"Good," an ancient voice cooed. "Good good, very good…" Clawed white hands flew over a magnificent pale crystal ball, piercing eyes deciphering the expressions on the entire hotel staff. When he spoke, hints of color shimmered in his mouth- King Boom Boo, the king of ghosts!
The old spirit switched locations from the hotel to the amusement park. The faces; he recognized them all. He could name every single person in the hotel (including Harold Wesley Geffory Jr., the man he scared ssoo badly. It's not his fault the man was new to the hotel business. Geez!) The king felt something else too, familiar auras smacking his sense around of his old enemies, quite possibly enemies he encountered before…
"Your highnesssss," a ghost minion hissed. The king stopped and turned. "I've newssss you mussst hear."
The big ghost turned his back to the crystal ball. "Good. Is it about the new…victims of the park?"
The smaller spirit nodded. "Yesss, your majesssty. Do you recall a blue hedgehog?"
The king nodded.
"What about a yellow fox?"
The king frowned. "His name is…"
"Tailssss, your majesssty," he helps.
"Thank you and yes I do."
"A pink hedgehog?"
"Sounds somewhat familiar."
"Cream the Rabbit and Cheessssse the Chao?"
"Ssssamantha the hedgehog and Flower Fox."
He frowned. "Who are they?"
"I do not know myssself your majesssssty," the messenger ghost admits. "But I heard them talking with one another. Sssamantha is a clossse friend of Ssssonic the Hedgehog."
"The blue hedgehog?"
Boo paused as he took in the new information. "I see. Is there anything else I should know?"
"There issss but one more person your majessssty."
"Well, spit out it out already!"
"A red echidna called Knucklesss."
"Hmmm… that name does not ring a bell. Did I meet that person in Chicago?"
The spirit shook his head. "We've never been to Chicago."
"Oh!" He remembered. "That's right! Then who could that fellow be?" The king gave up thinking, (yes that fast) and shouted. "Servant! Bring me my Crystal Ball!"
"Sttteeeeick!" answered another ghost, this one looking slightly insane; his eyes were wide and spelled "I've got a sick obsession!" In this case it was- "Steeeecik! Steeeiiicck!"
King Boo waved his hand away. "Yes yes you'll have your stick but first-" he motions for the crystal ball seated comfortably in the ghost's non existent arms. The stick ghost hands the item to the king without question.
He looked at him with pleading eyes. "Stttteeeeick?" he asks.
The king motions for a new servant to come and hand the now over-the-top ghost an old chewed up stick. As the crazy ghost exits the room with his new prize, the messenger ghost says, "That wasss a clossse call earlier."
"Indeed." Boo agrees. "It is a good thing I had my 'forget you saw/heard/whatever power'."
"It issss very usssseful your majessssty," the ghost declares.
"Yes, now if you don't mind…"
The small ghost bows and disappears out of the area, leaving the king to his work. The king stares at his crystal ball once more (he knew it was near his body but well, let's face it; being a ghost can make you very lazy). Within the glass he changed the view from the hotel to random parts of the amusement park.
He spotted a couple of the Sonic characters, but only one caught his interest.The big ghost whistled low. She looks a bit strange he thought. But boy is she gorgeous in her own way.
Suddenly he had an idea. He summoned his ghosts, all ready to answer his orders. King Boom Boo smiled like the Cheshire Cat as he gave his orders to his ghosts.
It was around early evening and everyone was tired. Even the younger ones and they weren't afraid to admit it. So after a couple of hours full of excitement and prizes (and loads of cotton candy), they headed into the hotel dining room where they had dinner and now the majority of the friends were in their rooms getting ready for bed.
Knuckles however wasn't ready to go to sleep yet; he couldn't help but think of the events that happened just before they entered the exciting world of roller coasters and stuffed animals.
Something strange happened; what happened Knuckles doesn't know but he did remember how strange the event was. It is about as strange as a goose in a ballet tutu; it is about as strange as the thought of him going on a date with Rouge, (wait did he just think that? So much for vacation…); it is about as strange as-
"Mommy! Mommmmy? Where are you?" The sound of a child calling for her mommy so late at night. Knuckles, despite being tired of rowdy children, decided that helping a child out is the right thing to do. So up he went off his bed to the hallway where he found nobody there. "Moommmmy, I'm scared…" The voice whimpered, and it was coming from that door with the green glow surrounding it.
Knuckles shuddered at the strange déjà-vu soaring through his body; for some reason that door just terrified him. The echidna sighed in exasperation. Perhaps Sonic-
Loud snores erupted from Sonic and Tails's room. Knuckles sighed again. He really did not want to go in there but- "Mommmyyy!" the child sounded close to tears. Auto pilot was engaged as Knuckles acted on impulse, using impressive force to punch the door wide open.
Before him ghosts of shapes and sizes; square ghosts, circle ghosts, big ghosts and small ghosts all mixed into one blob of spirits. Knuckles felt himself go paralyzed so he couldn't move and speechless to the point where he was almost mute. Then King Boom Boo appeared, sticking his tongue out for all to see. Rainbows flooded in plagued his mind, the evil laugh echoing his mind. Again. And again.
Barely a few minutes later, a sleepwalking Sonic knocked on Knuckles's door. "Knucklehead? Knuckles!" He lazily called. "I want a bed time story please… ¡Abra la puerta por favor!"
Sam appeared in the hallway. "Sonic what are you doing speaking Spanish so late at night?"
Sonic woke to the sound of Sam's voice. "¿Eh? I mean uh, wha-?" Sonic was confused. "Oh hi Sam," he acknowledges giving a sheepish wave. "What's going on?"
"I could say the same to you," Sam replies leaning against the wall. "You sleepwalk a lot?"
"Sometimes," he answers carefully, slightly embarrassed to be caught in the act. Then he clears his throat. "I wonder what Knucklehead is up to since he's sleeping alone for the next few days."
Sam placed her hands on her hips. "Sonic, he's Knuckles." The blue hedgehog opened his mouth to reply but Sam gasped; she noticed something. "The door's wide open."
Sonic too noticed just as Sam had and raised an eyebrow. Taking a quick peek in the bedroom, he noticed the sheets messy, blankets tossed around…and no Knuckles. "Knux?" Sonic calls. "Knucklehead, you there?" No answer. Sonic whirled around to find Sam giving him a strange look. "It's happened before."
"The Knucklehead's not answering you?"
"Yeah, but this time he's not even here." Sonic's voice held slight concern, but no clues can be traced on his countenance. The purple hedgehog wasn't sure but she's never seen Sonic like this; a sure sign something's terribly wrong. Sonic made his way over to Knuckles's messy bed and his hands flew over the covers scavenging every which way. Nothing.
Sonic ceased searching and drew a deep breath. Sam knew that Sonic taking a deep breath was code for extreme frustration. Something was definitely wrong. "I'll go get the others," she volunteered instantly as she ran as fast as she could to the others' rooms. Sonic made no attempt to stop her.
Minutes later, the friends all gathered in the narrow hallway, now pouring into the doorway to Knuckles's room. Tails snatched his handheld machine from his back pocket and let the orange beam scan the bed. The little machine picked up no trace of anything red or Knuckles. "Any sign of him?" a worried blue hedgehog questions.
One look from Tails was enough to answer. Sonic went into the hallway where the friends remained; Sam, Flower, Amy, Cream, Cheese now Sonic scouted the hallway of anything that could provide a hint. Everyone sighed; this was getting them nowhere. They can't find Knuckles like this. Hmm…
"BEEEEEPPPP!" screeched Tail's handheld machine, startling everyone nearby. The little machine bounced out of Tails's hands after scaring him so abruptly. Flower, the only person unfazed, calmly walked over to the room, reached down and shut the device off.
Silence followed the invisible sigh of relief from the people who heard the sound. The friends stared at the little black fox who overshadowed the machine in a cautious yet curious way.
"What?" the fox became aware of the friends' gazes.
"Is there anything you can't do Flower?" Sam compliments.
Flower shrugged. "I dunno, but I made it-" points to the little machine- "stop screaming." Flower picked it up and examined the magical properties of technology. The machine made a buzzing noise and Tails immediately shared Flower's gaze on it. "What's it doin' Tails?"
"I…I don't know," Tails shook his head. The yellow fox noticed that Flower had her tiny finger on a blue button, pressed.
The machine stopped whining. Flower smiled. "Hey, hey hey it's all quiet today."
Sam snickers understanding the reference. The little smart black fox examined the machine, then gasped when the device roared to life, arrows and letters scrambled all over the screen. Flower turned to Tails for guidance. The other fox picked up the machine from Flower's hand. Then grinned.
Everyone waited for his answer but there came none. "Tails, is there something wrong?" Cream finally asks.
Tails snapped out of whatever strange trance he was in and nodded. "Yeah it's just… Knuckles is at a location that is…not the sort that would scare us."
"Yeah? And where's that?" Sonic quizzed.
Tails swallowed. "The room with the green light that is where Knuckles may be located."
No one wanted to go into the green room; something about it seemed very off and off in a way that cannot be described as off but off as in evil and odd. Sonic and his friends may have fought dangerous foes in the past but the green door is the real true test of courage. Did they have a choice? Well if you're more like Sonic, there was no choice; friends mean a lot to Sonic especially his close friends like Knuckles.
Yeah, Knuckles wasn't his "bestest friend in the whole wide world" but still part of the reason why Sonic and the great majority of his friends are here is because of Knuckles and his strength. They cannot escape adversities without Knuckles's assistance.
So after some quick pep talks with one another (especially Cream and Flower), everyone was ready to go. Pretty soon they were all outside of the door with the green glow. They stood. Then Tails knocked at the door.
No answer. "Well, that didn't work," Sam interrupts the silence and she turned away. Everyone flashed a strange look. Sam whirled back to the friends. "What? I was just joking. Besides I could shape-shift into something and break the door down."
No one objected. Sam then molded then shaped her body until she was a giant hairy leg. The leg swung back and once the blow was prepared flashed forward and kicked the door with so much force that the hinges obliterated. The door soars through the air then crashed into a wall, a large crack forming at the center. With no time to lose our heroes went in.
All was dark and quiet inside, strangely the room was not green at all. Every bit and piece of furniture looked nicely neat and arranged with the floral pattern chairs against the wall, a miniature TV on a wooden stand, a king-sized bed with black and white polka dots and the walls colored a light brown.
The friends frowned; this is definitely not the room they are expecting. The silence proved to be just as eerie as the green glow from behind the door.
"Surprise!" All concealed noise erupted from everywhere, the floral pattern chair, within the TV set, and the light brown walls, just everywhere. Everyone huddled together. Everyone that is but Sonic who decided that homing attacking the ghosts (who appeared shortly after). Soon everyone was brawling, doing the best to their abilities to kick butt. Even Cream and Cheese who don't fight. Usually.
Then everything within the place was trashed; the floral pattern chair, the TV set and did I mention the light-
"STEEEIIIICCK!" (Ooops, looks like the Stick Ghost is not very happy with me. I'll go on with the story like normal… I have a floral chair like that in my room.)
Now where was I? Oh yeah. Destruction and fighting everywhere, each opposing side determined to win the fight when suddenly-
"Stop!" a loud ancient voice halted all the activity. Time stopped. No literally time actually stopped; the frozen figures used their no-so-frozen eyes to track down who made them stop.
Emerging from the depths of the king-sized bed was King Boom Boo himself. "I cannot believe we are setting our unsettling disputes with such savage destruction. Honestly do you think that I am like that? Well I most certainly am not!" The large ghost waved his tubby finger at the heroes. He crossed his arms then went on. "None of my ghosts are like that I can well well WELL assure you! In fact…"
The king rambled on; frozen eyes turned into downright confusion. Who is that ghost exactly? Why was he larger than all the other ghost? Why is he acting sophisticated? Wait, did he just say he was king through all the rambling? And where is he keeping Knuckles? If he was here. The frozen eyes reconcentrated their frozen eyes upon this 'king'.
"It is a good thing I froze you all when I did," he was saying, "Otherwise the monstrous battle will quickly turn to chaos!" He shuddered at the word. His odd eyes sized up our heroes. "Now what to do with you all…"
A muffled scream shouted throughout the room. A few ghosts were startled by this but the king reached calmly down through the floor to reveal a tied up, duck taped-on-the-mouth, red echidna.
The frozen eyes widened. If the friends could speak, they would be shouting "KNUCKLES!" and maybe something like "What the heck happened to ya knucklehead?"But they could do none of that so they 'said' all of that.
King Boom Boo placed Knuckles on his palm. "This," he hissed, "is my new female prisoner."
Everyone's- even the ghosts' eyes- popped wide open as they stared at the king, the ghosts with a look of disbelief on their expressions. While the ghosts had no comeback to make, the heroes had plenty of questions to ask. And laughs to howl. Knuckles stopped struggling (if he were doing so already), and stared at the king with a look of shock and annoyance. No one said a word.
King Boo who dislikes silence unfreezes the heroes' mouths. As soon as Sonic, Tails, Amy, Cream, Cheese, Sam, and Flower can speak, they all laughed. And laughed. And laughed.
"Oh my God, you think Knuckles is a girl!?" Sam wheezed, tears flying out of her eyes. That statement alone was enough to increase the loud laughing fit.
The large ghost, not at all expecting this reaction, opened his mouth to say something but shut it just as quick when the giggling ensured.
Sonic tried taking heavy deep breaths in between each laugh. "Mrs. Knucklehead!" He cackled.
Knuckles's face turned as red as his fur in a solid mixture of anger and embarrassment. Perhaps confusion too. Meanwhile King Boo was rather flustered in the drama of it all. This echidna? He grabbed Knuckles's legs and turned him over. This one?
The King examined him but could see no difference. A boy? You might call him stupid but this ghost has been living among the spirits in the shadow of the mortal world for many many years; he… sort of forgot how to tell the difference. Besides how was he supposed to know which gender Knuckles is? The long hair threw him off. The ghost tried explaining his reasoning but the heroes didn't hear nor did they care.
After a few more minutes of continuous laughter, the King of ghosts grew angry. A blue fireball sparked in his hand and he threw that blue fireball with all his might toward the unsuspecting heroes. Gasp. Then silent they became but the ghost did not stop there.
"If you ever want to see the light of day or the color of nature," he growled. "You would do exactly what I want you to do… compete for your friend's life as well as yours." His expression hardened.
"What exactly do we have to do?" Tails asks.
"That is for my ghost manger to decide," Boom Boo motions for one of the ghosts to step forward.
"I'll make this short an' quick so listen up!" The female rapidly spoke with a nasally voice. "Y'all are gonna solve as many puzzles as His Majesty wants ya to an' y'all haveta move fast. Everyone will be in the most random locations we possess. Readysetgo!"
Before the friends knew it, an invisible force lifted them off their feet and placed them right in the middle of the maze; the heroes did not know that of course; their only concern is to find a way out of the maze. Sam and Amy glanced from this way to that. Sonic and Cream were gone! It was just Tails, Sam and Flower all huddled in a small group.
"Don't be alarmed my prisoners," King Boom Boo's voice rang out, echoing seemingly from everywhere. The girls exchange very shocked looks as they scanned the area for anything resembling the king. "For your friends are in neither remote nor far places. They are in my world now as are you. Don't worry though if you successfully accomplish these puzzles, then you may leave this place unharmed along with… that person."
The king mutters something incoherently about how androgynous people are. He cleared his throat and went on. "If however all of you, even some of you fail, you are my servants for eternity. Any questions? None? Good, now please do have fun." A low cackling was heard then fades away into the shadows.
Flower clutched at Sam's waist. "What do we do Sam?" she worriedly asks.
The purple hedgehog shakes her head as a way of fighting a mini mental panic attack she was having. She opened her mouth to reply but no words came out. Thankfully Tails sensed it and came to the rescue.
"For now all we can do is find a way out of the maze and hope everyone else is doing okay. Besides puzzles are my specialities." Tails reassured the black fox.
Flower smiled as she felt relief soar through her entire body and Tails- her Tails- was touching her shoulder. Flower sighed.
Tails's words- as well as Flower's reaction- gave Sam new hope. And an idea.
She shape-shifted into a bird flying up up up to the top. But instead collided into the invisible wall at the top of the maze. She fell down down down right in front of the foxes.
"Tsk tsk tsk," Boom's voice returned. "You thought that it will be that easy. Puh-lease, if it were so, you'd be out by now, minus the panicking all of you were doing earlier."
"You can see us?" Flower questions.
"And hear and smell and yes my dear see. If any of you are cheating-not allowed by the way, - I will know and I will find the most appropriate punishment for you. No person has ever escaped my world with cheating. We are very very big on sportsmanship around here."
"You keep saying 'your world'," Sam notes. "Where are we exactly?"
"My world, the spirit world of the ghosts. I am the only one who can transport you in and out. I am the one who rules all. Anyone who says otherwise is automatically my servant for eternity, sincerely King Boom Boo."
That was the end of that; the three then took a deep breath and set off to escape the madness they are put in…
Sonic was walking down a narrow hallway, scanning the walls nervously. He had no idea where he is or how he got here. All he knew was that his friends were somewhere and he had to get them out by any means possible.
The hallway went on and on for seemingly forever so Sonic ran. Still the hallway went on. The blue hedgehog frowned; he can't let the hallway anger him. He's been through worse after all.
But this hallway- no matter how fast Sonic ran, it was all the exact same thing: the glowing green walls with matching floors. It was time to switch tactics. Sonic stopped. He thought up as many options as he could but none seemed right. He pondered some more.
He was so deep in thought that he didn't notice a light green frog sneaking up on him. The frog wore flight clothes with a white scarf, brown boots, gloves and knee pads and baggy shirt and pants which are also brown. His overstretched grin spelled insanity. His name is Flying Frog and his catchphrase is-
Sonic bounced from where he was standing. He landed on his feet and a weird look planted on his face. "What the heck? Don't sneak up on me like that!"
The frog came closer. Sonic took a few steps back. "Meee? No. The boss? Yes. Can you plaaay with me-hee-hee?"
Sonic kept on backing away into the depths of the hallway still the frog followed. "Who... are you?"
Flying Frog points to himself. "I am Flying Frog, and I was sent to find you and I have so you must come, come with me-see-gee."
As Sonic thought of ways to respond, a ghost flew right into his face. Sonic stood limp with his posture slightly bent. Then he straightened himself up and opened his eyes. They resembled the ghost's empty eyes. "Aaaaaaa-ohhhhh!"
Sam, Flower and Tails couldn't find a way out. They were stuck. The three did their best but nothing appears to be working. Now the three friends sat against the see through walls in frustration over their huge lack of progress.
"What are we going to do?" Flower wonders. "There is no way out of the maze! We've tried everything but nothing works!" Flower cupped her face and sobbed.
As Sam attempted to soothe the fox, Tails sorted through his mind on an option- any- option to solve the puzzle. They tried feeling the walls to get an idea of where to go, they marked the places they have been to with Sam's feathers (when Sam turned into a bird thus is why she stands),- nothing literally nothing works! How difficult is this to find a way out of a maze? Wait a minute-
A thought stuck Tails: What if King Boom Boo himself is cheating, twisting the maze with every single turn in every possible way to ensure they remain with him forever? But that sounded ridiculous; the king himself said that sportsmanship is most emphasized here; no way could the King be cheating. That is most unlikely yet it was most possible at the same time. Hmm…
The yellow fox notices that the area became quiet; Tails turned around; Sam and Flower were gone. Then before the fox could speak- let alone begin to process what was happening, a door popped open underneath him and he was falling.
Tails tried flying but for some reason his tails wouldn't work, so down, down he fell. Tails couldn't scream not even if he wanted to; he was far too busy trying to get his tails to work. The ground!
Tails covered his eyes with his hands and concentrates on making his tails work. He felt the tails spring to life; he hovered and gently landed on his feet. They yellow fox took a deep breath then took a look at his surroundings; the first color he saw: purple. Purple everywhere. Plum trees underground resembled bits of coral deep in the sea; lilac lakes no bigger than an average swimming pool in various parts of the area; amethyst shrubs; and a vibrant rainbow castle in a vast distance.
Tails felt many emotions at once; caution since there was a random castle in the middle of wherever he was; anxiety since he has no idea where he is; and really truly very nervous. Who knows what evils he may run into; if Sonic were here, he wouldn't feel so afraid.
Tails learned that lesson long ago; he cannot depend on Sonic or anyone forever, he's got to do some things himself. Saving the day for instance can be quite nerve wracking. I've got to try the fox thought. I know I can do this myself! For Sonic and everyone!
With new found determination he set off. Little did he know that he was being watched... carefully.