Sonic raced along the ground, whistling happily to himself. He was having a good day. The sun was shining, there wasn't a cloud in the sky...and there was no sign of villainous activity. Things truely couldn't be better. And to top it off...today he planned to ask Rainbow Dash out on an actual date.
To even be thinking like this surprised him, but it felt so right. When she had hugged him, she'd felt so warm and vibrant against him...every moment they spent together was better than the one before it. He'd never once thought that he would ever actively seek out romance...but that was before he met Dash. She was strong, fact, brave, loyal, kind...the fact she was drop dead gorgeous didn't hurt either. He enjoyed what they had now, but...somehow, he wanted to make it official, as strange as it sounded to him when he thought about it that way.
In the distance, he saw a flash of rainbow light, and grinned. He raced towards it. He found Dash standing in the middle of a rocky field, seeming to stare at nothing. He noticed something stuffed in her back pocket in passing, then looked right at her. "Hey Dash!" he said happily. "I've been looking for you."
Dash turned to face him. Her expression seemed...conflicted, and there were unshed tears in her eyes. Then her entire face hardened, and she lunged for him.
Sonic managed to dodge out of the way just in time. The kick aimed for him pulverized the boulder behind him into powder. He gulped, then dodged again as she continued to attack. "Dash, why are you doing this?"
She seemed to flinch breifly at his question, then steel herself. "For my sake, please...defend yourself." She continued to strike.
Sonic continued to evade, but began to plan for the fight. They had sparred a few times before - just for fun - and he knew quite a bit of her fighting style. She primarily focused on striking with kicks, keeping her arms for blocking. While she couldn't strike quite as fast as he could normally, her kicks struck with more force than Knuckles punches. The one time she'd landed a kick on him, it had felt like...well, like he'd been kicked by a horse. She'd pulled those strikes in all sparring sessions since. She wasn't pulling her strikes now.
He continued to evade, trying to get distance, but she dashed forward, making spot use of the boost skill to keep up with him and keep him from reaching top speed and escaping. Given no choice, he began to fight back. However, even though she was fighting full strength, he wasn't. He didn't want to hurt her, he wanted answers. However, since he wasn't putting his full strength into his attacks, she blocked and countered them easily. In desperation, he attempted a homing attack, thinking to knock her over...only to be deflected by a sphere of rainbow light. As he landed, he saw her spinning a sphere, arms and wings wrapped tight as the colors of her hair and tail flowed around her...before she rocketed towards him, forcing him to spin to deflect the strike.
*Shit!* he thought to himself. *She's mastered the spindash AND the homing attack already? I'd be so proud if she weren't trying to kill me.* Thinking fast, he spun and released a shockwave of compressed air towards her...only to be shocked in return when his shockwave was split by a lightning bolt flung from her outstretched hand.
Luckily, the lightning was poorly aimed, and missed him by a hair. It also seemed he was only faintly more shocked by what just happened then Dash was. She hadn't expected it. However, she recovered quicker. Leaping into the air, she blurred forward in a mid air launched kick, leaving a rainbow contrail in her wake as she struck.
Sonic managed to dive under the kick, but was knocked backwards as the impact against the ground created both a crater and a shockwave. Sonic went tumbling until he came to his feet...and something paper hit his face.
Pulling it off...he saw a photo and letter. It had fallen out of Dash's back pocket when she'd used that finisher move she'd developed, which she'd termed the Prism Kick. In the picture, he saw a pony girl like Dash, but she was bound and gagged, and was terrified, trapped in a metal room. He didn't even need to read the letter to know what was going on...or to be consumed by fury. Holding the picture up, he looked at Dash. "Friend of yours?"
Dash stopped as she stood. "Yeah..." She wouldn't meet Sonic's eyes.
Sonic glanced at the letter to see the terms of the deal. After a moment, he made his decision. Hopping off his feet, he landed on his back. He pointed at his head. "Don't do permanent injury, but make it look good."
Dash stared at him in obvious disbelief. Then she closed her eyes as tears flowed freely. "Sonic...thank you...and I'm sorry..."
Sonic didn't flinch as her hoof hit him right between the eyes.
Inside the cell, Dr. Eggman shook his head. How had it all gone so wrong? How had he gone so wrong? He had let Metal Sonic play him like a fiddle, and now who knew what that infernal machine would do? At the moment, he had limited freedom. His wrists and ankles were bound to the walls by special restraints. He could move his entire body a short distance away from the wall, or one limb a good distance at the cost of pulling the others against the wall. He didn't have enough freedom of movement to get free...but he did see something he could do. Stretching out his right arm, he unfastened the ball gag on the girl in there with him and gently pulled it from her mouth. "There," he said softly. "At least now you can talk and breathe more easily."
She coughed a bit, then looked up at him. "Thank you, Dr. Eggman." She shifted a bit in her ropes. "What's going on?"
He sighed. "That was Metal Sonic, one of my most dangerous creations. He's powerful enough that I had to shut him down for my own sake...but he somehow reactivated, and outsmarted me."
"Why would you build something like that?" she asked, surprised.
He chuckled. "Because I'm an evil genius, mad scientist bent on world domination. I should think that was obvious."
"Oh," she said quietly. "I don't think you're evil, though. Not really. You're too nice to be evil."
Eggman laughed. "What makes you say that?"
"You were nice to me. I've met really evil people before. They've never been averse to terrorizing me."
Eggman shook his head at her. "That's different. I'm evil, but I'm not a monster. ...say that I have my own strict moral code that I stick to. The ends only justify the means so long as you don't lose sight of the reason for the end."
Fluttershy looked at him curiously. "Why do you want to take over the world, then?"
Eggman was lost in thought for a time. "...my grandfather. He sought to use his scientific knowledge to better the world...but the government that funded him was corrupt, and wanted to use his research for power, for weapons...when what he really wanted to create were medicines. He gave his all for the world...and all he made was twisted and ruined by those who controlled it. So long as those in power are corrupt, thus will all dreams end. That's why my dream is to create the Eggman Empire...an empire ruled by science, where the first priority is the advancement of science for the betterment of the people, and the world." Eggman sighed sadly. "At first, I thought to do this politically...but I'm simply not charismatic enough to move the people to follow me. As such, I must sieze the reigns of power by force."
"Wow," Fluttershy said quietly. "But why build things like Metal Sonic then, that become a threat to the people?"
Eggman chuckled. "My first attempt at world conquest went well...until Sonic the Hedgehog interfered. He fought me and defeated me, but never once sought to destroy me utterly. He fought with honor. The next time I tried, I focused my efforts on defeating him first, and...the cycle continued as he defeated me each time. Before I knew it...I had a nemesis." Eggman couldn't help it as he broke into song.
"My neme, neme, oooo... my neme, neme, neme.
My neme, neme, oooo... my neme, neme, neme.
I used to sit alone doing evil all day,
But now I think there's someone gonna get in my way, yeah,
There's someone in my life who doesn't want me to exist!"
Fluttershy, without seeming to think about it, added her voice.
"My neme, neme, oooo... my neme, neme, neme."
"And I feel fine cause I've got a nemesis."
Fluttershy continued to be Eggman's backup singer.
"My neme, neme, oooo... my neme, neme, neme.
My neme, neme, oooo... my neme, neme, neme."
Eggman began to sing again.
"And I hate him and he hates me,
What a wonderful animosities,
Sides shoes and gloves he wears no clothes,
Now I have someone to oppose...
...Cause I've got a nemesis!"
Fluttershy brought the song to a close.
"My neme, neme, oooo... my neme, neme, neme.
My neme, neme, oooo... my neme, neme, nemesis."
Eggman suddenly realized what he was doing and coughed uncomfortably. "Sorry about that. Don't know what came over me."
"Don't be," Fluttershy said happily. "I think you have a wonderful singing voice."
Eggman found himself flushing. "Thanks." He thought for a time. "Please...call me Ivo."
There was quiet for a time. Then he felt the tie on his right wrist shaking, and looked. Fluttershy had shifted in her ropes to the point where she could get her teeth around the tie, and was grinding her teeth to saw through it. After a time, the tie snapped, and Eggman's right hand was free. He stared at her. "Why?"
She smiled at him. "Because you have a good heart, and you want to stop Metal Sonic. You made a mistake, but everyone devers a second chance. You aren't a bad person, you just made a bad decision." Leaning down, she went to get to work on his right foot.
He spoke up. "You'd better start with my left foot. The seeming laxity on the right foot tie is a trick. If both ties from one side break, the other ties retract completely into the wall, trapping you. If I'm not braced, I won't be able to hold the tie back long enough to break it...and even then, I'll only be able to resist the pull of one, not two."
Nodding, Fluttershy carefully shifted her body over until she could get at the left ankle tie and began to cut through it. After a time, there was a snap and she said, "Ow," very quietly.
"Are you alright?" Ivo asked.
Fluttershy nodded. "But it hurt my mouth. I don't think I can chew through the other ties. I'm sorry."
He grinned. "Don't be. You've done enough." He lifted his left foot and tapped the toe against the ground three times. "High density lipoprotiens."
The cicuitry in his boot activated, and a knife as long as his boot shot up out of the heel. He caught it in his right hand, and rapidly cut through the remaining two ties, freeing himself. He paused a moment, massaging feeling back into his limbs.
Fluttershy smiled. "Go," she said. "Stop Metal Sonic before it's too late."
Leaning down, Ivo quickly sawed through her bonds. "And leave you like this? Don't you see me nice." As he finished cutting her ties, the door opened, and they both looked up in fear.
The beacon ignited, and Rainbow Dash made her way to it, towing a chain wrapped around an apparently unconcious Sonic. Reaching the beacon point, she flew down, setting Sonic gently on the ground. Before long, the beacon died out, and Dr. Eggman stepped out.
"I see you've brought Sonic as instructed," he said quietly.
Dash nodded. "I did my part," she said flatly. "Now where's Fluttershy?"
"Is that her name?" Eggman asked, smiling. "Why, she's right here!" He pressed a button on a control on his wrist, and a flybot dropped a burden on the ground.
"Fluttershy!" Dash called, running forward. Kneeling at her side, she began to undo her bonds. "Don't worry, I'll get you out of this." WIth a last struggle, the last bond broke.
Fluttershy looked up at her with a smile...then suddenly seized her by the throat, squeezing.