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The third chapter of Book Three: The Invasion.

Chapter Three: Freedom for the Innocent

Shadow and Shade sat in the trench Knuckles and Will had dug for them, watching the prison. Rouge and Bianca weren’t to far away, about five hundred meters away in the dirt. Will and Knuckles were underground somewhere, tunneling under the prison to try to find an entry point. Shadow sighed.

“What’s on your mind, Dad?” Shade asked, still full of youthful energy. Shadow smiled, admiring his son’s tenacity, before responding.

“I’m not as young as I used to be. I mean, I can’t sit in a trench for hours without getting a little stiff in the old joints. If only we got the signal to proceed with freeing Ronan.”

“Signal?” Shade asked, confusion evident on his face. Shadow opened his mouth to speak, but it was that moment that Knuckles and Will both emerged from the ground, sending a spray of dirt straight into his mouth, making him gag. He glared at the two echidnas as he dry-heaved and spat to get the dirt out of his mouth.

“I hate you so much right now. What’s the news?”

“Well, there’s a major problem: a stone floor. Will and I could break through, but it will be noisy. Also, there are signs of a LOT of echidnas having been here recently. I counted almost thirty different tunnels that we passed, and some of them were still occupied.” Knuckles said, while Will just yawned, his red-rimmed eyes showing how tired he truly was. Shade motioned to the girls, who crawled over as quick as they could.

“Basically, we can’t get in from below without making a tonne of noise, and we can’t go in the front door because that’s kind of foolish.” Shade explained, but stopped when he noticed Shadow and Knuckles grinning. “What is it? Was it something I said?”

“Yeah. We go in through the front door. Chaos Shroud! Knuckles, Will and I go in with Chaos Shroud, grab Ronan, and get out by any means possible, which is likely just Chaos Control. How does that sound?”

“Good, aside for the part that you left three of us out. I can’t use Chaos powers, so that makes sense, but Shade and Bianca can. They’re our protégé’s, Shadow. Our children. They should go with you.” Rouge pressed, and Knuckles saw Shadow mull it over. He turned to see Will, but Will was already halfway invisible. Knuckles started to let himself become almost ghostly, as Shadow continued the debate with his wife. Quickly, Knuckles was ready. He moved silently, and could see a very pale washed-out Will beside him, pacing him. The two of them reached the door at the very same moment that the wall practically exploded no more than five meters away from the father-son team. Astonished, the echidna duo dropped their Chaos Shrouds in a scene that made no sense to any of them. All around the place, armed foxes, echidnas, wolves and more exotic species appeared, pointing guns at the towers. Out of the hole walked a single black and red hedgehog at the lead of a group of armored echidnas and a single black and green fox towards the back, calmly and arrogantly smoking a cigar.

“Ronan!” Will exclaimed, stunned but not surprised to see the fox in the middle of all this carnage.

“This is more like it! Two rescue attempts simultaneous…or just about. Hang on; it’s been six months!” Ronan turned angrily to the hedgehog amongst the soldiers. “You better have an explanation, Tritec, or my mood will be spoiled.”

“Sir, we would have been here sooner, but we were invaded by an echidna in golden armor and a group of raggedy soldiers.” Will stood, astonished as the hedgehog continued, “They attacked the mine, then one of our storage facilities. Surprisingly, it was the one that held the Exa-Diamond and the ETD.”

“ETD?” Shadow asked, overcoming the surprise of having an armed fox and echidna appear right next to him.

“Energy Transference Device. This isn’t good. I’m going to have to keep my revenge on Sally Acorn until later. Right now, we need to get to Castle Acorn, as soon as possible. If I’m right, than this world is going to be hit by an assault force. Tritec, take most of our forces back to Col’nesia and help out any repairs and such. Those you leave, come with me. We’re going to need to persuade the king of the Acorn Kingdom that there is a serious threat on it’s way, and that defenses need to be set.” Ronan started to order, but the hedgehog just nodded, setting up a single device on the ground. He depressed a few buttons, and a large orange portal appeared from it.

“Vorstec Portal open. Right, Brigades Four through Twelve, come with me home. Elite Brigade One and Brigades Two and Three, stay with the commander.” Tritec commanded, with majority of the soldiers except a couple of groups of echidnas, foxes and Arctic Wolves staying behind. Will walked over to Ronan, treading lightly, almost fearfully towards the fox. “Ronan, I had a dream where that same echidna raided another world for its Chaos and Master Emeralds. They knocked out the equivalents of some of us, and said to me that we are soon.” Will admitted, not letting Ronan know just how startled he was.

“I know. I had a similar dream while in prison. I saw my people fighting, and losing against wave after wave of beings, lead by an echidna. I don’t know why I passed it off, except I thought that it was a metaphor or a future event, not one concurrent with the time I was in. Still, we better ready your people, because I feel that what you saw was right, and Mobius will be attacked soon. We just have to be ready for it.”

“And if we aren’t?” Will asked, starting to feel the sinking feeling that he already knew what Ronan was going to say.

“If we aren’t, we better put up a damn good fight. They beat the guardian and my armies. Who knows what they’ll do with you.”

Dramatis Persona

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