And, after a long break, presenting chapter three!

Chapter Three: Reception

The decision to hold the reception in the castle ballroom was an unusual one, but at the same time it was valid. Members of Freedom Fighter units world-wide, the Chaotix as an entirety, G.U.N. representatives, the Acorn and Dragon Kingdom royal families, the Editors and more. All in the one place. Normally, such an event would have every attendee on their best behavior, but this wasn’t a royal marriage in the traditional sense. It was the union of two of the most powerful bloodlines of Mobius – the Knuckles Clan and Sonic’s family. As such, rules went out the window as the guests celebrated. At first, the party was rather tame, with a green and gray hedgehog bustled around in the kitchen with an army of chefs supporting him.

“Flab, we need three more meals for table eight.”

“Another serve of seafood for table twenty!”

“We’ve got a bat putting a dent into the alcohol! My gods, how much can a single woman drink!” the hedgehog grinned, his mind picturing the glorious roast ham he had prepared himself as an incentive not to eat the meals he was cooking. Slow-roasted, just the way he liked it. However, his enraptured fantasy was shattered by a repetitive tapping on his forehead.

“Moron, get a move on. You still have a lot more to cook.” An orange hedgehog with ridiculous hair and a formal suit stood in front of his vest-wearing friend, wine in one hand, the other raised and ready to resume prodding. His eyes were hidden behind a pair of dark goggles, but Geoff was never known to be subtle.

“Sure, Geoffrey.” Flab sighed and resumed his cooking work, the ham settling back into his mind. With that side job done, the obnoxious hedgehog returned to the party.

As the rumor said, Rouge was indeed putting a dent in the alcohol supplies, mostly in challenge with men who underestimated the buxom young bat. Of course, in her tight purple dress, none were exactly fully focused on drinking, to put it one way. After a while, Ronan ventured over to join her.

“Impressive how much you’ve put away, Rouge. Still, I guess this stuff is somewhat…light.” The bat shot him a glare.

“Excuse me? How is vodka light?” The Col’nesian responded with a tooth-laden grin, but directed his next request at the cat behind the bar.

“Bartender, bring out a bottle of Cy’rian Malt. I know you have quite a few back there, I supplied them.” With a polite nod, the feline vanished for a few seconds, before returning with a sizable bottle of whiskey and a couple of glasses. Ronan poured the malt carefully, and offered a glass to Rouge.

“Be warned, this is stronger than your Mobian vodka. Heck, it’s strong by Col’nesian standards.” The white bat accepted the glass, and took a sip. She smiled appreciatively.

“Ah, Cy’rian Malt. Shadow and I have a bottle or two at home. I won’t be able to win any drinking contests with it, but it’s a good drink to unwind with. Come, Ronan, tell us of your world, and of the other wonderful alcohol kinds you have there.” The black fox smiled and smoothed his lapel.

“Ah, now where shall I begin…?”

On the dance floor, Maddy and Will stood, their eyes locked together in an unblinking gaze, their arms around one another. The music played; a slow waltz of Albion, and the two danced. The normally heavy-footed echidna seemed to have a light grace that his muscular frame hid from common view, while his new wife was as even and gentle on her feet as always. As they danced, they were oblivious to the dozens of eyes on them, especially the tear-filled eyes of Amy Rose, which had barely dried once since the ceremony. As the music drew into a climax, the two stepped towards each other for a kiss, and the crowd fawned over the beauty of young love. Manic grasped the hand of Jayme, Sally Acorn’s eldest daughter, and led her away from the party, over to a small balcony just outside the first floor. As always, he had the swords at his side, but in this case, his nervous hands were playing with a small box inside his pocket. The graceful chipmunk looked at him, confusion written on her face.

“Jayme… over the past few years, we’ve grown really close. I don’t really know how to say it, but you’ve become a part of me, one I never want to let go.” As he spoke, the box emerged in his hands. “Ah, look at me. I’m pathetic with words. I’m no diplomat; I’m a knight in the service of royalty, of your uncle. And here we are, at the wedding of my younger sister. What I’m trying to say is…” Manic’s voice failed him for a few seconds, so he made up for it by lowering himself to one knee, Jayme’s right hand gently cradled in his left as his right hand sprung the box open.

“Manic…” the princess, resplendent in her pale blue bridesmaid’s clothes, smiled faintly, her eyes glittering as she realized what was happening, as she saw the sparkling stone set in the golden ring before her.

“Will you marry me?” his voice faded away once more, but this time there was no fear in his eyes when he looked up from her hand into her face.

“Of course, Manic! Of course I will!” In the span of half a second, the ring was on her finger, and the happy couple was in each other’s arms. Of course, the tearful eyes of Amy tuned into this sight, and she started sobbing again, leaving Sonic perplexed and with a struggle on his hands to calm her down again.

Tails nudged Cream, both of whom had red faces from drinking.

“Shall we, y’know, vanish behind closed doors and…?” Tails cleared his throat. Cream smiled slyly and grasped her husband by the collar.

“You got it, honey.” The feisty young rabbit then dragged the twin-tailed fox into a previously closed door in the hall, a path that led down to a bedroom. Of course, this passage was unfortunately viewed by Cookies. The inquisitive young girl vanished towards the door after her parents. This was followed barely a minute later by the rabbit running back into the room as fast as her dress would allow, eyes wide and skin pale. This disturbance was noticed by Ronan, who stepped into the path of the Mobian lass.

“What’s wrong, Cookies?” As Ronan was her father’s friend, Cookies managed to gain enough control to whisper into his ear exactly what she’d seen. At first, his face was dark, but he broke into a grin and turned to the bartender again.

“We need a really small amount of the Cy’rian Malt added to a chocolate malt milkshake, so this girl can get her head straight.”

“I can’t drink, Mister Ronan, I’m sixteen.” The fox smiled knowingly at the rabbit’s moral strength and naivety, although she was still pale with shock.

“You just saw your parents making another baby. I think this counts as an emergency situation, and as such, you need a little thing called alcohol to make you forget.” Of course, Ronan saying that lead the guests around him, including Rouge and Knuckles, to burst out laughing at the teen’s misfortune. By that point, the milkshake was finished and the cat handed it to Cookies with a knowing wink. Without a second thought, the rabbit started to drink, and slowly lost the pale quality to her skin.

“More please.”

Shadow looked testy. It was to be understood, he was a soldier, not a socialite. Even the brief catfight between Sally Acorn and the cat Blaze over wearing the same dress (which resulted in Sally’s being burned and shredded in numerous places) failing to lighten his mood. This was taken by the people around him to be his self-enforced sobriety fighting against his urge to drink. This was close to the truth. In his mind, Shadow yearned for alcohol, for a cigarette, for some kind of drug. The party was hell for him. However, Rageik’s control was absolute. Shadow could no less walk over and order a drink than he could twitch his pinky finger. Meanwhile, Rageik was fuming over the delay in his plans. Nazo and Mephiles were taunting him, trying to make him angry through the small Demon communicator in his ear. He could hear them mocking his lack of action, the lack of any force to bring his plans forward. The insults about how he went to a party when he could have led the mercenaries against it himself. Finally, he could take no more and delivered a sharp punch into a stone column next to him. This shattered the support, breaking a large portion of the column away. This caught the eye of Knuckles and Sonic, both of whom moved to talk to him. However, it was Silver who reached him first, a tankard of beer in hand.

“Shadow? What’s gotten into you? I think King Acorn is calling for security to remove you from the castle, so if I was you, I’d either apologize or leave under my own will.”

“Hmph. You were always a coward, Silver.”

“What?” Of course, now that Rageik could see a method to start his plans, he took it. The first punch took Silver in the gut, doubling the hedgehog over. The second slammed into the side of his nose. A third rammed into the center of the time-traveler’s forehead, flipping him onto his back. The tankard shattered as it hit the ground, sending the dregs of beer that hadn't soaked Silver all over the floor. Rageik finished the fight by stomping on the hedgehog’s chest, winding him and cracking a few ribs in the process. Of course, all of this was observed by the others, who raced over to stop him. However, without a word, Shadow simply vanished with a single Chaos Control.

“What got into him, I wonder?” Knuckles murmured, helping Silver onto his feet. The gray hedgehog’s nose was dripping blood, and was clearly broken. He was struggling to breath, and he looked only semi-conscious. Sonic stepped forward and took off his jacket, which he handed to a now tear-less Amy.

“I’ll take him down to the hospital, then I’ll see if I can find Shadow and kick some sense into him. Sorry to have to run, but…” Amy looked forgiving as Will and Maddy both raced over. Instantly, Maddy began to look for water, but Sonic waved her off.

“It’s your wedding, no magic healing or whatever. I’ll deal with this.” As he spoke, he slung Silver over his shoulder and vanished in a blur. Will and Knuckles exchanged a look, but they both shrugged.

“On with the party?” Knuckles suggested, and Will nodded. “Guess so.”

Blood focused himself. He steadied his hands. And, with a resounding noise, he knocked the drink out of his sister’s hand with a single poke. BloodSonya turned and glared at him.

“Really, Blood? We’re going to start this now?”

“It’s always a good time to annoy a sibling. Now, if you’ll excuse me…” With that, the ancient hedgehog took off running, his twin tearing after him, hands out-stretched ready to strangle him.

Of course, by sunrise the next morning, quite a few people were still there, although of them a number were passed out by the bar. Ronan wasn’t one of them, having left in the early hours of the morning to return to Col’nesia. Nor was Rouge, who had departed to find her husband. However, Blood was still there, his body on one side of a plasterboard wall, his head on the other. “Aw, lighten up, Sonia. It was just a prank…” he murmured, dazed and half asleep. The cleaners shook their heads – next time, they wouldn’t let a wedding reception between heroes happen here. One between royalty was hard enough.

Dramatis Persona

list pending

Author's Note's not as interesting as I would have hoped, nobody suggested ideas for what to happen in there so I had to make it up as I went. Which, as you can see, only slightly worked.

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