The last of the five velocibots sniffed the air, craning its neck as it searched for Tails. The other four had been dispatched by Cody and Drake, both taking out two of them while they bought time for the others. But when Cody had seen Saber crash through one of the windows of the Command Center building, he had taken Drake to catch him, leaving Tails alone to deal with the last one. Now, the lone metal raptor walked among the piles of trashed robot parts, trying to find his target.
"That's right. Come a little closer," whispered Tails as he raised his crossbow in line with the robot's head. The velocibot took a few more steps, sweeping its head back and forth, scanning the area with its sniper scope-like red eyes. The robot suddenly cried out as Tails' arrow hit home, spearing its head and frying it with a blast of electricity. "Got ya!" he cried as he rose from his hiding spot.
"Nice shot!" hollered Drake as he and Cody returned with Lily in tow. A wounded Saber limped behind them, a gash cut in his left leg from where Silver Sonic's quills had slashed him.
"You okay?" asked Tails. Saber gave a nod, pain evident in his expression.
"Sure. Just a scratch," said the raptor, trying not to show his discomfort.
"Don't even try to make it sound better than it is," said Tails as he bent down to examine the injured leg. After a few seconds of looking the wound over, he gave a whistle. "You were lucky. He only managed to cut about half an inch into the skin. Any deeper and he might have hit something vital. Just don't move around too much or you'll make it worse."
"So what do we do now?" asked Lily as she looked around.
"How about duck!" cried Drake as he dove to the ground. Not waiting to find out the reason, everyone dropped to the ground, Silver Sonic crashing onto the ground in spindash-mode just barely a foot in front of them. Silver Sonic rolled along the ground, coming to a stop about fifty feet away. He slowly uncurled, standing up to his full height as he turned around to face them.
"You are only delaying the inevitable," said Silver Sonic as he stared down the five friends, his quills spinning along his back, making a horrible buzz saw noise as they did so.
"Just try us," said Tails as he aimed his crossbow at Silver Sonic. But before he could even get a bead on the mecha bot, Cody placed a hand on the bow, pushing it down.
"No Tails. He's mine," said Cody as his claws extended from their place in his fingertips.
"You must be crazy!" cried Tails as he looked up at Cody. "He'll rip you apart! I won't just sit-." Cody glared down at Tails, clawed hand over fox's mouth.
"That's enough," said Cody. His normally friendly yellow eyes had become several shades darker than normal. He was angry, and Tails could tell it. "If this piece of mechanical trash wants to fight, then I'll give him one. I don't want any more of you getting hurt if we can avoid it. Being a robian, I can take a lot more punishment than someone that's just flesh and blood."
"You may be a robian, but that doesn't mean you're a match for him," said Tails.
"Perhaps, but part of me wants to do this. I might be crazy, but I want to believe I was given this advanced robian body for a reason. And that reason was so I could stand up to something like Silver Sonic when it really counts," said Cody. Tails wanted to say something to detour Cody's one man army mentality that he seemed to have adopted out of nowhere, but he also could see the passion burning behind Cody's eyes, even if there were just rings of lights behind a sheet of glass.
"I suppose there's no point in trying to stop you then. Go for it. I'll have your back if things get too far out of hand," he said with a smile. Eyes returning to their normal shade of color, Cody gave him a thumbs up.
"You bet," he said. He then returned his attention to Silver Sonic, who was watching them with interest.
"You are truly a work of art, robian," said Silver Sonic as Cody walked slowly but confidently out into the middle of the street. "Risking your own existence to prove a point." Cody didn't even see the blow coming. Having used the time Cody had been talking to Tails, Silver Sonic had powered up the wheels on his feet, enabling him to shoot forward twice as fast as when he had rushed Saber and Lily in the command center, delivering a full body blow to the robian. Cody flew back to the ground, but flipped backwards onto his feet. Firing his foot thrusters, Cody shot into the air, dodging Silver Sonic has he passed by underneath him.
"Man he's fast!" said Cody to himself as he watched the mecha bot pass by just below him. While Silver Sonic was quick, he was also bulky, weighing him down and making it hard to turn or stop. This was evident when the mecha bot had to make a small semicircle in the roadway to come to a stop facing towards Cody, who smiled as an idea came to mind. Landing in front of an abandoned warehouse, he watched as Silver Sonic turned to follow his movement.
"You are quite agile when you need to be," said Silver Sonic.
"And your quicker on your feet that I figured you would be considering how big you are," said Cody. He then crossed his arms and leaned against the wall of the building. "Think your fast enough to hit me if I stood right here?" Silver Sonic's head cocked slightly at the statement. He knew Cody was fast enough to evade him if he charged. So why even try and get him to do so? His head returned to its proper position when the answer hit him.
"Perhaps…We shall see," said Silver Sonic. But instead of using the wheels on his feet to propel himself, he instead curled up into his spindash-mode. Cody watched with concern as Silver Sonic shot forward at him, rapidly closing the gap between the two of them.
What are you up to mecha bot? thought Cody to himself as Silver Sonic came barreling towards him. Not waiting to find out, Cody took to the air again, Silver Sonic slamming full force into the building, going right through the wall. Cody watched with caution as the dust settled below. Suddenly, Silver Sonic shot up through the roof of the building, slamming right into Cody's chest, the metal quills slicing into his armor. Cody fell towards the ground, but pulled out at the last second, clutching his chest where several wires protruded from his body and broken circuits smoldered as he flew away from the building, landing a few hundred yards away. A quick systems check through his AI matrix told him he had gotten lucky. The attack had missed his vital circuitry. He watched as Silver Sonic uncurled and dropped to the ground twenty yards away. Darn him! He didn't even scratch himself! thought Cody as he looked over Silver Sonic's body.
"I will give you credit for your effort, but it's not all just brawn under this metal hull. I saw through your little trick of making me crash into the wall unprotected," said Silver Sonic, waving a claw at Cody. Cody gritted his metal teeth, wondering what to do. Silver Sonic's hull seemed to be incredibly resilient to being hit with any object so long as he remained in his spindash-mode. Even when he wasn't curled into a ball, his armor plating was much thicker than that of Metal Sonic, making it hard to inflict damage even then.
"Do you think he can beat him?" asked Drake as he watched the fight.
"I don't know Drake," said Lily. "Cody's got the edge in the air since Silver Sonic can't fly, but on the ground, Silver Sonic's the quicker of the two. It could go either way." Back at the fight, Cody was running through his list of options, and was starting to run out of them fast.
"Well, let's try this one," said Cody under his breath as he charged Silver Sonic, claws outstretched to slash him. Silver Sonic watched with interest as the smaller robot hedgehog ran at him. But before he was even halfway to meeting him, Cody shot into the air. Silver Sonic followed his movement while pondering the robian's cross of action. The answer came a second later when several laser bolts suddenly came raining down from the sky. Silver Sonic, unprepared for such an attack, was knocked backwards as several of the shots hit home, putting several dents in his thick armor. However, none of the blasts managed to penetrate the armor plating, leaving the mecha bot only a little beat up, but otherwise completely intact. Darn it! Doesn't anything get through that metal shell of his? thought Cody. Silver Sonic corrected his balance before looking up at Cody.
"Another wasted attempt to do some damage, I see," he said. "Too bad I'm built like a tank." Cody only clenched his fists together. Nothing seemed to hurt his guy! His head suddenly shot up as he realized something. He hadn't tried fighting hand-to-hand with Silver Sonic yet. It was then that the obvious hit him. Silver Sonic had been built to fight with Sonic, a person who excelled at hit and run attacks. Sonic rarely stayed in close confines with his enemies, choosing rather to use his speed to stay out of their reach until he attacked. Smiling to himself as a new course of action came to mind, Cody landed a block away from the mecha bot, who was eyeing him with interest.
"I must admit that you are superior to me in several ways, but there's one area where I think I might have you beaten," said Cody, tensing up.
"And what area would that be?" asked the mecha bot. Cody's inward smile surfaced on his face.
"This!" he cried, his thrusters firing full blast as he shot at Silver Sonic. Taken by surprise from this kind of action, Silver Sonic had no time to even raise his own arms up to block the charging hedgehog. Slamming full force into the mecha bot, Cody had no problem tackling him to the ground. He then brought his left hand crashing into Silver Sonic's chest, piercing the thick armor with his tempered steel claws. Silver Sonic grabbed Cody's arm and tried to pull it off him, but leverage was on Cody's side, and the mecha bot couldn't remove the claws from him. Suddenly, Cody was knocked off as Silver Sonic's quills spun out underneath the two combatants, spinning the mecha bot in place and flinging Cody off of him into a pile of trashed robot parts.
"Close…very close," said Silver Sonic as he got back to his feet. Cody shot from the trash pile, looking over the damage he had inflicted to Silver Sonic from his attack from the safety of the air. Several small holes dotted the left side of his chest, but other than that, he couldn't see any other form of damage. But his theory had been right. Silver Sonic wasn't built to handle close combat like he was.
"Let's finish this," said Cody as he landed a few meters away from Silver Sonic.
"Let's," replied the mecha bot as he shot forward, wheels peeling out behind him. But Cody didn't try to dodge this time. Instead, he held his ground as the five hundred pound robot barreled towards him. Digging his feet into the soil, Cody took the charge head on, hands grasping onto Silver Sonic's mid-section as he was pushed back from the force of the hit. Dirt piled up behind him as Cody tried to hold his ground, Silver Sonic's wheels squealing as he tried to run him over.
"I…won't…lose! Not to…a machine…like you!" cried Cody as he summoned a final burst of strength, digging his claws into Silver Sonic's sides and lifting him over his head, pile driving him headfirst into the ground. Lifting himself back to his feet, he turned to see Silver Sonic slowly recovering from the attack. The two largest quills were bent out of shape, and his eyes flickered on and off.
"You will pay for that!" cried Silver Sonic, losing his composure for the first time during the fight. Not even caring about strategy anymore, Silver Sonic rushed Cody, his own claws slashing at the smaller robot, Cody dodging each one skillfully. But while he could dodge Silver Sonic's attacks easily, he still didn't know how to inflict enough damage to take him out of the fight. Then an idea came to him. It was risky, and it might cause damage to himself as well, but it was the only thing he could think of that might have a change of working. Dodging another swipe, Cody swung his right foot around, kicking Silver Sonic in the side and off-balance. He then followed through with a hard left hook, knocking the mecha bot onto his back.
I hope this works, thought Cody to himself as he flew high up into the air, coming to a stop a good hundred feet above the city streets. As Silver Sonic struggled to get back on his feet, Cody held both arms straight up above his head, placing both of his palms together at the base and curling his fingers, making his hands look like the jaws of a mechanical beast. He then leaned forward, allowing his weight to throw him into a rapid decent while at the same time he began twirling his body as fast as he could. Let's see how much you like Knuckles' little trick with my own little twist at the end, thought Cody as he barreled down at the mecha bot below, pulling up at the last second with his thrusters so that he was now pointed perpendicular with Silver Sonic. As the mecha bot got back on his feet and looked up to seek out his foe, he was greeted with a powerful hit as Cody slammed head-on into him, his twirling motion creating a powerful drill-like action with his tempered claws, allowing them to literally burrow right through Silver Sonic's thick armor plating.
The others watched with amazement as Cody's body passed right through the mecha bot, shredding a gaping hole right through his chest plate as Cody hit the ground hard, rolling along the ground for several rotations before finally coming to a stop, a disbelieving smile plastered on his face as he lay on his back. He could feel a couple of his quills bent out of shape and his claws felt like they had been dulled to little nubs, but he didn't care. His little stunt had actually worked. He'd have to remember to thank Knuckles for using the move in one of their sparring matches.
"Way to go!" cried Tails as he and the others emerged from their viewpoint, running over to congratulate the tired and battle-damaged Cody, Saber yelling out his own congratulations from where he was. Lily was the first to get to him, kneeling down to wrap her arms around him.
"Oh Cody, are you all right?" she asked near hysterics after seeing the robian take such a nasty spill at the end of the fight. Cody only laughed lightly as he sat up into a sitting position.
"Yeah, I'm fine. It's times like that where I'm actually glad I have this robot body," he said, running one of his hands through the mangled quills on his back, wincing at the two really screwed up ones. "But it's going be a pain to straighten these out again."
"Nah…" said Tails, looking over the damage. "It just looks bad. I can get them looking as good as new in a couple hours."
"Thanks. I appreciate the help," said Cody as Lily helped him back to his feet.
"So now what do we do?" asked Lily, looking over at Tails.
"Well, I think the first thing we need to do is find the Timestone. Thing is I have no idea if the city's velocibots are still active or not now that the only two people that had any control over them directly are out of the picture. And if they are still actively patrolling the area, I really don't feel comfortable trying to get it till Sonic gets back," he answered. Tails then looked back at Saber, who was limping slowly over towards them. The gash on his leg still looked painful, but the initial bleeding had stopped. "What do you think Saber? Are any of them headed towards us?" Saber stopped mid-step and craned his head towards the sky, closing his eyes as he took a few whiffs of air. He cocked his head slightly to the left, trying to hear anything out of the ordinary. After several seconds, he opened his eyes and returned his gaze to Tails.
"If they are still active, they aren't around here. I don't hear or smell a single thing out of place," answered Saber as he started walking towards them again. But suddenly, something didn't feel right to the raptor as he came to a stop again. This time, he gave a much bigger sniff, his nose suddenly detecting a scent that had been subtly hidden just a second ago. And whatever the scent was, it was somewhat familiar. Then his eyes spotted a very small amount of movement from behind one of the trash piles only half of a block behind Tails.
Not even thinking about his pain-ridden leg, Saber shot forward, running in a mad dash right at Tails, who freaked out and dove to the ground in response to seeing Saber suddenly rush at him. The raptor then leapt into the air as well as his injury allowed him to, colliding in mid-air only five feet behind Tails with some sort of metallic creature. The two of them dropped like stones to the ground, Saber trying to pin whatever it was to the ground, but the creature quickly righted itself, jumping straight back from the male raptor a solid thirty feet. Saber quickly righted himself, facing towards the creature as he got his first good look at it.
While it definitely had the look of a velocibot, this creature was most certainly not one. It was covered from its tail to shoulders in glimmering violet metal with metal tubes running through its body in some places. Its chest was still tan flesh, but had two thick tubes running through it. Attached near the end of the tail was a giant three pronged clamp. Two small sheets of two inch thick metal that resembled the wings of a plane jutted from its shoulder blades. Its right eye was a beautiful emerald green while its left eye was replaced by a glowing red optic sensor set in an eye patch-like piece of blue metal. Around its neck was a pendant with a violet gemstone set inside it.
"Who are you?" asked Saber as he stared down the creature. The thing's only response was a loud snarl followed by a shrill cry before darting towards an alleyway two blocks down the street. Saber took off after the creature as it quickly rounded the corner of the alleyway. But by the time Saber reached it and had rounded the same corner, the creature was gone, having left no trace of itself behind at all. What in the world was that thing? thought Saber as he continued to stare into the alleyway. Suddenly, the soft sound of beating wings caught his attention as he looked skyward, spotting Slasher heading towards them with not just one, but two riders on her back.
"There they are!" cried Sonic as he pointed down below. After having told Angel of their story, she had agreed to accompany them back to Knothole, but only to fight alongside them until the matter was resolved. Sonic could see that her dedication to protecting Floating Island was just as strong as Knuckles' was, and they had barely managed to convince her to help them out. Only by telling her that Robotnik would eventually come back to the island and take it had she come to terms with the situation.
"I see them," said Slasher as she floated down towards them. Comet flew along side her, having not said a word since the four of them had left the island, but looking rather somber for some odd reason.
"Hey guys!" called Sonic as he jumped off Slasher's back, dropping the rest of the way to the ground. He ran over to Cody, still lying on the ground. He winced as he noticed the slashed chest plate. "You okay there Cody?" Cody finally hauled himself into a sitting position.
"Yeah. Nothing too bad. Just got a taste of what it's like to be spindashed by something with metal quills," he replied. He then motioned with his head to the trashed Silver Sonic laying a few meters away from him. "He was a tough one to take out." Sonic whistled as he saw the thick skinned mecha bot lying on the pavement with a gaping hole in his chest, the protruding wires still sparking.
"You did a number on him. Took a trash compactor for me to take him down, and even then I was lucky," said Sonic as he helped Cody to his feet. He then walked over and examined Silver Sonic's remains a little closer. "How'd you manage to put a hole like that through him?"
"You remember that move Knuckles called a 'Drill Drive' he used during one of my sparring matches with him?" asked Cody. Sonic looked back at Cody with a cocked eyebrow.
"Yeah, but what does one of Knux moves have to do with that hole?" asked Sonic.
"Well, it wasn't a real good one, but I managed to pull off a kind of variation of that same move," he answered. He then felt his quills and frowned slightly at the mess they were in. "Though I don't think I'll try it again. It really messes up my quills. Not to mention my claws feel like nubs now." Sonic couldn't help but laugh when he noticed the twisted metal that was Cody's quills.
"Yeah, you might not want to. It's not a good look for you," said Sonic. Cody smirked, then turned around, only to come face to face with Angel's sword pointed right at his head.
"Don't move a gear," said Angel as she stared down Cody, who raised his hands up.
"Leave him alone Angel. He's one of us," said Sonic as he walked over and pushed the sword out of Cody's face. Angel narrowed her eyes before reluctantly putting the sword away.
"If you say so," she said, crossing her arms. Cody glanced over at Sonic.
"Friend of yours?" asked Cody. Sonic nodded.
"Yeah. Her name's Angel. Not exactly the friendly type, but she can definitely fight," said Sonic he walked back to the group. Cody watched him go, then extended his hand to Angel.
"Nice to meet you," said Cody. Angel looked at his hand, then back up at him.
"Sure it is," she said, turning her back to him and walking off to the other side of the clearing. Comet flew after her, looking back over her shoulder at Cody.
"That wasn't very nice mistress," said the small chao as she floated along side Angel.
"What do you mean?" she asked, looking up at the chao as she sat down on an fairly big piece of old pipe sitting amongst the trash piles that were strung through the streets.
"You know what I mean. You were very rude to him," said Comet.
"Robots are all the same. Cold-hearted monsters that don't care about anyone," she replied with a cold tone. Comet sighed, then landed on the pipe and sat as well, watching everyone else from a distance. Lily watched her leave, then turned to Slasher.
"What's her deal?" she asked the winged raptor.
"She's not used to being around people yet. She's been living on Floating Island for several years without contact with anyone except for that chao over there. It's only natural that she would want to avoid us initially, if only to feel more at ease," said Slasher. "Give her a few days. I'm sure she'll become more social."
"Well, I don't know about you guys, but I'm ready to head home and get something to eat," said Sonic as his stomach growled.
"But we need to get the Timestone," said Tails, realizing that they had almost left without it.
"You mean this thing?" asked Drake, his voice somewhat muffled. Tails turned back towards where Drake's voice had come from, seeing the little chao's legs sticking out of the remains of Silver Sonic. Drake then withdrew himself from the trashed mecha bot, holding up a rather large yellow gemstone. While it resembled a Chaos Emerald, it didn't have the brilliant cut that they had. Rather, it was an emerald cut, giving it six sides with both the top and bottom being flat surfaced. Tails looked over at Sonic.
"Is that one of them?" he asked, unsure if it was considering that he had never seen one before now.
"Yeah, it sure is," answered Sonic, frowning as Drake flew over and gave him the gemstone. "Kinda weird that he'd keep it inside himself."
"Well, I can only guess that probably both mecha bots are running off these things," said Cody as he looked the Timestone over.
"You think so?" asked Tails.
"It would make sense. A power source that could run them without needing to recharge. The Chaos Emeralds wouldn't work since they would overload their systems, so it would make sense to use the Timestones instead since they don't have the same kind of electrical field the emeralds produce that short out electronics," said Cody.
"Well, either way we got what we came for, so I say we get out of here while we can," said Tails. He then looked over at Saber. "You gonna be okay to get back to Knothole?" Saber nodded, gingerly walking around in a circle slowly, trying to get the pain to subside somewhat. It was only somewhat successful, as his leg still felt like it was on fire. But he also knew it wasn't anything that he couldn't handle for a little while.
"Good. Then let's go," said Tails as the group began their trek through the city streets.
"You've got to be kidding me!?" cried Sonic as he, Slasher, Saber, Cody, Drake, and Tails sat inside Lily's hut. Lily shook her head slowly. After returning to Knothole, they had been greeted with the news that the third team had come under an attack that made Silver Sonic look like nothing.
"I'm afraid not. Leviathan has been destroyed and the entire group was wiped out, save for Jay, who brought that back with him," said Lily, looking at the twisted piece of metal that was what remained of Leviathan's collar sitting on the table in the middle of her hut.
"Is he all right?" asked Slasher.
"He's suffered a broken arm and is a bit shaken up, but other than that he's okay," she said. Sonic's head shook back and forth in his hands as he tried to take in what he had just heard.
"I just don't see how he could be destroyed," said Sonic. "I fought him once, and I know he can repair himself on the battlefield. How could they have stopped him?"
"I'm not sure," said Lily. "Jay said everything was going smoothly, but only a few minutes after they landed, everything broke into chaos. He managed to get to safety, but everyone else wasn't so lucky. Afterwards, he found Leviathan's collar and a few other parts of him smoldering among the wreckage of a hover-unit when he made a quick check before he left to see if anyone else had survived. My guess is that the hover-unit did a kamikaze run into Leviathan, blowing him to pieces."
"So that's it," said Tails, standing up out the chair he was seated at. "We're on our own now."
"Seems that way," said Lily. Tails gave a sigh, then turned to Slasher.
"You make that sound like a bad thing," said a voice from the window. Everyone turned to see Angel sitting on the window frame, arms wrapped around her knees with her head resting in them. She then turned, slid off the frame, and walked into the hut.
"How long have you been there?" asked Lily.
"Since we stated talking about this subject," said Slasher, who had witnessed her quiet entrance onto the windowsill and the conversation. Lily turned to Slasher, astonishment on her face.
"And you just let her sit there and listen?" she asked.
"She has a right to know, same as you or me," said Slasher. Lily sighed, knowing full well she had snapped without a cause to do so.
"You're right," she said before turning to Angel. "I am sorry for being angry at knowing you were listening. With Leviathan gone, I'm a little on edge about trusting new people. He could always tell if someone was legitimately on the level with us or not," Angel huffed, then shook her head.
"It's okay. I don't really care how you feel about my knowing or not," she said. "I just want to get this over with."
"There's still something that's been bugging me for a while now," said Lily. "Silver Sonic made a comment that he was surprised to see Saber, saying that the raptors had been killed some time ago. But if that's the case, what the heck was that thing that jumped us just before you guys showed up?" Saber suddenly gave a shrill cry in his own language, the first thing he had said since they had returned to Knothole. Not even waiting to see what anyone else did, he ran out of the hut, tail swishing back and forth in anger. Sonic watched him leave, then looked over at Slasher.
"What's wrong with him?" he asked. The older raptor shook her head.
"Isn't it obvious? Since he now knows that his friends and family are dead in this world, it has really upset him. He was not ready for this kind of thing," she replied, regret in her voice. She knew that he was upset, but he would have to find out how to deal with it on his own. She wanted to help, but he needed to learn how to deal with life's twists and turns without someone to take the pain away. At the window frame, Angel looked back to where the young raptor had left the hut, her body a little more tense than it had been a minute ago.
Saber ran down the path that led out of Knothole and into the Great Forest's northern area, ignoring the pain that was shooting through his patched up leg. He sighed as he let some of the tension drain from his mind. Running always helped to calm him down when things got bad, but this was a whole new level of both anger and sadness to him. As he dashed past the last lamppost that signaled Knothole's boarders, he slowed to a stop, breathing a sigh as he let himself calm down somewhat.
"I also think running is a good way relieve tension," said the voice from somewhere above him. Instantly snapping to attention, Saber looked up into the trees, recognizing the voice as belonging to Comet.
"Where are you," asked Saber, still scanning the trees for the source of the voice.
"I'm right here," said Comet as she flew off a branch that had been thick enough to hide her body from view. She flew down to hover next to him. "You seem upset."
"Yeah…Finding out your home is now a place of death will do that to one's self," he replied, teeth clenching as he thought about it, his eyes turning away from the chao.
"That's terrible," said Comet, her mind drifting off to somewhere else for the briefest of seconds after hearing Saber's comment. Collecting herself, she then landed on Saber's muzzle, giving it a soft squeeze. She then looked up at him as she sat on his nose. "Will you be okay?" Saber sighed, then nodded his head slightly.
"I will be. It's just something I wasn't ready for," he replied. He then smiled and turned back towards the village. "Thanks for your concern." Comet cracked a slight smile.
"You are quite welcome," she said before she lowered her head, looking away from Saber's eyes. "I just wish there was more I could do…"
"Don't let it bother you," said Saber as he started walking again. "It's not your problem." Still, Comet's demeanor had become almost solemn.
"You have no idea how wrong you are…" she whispered to herself.
After a few days of recuperating, Saber's leg had healed enough that he no longer had any pain when he ran or even did combat maneuvers. Tails had patched Cody up in no time, the robian feeling as physically good as the day he was roboticized. Sonic had also made numerous attempts to get Angel to tell him why she had mistaken him for someone else. But the pink furred echidna did nothing more than brush him off, which was causing him to become somewhat bitter towards her. And her attitude towards other people wasn't much better. Slasher and Lily, in the meantime, had been hard at work getting into contact with the other Freedom Fighter outposts as well as tracking down the other Timestones. Now that they knew where they were, all that was left was to make a plan.
"Are you sure the other six are up there?" asked Sonic, looking at the map Nicole was displaying in Lily's hut. The mini computer was displaying a sphere hologram of Mobius, but the six red dots indicating the remaining six Timestones were grouped close together above the area where Never Lake was located.
"No doubt about it. The rest of the Timestones are on Little Planet," said Lily as she closed the small computer, placing it back in her vest pocket.
"I wonder why they'd keep them up there," said Drake as he sat on top of a fully repaired Cody's shoulder.
"Probably to better safeguard them. A person has to get to Little Planet by air, thus making it impossible to not be noticed by radar," said Tails.
"Not a bad strategy at all," said Cody. "It gives the intruding force no element of surprise whatsoever."
"Which means they'll know we are coming," said Sonic in disgust. While he never was one for playing it safe, he knew taking risks in this version of Mobius like he normally would could spell disaster with a capital "D". He looked over at the two raptors standing at the window, both staring up at the night sky. He could only imagine what was going through their minds after the news that they had heard.
Then there was Angel, who was seated on the window opposite the one the two raptors were at. She was looking down at the ground outside with her eyes half closed as Comet sat in her lap, eyes closed as Angel petted her head softly. Sonic smiled to himself inwardly. He knew Angel cared for the small purple chao like a child, even if she was somewhat mean spirited towards her most of the time.
But Comet never once complained about Angel's attitude. She took it without a single comment, though her facial expression was a little harder to hide. Often it would hint towards disappointment or worry, but never anger. Sonic thought highly of Comet because of this and wished he could control his anger with the pink echidna better. Getting up from the table he was seated at, Sonic slowly walked over to Angel, trying not to make her feel uncomfortable.
"Hey Angel," said Sonic in a soft voice. Angel looked up from her thoughts with a glare.
"I was busy thinking about something," she growled softly before looking back out the window again. She then said in her normal tone, "What do you want?"
"I was wondering if I could borrow Comet for a second," he said. She looked up again with a look of suspicion on her face.
"What for?" she asked.
"I want to talk to her in private, if that's okay?" answered Sonic.
"About what?" she asked, still eyeing him.
"I just want to ask her a few questions. I don't think that can harm anything," said Sonic. He then caught the anger in his voice, and shrank away slightly. "I'm sorry. I didn't mean to get mad." Angel glared at him a few more seconds, Comet still sitting with her eyes closed in the echidna's lap. She then felt Angel's elbow nudge her in the side. She opened her eyes and flew up next to Sonic. Comet bowed her head to Angel. She then turned to Sonic.
"Shall we?" she asked. Sonic nodded and the two of them walked out of the hut. Lily watched the two of them walk out of the hut, then returned her attention to the discussion at the table. Outside, Sonic began to walk along the trail leading from Lily's hut to the main section of Knothole's residential housing. Almost everyone was asleep by now, the hour closing to midnight as the two ventured into Knothole's square.
"What questions do you wish to ask me?" asked Comet as she flew alongside Sonic. Sonic started to say something, but stopped short, trying to word it without offending Comet's friend. They started walking down the path that lead to the ring pool and it was several more steps before Sonic finally answered Comet's question.
"I want to know why Angel seems to have a problem with everyone here. She is bitter to most people, and those that she isn't bitter towards don't get any kind of response from her at all," said Sonic as he kept walking down the path, never taking his eyes from the path ahead. At this question, Comet breathed a small sigh.
"She is confused. She doesn't know how to coop with so many people around her, so she lashes out with anger," she said.
"She's used to living on Floating Island all alone, right?" asked Sonic. Comet merely nodded to this question. "So how is it that you don't seem to have any problem with her attitude? I've seen you take her temper without anger or complaint when she directs it at you."
"I know that she doesn't mean to be, even if she does come across that way," she said softly.
"I see…" he said, not sure if Comet really believed that or if she was just saying it out of loyalty to Angel. "I have another one that's been bugging me somewhat. Angel's ignored me about it, but maybe you can tell me. Who was it that she mistook me for when we first met?" he asked. Here Comet trailed off as she realized she was stepping into unstable territory, coming to a full stop in midair. Sonic stopped walking and looked over at Comet.
"What?" he asked. Comet shook her head slowly, her eyes trailing off to some other time and place as she stared out ahead of herself, tears starting to form in her black eyes.
"I can't answer that question," she whispered. Sonic was about to ask why when Comet flew ahead of him, crying softly to herself as she flew out over the ring pool at the end of the path. There she hovered a foot above the water, her face buried in her paws as she cried. Sonic walked slowly down the path and sat on the log facing the pool.
"Comet," said Sonic softly. When she didn't respond, Sonic called out her name again a little louder than before. This time, she looked over at him, tears still fresh in her eyes. "It's okay. I won't make you answer that question." Comet nodded slowly, sniffing as she wiped the tears from her eyes. Sonic patted the log he was sitting on. Comet cracked a slight smile and flew over next to him and sat down. They sat like this for a few minutes, neither of them saying a word.
"It's so beautiful," said Comet. Sonic looked down to find her looking up at the twin moons that had appeared through the clearing in the trees. He cracked a smile of his own as he looked up at the two moons above.
"That it is," he said in agreement. After a few minutes of looking at the moons, Sonic turned his attention to the ground. Finding a stone half the size of his fist, he picked it up and tossed it into the pool, watching the rings ripple from the point of the stone's impact. "So tell me," said Sonic as he turned to Comet, who was still looking at the moons with a smile. "Do you think Angel will lose the attitude and not be so agitated with everyone?" he asked. Comet's smile vanished instantly at the question and she looked down at the ground.
"I can not say. She's very on edge right now, but I can not tell you why," she said.
"It has something to do with that other thing, right?" asked Sonic. Comet nodded before she stood up and flew up into the air.
"I should head back. My mistress will be wondering what is taking me so long to return," she said as she turned towards the village. She started to take off when she felt Sonic's hand on her head.
"One more question," said Sonic. Comet turned towards him.
"Yes?" she asked. Sonic smiled as he shook his head, a slight hint of amusement in his voice.
"Why do you call Angel 'mistress'?" he asked. Comet smiled herself.
"It is a show of respect, nothing more," she said.
"Ah," said Sonic as he started walking back towards the village, Comet following behind him. "Just been wondering about that for a while now."