The eleventh chapter of Book Three: The Invasion.

Chapter Eleven: Sorrow and Thought

Will tried to disappear into the background as he walked into the plaza set aside for the fighters, but as soon as he entered, people started screaming and yelling to each other as they saw what was cradled in his arms. As he walked, people parted before him to leave a path to the hospital, the bundle in his arms sliding a bit. As he entered the hospital building, a scream went up as Maddy spied him carrying the mortal remains of Kyle Prower, one of their oldest friends. She started to run towards him, but let him lay Kyle on a bed and cover his body in a sheet before wrapping her arms around him. To her astonishment, it was only a few seconds before her shirt started to feel damp underneath his head and muffled sobs were heard, and passers-by slowed to see the sight of a weeping echidna and his girlfriend. There were still tears in his eyes as a hand rested itself on his shoulders gingerly. Will straightened to as tall as he could, knowing precisely who it was from their touch. He turned and looked away from his best friend’s parents.

“Look at me, Will.” Tails commanded. Will did, turning to see the elder Prower with parts of his body bandaged and bits of fur missing, with Cream behind him, head bandaged tightly. Just as quickly as he turned to look at them, Will looked away. “I…I failed you. I could have saved him, but I…I wasn’t…I wasn’t fast or strong enough. I…” he managed to say, before a new wave of grief hit him and he staggered, catching himself on the edge of the bed in an attempt to stop himself hitting the ground. His leg ached were Daniel’s knife had cut it, Stave’s magic having faded away to nothing but a faint whisper, and Will’s own Chaos-enhanced healing wasn’t working, which Will took to be his body’s way of expressing grief by letting him wallow in pain. As he thought of the smiling platinum blonde hedgehog with the massive supply of throwing weapons, the grief renewed itself and he had to be guided into a chair by both Maddy and Cream. Tails bent, seeing not only the cuts on Will’s leg but the psychological trauma from seeing two people under his command, two of his friends, killed in action and another two beaten to a pulp. This was eating away at Will more than any physical pain could. Tails knelt so he was looking Will in the eye, and spoke with a soothing tone.

“Will, it’s not your fault. If anyone’s to blame, it’s the Moebian who did the deed. You did your best to save them, and we know that. We don’t blame you.” Will raised his eyes, so Tails could see how much pain and sadness was there, and Tails wasn’t disappointed. Will’s eyes were bloodshot and full of emptiness, the same thing Tails had felt when he believed Sonic was dead. Even so, he hadn’t seen Sonic ‘die’. He hadn’t seen it at all. Will had seen two of his friends die first hand, and that had to be traumatic.

“He was going to be a father,” the echidna murmured. Tails looked to Maddy and Cream for any ideas on whom he meant, but both faces were blank.

“Who was, Will?” Now the echidna’s eyes took on a sad light, and Tails found himself dreading the next few words to come from the young man’s mouth.

“Kyle was. He has a girlfriend up in the mountains near the Forest of Light. He would often Chaos Control there, saying he was going to help repair the town.” Indeed, Tails remembered Kyle doing just that, disappearing for days at a time to help out, not a common thing for a sixteen-year-old. This was a shock, though. Kyle had never mentioned a girlfriend, never mentioned that he was going to make both Tails and Cream grandparents. Now, he would never get the chance. A group of cats, lead by a black female wearing a jacket and tracksuit pants with a golden katana slung on her back, walked over. The lead girl bowed, and Tails recognized her from the last battle for Mobotropolis, one of the cats who accompanied Maddy and Kyle while Will was sick. He scanned his memory, and plucked her name out of a few hundred.

“My condolences, sir,” she said formally. Tails gave a sad smile.

“That’s alright, Kit.” She jumped, surprised that he would use her name, but gave a faint smile in return. She nodded to the other members of her party, including a familiar orange cat with long curved claws, and they turned to allow the cat within the middle of the group to come through. Maddy’s eyes widened. This cat wasn’t wearing makeup, and she wore maternity clothes, not the tight-fitting shirt and skirt she normally did. Her blonde hair and orange fur had a glow to them, and at that moment Maddy could feel her dislike for the girl leave her body.

“Crystal? Is that you?” she asked. The cat nodded, before turning to Tails and Cream.

“My name is Crystal. I am…was…Kyle’s girlfriend, and soon-to-be mother of his child. I had always hoped to be introduced to you, his beloved parents, but…” her voice trailed off, and both Prowers looked at each other in surprise. Crystal stepped forward and wrapped her arms around Cream and Tails, and the two realized just how close she had been to Kyle. Cream led Crystal to a chair, and the two started talking. Tails looked at Will, but saw a rapidly approaching red echidna and decided to leave him be. Instead, he looked at Kit and her team, and smiled as much as he could.

“I’ll take you to the tactical planning room, so we can brief you on all we know about the Moebians, and get you set up for the oncoming battle.” Kit nodded sagely, and followed the two-tailed fox away, her team following her. Will looked up, his body still hollow and depressed, only to find a red hairy wall in front of him. Knuckles hauled his son to his feet, and nodded to Maddy as he led his son away. She smiled sadly in return and left.

“Dad…” Will started, not sure what to say. Knuckles responded with a pat on the back for his son, stopping in a quiet part of the grounds around the hospital.

“I understand. I sensed the entire thing with the Master Emerald.” Will nodded, before he remembered a major detail.

“After he died, something changed in my eyes! I could see energy and time all at once!” Will turned to his father, who sighed.

“Thought this would happen. What you awakened was Sharingan Eyes. They are an ability passed down through the Knuckles Clan, unlocked through grief and extreme emotion.” Knuckles watched Will’s face for any questioning, but Will just nodded, his face still empty. Knuckles shrugged, then continued. “There are three stages of the eye. What you unlocked is the one easiest to unlock, the standard Sharingan. This is unlocked through intense rage, sadness or any other negative emotion, but can be accessed at any time afterwards. It sees energy, and can see thirty seconds forward in time if wished. It also copies techniques, either as they are used or through the future sight.” Knuckles closed his eyes, then opened them again to reveal a pair of red eyes, the pupils split into three-point pinwheels. “The next phase is the Mangekyo Sharingan, unlocked through the loss of someone close to you. These, I unlocked when my father died, after I was Enerjak.” Again, Knuckles closed his eyes, opening them to show the change. The pinwheels had connected, and now branched further out in a shuriken-style shape, still with only three points. “This version has enhanced abilities, in that it can see up to an hour ahead in time, and can use it’s own attacks, like Amaterasu, Tsukiyomi and Kamui. I feel that you awakened both first and second phase eye when Kyle died. There’s a third kind when two Mangekyo eyes are combined, called an Eternal Mangekyo Sharingan, but I don’t have access to it.” Again, Knuckles stopped, awaiting a response, but Will remained silent for a little while. His father sighed, then continued walking towards the Master Emerald’s current shrine. Will finally found some of his old self and spoke.

“So, you think I’ve unlocked the first two forms of eye?” It wasn’t much, but Knuckles was relieved as they rounded the corner to see home, the house Will had grown up in and the Master Emerald’s current shrine. Knuckles shrugged. Once this whole saga was over, he’d move the Emerald back to Angel Island and take apart the Fake Chaos Emerald array currently holding it afloat.

“That’s just it. Now, we’ve got time. How about I teach you how to use these eyes before the battle starts?” Will smiled, a faint little crease in his muzzle, but he nodded and Knuckles’ smile broadened.

“Let’s get started.”

Scourge stood proud in the current base camp. Around him were all seven Mobian Chaos Emeralds. He could feel their power, but he suppressed the urge to transform straight away. Instead, he watched Striker. For once, the young echidna had his helmet off as he cleaned the eye covers. This, in itself, was unusual. Most of the time, the two separate eye-covers would stay clean, even when the rest of the armor was dirty. The fact that there was dirt on the lenses was something Scourge felt like asking about, but he knew the reason why Striker was cleaning the lenses. Training and maintaining his armor was his way of coping with stress, and the blue echidna had more than enough stress in his life after fighting his counterpart. Scourge knew why that was an issue for the teen. Striker had believed that all Moebians were superior, and so when he had been perfectly even with his counterpart, someone so perfectly matched to his own skills that it was perfectly even, with neither fighter going all out, that his mind had to be rolling like a stormy sea. Scourge turned away and froze when he saw Miles standing directly in front of him.

“Don’t do that!” Scourge shouted, backpedaling a step. Miles frowned apologetically, before speaking.

“Sir, I understand the plan, but what if the AI manages to get a Nanite field up between us and the city? That force field has stopped entire armies before, and we have no electrokinetic soldiers to spare.” Scourge gestured to the large supply of power items they had amassed.

“You know how to use a Chaos Control Field, do so. Sparkle, Navy and any of the other Chaos-wielders amongst us could assist.”

“Ah, I see. Thank you, sir. How soon until we attack?” Miles asked, bowing as far as he could.

“We attack when they least expect it. They shall know fear, and it shall be us to provide it!”

Dramatis Persona

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