn't your plan!"
"No sir, the plan is to have Rainbow Dash fight Sonic herself."
"Right, right...but how does this robot help there?"
"Simple," Yesbot said. "This robot will provide us with...leverage."
Dr. Eggman thought for a time...then grinned. "Yes...this will work perfectly." He then let out a maniacal laugh. "Begin construction immediately, Yesbot!"
"Yes, sir!" Yesbot proceeded to the construction labs. As he passed the construction vat the new robot was to be constructed in, no one noticed a small piece of Yesbot fall into the vat.