"How much further till we get to the command center?" asked Tails as he ran along side Angel as she led him and the other freshly freed captives back up the winding tower towards where Nicole had indicated two of the Timestones were being kept. Saber and Slasher were behind the two of them, trying to detect any velocibots that Angel might have missed on her initial assault of the corridors, but so far they hadn't sensed anything. Lily sat on Slasher's back, her arms wrapped around Cody's body to keep from falling off. The female hedgehog had managed to get herself back under control somewhat, but Cody could tell she wasn't fully back on her feet after their little incident. Both of them had agreed to not mention it to the others for fear they wouldn't trust Lily after she almost shot Angel even though Cody could tell that betrayal was the last thing on her mind, that thought having been replaced with a deep focus on the task at hand. They had, however, informed them that Leviathan was the true mastermind behind the planet's near destruction.
"It should be the next floor if were on floor I think we're on. There's one big room that makes up the most of the space between the second floor of the tower and all but the command center at the top," answered Angel as she side-stepped one of the fallen velocibots she had dispatched earlier. As the double doors to the over-sized room opened, Angel flung out both her arms, stopping the others in their tracks. "We've got company," she said, eyeing the three robots that were standing near the center of the room near the turbolift. One was much shorter than the other two, standing roughly four and a half feet tall with five thick dreadlocks flowing down its backside. Its armor was a deep crimson color, marked only by the white tips on the dreadlocks and the white "V" mark on its chest. Its black eyes held neon green pupils that glowed softly. Its muzzle, nose, hands, and legs were metallic gray, as was the nearly eight inch long dagger claws sticking out of its wrists. The other two robots Angel remembered all too well as the black and red velocibots stood at attention beside the smaller robot.
"Well its obvious those two on the sides are velocibots, but who's the one in the middle?" asked Tails as he looked the three robots over. A pair of snarls behind him caught his attention as he turned to look back at a sight that nearly scared him senseless. Both Slasher and Saber were hunched down, claws and teeth bared as their angry stares glared towards the group of robots.
"What is it?" asked Cody as he dropped down off Slasher's back, reaching up to help Lily get off.
"That's him. The one in the middle is the one who raided our home and took our clan hostage alongside of Leviathan," hissed Saber. All four mobians turned and looked at the middle robot. Cody was the first realize what it was they were looking at as his eyes widened slightly.
"No way...is that Knuckles!?" he said in disbelief. Tails and Lily both looked at each other with a questioning glance as Angel turned and looked back at Cody.
"That can't be true. The Guardian was killed years ago," she said before looking back at the crimson robot. "I only ever knew this robot as RK while he was my sparring partner for almost four years."
"Sparring partner?" asked Tails questioningly.
"Not now," said Angel, giving Tails a single shake of her head to indicate to drop the subject. She then started to walk slowly towards the trio of bots, looking relaxed yet keeping her guard up.
"What should we do?" asked Tails as he watched Angel start heading out towards the middle of the room.
"Follow, but don't instigate anything. Let them make the first move," said Slasher having finally gotten her initial rage back in check again. Saber was having a little harder time doing so, but once his eyes caught a glance of Slasher staring at him, he instantly calmed himself back down again. The four of them then started after Angel, keeping about ten steps behind her, but staying on guard just incase.
"My you are all so on edge," said the crimson robot, a smirk on his face as he watched the group begin approaching him and his escorts.
"And we shouldn't be because...?" asked Tails. The echidna robot only laughed lightly at the question.
"A good point. One can never be too cautious when dealing with their enemies," he said as his hands curled into fists. "Leviathan was already too careless with all his little sideshows. I don't plan on taking any chances with you like he did." Both of the velocibots screamed at them as if to further back up the robot's statement. The echidna robot waved his hand at them, causing them both to shy away slightly. "Patience my friends, you'll get your chance to kill them soon enough."
"So what's the plan?" whispered Cody, seeing the robot had turned its attention away from them for the moment.
"Saber and I can handle the velocibots," said Slasher. "It'll do us both some good to take a bite out of these toys for a change."
"What about the other one," asked Tails. Angel was reaching for her sword when Lily walked up past her, a fiery look behind the hedgehog's eyes causing the echidna to hesitate from completing the motion. Lily then reached up to the metal bar holding her brown hair up in its bun. With one solid yank, she pulled the bar from her hair, letting it flow to its full chest level length. A clicking sound emitted from the bar as both ends suddenly extended to several times their original size, causing the five inch bar to grow into a nearly five foot long staff. She twirled it around in her hand a few times before grasping it with her other, setting herself into a defensive stance with her weapon.
"I'll handle the other one. After what I've been through, I need to let off some steam," said Lily as she eyed the crimson robot, whose attention had shifted to the hedgehog the instant the staff had extended. She then felt a hand lightly grip her shoulder, causing her to turn her gaze back towards the person the hand belonged to.
"I think we both could stand to let off some steam. Besides, I need to break something of Leviathan's if for nothing else than to get rid of some of this aggression I've been keeping bottled up for the last hour or so," said Angel. Lily half closed her eyes as she gave the echidna a smirk.
"Sounds good to me. I think between the two of us this bot won't stand a chance," she said, returning her gaze back to the crimson robot as she heard Angel's sword being unsheathed behind her. Cody tapped Tails on the shoulder, catching his attention.
"I think you and I should try and get past them and get up to the command center so we can get the Timestone from there. I'd be willing to bet the one in the middle has the second one we're looking for," said Cody. Tails nodded, hoping that Cody wasn't underestimating their foes. The last thing he wanted was for the three robots to overpower his friends and then come after them. It was times like this he wished Sonic was around. He always knew what was best to do. But then again, he had to live life without Sonic for nearly a decade and so far he'd managed to do pretty well, Leviathan's trickery aside.
"Okay. Get ready to go as soon as they start fighting," whispered Tails as he curled his twin tails together in preparation to take off. Both of the girls walked up to within twenty yards of the three robots, both Slasher and Saber flanking them on either side.
"Before we get this little show on the road, tell me. Are there any other little secrets your master didn't want to let me in on? I have a right to know considering the fact that I know he was the one behind everything that has happened to me since Metal Sonic raided my home," asked Angel. The crimson robot chuckled slightly at the question.
"As far as I know, there are no more secrets to be told. At least pertaining to you anyways," said the robot. The robot crossed his arms over his chest. "Of course I can't say that without the possibility that Leviathan did not disclose information he deemed not worth my knowledge. He tends to keep things he sees as being important to himself."
"I have a question for you too, if you don't mind answering one more," asked Slasher. The robot echidna merely shrugged its shoulders. "Exactly who are you," she asked. "You're identical in appearance to the machine that helped Leviathan enslave our clan, yet I can tell by your scent that you are not the exact same machine." She narrowed her eyes as she took in another sniff of the robot's scent. "No...Your scent doesn't carry the stench of that polluted city near the Great Forest like it used to. A smell like that can't be fully erased from one's person after they've lived amongst it for any significant length of time. There's always a small trace of it left even years later that a species such as ours can pick it up with our olfactory senses even if the person no longer has any contact with the smell."
"Well, you are correct. I have never lived in Robotropolis. Visited it yes, but never lived there. That was my eldest brother's domain, even though he failed miserably at defending it," he said in disgust. "Why Leviathan bothered to create such inferior models of mecha bots when he knew they had flaws is beyond me, though I guess it would make them easier to control if he knew how to exploit their weaknesses."
"So if Silver Sonic is someone you refer to as a brother, then that makes you..." said Lily.
"A mecha bot," finished the robot. "Mecha bot four to be precise. But you may call me Robo Knuckles."
"How dare you use the Guardian's name for yourself," said Angel angrily, gripping the hilt of her sword tighter. Robo Knuckles only shrugged.
"Don't get mad at me, it wasn't my idea to name me this, though I couldn't really see myself going by another name since I was created to resemble the late echidna," he said.
"I see. I guess I shouldn't be surprised that you were named what you are considering you look just like him. I suppose it figures that Leviathan would disgrace my people further by making a mockery of the most revered bloodline of our tribe," said Angel. "Still, that doesn't mean I can't wipe out that disgrace." Robo Knuckles merely smiled as he brandished his twin sets of dagger claws.
"Then by all means give it a shot. I haven't had a real fight in ages," he said sadistically, both of the velocibots crouching back on their hind legs, the red one spreading its wings out. Slasher followed suit, allowing her wings to unfold and spread to their full wing span as Saber lowered himself back on his own hind legs. Angel glanced over at Lily, who glanced back at the echidna, giving a quick nod. Angel then turned her gaze forward again, shooting from her spot so fast it actually caught even the two raptors off guard, Lily following close behind her as both Slasher and the red velocibot took to the air with a powerful flap of their wings a split second later. Twin screaming cries echoed throughout the massive room as both Saber and the black velocibot ran straight at each other, both zigzagging back and forth trying to get an accurate bead on the other for the best way to attack. As soon as all the combatants had started towards one another, both Tails and Cody had taken to the air, flying past all the action around them as they came to land next to the turbolift. The only person in the room that hadn't moved an inch was Robo Knuckles as he eagerly waited for the two female mobians to get to him.
Angel reached Robo Knuckles first, swiping right at his neck with her sword only to meet the middle of his left set of claws with a metallic clang. A split second later a second clang sounded as Lily tried to slam her staff down at Robo Knuckles head, only to meet the same fate as Angel's sword but from the other set of claws. Robo Knuckles only grinned as he eyed them with a look of glee on his face.
"Heh. Not bad," he said as he brushed both weapons away from him, both of the girls jumping away to take up defensive stances. "But, unfortunately for you, I'm in a league far above yourselves." Angel only smiled at the comment.
"You were always too full of yourself. It's quite a weakness and it's one that will ultimately lead to your defeat," she said. Robo Knuckles gleeful expression turned to one of annoyance at hearing Angel's words.
"I have no weakness fool," he spat before a faint whine started to emit from within his body, growing louder every second. He then slowly lifted off the ground as the turbine engine in his body began to propel him into the air. "Truth be told I was going to kill you quick and painlessly, but now I think I'd rather kill you both as slowly and as painfully as possible."
"I'd love to see you just try to do that," said Lily as she gripped her staff tighter.
"Gladly," he said, as he came to hover about ten feet off the ground. "But first I think we could use a little bit of a change in scenery. This massive flat area just wouldn't give this kind of fight much depth at all." With that, he snapped his metallic fingers. Suddenly, the whole floor began to shake, nearly throwing both of the girls to the ground. Saber and the black velocibot, who had settled into eyeing each other at a distance trying to judge the best way to strike at the other one, stopped their circling of each other to try and get their footing back. Even the two airborne raptors came to a halt as they both sensed the vibrations coming from the floor of the room. Large chunks of the floor began to separate from the floor, rising up to become pillars of different sizes ranging from the size of a average sized human to that of several stories tall buildings.
Just as the final piece of flooring snapped into place, the air started to waver as the raised flooring began to change its appearance into various objects. Some became various street-based objects such as street lights, stop lights, actual four lane streets with sidewalks adorning the sides of them. The other, taller pieces began to take on the shapes of various buildings. These ranged from simple single lot houses to full sized apartment or office buildings. As the final bit of the room finished its radical transformation, everyone but Angel, Robo Knuckles, and the two velocibots stared in awe at what had just transpired.
"Typical," was all Angel said as she resumed her stance. "You always have to try and make things so dramatic. It was one of the reasons I always hated sparring with you. What's the point of all these holograms anyways? They're just images projected on the stupid pieces of flooring, nothing more." Robo Knuckles only laughed at her response.
"That is where you are wrong my dear girl," he said as floated up next to one of the apartment building replicas' fire escapes. He then grasped the railing of the bottom platform, yanking off one of the bars. He then held it up, moving it around in his hand. "As you can see, it's as real as you or I. And if you need further proof, just feel the ground your standing on." Angel only scoffed at the mecha bot as she started to kneel to the ground.
"Cheap trick using the holo projectors to make it seem like-" she suddenly froze as her knee touched the ground as she started knelt. What should've been cold metal now felt like cool asphalt. "Impossible..." she whispered as she reached her hand down, feeling the ground with her bare hand. She could actually feel the small little pebbles of rock as well as a small bit of tar pressing back against her palm, sticking to her fur.
"It is amazing what five years can do for holographic technology, especially when Leviathan is the one behind its research," said Robo Knuckles as he dropped the piece of railing to the ground. A loud screech from behind and above the trio drew their attention to the sky above, the ceiling now resembling a cloudy gray overcast, as they saw Slasher and the red velocibot collide in midair, their claws flashing as they each tried to land a hit on the other. Their intense attacks at each other last only a handful of seconds before they split apart from each other, flying off in opposite directions to regain their bearings and find another chance to attack again. As the two raptors sped away from each other, Robo Knuckles turned his attention back to the two mobians. "Well, it seems the party started without us. Shall we?" he asked, putting a little bit of politeness behind his voice just to be annoying.
"Whenever you're ready," said Lily as Angel stood back up, retaking her stance as Lily followed suit.
Sonic tried desperately to shield his face from the large amount of dirt that had been kicked up in front of him after he had narrowly dodged another one of Leviathan's energy blasts. He actually wished that he had a second pair of hands to shield his ears from the annoying laughter that had been following him since he had taken off. Thanks to the chaos energy circulating through his body, Leviathan was now flying along after him, showing no real signs of having any difficulty keeping up with the cerulean hedgehog as he followed him a few hundred feet behind. Feeling the fur on the back of his neck stiffen slightly, Sonic quickly did a ninty degree turn to the left as another blast whizzed past along the same path he had just been running along and collided with a large tree, blowing away nearly all of the trunk where the blast hit it. The tree, unable to sustain its weight on what little of the trunk remained, fell to the forest floor with a resounding boom that echoed for nearly half a mile.
"You can't dodge me forever Sonic. You will eventually wear yourself out," called Leviathan as he quickly changed his own direction to realign himself with his prey. Sonic gave no verbal response as he kept running, dancing around trees and underbrush of all sizes. Leviathan, a little annoyed at being ignored, fired another shot from his mouth. Sonic leapt above this blast as it slammed into the ground right where he had been, landing on a large tree branch and bouncing off of it as quickly as he landed as he propelled himself far enough away from the blast radius to not be affected by it. As soon as his feet touched solid ground again he was off, a small smile fixated on his face. That's right Levi. Just keep firing and use up all that energy you stole from me, thought Sonic as zigzagged through the next set of trees.
"This running is nothing but folly hedgehog. Even if you do manage to somehow get away from me and recover the three remaining Timestones, this world will still be mine. There is nothing you can do to change that even if you save your past self," said Leviathan. The rate of Sonic's stop was so abrupt that even the energized raptor couldn't help overshooting Sonic's stopping point. Leviathan then landed, turning around to face Sonic.
"What do you mean?" asked Sonic, his attention now fully on what Leviathan had just said. Inwardly Leviathan couldn't help but be amused by the aspect that he could inflict further emotional damage to Sonic.
"It's quite simple really. The two timelines are now completely separate of each other. They are acting independently of each other and have been for a while now," explained Leviathan. Sonic's eyes narrowed into a scowl.
"Which means...?" asked Sonic, a little annoyed at the raptor for not giving him the full information.
"It means, my little friend, that if by some miracle you kill me in the past before I changed the timeline, it would not matter for this timeline. It would continue to stay along the path that has been written for it. You and the princess would still be dead, and I would still be alive and in power," he explained. Sonic grabbed his head with both hands, his face contorted like it was in pain.
"Okay. I…really hate it when you mecha bots talk all technical. Could you just say it in English please?" asked Sonic. Leviathan sighed, annoyed that he couldn't get his point across. Then he suddenly had a thought of why he even cared pass through his head. Of course the answer came just as fast. He wanted to see the look written on Sonic's face when he truly understood what it was he was explaining.
"It basically means that regardless of what you do, this timeline will play out as it has. And since you've forced me to take the measure of killing Mobius' populace because of your unexpected arrival in this timeline, I suppose you could say that it is your fault that the people of this world will die. And because this world is separate from our original world, there is nothing you can do to help them once they are dead," said Leviathan, his lips curling up to show his fangs grinning at the blue hedgehog. This time the full force of what he was saying hit Sonic dead center, leaving him with a horrified look of shock. To Leviathan, the fact that he hadn't even had to lie to get this kind of reaction from the hedgehog was sweeter than anything he could've made up. "Well, now that I've answered your little question, what do you say we continue our little game?" But Sonic didn't move from his spot, his head looking down at the ground even as Leviathan began to charge up another blast in his mouth. This made Leviathan halt the attack, wondering why Sonic still remained planted in place. He gave Sonic a once over look, not noticing that Sonic's fists were shaking just slightly. It wasn't until Sonic's head rose up to stare back at Leviathan with the cold look a killer that he realized something about Sonic's demeanor had changed.
"If what you say is true..." whispered Sonic as his eyes stared like ice daggers at the robotic raptor. "Then I will no longer run from you anymore." At this comment, Leviathan couldn't help but laugh lightly.
"Oh really? And if I may ask, why are you not going to run away?" asked Leviathan.
"If I did I would be turning my back to everyone in this world, and I flat out refuse to do that. I'd rather stand and fight," said Sonic.
"You do realize, of course, that this will without a doubt destroy you? After all, there is no way you can possibly stand up to something that is far and away superior to anything else in existence on this planet," said Leviathan, rather amused by Sonic's sudden serious attitude. It was a stark contrast to his usual cocky, mouthy attitude.
"Perhaps, but then again…I just might surprise you," said Sonic. Leviathan had not realized he had lowered his guard till the moment Sonic's back flip kick landed solidly on his lower jaw, knocking his head back despite the fact that he was still powered by the stolen Super Emerald energy as a loud crack sounded throughout the air. Only then did he realize Sonic had literally used a micro burst of speed, going from zero to full speed in the blink of an eye, causing the sound barrier to give way instantly. He recalled seeing one or two videos way back during the first few months of his activation of Sonic displaying such an ability. It was something he could only do for a split second before he lost more than half his speed and had to build it back up again, but it was a great surprise maneuver. Despite the fact that the attack did no damage at all other than jar his head back, he still was furious at himself for letting his guard down for that split second.
As soon as Sonic's first kick landed with his left foot, he twirled himself around in midair as fast as he could, swinging his right foot at the side of Leviathan's head, solidly connecting with it which caused the raptor to be knocked off balance, stumbling away to Sonic's left a few steps as Leviathan tried to correct his imbalance. After hearing Leviathan's explanation of how he couldn't change anything that had already happened to this particular timeline, he realized that the mecha bot wasn't lying when he had said that it was because of him that Leviathan had put into motion the destruction of the planet's population. Now he just wanted to destroy this monster so that at the very least if the people had to die, they would die freeing the planet from the robotic tyrant's grip.
As Sonic landed, he jumped towards Leviathan, curling into a spindash to try and inflict some kind of damage even though he knew it would probably just be instantly repaired like before. But he wasn't going to stop trying. If there was one thing he knew about all of Robotnik's creations, it was that they always had some kind of weakness. And he would find Leviathan's or die trying. Unfortunately, Leviathan was quicker on the rebound than even Sonic's legendary speed could have matched, swinging his large spiked tail like a bat and slamming the unspiked mid-section hard into the ball of whirling blue spines, knocking Sonic away so fast that it caused another instant sonic boom to sound. The impact sent Sonic flying backwards and crashing through several trees. As he broke through the sixth one, he finally fell to the ground, uncurling from his spindash and thanking his lucky stars that he'd had the foresight to not uncurl when he'd gotten hit. Otherwise he'd probably have killed himself just hitting the first tree instead of just being really sore and having the wind knocked out of him from being hit with Leviathan's tail.
"How dare you lay your unworthy feet upon my perfection you insignificant little rodent!?" shouted Leviathan as he slowly started to stomp his way towards Sonic, who was just beginning to recover. Still, this statement struck a nerve with Sonic. As he got to his feet, he couldn't help but make the observation that the longer Leviathan was being powered by the chaos energy he had stolen, the more detached he seemed to become from his usual calm and collective self. If anything, he was starting to become obsessive over how powerful he had become after absorbing all that energy. Even though Sonic knew that it might just add fuel to the fire, he decided that at this point it might be the only way to get Leviathan to make a mistake.
"Ha!" laughed Sonic as he crossed his arms over his chest. "Some mecha bot you are Levi. Even Mecha would've seen that attack coming a mile away and have countered it from the start. Yet you still let me get in a couple hits that were hard enough to throw even you off balance." He waited and watched to see what Leviathan's reaction to this was, hoping that his hunch was right.
"You...You...!" huffed Leviathan.
"Me what, Levi? Me, the one you just kicked you not once, but twice in the face despite all your so-called power?" asked Sonic, lowering his head with a smirk plastered across his face. Leviathan could tolerate a lot of things, even being outsmarted and caught off-guard like he had been by Angel and Sonic respectively in the last ten minutes, but if there was one thing he couldn't take, it was being mocked. Normally, he might have at the very worst verbally attacked the offending person before putting it behind him, but in his chaos energy drunken state of mind, Sonic's mocking was inflated to the point it caused Leviathan to snap. Without saying another word, Leviathan shot another blast of energy from his mouth. Heh. So he did snap, just like I hoped he would, thought Sonic as he watched the robotic raptor launch his attack. Sonic then took off to the right, dodging the energy blast as it slammed into the ground behind him. Now all I've got to do is get him to drain what's left of the emeralds' power out of his body and then I should be on an even playing field with him again.
"I wish we'd made it a point to bring Nicole up here with us instead of leaving her with the others," said Tails as he typed away at one of the command center's central computer keyboards, trying to break the pass code that kept the mainframe's security system online. Both he and Cody had managed to decrypt and de-activate the outer system's firewall, but that had been a fairly weak line of security designed to keep out only the most inexperienced hackers. The inner security, however, was far more complex. So far they'd only been able to hack through the first of the final two security measures, but the only programs that had been unlocked through that were simple ones, none of which were of any importance. However, the last piece of security was a firewall that required a ten digit pass code that randomized itself every ten seconds, making it all but impossible to crack it.
"I second that. This pass code's randomizing itself too fast to decrypt it without some kind of automated help," said Cody as he stood a few consoles down from Tails, typing away as fast as he could. "It figures Leviathan would just have to make one of the stones up here be the power supply for the whole base and make it only accessible to himself."
"Heh. It would, wouldn't it?" laughed Tails lightly. As he entered in the next command, an error message suddenly flashed across his screen before it reset the whole console back to its default settings again. Tails let out a cry of frustration as he slammed his fists into the console. "It's too darn fast. No mobian alive could possibly key in the information fast enough to beat out this randomizer system. You'd be lucky to get in more than five codes before it resets and even then the odds of you successfully hitting the right code are astronomical." Tails suddenly shot upright as an idea sprang into his head. "Hey!" he cried.
"What?" asked Cody, looking up from his own console as it began to flash the same error message that had reset Tails' console.
"Do you think it would be possible to hardwire yourself to the console and use your AI matrix to run the randomizations through the base's mainframe?" he asked. Cody rubbed his chin as he ran the thought through his head. While experience told him that he could hardwire himself to a console and access general information from it much like Nicole could do, he had never tried to use the AI matrix portion of his mind to attempt something as complex as decrypting a security system before. While he had no doubt the AI matrix could run through thousands of combinations before the ten seconds were up, at the same time he was worried about what the after-effects would entail. But even with the risks being completely unknown, he also knew that if they wanted to succeed, he'd have to go for it.
"It's worth a try. Help me get this cover off," said Cody as he knelt down to take off the console's front covering.
Saber bounded away from the larger, metallic black velocibot as it snapped its jaws out at the young male raptor, narrowly missing the attack as he jumped back onto a rather large second floor balcony extending from one of the artificial buildings. So far all he had managed to do was dodge the velocibot, never finding any good time to attack it. This, in turn, was making him more and more frustrated the longer this went on. Still, he knew that if he snapped it would be over. A calm mind and spirit will always defeat the violent body, he thought, remembering well one of the fundamental rules of combat Slasher had taught him. The thought of his teacher and friend caused him to glance up into the sky where the winged raptor and red velocibot were still going at each other.
The red velocibot had several noticeable tears in its armor plating where Slasher had managed to land decent strikes with her clawed hands and feet. Unfortunately Slasher was showing signs of injury as well. Saber could plainly see several small cuts and one rather nasty looking gash just above her left shoulder blade where the velocibot had managed to sink its teeth into her for a brief second before she shook it loose. But despite the damage they had both sustained, neither of them was backing down as they flew into each other again, teeth and claws flashing like crazy for a couple of seconds before they split apart once again to resume their aerial circling of each other. Seeing Slasher's fiery spirit undaunted, even in the face of an opponent that seemed to be on par with her, was all Saber needed to see to calm his frustration and return his focus to the task at hand.
Eyeing the black velocibot as it hissed and snarled on the street below, Saber suddenly leapt off the balcony, forearms extended with his claws and teeth bared. The black velocibot, up to now having been completely on the offensive, was taken aback by its prey's sudden shift in strategy, barely able to bring its own forearms up to absorb most of the impact from the Saber's aggressive attack. Still, the force of the collision caused by Saber was enough to knock the velocibot off balance as it stumbled backwards trying to get its feet firmly planted again. Seeing that the velocibot was now wide open, Saber charged forward, lunging his head straight at the velocibot's neck with his jaws opened wide. However, the velocibot realized what Saber's intent was and instead of trying to correct its balance, it allowed itself to fall onto its back, causing Saber's lunge to go by harmlessly overhead. The velocibot then swept its tail across the concert, catching Saber's exposed legs and knocking them out from underneath him, causing him to join the velocibot on the ground as he fell face first into the asphalt. As the two of them recovered for one another's attacks, a trio of combatants was also engaged with each other a few buildings down and two blocks off to the left of where the two raptors were at.
A flash of a metal blade followed by a loud clang sounded throughout the immediate area as Robo Knuckles blocked another of Angel's sword strikes with his dagger claws, brushing her out of the way just in time to catch Lily's staff in the opposite pair of claws. Both girls had been relentless with their attacks. As soon as one finished their combination of attacks, the other one stepped up to the plate to continue with the assault. As it stood, Robo Knuckles had not so much as even had a chance to try to initiate his own attack against the two of them. While he knew he could easily fly up and out of their attack range so that he could regroup himself, he refused to swallow his pride by doing so. Instead he was cursing at himself for underestimating the combined strength of the two girls. Figures that the two girls Leviathan decided to manipulate are amazons, he thought.
He knew one-on-one he could take them easily. Angel had never been able to defeat him in any of their sparring matches, even when Leviathan had allowed her to use her sword, but her strength and skill with the weapon was a dangerous combination that had always kept him on his toes. And while the magenta hedgehog wasn't nearly as strong or as skilled as Angel was, her attacks came a lot faster due to the amount of them she could launch with her staff which made her just as dangerous. Robo Knuckles frustration was not lost on Angel. She had seen him get annoyed like he was getting now whenever she managed to even get so much as a little bit ahead of him during their sparring matches. Granted she'd never actually beaten him, but her best attempts at doing so came when his concentration was divided between the battle and his own frustration at being in a losing position. While she was confident that together she and Lily could beat him, she also wanted to take every advantage she could get.
"What's the matter, RK?" asked Angel as Robo Knuckles caught her latest sword swing. She continued to press down on the blade, forcing the mecha bot to bring his second set of claws up to reinforce his resistance against her. "Don't tell me...that two little girls...are more than you can handle..." she taunted as she strained to keep his arms pinned down. Robo Knuckles frowned angrily at the echidna as he summoned a burst of strength that allowed him to fling both of his arms out, knocking Angel's sword violently out of her hands and sending her falling head over heels to the pavement.
Now that he had a moment to collect himself, he was ready when Lily's staff came flying at him as he caught it with his bare hands this time, ripping it from her grasp with enough force to send her flying twenty feet away from him as he snapped the staff in half. As Angel heard the crack sound of Lily's staff being broken, she realized that pushing the mecha bot had been the wrong thing to do after all. Apparently the stupid thing had finally managed to keep its cool whenever provoked verbally. Figures that Leviathan would condition him to finally overlook all those taunts I used to toss his way back in the day, she thought to herself as she flipped back onto her feet. A quick glance at Lily showed her to be okay as she too got back to her own feet, though Angel could tell that without her weapon she had no real idea on how to defend herself. She had obviously relied on her staff far too much in the past for melee confrontations.
"You were saying, my dear echidna?" asked Robo Knuckles as he tossed the two halves of Lily's staff to the ground. It was clear he had completely regained his composure once again now that he had successfully managed to break apart the two mobians' string of relentless attacks at him. Angel couldn't help but feel cold beads of sweat being to form on her forehead as she analyzed their situation at the current moment. She knew her sword was probably just a few yards behind her, but at the same time she couldn't risk turning her back to him now that Lily was for all intensive purposes taken out of the fight and would be unable to cover her. And even if he didn't come after her, then he would go for Lily, which meant that she'd more than likely be dead before Angel could even get to her sword. But at the same time, she also knew that she stood almost no chance of beating him without her weapon. His twin sets of dagger claws were far too dangerous to try and stop with just her bare hands. And if he did decide to go after Lily first, she seriously doubted she could stop him without it.
"Hmm...Choices, choices..." said Robo Knuckles as his neon green pupils glanced back and forth between Lily to his left and Angel to his right. Without saying another word, he slowly flew up about five feet into the air and came to a hovering stop. Both girls tried to find some kind of indication as to which of them he was going to go after, but they couldn't see any evidence to give them an answer. Even the mecha bot's eyes had quit glancing at them and were now set dead in-between where the two of them were standing. Suddenly, Robo Knuckles shot towards the left with such speed that Lily didn't even have time to react as the crimson mecha bot jabbed his elbow hard into her chest, sending the magenta hedgehog sailing backwards only to slam back first into one of the holographic street lamps, her body falling limp to the ground as she lay there unconscious. "Too easy," muttered Robo Knuckles before turning back to face Angel.
"That was uncalled for," said Angel sternly, her face set in a scowl. "She was obviously no longer a threat to you." Robo Knuckles only smirked at the comment as he started walking towards the pink echidna.
"Perhaps, but I didn't want any interference while the two of us fight," he said as he came to a stop ten feet in front of Angel. "It's been a good five years since the last time you and I have faced off one-on-one. I want to be able to enjoy this." Angel returned the mecha bot's smirk.
"Figures you and that stupid overbearing pride of yours couldn't stand not going one more round with me," she said, glancing back towards where her sword lay on the ground a good thirty feet or so away from them, having been knocked quite a ways away from where they were after Robo Knuckles had deflected her attack earlier. "So then, you gonna let me get my weapon?"
"I'd like to make this as interesting as possible, so I'll have to say no," he answered.
"Somehow I figured you'd say that," she said, taking a proper fighting stance. Robo Knuckles followed suit, the two of them staring down the other, waiting to see which would make the first move. The seconds seemed to pass like an eternity for the two combatants as they continued to eye each other. Then Robo Knuckles leapt forward, slashing at Angel's head with his left set of dagger claws. Angel quickly ducked the attack before jumping forward herself, slamming her right elbow hard into the mecha bot, knocking him backwards and off-balance. Angel took his lack of balance to deliver a hard roundhouse kick to the left side of his metallic face, sending him flipping head over heels onto his back. "Not so much fun when you're the one eating pavement, is it?" she taunted as she reset her stance. Robo Knuckles only huffed as he flipped back onto his feet, resetting his own stance.
"Not bad, little one. It would seem you've managed to improve a little since the last time we fought," he said, his eyes narrowing as his hands curled into fists. "I suppose I'll actually have to take this seriously for once."