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The second to last chapter of the story.

Last chapter was sad in one regard, but maybe this might make things... a little better.

Chapter Six

Silver frowned slightly, fingering his glass nervously. Something was nagging him, but he didn't know what at first. It was like a flea on a dog, almost.

"Heya, Silver! Hi, Clara!" Sonic greeted, smiling.

Silver only gave a hardly noticeable nod in response.

Clara smiled, waving at Sonic.

"How do you two like the party?" Sonic asked, walking over to the time-traveling duo.

"So far, I really like it." Clara replied.

Silver shrugged and said, "A bit too much vodka."

"Vodka?" Sonic asked, looking at him weirdly.

"Never mind. Other than that, it's great."

Clara took a sip of her drink, placing the glass down on the nearest table. She glanced at Silver, eventually noticing he looked... troubled.

"Are you alright?" she asked.

Silver absent mindedly traced the rim of his glass and replied after a moment, "I was thinking about Kara-Ne and Rose. I mean, I know Rose is okay but... we still lost a friend today. And almost lost three friends. Is it really worth it? To change history? I mean..."

Clara placed a hand on Silver's shoulder. "I'm sure Kara-Ne is in a better place now."

Sonic nodded in agreement.

At another table, Hikaru was dejectedly staring at her own glass and absently mindedly fiddling with her necklace.

Sonic noticed and asked, "Hikaru, you okay?"

Silver noticed as well, but did not move from where he was. Clara, in a way, reminded him of Blaze... and there was the pain from that old scar yet again. "Don't think about her right now. She's gone, just as Kara-Ne is, and..."

Hikaru looked up from staring at her glass. "I'm fine, just... you know..."

"Kara-Ne's death." It was more of a confirmation than anything else. "I didn't know her as well as you did... but I'm sure that she wouldn't want you to be in the dumps like this."

Hikaru soon noticed someone approaching and asked, "Who is that?"

Sonic looked and saw a female echidna approaching the table. "I don't know..."

As the echidna got closer to the table, Hikaru noticed she looked like a much older version of Kara-Ne; same fur color and all, although her dreadlocks were much longer. She was wearing a dress colored in various shades of violet and black shoes with slightly high heels.

Sonic thought for a half-second that the echidna was Kara-Ne, but then realised it wasn't her.

"...Kara-Ne?" Hikaru asked. The echidna stared at her like she was blind.

"It's not her," Sonic whispered quietly.

The echidna stopped a few feet away from the table. After a few minutes, she curtsied and said, "Hello."

Tyron, who was sitting on his still-recovering mother's back, turned to face the older echidna. His eyes lit up, then started to squeal loudly, but it was soon silenced by a nudge to the chest by Rose.

Sonic nodded and said, "Hi." He gestured to Hikaru and said, "This is Hikaru. I'm Sonic. And you are?"

Tyron jumped off Rose's back, running over to the stranger, yelping excitedly. He pounced onto the echidna's leg, wagging his little tail.

The echidna stared at Tyron, wondering why he was on her leg. She shrugged, figuring it was none of her concern.

She looked back at Sonic and said, "My name is Sari-Ne."

Hikaru stared at her upon hearing the echidna's name, surprised. 'Sari-Ne'? She has the same two-letter suffix Kara-Ne does...

"Are you related to Kara-Ne or something?" Sonic asked. "'Cause the resemblance... wow... and you have the same two-letter suffix as her too..."

"Don't all echidnas do?" Tyron's telepathic voice asked. The small griffin let go of Sari-Ne's leg, "I thought you were Kara-Ne," he admitted.

Sari-Ne tilted her head to one side, curious. "You knew my daughter?"

"Wait... you're her mother?" Hikaru asked the older echidna. Sari-Ne turned to look at the kitsune girl and nodded in response to her question.

"I guess that explains a lot," Tyron said. He then frowned at the thought of Kara-Ne. Even though he didn't know her much, the young mythic was sad that his friends were sad.

"Well this is... something else..." Sonic commented, wondering how Sari-Ne would react to the news of her daughter's death.

Sari-Ne frowned and asked, "Did something happen to her?"

Sonic was startled by the fact that Sari-Ne guessed that so quickly. "Sari-Ne... your daughter... Kara-Ne... she sacrificed herself... I..."

Sari-Ne's eyes widened, a look of sadness on her face. A moment later, Hikaru got up from the table and went somewhere else.

Hecate, who was in the corner of the room sipping on a glass of wine, was eavesdropping on the conversation. Her right ear was held high, listening to what Sonic, Hikaru, and Sari-Ne were saying.

Sonic was startled yet again, this time by Hikaru's sudden departure. He had a feeling that he knew where she went, but he didn't follow her. She needed to be alone.

Clara noticed Hikaru walking off somewhere and decided to follow her.

________________________________________________________________________________________

Sonia noticed Hikaru walking away from the party and she frowned. Where was she going?

Clara stopped following the kitsune girl, turning away and noticing Sonia. The echidna waved to the princess and decided to talk to her. She walked over to Sonia.

"Hi Clara," Sonia greeted, smiling. But it was clearly a fake smile and it didn't cover up her sadness.

"Hey," Clara replied.

"Did you notice Hikaru leaving earlier?" Sonia asked, attempting to make conversation. "Should've asked something else, dang it!" Sonia thought.

"Yeah." said Clara. "I wonder why..."

"Probably taking it a lot harder than the others," Sonia responded, fiddling with her watch. "Gosh darn watch never works right," she thought. "I hope Hikaru is going to be okay."

"Yeah, most likely." Clara replied. "Talk to you later."

She quickly went to follow Hikaru.

Sonia followed Clara after a moment of consideration, still fiddling with her watch.

________________________________________________________________________________________

Sonia's feet hit the concrete sidewalk as she followed Clara across the street, wondering where the female echidna was going.

Clara didn't say anything for awhile, until she suddenly stopped. Recognition flickered across her face. "Why here, of all places?"

Sonia stopped, looking at the wreckage all over the street. Some of the buildings were completely decimated, leaving her completely dumbfounded.

Hikaru was standing near one of the decimated buildings, gazing at one area.

Clara sighed, sitting down. "Let's wait here for a little bit."

"She is very upset about losing someone important to her. I know how it feels..."

Hecate was standing inches away from Clara and Sonia, her milky red eyes seeming to glow.

Sonia was doubly startled. For one, she didn't know that Clara knew Sonia was following her. And Sonia herself didn't know that Hecate had been following them.

Hikaru closed her eyes and started singing.

"As the sun goes down,

A day ends forever,

All seems well, as the whole is still there,

But every day there must be a wish to safe passage,

Because death do many apart in the end,

So adieu, adieu,

And may you find yourself."

Tears started flowing down Clara's face as soon as the song ended. Annoyed with herself, she promptly wiped the tears away.

Sonia was very moved as well as surprised. She never knew Hikaru could sing like that.

Hecate's blank stare turned to a frown. She could sense the sadness in Hikaru's voice. In her soul. If Hecate could bring Kara-Ne back, she would. But not even her magic was that strong.

Sonia, trembling nervously, stepped forward slightly. "Hikaru?" Her voice sounded as fragile as glass.

Hikaru turned around, hearing Sonia's voice. "Oh, hey..."

Hecate stood idle, staring blankly at Hikaru, as if she wasn't even there.

Clara stood up, leaning against the nearest wall.

"That song was beautiful," Sonia spoke quietly, putting her hand on Hikaru's shoulder. "I'm sure that she would have liked it very much."

Hikaru smiled, albeit a sad smile. "Thank you..."

Hecate stopped staring, her expression going from surprised to slight joy. She knew something the others didn't.

Sonia hugged Hikaru tightly, unaware of the salty tears streaming down her own face.

Hikaru was surprised at first, hugging Sonia back after a few minutes.

Hecate felt tears forming in her eyes. She whiped them away, her ear twitching.

"HEY YOU GUUUUUUUYS!" A voice yelled from above.

Clara sighed in annoyance, glaring at whoever spoke.

Spinel landed on the ground. Well, more like crashing into a piece of debris before rolling a few times and landing on his face, then standing up and acting like it never happened. "What the heck happened here?" He asked.

Hecate gave the young hedgedragon a rough and stern glare, as if saying "now is not the time."

"Oh!" Hikaru stopped hugging Sonia, patting her on the head and glancing at Spinel and saying, "I'd tell you, but I think you're a little young to know."

"I'm nine," Spinel replied blankly. "Did it have to do something with a giant bird?" He asked.

"'Giant bird'?" Hikaru commented with a chuckle. "Yeah, but we managed to defeat it. Took awhile, though."

Then the kitsune frowned and asked, "Wait, how did you know about that?"

"Pretty echidna lady told me," Spinel replied. "Met her on my way home from Fox Girl's house."

Clara walked over to where Hikaru and Sonia were and said, "Describe her, please."

"Well, she had bright red fur, beautiful but mischievous violet eyes, and was wearing a maid outfit," Spinel said, counting a clawed finger every time he listed a quality.

Hikaru frowned. She turned to Sonia and asked, "Sonia, does that sound familiar to you in any way?"

"That sounds like Misty-Re. I used to call her Auntie Misty-Re," Sonia thought aloud. "Guess she went undercover again?"

Hecate stood with her arms crossed and eyes closed. "Why don't we ask Silver or Sonic?" She suggested.

Sonia snickered slightly. "If we asked Silver, boy would he be embarrassed. Dad might know more, I'm sure."

Hikaru nodded in agreement to Sonia's comment.

Hecate smiled slightly, "Let's not keep your father waiting then," she turned and started towards Castle Möbius, then craned her neck to look at Spinel. "Mr. Spinel, would you mind coming with us?" She asked. The hedgedragon shook his head, "Not at all!" Then bounded towards the castle on all fours.

Clara sighed and ran in the direction of Castle Mobius. Hikaru followed her, though not before motioning for Sonia to follow.

________________________________________________________________________________

Tyron's head jerked towards the doorway when Hecate, Clara, Hikaru, Sonia, and Spinel entered the room. He thought nothing of them, instead curling back up into a comfortable position on Rose, who was asleep.

"Dad?" Sonia addressed quietly, trying not to wake Rose.

Sonic apparently had been playing some card game with Silver. He looked up at Sonia and said, "Hey, what's up?"

Hikaru walked quietly, so as to not wake Rose. "I think we have a problem." she said quietly.

Spinel stepped out from behind Hecate. "Spinel here may have had a run-in with the echidna named Misty-Re. Know anything about her?" The sorceress asked.

Sonic almost laughed, but kept it down and replied, "Yeah. She was one of our maids, or so we thought, for two years. Misty-Re apparently worked for King Shadow and had been spying on us. She got caught red-handed after blasting Mr. Time Traveler in the face with a gas gun."

"Hey!" Silver exclaimed indignantly. "It wasn't my fault she had a gas gun hidden under a cloth on a silver platter. Literally."

"Didn't she escape from prison a few years back?" Sonia asked, ignoring Silver.

"Probably," Sonic spoke. "Which would explain the run-in."

Hikaru tried not to laugh at Sonic's "Mr. Time Traveler" remark. Clara, on the other hand, glared at the blue hedgehog for said remark.

"Do ya have a thing for him?" Spinel poked Clara in the back. That question certainly came out of nowhere.

"Why you little-!"

Silver (who was fiercely annoyed by now) was interrupted by Sonic asking, "What exactly happened during your run-in anyway, Spinel?"

Spinel gave Clara a cocky grin before turning to Sonic. "Well, I was the one who ran into Misty-Re. Literally. I sent her faceplanting to the ground, which threw back the cloak hood she was wearing," he started.

"Go on." said Hikaru.

"When we got up, I apologized. I saw something hidden under her cloak, and being the nosy kid I am, I tried draining some information out of her," Spinel continued. "All I got out of her was the name 'Lunar Phoenix.'"

"What direction was she headed in?" Sonia asked.

"She was heading towards Mobotropolis. I don't know why, though," Spinel said.

"She might have information on King Shadow's whereabouts!" Sonic exclaimed. "What are we waiting for? Let's get moving, Freedom Fighters!"

But finding the elusive King Shadow would be a more difficult task than they thought. And perhaps the treacherous tyrant had a new plan up his sleeve, one that may affect the fate of the entire planet. The group would need all the help they can get...

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