"You know, you look different from what I heard," Sonic yelled from the tree tops. His quills were still wavering in the wind from bounding across their branches while scouting ahead.
For years, Sonic and Wonder Girl had heard about each others adventures. Now, they found themselves on the same mysterious island, tracking down a rampaging monster.
"How's that?" Wonder Girl asked. Her hair had a similar windswept quality, but that was just her impeccable haircut.
"I expected you to be, you know, a dragon," Sonic finished.
"People are often different from the stories told about them. Nobody told me you were so… talkative."
"Yeah, people like to leave that out. Don't know why, I think my wit's one of my best qualities." Sonic had a proud smile on. "Ya know, I was kind of looking forward to meeting a dragon. A more friendly one."
Wonder Girl stood up from the tracks she was examining, giving Sonic a wry smile. "You still might get to." She drew her sword, lifting it skyward. For a moment everything went dark, then a bolt of lightning shot down and lit up the forest, and the new light revealed that Wonder Girl had turned into a small, upright dragon. Sonic offered a short round of applause, and Wonder Girl bowed, in the same motion raising her sword behind her back and returning to her human form in another flash of light.
"That's a cool trick," Sonic commented.
"Well, it's technically a curse," Wonder Girl began, "but it comes in handy when I need to cook dinner. Or a change of pace."
"Wouldn't know about that, I only have one pace."
"Bingo!" Sonic gave her a wink and before spiralling up a rock formation leading up a cliff face ahead. "You use that trick a lot?"
Wonder Girl gave him a knowing smile. "I haven't used that one too many times, but I've got a few different ones. In fact depending on who, and where, you ask you might get a very different story of what I've been up to." In a blink, she turned herself into a mouse and chased him up the cliff.
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"In a lot of places they tell stories of Wonder Boy,” she said, “But I've had a lot of other names: Shion. Sometimes Dyna. In China they call me Monkey King. In Brazil they call me Monica. Someone called me 'Mejin' out of the blue once. Not sure about that one."
"Same here! Said they saw me on a skateboard on an island of dinosaurs."
Wonder Girl tried to hold back, but erupted into laughter. Sonic looked confused.
"Don't tell me that one was you?"
"Oh, it wouldn't be the first time someone's confused us. The last time I stopped at an inn someone swore they'd seen you in Monster World, fighting some crabs. Imagine, you, swinging a sword around!"
"I wouldn't count me out on that one," Sonic said, returning to his signature smirk, "I've had a lot of adventures since the last time you were around here. Learned a thing or two or three."
"You really never stop do you? Always onto the next thing."
"Maybe when this is over I'll tell you about them."
On the other side of the cliff was a deep forest valley, with a series of wooden towers dotting the treetops. An outpost overlooked them on the cliffside, with an unmaintained pulley system connecting it to towers below. Each were overgrown with foliage. Sonic could make out a few towers in the distance that seemed to be demolished, collapsed in an area cleared of trees. Something glinted beyond the clearing.
"This is just my scene," Sonic said, picking up a fallen board from the outpost remains. He threw the it over the pulley line, turning it into a makeshift zipline, and slid away. Wonder Girl follow suit, using her sword to carry her down the line just behind him.
As they neared the next tower Sonic curled up, rolled across the ledges extending from it, then launched himself onto the next pulley line. Wonder Girl stumbled across the tower's rooftop as she broke her fall.
"Try rolling!" Sonic shouted, halfway to the next tower, "Helps if you have spines." Wonder Girl looked at her sword, muttering "Worth a try," and with another flash turned into a dragon and flew down the line. Sonic watched her from the bottom, and as she approach yelled out. "Tuck in your legs, make sure to watch your tail!"
But with the wind hissing in her ears, Wonder Girl may have missed a few words. She rolled as she approached the tower, but not knowing what to do with her tail, reflexively whipped it back, launching her clear over Sonic. Her arms and legs flailed as she fell towards the mountainside below. Sonic bounded skyward towards her, meeting her mid-air.
"Now what?" Wonder Girl shouted, "Or did you not think this far?"
"Rarely do!" came Sonic's reply. "But while we're up here how about I teach you another trick?" Sonic held his hand up and Wonder Girl grabbed it, not knowing what else to do. A hyperactive energy suddenly seemed to surround her and she felt an overwhelming need to run.
"Let's boost!" Sonic shouted. They crashed through the treetops, rolling into a full sprint together. The world seemed to blur behind them and it felt as if nothing could hurt them. When they finally stopped running they found themselves at the clearing, the mountainside far behind them. Sonic skidded to a stop farther ahead, singing quietly to himself, "—together we can show the world what we can do—"
"—Are you, singing?" Wonder Girl asked.
"What, uh, no. No way." Sonic looked evasive, and in a different way than usual. "Anyway I think that might be what we're looking for?" Sonic pointed ahead to the very massive, mechanical castle.
But before they could decide their next move, there was a loud revving sound, then a hail of bombs from the tree tops.
Sonic kicked the bombs back, while Wonder Girl batted them with her sword and shield. When the smoke cleared a group of large robot ladybugs on wheels were racing circles around them, while robot monkeys readied the next barrage from the trees.
"I'd say we're in the right place," Wonder Girl said. She stood back to back with Sonic, scanning for the next wave.
"OHOHOHOHOHO" came a maniacal laugh, "Looks like the guest of honor is here! And you've brought another one of your animal friends." A menacing silhouette of a man, with an even more menacing mustache, appeared atop the ramparts of the fortress.
"Eggman!" Sonic shouted, sidestepping a robot bug that charged at him, "I should have known this was you." Wonder Girl held the rest of the approaching bug bots back, spitting fire and whipping her tail to keep them at bay—and destroying any who got too close. Sonic struck a pose, "You never learn do you, Eggman? Looks like you need another lesson to get it through that bald head of yours!"
Eggman cackled. "What can a genius like me learn from you? No, my naive blue fool, today I am the teacher."
The gates of the fortress rumbled and out of the darkness came a massive tail swiping towards Wonder Girl and Sonic. They bounced out of the way as the tail swept through the rest of the bug bots, sending them crashing into the trees. Some small animals popped out of the shells and scattered into the forest. The two stepped back as a set of luminous red eyes approached. A towering robotic dragon emerged, as flames of plasma escaped from the side of its jaws.
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"Meka Dragon!" Wonder Girl shouted in recognition, "They're the one who put this curse on me!" She spit fire at Meka Dragon, but it was met with an even fiercer stream of plasma, setting the entire clearing alight.
"Very good!" Eggman sneered, "This Dragon was just waiting for a genius like me to bring it back. And once I find and resurrect the other dragons on this island, they'll be nothing stopping me from turning it into a mechanical paradise!"
Sonic laughed. "Another robot, Egghead? You say you're a genius but I've never failed to stop one of your robots be—"
A new series of explosions cut him off.
"Sonic! We still have to deal with those monkeys!" Wonder Girl shouted, but before he could act, a Meka Dragon’s huge metal claw slammed into the ground, sending Sonic careening into the air.
"Okay, but make it quick! This dragon wants our attention."
"Leave it to me!" There was another strike of lighting and Wonder Girl launched herself upwards, transforming into a brilliant red hawk. Sonic grabbed her talons as he fell, and she used his momentum to backflip and launch Sonic into the treetops, where he pinballed into the robot monkeys, landing just as they all burst, sending a shower of tiny birds into the burning sky.
"Woo! Haven't tried that one in a while." Sonic began to flash a thumbs up but was blindsided by a stream of plasma headed his way. Its bright blue flame threatened to burn Sonic's shade away.
Just before it hit him, a now-familiar crack of lightning met the stream, and the plasma split in two, curving around his body. Wonder Girl stood above a crouching Sonic, holding an oversized shield and sword above her. This was her most mighty form, the lion.
Despite Wonder Girl’s new form, Meka Dragon was not deterred, their tail blocking out the sky as it came down for a follow up. Wonder Girl lifted her sword and meet it, and the clash of metal on metal reverberated through the clearing. With one final push, Wonder GIrl brought her sword to her side and sent the tail crashing down next to her. She stood tall as the ground quaked beneath her.
"Sonic!" Wonder Girl called out, tossing her sword to him, "I hope you weren't joking about knowing how to use one of these."
Sonic caught the sword and flourished it. "That was no fairy tale, I promise."
"You need to hit it in the—"
"—the head, yeah. It's always the head." Wonder Girl pointed her shield skyward and Sonic leaped off of it, curling into his signature spin jump.
"Take this!" she yelled as she punched Sonic towards the dragon with her shield. That amazing energy once again burst out of each of them and Sonic hurtled toward the dragon's head. He drew the sword and gleamed for a moment right before slashing across the dragon's eyes, cracking the head open. The sky looked as if it had been set ablaze as the dragon exploded, hurtling Sonic away.
Eggman was already escaping, reeling from once again being foiled. "That was only one dragon! There are still many waiting for me, and more robots you haven't seen yet! This isn't over!"
Wonder Girl wanted to chase him, but had to make sure Sonic was ok. She returned to the forest, searching the area where most of the wreckage landed. A dark figure stepped out from behind the trees.
"Well, this is embarrassing." It was Sonic. His fur had become rough and grey, his teeth sharp, and his arms drooped across the ground, stretched out, looking like noodles. He tried to shrug but it just made his arms flap about.
Wonder Girl howled with laughter. "The lighting from the sword must have hit you in the fight, transforming you into that… that..."
"Werehog. Can you get me out of this? This doesn't bring back great memories."
When Wonder Girl finally stopped laughing, she picked her sword from the wreckage and turned them both back into their normal forms.
After clearing away some of the wreckage, they made a campfire, and began to prepare some chili—it turned out that scrap bot parts made for great cookware. Over dinner, they told each other of the adventures they'd each had before they met, the other names they’d gone by, and rumors of other great heroes like them. They had a long journey ahead, one that might require they take on new forms, one that might lead to even new myths and legends about their heroism.
But for now they rested.