Stage 4 - After the Festival
Castle Town, Soleanna - September 20, X014, 8:59 AM UTC
After a night that had nearly ended in disaster and a relatively peaceful rest for Silver - something he had not had for the longest time, the morning sun had risen with its blessed light. Castle Town had suffered less damage than expected from the sudden attack, though some areas - particularly Sunlight Plaza - had to be blocked off to the public for the time being.
Currently, Silver was sitting quietly at a table just outside the cafe that Amy, the young hedgehog that had mistaken him for this Sonic character last night, had brought him to for breakfast and was trying to figure out how he would find the Iblis Trigger, since he had managed to elude him the night before.
The psychokinetic maintained his deafening silence when Amy suddenly asked, “Hey, Silver, what’s wrong? Aren’t you gonna drink that coffee over there?”
Jolted out of his train of thought, the grey hedgehog promptly turned to the mug containing the beverage that the pink hedgehog had just called ‘coffee’ in front of him, as well as a simple dish that he was unfamiliar with. “S-sorry... was just thinking about what to do for today,” he soon replied before taking a sip of the hot beverage. “I... I’m on a bit of a tight schedule, you see.”
“Oh, I see. Sorry for what happened last night, again,” the pink hedgehog apologized once more before returning her expression to a more cheerful one. “But as long as you’re here, try to relax a little. I’m sure it’ll help clear your mind, at the very least.”
“...right. Just relax,” Silver replied before taking a deep breath. A few minutes pass when the television not far from where they were sitting began to show what appeared to be a news report.
“This is a follow-up report on the catastrophic events that occurred at our very own Sunlight Plaza only last night,” the news reporter began on-screen. “We have received word from Prince Friedrich Luminosa, who was to relinquish the throne to Princess Elise Soleanna III as successor to the throne, that the man responsible for the attacks is a mad scientist known as Dr. Ivo Robotnik, otherwise known as Eggman.”
Silver continued to watch the report play in curiosity when the news reporter chimed in, “Many of our brave soldiers in the Soleanna Royal Guard, and especially our beloved Princess Elise, would not have lived to see the sun rise were it not for the efforts of the world-renowned hero, Sonic the Hedgehog.”
The psychokinetic’s eyes widened slightly upon hearing the reporter mention of the name of the hedgehog that Amy had mistaken him for. Roughly half a second later, he found his eyes widening even more when an image of the hedgehog, whom he immediately recognized as the same one he had nearly gotten the jump last night. Shit. Does this mean that the Iblis Trigger is this exact hedgehog that Amy talked about? he thought to himself, now trying to piece together his next move frantically.
“As we speak, the Soleanna Royal Guard, accompanied by the blue hedgehog and a certain two-tailed compatriot of his, are chasing after the perpetrator by the Wave Ocean Coast,” the reporter continued. “With this in mind, it would be advisable for citizens to either maintain caution around the area or depart as soon as possible.”
“Hey, if we leave now, we might be able to catch Sonic and Tails in the middle of their pursuit!” Amy exclaimed excitedly, while Silver gave no reply. “...y-y’know, so we can give him a hand and all that.”
“...just who exactly is this ‘Sonic the Hedgehog’ to you, Amy, if you don’t mind me asking?” the grey hedgehog finally asked after a brief pause. “What is it really that makes him the hero you and a lot of people see him as? ...I’m just curious is all.”
“Well, let’s see...” the pink hedgehog began, caught off-guard by Silver’s sudden inquiry. “Apart from him being quite the catch, there’s just something about his unrelenting determination to do what he believes is right and living as free as the wind that I find... inspiring. Even if he can be a little headstrong and cocky, it’s ultimately because of him that I want to become better, both as a fighter and as an actual person.”
The grey hedgehog continued to pay close attention to Amy’s words as she continued, “A lot of people call him a hero because of that very determination and bravery, and he certainly has the soul of a true hero as far as I know, but... this might just be nothing more than a hunch, but he doesn’t seem to be himself the last few times I saw him... he keeps shrugging it off like it’s nothing, but I feel that something’s up... and whatever it is, I want to help him out however I can.”
As Silver listened to what the pink hedgehog had to say, he eventually took note of some core similarities between the blue hedgehog he was out to kill and Solis - namely, how both of them fought for the greater good, and that they both had a determined spirit to forge on even when things got rough. Not to mention, both Sonic and Solis had inspired someone in some way - in this case, Amy and himself, respectively. Even so, the matter of the fact was that Sonic, the hero that people all over the world cheered for, was the Iblis Trigger and, therefore, the enemy he had to eliminate at all costs.
“I see...” the psychokinetic replied, having come to a decision. “Well then, what are we waiting for?”
Amy perked up upon hearing the grey hedgehog speak as he continued, “We can go catch up with Sonic if we head out now, like you said.”
“Wh-wha-!? ...b-b-but don’t you have your own matters to worry about?!” the pink hedgehog stammered, surprised at Silver’s offer.
“I can make time,” Silver replied back as convincingly as he could, knowing that he was essentially lying by this point. “Besides, you made that same offer to me last night. I just figured now would be a good time to repay your kindness.”
“O-oh, okay...! Um, in that case, follow me!” Amy cried in excitement before leaving some money to pay for their breakfast and rushing off towards the coast, while the grey hedgehog followed close behind.
You may mean a lot to the people of this time, and you may very well be as heroic as Amy says you are... Silver thought to himself rather grimly. But I know what I have to do... for the sake of the future, the Iblis Trigger must be eliminated!
Castle Town, Soleanna - September 20, X014, 10:47 AM UTC
It hadn’t taken long for Solis to make her way from the coastal area to the bustling districts of Castle Town. Admittedly, she had spent more time admiring the environment around her than actually looking for any leads regarding the Iblis Trigger as she made her way through the coast. Then again, she didn’t recall seeing any particular figures as she did so, so maybe she wouldn’t have found anything anyway.
Sadly for her, the lioness had seen no sign of Silver either and, upon arriving at the town, didn’t see the grey hedgehog anywhere in sight. “This whole ‘being separated’ business is starting to get annoying,” she commented as she took note of the fact. “I hope the two of us meet up again, and soon...”
As the heliokinetic had said that, she suddenly came to the realization that she never really did a whole lot without Silver by her side. Whenever something came up - primarily when Iblis himself resurfaced, she would usually go look for the grey hedgehog first rather than try and take on the threat by herself - like she did when they had fought off the infernal behemoth just before they had left.
“Maybe we got separated for a reason...” Solis muttered to herself, still thinking about what Silver was up to at that very moment. “...either way, I need to get moving. We’ve not a lot of time.”
With only a general idea of what to do, the lioness stepped foot into Castle Town and began her search for any useful information.
Castle Town was surprisingly larger than Solis had anticipated, though she thankfully had managed to avoid getting herself lost - mostly due to the very clear signage around the corners of the districts and the map of the town she had found shortly after entering. She had to admit that she was feeling quite curious at the moment, as she felt an urge to visit a lot of the landmarks on the map for a couple of reasons.
“Maybe I could go see this ‘Sunlight Plaza’...? ” the lioness quietly muttered to herself as she strolled along one of the alleyways, examining the map she had on-hand all the while. “...or maybe this museum. Looks interesting... oh, that castle looks like a nice place to visit!”
Solis continued to examine the map when she suddenly heard a voice loudly ring out from behind her, “Hey, you! I’ve got a couple of questions and you’re gonna answer ‘em!”
The heliokinetic promptly looked at the direction the voice had come from, and saw that standing there was what appeared to be a red echidna with a pair of white, mitten-like gloves, each adorned with two spike-like knuckles. “Sorry, but would you happen to be talking to me?” she asked in reply in a warm tone, trying to play dumb with the echidna.
“Of course, I’m talkin’ to you, and don’t try to play coy with me!” the echidna, Knuckles the Echidna, angrily replied. “I know you have something to do with those strange distortions I’ve been sensing since the other day!”
Strange distortions...? the lioness thought to herself as he eyes widened in reflex, recalling how she had felt strange when Mephiles had warped her, Silver, and himself to the computer room and then to this time period. Damn, so this loudmouth can sense them too - and from up to a much greater distance, I’ll take it.
“In case you haven’t noticed, I don’t have all day!” Knuckles growled once more, having noticed her reaction and now being even more sure of her involvement.
Solis maintained her silence for a few moments before finally answering, “Say I actually did have something to do with whatever you’re talking about, big guy. Why should I tell you anything?”
“‘Cuz if you don’t, I’ll be more than happy to force it out of you,” the echidna replied as he pounded his fists together, ready to fight it out if he had to. The lioness took note of her immediate atmosphere and soon recognized that a fight was brewing.
“Alrighty, then. Come and get it then,” Solis declared as she assumed a fighting stance. Right away, the echidna leapt forward as he wound up his fist for a mighty blow! The lioness was about to deflect it when she suddenly felt the raw force coming from Knuckles’ fist and, at the last possible moment, instead dove to her right. She then glanced at the small crater the incoming blow had left from the impact.
“Holy shit, he could have broken my arms,” the heliokinetic muttered to herself, her eyes wide with shock, immediately as the echidna rushed towards her with another strike, only for her to evade it. Solis continued to gracefully dodge Knuckles’ vicious rush before finding an opening and immediately breaking right through it with a brutal counterblow.
The echidna only slightly flinched from the lioness’ attack before lashing out with an uppercut with a mighty roar, launching her away on contact. Solis found herself grateful for her physical condition being as good as it was as she quickly regained her footing and landed cleanly on her feet before calling forth her Star-Blade.
“Guess I’ll have to take the initiative if I’m gonna get you off of my tail,” she remarked before firing off three waves of heat from her Star-Blade at Knuckles, who evaded them while rushing forward before launching himself forward with a lunging strike. The lioness managed to avoid the incoming blow by leaping high into the air before retaliating with a Comet Flare directly at the echidna’s direction!
“Shit!” Knuckles exclaimed as he reflexively blocked the attack, but still found himself knocked back a little from the impact. As he put down his guard, the echidna found the heliokinetic rushing right towards him before laying on the offensive again, which he managed to defend himself from quite well while getting some quick blows in.
The echidna had to admit, whoever this lioness was, she was a lot more skilled of a fighter than he had initially figured. She had a solid fundamental understanding of how to fight and appeared to be well-rounded in her skillset. However, if he could find even the slightest opening, he would be able to overwhelm her should he not give her the chance to retaliate! Just stay calm, Knuckles, pay attention to her movements, Knuckles thought to himself as he continued to trade blows with Solis, who soon appeared to be going for an overhead strike. There!
As the lioness came down with her attack, the echidna quickly sidestepped to her side and, after winding it up, unleashed a savage blow that sent her flying straight to the wall behind her, on top of nearly damaging some of her ribs. “Augh... freakin’ ow!” Solis struggled to speak as she slowly sat up, heavily breathing and grunting from the pain.
“Now, I don’t wanna do any more damage to you than I already have, so it’ll be easier for everyone if you just spill it now,” Knuckles began as he approached the injured lioness, who gradually grew desperate as she tried to find a way out. The echidna was about to take another step when he suddenly stopped in place and found himself struggling to move as he cursed, “W-what the hell...?!”
Solis found herself surprised at Knuckles’ sudden difficulty moving when the echidna seemed to regain his footing. After realizing that he could move freely again, he immediately broke into a mad dash for the lioness, who frantically thought, Shit, no!
Just as she had panicked once more, the echidna immediately stopped in place once more, this time even stumbling over a little. “Ugh, damn it!” Knuckles cursed once more, as his rage began to grow. “J-just... who are you?!”
As Solis heard the echidna ask her that, she immediately realized that the one responsible for his current state was actually herself. She then held out her hand so as to better focus herself on keeping Knuckles still. As the echidna took another step forward with visible difficulty, the heliokinetic immediately focused on whatever she was doing much harder, forcefully shoving him down on the ground and leaving visible marks on the ground around his immediate area. “H-holy hell, since when could I do that?!” she excitedly asked herself.
“Hey! What’s going on back there?!” another voice suddenly rang out a small distance away from them. Knuckles and Solis then promptly turned to where the voice’s general direction and saw what appeared to be one of the Soleannan guardsmen who, after quickly recovering from the shock of seeing the scuffle, reached for his communicator and spoke, “This is Sergeant Guido reporting, I’ve found two unknown individuals causing a commotion by one of the alleyways, over.”
“Mark your position and keep them there, Sergeant,” another voice spoke from the other end of the transmission. “We’re on our way, over and out.”
As the guardsman terminated his transmission, he pulled out his rifle and primed it to fire and chimed, “You have been found as the cause of a public disturbance! Let the red one go and keep your hands in the air! You too, red one!”
Dammit, what do I do?! Solis frantically thought to herself after a moment, having difficulty in coming to a decision as to whether or not she should comply with the guardsman as she continued holding Knuckles down. She tried to inch away slowly, only for the guardsman to immediately fire at the ground, intentionally missing her foot by an inch. “I said let the red one go and keep your hands in the air! I won’t tell you a third time,” he sternly warned the lioness, keeping his rifle aimed at her.
As she thought about it for another moment, Solis figured that she likely had no other choice but to run. As far as she knew, she couldn’t afford to delay herself by potentially getting herself locked up somewhere; she had a job to do, and she had little time to finish it. With little hesitation, she quickly released her hold on the echidna and deftly fired off a Comet Flare at the guardsman, who quickly reacted by generating a small shield in front of him, blocking the fiery projectile! Without another word, Solis promptly leapt on top of one of the buildings near her as she began to make her escape.
“Hey, don’t think we’re through just ye- AGH!” Knuckles immediately roared as she witnessed Solis’ getaway and attempted to give chase before being cut off by what appears to be a binding spell of sorts by the present guardsman. “Use of lethal force and an escape attempt? Tch...” he muttered to himself before reaching for his communicator again. “This is Sergeant Guido, reporting. One of the two perps is on the run. You’re looking for a bright orange lioness with a golden mane and a black-and-white outfit, over.”
“Roger that, Sergeant! In pursuit, over and out,” the guardsman on the other end immediately replied before cutting off the transmission. The guardsman then drags the currently-bound Knuckles along with him back to their headquarters, with the echidna struggling - and failing - to break free all the while.
-Silver: Stage 4 - End-
Previous Chapter: Stage 3 - Castle Town
Next Chapter: ???