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This roleplay is currently Free join. Keep in mind that if I get continuous god-modding and drastic plot-stealing/altering, I will kick the offenders and restrict the RP to those I invite.

Plot

The Aphotic Orb, the object representing the God of Darkness, Voidstar, is said to be hidden deep within the Fearful Caverns, the home of the Dark Clan of Voidstar. The caverns run far deeper than most people see, but access to these deeper areas is prohibited by the Clan themselves, due to how hazardous the terrain is.

This does not halt the growing interest in the Orb, particularly from the likes of Dr. Eggman, who wishes to acquire the Orb for himself, in order to finally complete his latest creation; the Egg Chameleon, a sinister mecha designed to be fueled by darkness. Conquering the Fearful Caverns and the Dark Clan, to take advantage of the supposed mountains of Tenebrite hidden within the caverns, as well as take a good amount of prisoners, is his other goal.

Rules

  1. Stick to the plot. Do not alter it to revolve around your character, do not change it drastically, etc.
  2. No Godmodding. You should all know what this means; no auto-hitting, no random attacks, no constant avoidance of damage, etc
  3. No Trolling.
  4. No picking random fights with others.
  5. Do not just randomly jump into a scene. Either ask, or build up your arrival accordingly (I.E "Suddenly, such and such and such" or "Meanwhile, somewhere else blah blah blah")
  6. No hogging all the glory.
  7. No controlling other users' characters without their permission.
  8. Canon characters are allowed. Please make sure to not have them steal the show, however.
  9. Put effort in your posts. I mean it; none of this "Person: Shadow Ball! *uses Shadow Ball*" crap.
  • Acceptable method: (Person: Shadow Ball! *charges up a concentrated ball of shadow energy, and then fires it at Person 2*)
  • Preferred method: ("Shadow Ball!" Person yelled. Cupping his hands in front of him, he began charging up a concentrated ball of pure shadows. After a few seconds he threw the ball at Person 2.)

Current Participants

Moderators are the peacekeepers of the RP (their names are in green). Listen to them if they tell you that you broke a rule, and don't throw a hissy pissy fit if they give out constructive criticism on how you RP. Only people that I (Ryushusupercat) absolutely trust get to be moderators.

  • Strikes: 0
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Banned Users

Characters

Protagonists

Characters with generally heroic motives (wanting to stop the villains, wanting to keep the artifact safe, etc.).
  • Dark Clan of Voidstar - Played by Ryu and anyone else who has characters that are members of this clan.
  • Vendeta the Hedgehog - Space-fairing hedgehog and last Guardian of the Chronosabre, Vendeta traveled to Earth after hearing about Vendeta Blue's return, seeking to destroy the robot once and for all. However, priorities change after hearing about the Orb and Doctor Eggman's return. Played by Skyblade.
  • Lightning the hedgehog- Lightning is the brother of Sonic the hedgehog when thay were young sonic played a prak on his bro and Lightning left to train a few years later during a fight with metal sonic Lightning saved Tales a few days later Lightning was tricked by Eggman and almost killed his brother but he snapped out off it Eggman reviled his egg colosis Sonic and Lightning fused into Lighnic and bet him from ther Lightning chasesd after Eggman

Neutral

Characters with unknown motives.


Antagonists

Characters who may have less-than-noble motives (greed, chaos, etc.), or are outright villainous.
  • Mackenzie Hartley the Tiger - A character who's always been difficult to figure out in terms of what side he's on, when Terra told him and Scarlet, the only two present members of Team Mask, about the Elemental Orbs, Mac is determined to find one and either sell it or keep it for himself. Inviting Scarlet along to join him for the party, this electrokinetic mercenary is looking for some fun. Played by Max.
  • Scarlet June the Fox - Team Mask's resident hotheaded gunslinger, Scarlet has been revived and is ready to get back into some action! Disappointed in herself for falling to Luna so easily, Scarlet wants to make up for it, and when Mac gave her a wonderful opportunity, she couldn't afford to refuse. Now, Scarlet is along with Mac for the ride, hoping for some action and adventure. Played by Max.
  • Sephtis Briona (the Fifth) the Eagle - After learning that Luna had lied to him, Sephtis desperately wanted a chance to do something that he actually wanted to do - no bias involved. When he learned that Mac and Scarlet were leaving, seeing as White and Tina were being bums, he begged to go with them. In a "why not" moment, they agreed, and now, the lance-wielding assassin-in-training is on the bandwagon. Will the thirteen-year-old be able to deal with this challenge of pride and bravery, however? Played by Max.
  • Dr. Eggman - Eggman wants the Aphotic Orb to serve as the core for his latest creation. Played by Ryu.
  • Charlotte Berute the Monkey - A disciple of the Lamak Zone's strange and mysterious goddess of wisdom, Keira, Charlotte was sent in order to retrieve the Aphotic Orb in order to mend special body parts for her fallen daughter. Charlotte, being the trigger-happy fun-loving monkey she is, quickly rose to the challenge, determined to use her axe, gun, and Rakek spells in order to get the orb. Will it be too much trouble for the monkey, or can she finish her task? Played by MaxIrvaron.
  • Vendeta Blue - Having repaired himself from his previous defeats after a short trip to Platinum City, Vendeta Blue has returned to complete his mission and kill his original template, and anyone else who gets in his way. Played by Skyblade.

Roleplay

Part 1

In the Dark Clan's village, a small group of children were gathered near the fenced-off area a bit far away from the back of the village; the old fence was what separated the village from the deeper and more treacherous parts of the Fearful Caverns. The children seemed to be talking among themselves, discussing rumors they've heard about the darkness beyond the fence.

"I heard-" one of the youngsters piped up, "-that a giant monster lives back there."

"No way! How would it have even gotten back there??"

"It probably lived there before anyone even came here, duh!"

The fence wasn't anything impressive, and was only about four feet tall. It was possible to see through the horizontal slots in the fence, and one of the kids poked his head through one; he saw nothing but inky blackness.

"How would a monster even live back there, though...? Isn't it all just spiky rocks?"

The small group was interrupted by a shout.

"Hey!"

A female chinchilla carrying a spear trotted towards them, trying to shoo them away from the fence with her free hand.

"C'mon now, you know this place is off-limits!"

This was met with a groan from the kids, and she crossed her arms.

"I mean it, now come on."

She gazed sternly at them, and the small group finally relented, jogging away from the wooden barrier that sat between safety and the unknown. The chinchilla gave one glance towards the darkness, before walking away as well, going back on patrol. For the people of the Dark Clan, life was currently normal...but of course, that was likely to change at any moment.

Fancy-Pants Thing

At that moment, a small group was making its way towards the Fearful Caverns, moving stealthily under the cover of the trees and the sunset; they were being led by a wolverine. However, the group was about to intersect with another fearsome yet ridiculous one, which was also going to the caverns.

Mackenzie Hartley the Tiger was prowling through the area, using his tiger smell and sensing to help guide a way. Wearing a sleeveless yellow shirt with a vertical blue line on it along with a white ribbon around his waist and blue-and-white pants, the tiger was determined to succeed in his mission. He was even on all fours!

Scarlet June the Fox wore a modified version of her yellow tank top that now had pink sleeves, with very short jean shorts accompanying them. She wore white and yellow socks with white and orange boots. She was following her best friend Mac with her arms crossed and eyelids lowered, annoyed they'd been walking for so long. When will we be able to get that Apocalypse Orb or whatever? The cash we could make off of it isn't worth a month of our lives.

Sephtis Briona the Fifth was an eagle wearing a red, black-striped hoodie along with jean shorts and a red headband. He was flying above the two with a smile on his face, happy he could accompany them. Suddenly, Mac's tail went static, and Sephtis asked, "What's wrong, Mac?"

Mac turned around, stood up, and smiled as he said, "I think we found some peeps who could be some competition. Get your weapons out." Mac took a golden sword from his belt, Scarlet took a gun from a belt of her own, and finally, Sephtis took a large lance from his own belt. When he saw that they all were ready, Mac yelled, "WHO GOES THERE?!"

Norrix's squad stopped in their tracks upon hearing Mac's yell, with the burly wolverine frowning.

"Damn. Looks like we're not alone," he huffed, pulling out a laser rifle as he started to step forward. "Stay here."

Stepping barely past the treeline, Norrix glared out into the distance, ears perked; his squadmates stayed nearby the trees, hidden in the dark and getting their own weapons ready.

"Who's out there screaming their fool head off?" he barked, hefting his weapon. "Come out!"

Mac swung Angel around before cutting down a tree. Then, he jumped on the stump for the person to see him. "Here I am, fools! Get a load of this!" Mac started doing stupid dances on the stump, trying to provoke these noobs they just met.

Scarlet facepalmed before grabbing Sephtis by the arm and jumping back. "Wait. If Mac takes care of them all, no problem. If not, we'll help." Sephtis groaned, and after Scarlet glared at him, Sephtis nodded in agreement, frightened.

As the tree fell, the Skullhead Sylphs that were nesting in it immediately flew away, screeching in panic. Norrix only quirked an eyebrow at Mac, his weapon lowering slightly.

"...uh-huh. Okay," he said; the wolverine was definitely confused and maybe a touch irritated at the tiger's ridiculous behavior. "If you don't have anything better to do than dance, then we'll be on our way. We have important business to take care of."

He turned and started walking off to the side to get around Mac, Scarlet, and Sephtis, with his squadmates starting to move out from the treeline; a female Broholmer with Cybernetic lower legs looked over at Mac and shook her head in disdain. The Egg Soldiers kept their hands on their weapons and an eye on the three strangers at all times, however, in case they suddenly decided to jump at them.

Mac, seeing this, opened his eyes wide and ran in front of the wolverine and his squadmates. "Hahaha, sorry, bub, but you kind of hafta leave if you're looking for the Apostle Orb. My gang is searching for it, and... yeah. Just squaddle on home, 'kay? Actually, don't - taking you out'll be way more fun."

With an irritated snort, Norrix stopped again, narrowing his eyes at the tiger.

"So you're after it too, hmm?" he asked, hefting his laser rifle again. "The Aphotic Orb. I'm afraid we can't let you have it; our boss wants it, and we intend to get it for him."

The symbol on Norrix's fatigues made it rather obvious just who his boss was.

"So maybe you kids are the ones who should 'squaddle on home', hmm?" he sneered, while his squadmates gathered behind him, weapons at the ready.

"Okay, watch it, Grandpa," Scarlet said, appearing behind Mac with her gun equipped. "First, we're not kids. Second, we mean serious business. Third, if you want to dance..." Scarlet grabbed Mac's arm and took them both into the air before she could finish, and a strong burst of air was blasted at the soldiers from behind them.

The gust of wind ended up knocking over everyone save for Norrix and the female Broholmer dog, the latter of whom pulled out an Energy Stave.

"Then dance we shall," Norrix growled, cracking his knuckles; the other soldiers quickly climbed to their feet, pulling out their respective weapons.

As the trio fell, they pulled out some weapons of theirs too - Mac took his black-and-yellow sword Angel and a gun, Scarlet had two guns, and Sephtis had a lance. Scarlet fired electric bullets at Norrix and the Broholmer, while Mac suddenly disappeared and Sephtis flew into the sky.

"Take cover!" Norrix barked, pulling out his own firearm, a laser rifle, and taking cover behind a tree, firing at Scarlet now. The Broholmer dog, not keen on ranged combat, took cover as well, looking for an opening to go after Scarlet. Meanwhile, a female rabbit started scaling the closest tree, using her powerful legs to nearly leap up into the branches for a better vantage point.

Scarlet put up a force field out of energy to block the bullets before firing at the tree Norrix was hiding behind. Meanwhile, Sephtis blasted wind at the dog, and a couple lightning bolts were heading the rabbit's way.

Hopefully the force field could block 'bullets' of pure energy. Using her Cybernetic legs to anchor herself, the dog very slowly made her way towards Sephtis, using one arm to shield her face. Seeing the lightning bolts, the rabbit hurled a ball of water at one of them; if they collided, they'd likely explode in midair and hopefully away from the rabbit. Sephtis stayed in the air and fired multiple aerokinetic orbs while Mac appeared behind the rabbit, twirling his sword around before boosting forward and attempted to stab her in the back.

Scarlet's force field succeeded, and it neared Norrix. It'd explode when it got near him.

The dog, Birgitte, dodged the orbs the best she could, using her Petramite-core Stave to deflect other orbs if possible.

"Coward!" she barked at Sephtis. "Come down and fight me like a man!"

The rabbit's hyper-keen ears picked up on Mac's appearance, and she whirled around to block his strike with her rifle. Norrix, meanwhile, swiftly backed away from the nearing force field; he wasn't dumb enough to go near it.

Mac smiled when she blocked his strike before releasing an electrical discharge around him. Scarlet fired a red laser at Norrix, making it go through the force field.

Sephtis, however swooped down, pulled his mouth wide open and stuck out his tongue. "What? You mad, bro?"

The discharge of electricity sent the rabbit falling out of the tree; luckily, one of her allies quickly caught her, helping her back onto her feet. Norrix dodged the laser, growling a bit.

"Yes, actually," Birgitte growled, before dashing forward with shocking speed as she swung her Stave at Sephtis' face. But now there was a din of voices approaching the battle... Sephtis blocked the stave with his lance before releasing an explosion of wind, blasting him into the air (where he started flying) and having the possibility to do the same to Birgette.

Mac still charged at the rabbit, firing a couple lightning bolts before blasting a blade beam from Angel. Scarlet started running at Norrix, seemingly trying an offensive approach.

The explosion of wind was enough to stagger Birgitte, but she quickly got back up, growling as she glared up at Sephtis. Olga and the hawk that caught her, Armand, dodged the electricity and fired their laser rifles at Mac.

Norrix, meanwhile, held his ground, waiting to see what Scarlet would do. But the voices were getting louder; it sounded like people shouting. One of the soldier's ears perked up.

"Boss, I think we got company."

Mac twirled Angel around to block the lasers before hearing the voices.

"What the..."

Suddenly, in a burst of electricity, Mac disappeared. Sephtis also heard the voices and flew off to them. Scarlet continued to run at Norrix, before jumping back when she was just in front of him, leaving a red energy clone in her place. Seeing her allies turn tail, she decided to do the same, running off to the voices while the energy clone exploded.

The soldiers watched as Mac and Sephtis disappeared, while Norrix used his arm to shield himself from the explosion, while also backing away; the explosion staggered him slightly, but he was unharmed otherwise.

"Now what do we do?" Birgitte huffed, looking at Norrix. The wolverine frowned a bit.

"I'll bet you anything those voices belong to Dark Clan soldiers," he said. "Well...perhaps we can let those kids distract the soldiers for us. Come."

He motioned for his soldiers to follow him, and the group left the area as quietly as possible.

Scarlet kept running, and appearing as electricity, Mac reformed in his body, landing next to her before running. "Hey, Scarlet, aren't those voices weird?"

"They aren't just weird, they're irritating," Scarlet said. "It won't take much for me to want to shoot 'em in the head... especially since they sound hostile."

Sephtis flew low, flying above the duo. "Eh, no problem. We're, well, us! We'll be able to solve any problem and destroy any obstacle that comes our way! Let's just check these voices out."

Norrix was right; the voiced did indeed belong to a group of soldiers from the Dark Clan. The sounds of fighting had reached all the way to the Fearful Caverns, so naturally an investigation had to be launched. The group was led by a male bear.

"It sounds like the fighting stopped," a female serval mused. The bear huffed a bit.

"I don't care if it did; I'we need to make sure that whoever was causing that ruckus isn't going to be a threat to the Clan..."

"Excuse me, but I think that was us," Mac said, cutting down some trees so that the Dark Clan could see them. "We saw some intruders, so we tried to take care of them."

"Mac, that's a load of bullshi-"

"So, who are you guys?" Mac asked, quickly shutting Scarlet up. "Or we could answer first, if you want."

Varjud narrowed his eyes at Mac, a disgruntled snort escaping him; clearly the felled trees didn't sit well with him.

"Do you really need to destroy parts of this forest in your supposed fight against intruders?" he asked, arms crossed. "Anyways...we're from the Dark Clan of Voidstar. You can call me Varjud."

The female serval looked over at Varjud, and then at Mac, frowning; she said nothing, but she didn't seem to really believe the tiger's words.

"Well, who am I to talk to you without you seeing my face?" Mac said, smiling at Varjud. "I'm Mackenzie Hartley, your everyday rich boy. I you don't mind, could I please know more about this... 'Dark Clan?"

Scarlet walked to the serval. "Hi. I could tell you what's really happening here, if you're not stupid enough to believe Mac."

"It's called walking. Walking past trees so you don't need to cut them down," Varjud said, rolling his eyes. "And...what is there you really need to know? We live here, namely, in the Fearful Caverns, and our primary deity is Voidstar."

"Ooh, Voidstar? Sounds edgy. Is this some kind of religion? Because that catches my interest," Mac replied. He sheathed Angel, trying to be peaceful.

The serval, Synkka, looked over at Scarlet.

"I would like to know what's really going on, yes," she said, putting her hands on her hips.

"So, me, the eagle, and playboy over there were just fighting some soldier-like guys. We ourselves are here to learn about this powerful ball of darkness we heard rumors about," Scarlet explained. "Mac is trying to play nice, but ultimately, he's going to try to learn about the orb."

"I...suppose you could call it a religion of sorts?" Varjud shrugged. "Voidstar is one of the primary deities of the Element of Darkness; in fact, we believe him to be the progenitor of that Element."

"The element of darkness sounds pretty dangerous. So, I'm going to stop dancing around the point and dive straight into it - if you guys are a clan of darkness, and your god is the god of darkness, then do you know where the Apocalypse Orb is?" Mac asked.

Synkka's eyes widened a bit at Scarlet's words.

"The...Aphotic Orb, you mean? But, no one knows where that thing is...! No one's even sure if it exists!"

"No one was sure if there were Black Arms around, either, but we killed one a few months ago," Scarlet said. "If it's a rumor, then we gotta check it out."

"Dangerous? Yes, it can be, but aren't all Elements dangerous and powerful in come way?" Varjud asked, frowning. The mention of the 'Apocalypse Orb' caught him off guard.

"You mean...the Aphotic Orb? As far as we know, that's just a myth; and even if it exists, we've never seen it before."

"Aw, man, you're kidding, right?" Mac said with a huff. "Well, if it's a myth, do you know where the myth says it is?"

Synkka looked over at Varjud and Mac now, before looking back at Scarlet.

"What are you guys implying...? That we're hiding the Orb or something?"

Scarlet shook her head. "Not in the slightest. We're just wondering if you guys know anything important about it, like where it may be."

Varjud frowned.

"No, we don't," he said a bit shortly. "The myth says that it's supposedly an infinite source of Darkness energy, formed from Voidstar's own power. It even says that the Orb can be used to...to control Voidstar. Like a puppet..."

"You can use this thing to control a god?! That's super cool. But if you guys worship him, why don't you know where his weakness is?" Mac asked, suspicious.

Synkka nodded, narrowing her eyes a bit.

"So why do you guys wanna know where it is so bad, huh?"

Scarlet nodded also, crossing her arms. "It's kind of the entire reason we came out here, so yeah."

"No, that's not cool; you don't understand what could happen if someone were to do just that, do you?" Varjud asked, a bit of a growl in his voice. "And nobody knows where it is, not just us!"

"I don't trust these guys," a nearby male skunk muttered to his comrades.

"Fine, fine, I'll lay off the Orb," Mac said with a sigh. "but could you tell me more about this religion of yours? Like, Voidstar - what is his history? Special things about him? Why do you worship him?"

"Why do you want this Orb so bad?" asked Synkka.

"You see, my friends and I... we're constantly fighting against threats to the world. Just a few months ago... one of them had taken our friend. We haven't seen him since." Scarlet huffed before continuing. "If we had this Orb... we could make sure this type of thing doesn't happen again. We could have the power to stop threats against the world. That's why I'm so determined to get it."

"What is there to say, really?" Varjud said with a shrug. "I already told you that Voidstar birthed the Element of Darkness; there are claims he roams around in a Mobian form, however, as do his siblings. But none of us have really seen him in person; he primarily communicates through our priests and priestesses. We worship other deities as well, of course."

Synkka frowned a bit.

"That's a noble cause for sure, but we still don't know where it is. And even if we did, I wouldn't feel comfortable with it being in the hands of strangers...I feel like the Aphotic Orb is something that's best left untouched."

She crossed her arms again.

"Besides, aren't there other ways to fight against the horrors of the world without relying on something that might not even exist? That famous guy Sonic does it without relying on stuff like that."

"What about those Chaos Emerald things?" the skunk piped up.

"Uhh...besides those, I guess."

"Well, our worst enemy is a genocidal demigod hybrid, and I think Sonic would need a couple Emeralds to handle that," Scarlet shot back.

Mac looked intrigued again. "Other deities? Wait, there are more?"

"This world is full of deities," said Varjud, nodding once. "Ancient things that've walked this planet ever since its birth."

"Then why do your worship Voidstar so much to the point where this entire clan of yours is centered around it?" asked Mac. "Why don't you equally worship 'em all?"

"Well, we do still heavily revere the other deities of Darkness," said Varjud. "Voidstar's simply the progenitor of it all; the alpha, if you will. Don't some other religions have a central deity, as well?"

"In my religion, we only have one," Mac said with a grumble before smiling at Varjud. "Well, what are some practices you do? Like, summoning stuff? What happens when you're attacked?"

"When we're attacked, we fight back; simple as that," Varjud said. "As for practices, well, we sometimes hold little ceremonies; we also trade goods back and forth with other nearby territories, like Avalon. As for summoning, well, we do have Summoners in our midst."

"Summoners? What're those? Do they manipulate god magic to create beasts of legend or something?" Mac asked. This was like finding about a whole new world!

"Well, no," said Varjud. "They specialize in fighting alongside creatures that they've bonded heavily with."

"So, Pokemon Trainers?' Mac inquired.

"What? Uhh...I guess so?"

"Oh, cool," Mac said. "Well, it doesn't look like we're gonna find anything here. Unless you have even the tiniest piece of knowledge?"

"Again, we don't know where the Orb is, or if it even exists," said Varjud.

Mac sighed. "Guess there's no reason for us to stay here. Thanks for trying."

"You're welcome," said Varjud.

Synkka sighed.

"Okay, fine, so the threat is a genocidal demigod," she huffed. "And say you did get access to the Aphotic Orb if it even exists; how do you know this demigod will be weak to the Darkness element, anyways?"

"What do you mean weak to the Darkness element? If you slap her with fire, it hurt. Slap her with lightning, it hurts. It's not like any sort of attack is 'super effective' or anything," Scarlet explained. "And also, my friend has heard some myths and rumors, so we're searching them out."

"So your search led you here, then," Synkka frowned. "And...you intend to take the Orb when you find it? If you even find it? What are you going to do with it once you fight off this threat?"

"Whenever she comes back..." Scarlet made a finger gun before shooting a laser from it, causing it to go through a tree. "Bang. She's dead. It's simple, really."

"And when she's dead? What will you do with the Orb, then?" asked Synkka, not terribly fazed by the laser.

"Probably give it to Keira, if Mac doesn't interject," Scarlet replied.

"And who is this Keira?" Synkka asked, her suspicion quickly roused once more.

"...another god. In fact, even if we didn't, she would probably take it from us," Scarlet said with a sigh. "She's been getting more involved with us these days."

"I don't like that at all." Synkka frowned. "What would Keira want with the Orb then, hmm?"

"Keep it.... I think. She's complicated," Scarlet answered.

"I like that even less," Synkka sighed. "So...what are her motivations, anyways?"

"She's a goddess of wisdom - she gives prophecies to heroes and/or guides them through journeys," Scarlet replied.

"Why would a goddess of wisdom want something like the Aphotic Orb? That doesn't make any sense...!"

"She wouldn't really want it as much as she would keep it to make sure it's safe," Scarlet continued. Synkka raised an eyebrow.

"Somehow I doubt that...and even so, I feel like it'd be best for the Orb to just remain untouched..."

"Well, then, why does it even exist, if it does? I'm not going to let it sit, collecting dust," Scarlet said. "But it's obvious you guys won't be of any help, so there's no point of being here." Mac walked by Scarlet with a slightly disappointed expression.

"Hey, Scar, let's be out. There's not anything we'll get from here," he said, to which Scarlet sighed and nodded. The duo gave halfhearted waves before turning around and going back to where they came from, with Sephtis following them.

"You guys didn't learn anything, huh?" Sephtis asked.

"You know it," Scarlet replied.

Fancy-Pants Thing

Unfortunately, that distraction gave Norrix and his squad ample time to reach the Fearful Caverns, where they were already trying to find a way to sneak inside.

Suddenly, Mac and Scarlet stopped walking, causing Sephtis to bump into Mac's back. "Hey, guys, what's up?"

Mac looked to Scarlet. "You sense that, right? The people from earlier."

Scarlet smiled and nodded. "They probably know more about what they're looking for than us. Maybe we should get some info out of them!"

Sephtis pumped his fist into the air. "All right! I have no idea what you're talking about, but it sounds like we have a lead!" The trio then ran to where Mac and Scarlet sensed he signatures, eventually coming to the Fearful Caverns.

"We might need reinforcements," Norrix mused while his men continued to scout the area for a way inside that wasn't the front entrance. The rabbit, Olga, perked up her Cybernetic ears, and she stopped, pulling out her laser rifle.

"I hear something, boss...!"

That caused the others to stop and immediately pull out their weapons. Norrix frowned.

"Just great."

Mac saw the ground and waved. "Hiya." He pulled out his two guns, Zip and Zap. "You guys seem to know more than we do about whatever you're looking for, so we have some questions. Comply, and no bullets need to be shot."

Sephtis took out his spear, Kyoya, and smirked. "Or you don't, and I get some good practice with Kyoya!"

None of the soldiers flinched when the weapons were drawn, still armed with their own. Norrix huffed, arms crossed.

"Fine; you want answers? Geological readings indicate that there's a massive underground cave connected to the Fearful Caverns, with strong readings of Dark-Elemental energies in it, to boot."

He smirked a bit.

"I bet those pagan idiots did't tell you that, did they?"

"...oh wow! So, we barge in there, nab the orb, and get out? Simple," Mac said with a smile.

"That girl didn't say anything about that... the liars. I bet they knew, but didn't want to tell." Scarlet reloaded her gun with static bullets. "Thanks for telling us! We'll be on our way."

"Aw... I wanted a fight," Sephtis said, pouting. "But I guess this is easier."

"No problem," Norrix chuckled; he seemed more than willing to let Mac and his group do the dirty work for him, if they even survived the cave...

Fancy-Pants Thing

Meanwhile, Varjud and his group were heading back into the Fearful Caverns. Mac and his group were entering the Caverns, with Scarlet putting energy in the form of a fire in her hand to light up the place. "You do realize they are probably trying to trick us, right?" Scarlet asked Mac.

"Yeah, it's too obvious. We tried beating the stuffing out of 'em, and now they tell us this? That's stupid. Be on your guard," Mac warned.

The cave quickly opened up into a large village, where there were other Mobians milling about, doing their own thing; some were patrolling, some were tending to crops, some were simply engaged in conversations, etc. There were some skylights in the ceiling of the cavern, fitted with windows to prevent rain from spilling in. Varjud and his group were already back in the village, as well. While Mac and Sephtis admired the scenery, Scarlet headed straight for Varjud.

"Hey, Varjud!" she said, having overheard his name from his and Mac's conversation. The bear looked over at her, frowning.

"You again...what is it?" he asked.

"Your goon told us that y'all didn't have the slightest clue where the Orb was, but these soldiers just told us that there's been notices of spikes of dark energy near here. What the hell's up with that?" asked Scarlet.

"She's not a 'goon', she's a soldier, thank you," Varjud huffed. "Second of all, what soldiers? As for Dark energy, you're probably thinking of that."

He pointed towards the fence that blocked off the Point of No Return.

"There's probably mountains of Tenebrite and Caligium back there, but it's fenced off for a reason; far too dangerous to traverse."

He turned back to Scarlet, eyes narrowed.

"I would like to hear about these other soldiers you encountered, though."

"There was a wolverine, a rabbit, and a dog. Those are the only ones I remember," Scarlet admitted. Varjud frowned.

"...do you remember anything specific about their outfits?"

"Wait, no, I have another question," Scarlet said. "The wolverine specified that there were spikes, not simple signatures. That means there's more than normal. Why should I even listen to you at this point?"

"I asked you a question," Varjud growled, his hand going to the hilt of his scramasax. "What were those three wearing??"

By now, other Dark Clan members were starting to gather.

"And I asked you a question: why should I listen to you?" Scarlet's hand started to go to her gun, prepared to start combat if things got out of hand.

"Listen...none of us know just what the hell's back there," he said, keeping his eyes trained on Scarlet's. "For all we know, it could just be massive amounts of Tenebrite and Caligium...or it could be some monster. Hell, it could even be the Aphotic Orb, not like we know if it actually exists or not."

He huffed a bit as he stood up a bit straighter.

"But the point is, we don't know. No one's been able to get back there and investigate."

"Well, I'm not some coward." Scarlet snapped multiple times, getting Mac and Sephtis' (who were checking things out) attention. "C'mon, guys, we know what we want and how to get there."

"So, we're bouncing?" Sephtis asked, to which Scarlet nodded. Sephtis smiled and did a loop in midair before flying to her, and Mac walked to her. The trio then started to head out.

"You're not seriously thinking of going back there, are you?" Varjud asked, following the three now.

"We've come all this way, so why not? When I look back at everything I've been up against, there's nothing in there that could really scare me," Mac said, confident.

"Plus, I'm super bored, so I'm coming with them," Sephtis said, giving Varjud a peace sign.

"You're all probably going to die back there," Varjud frowned, still following them. He stopped at the fence; the space beyond it was somehow darker than pitch black, with no ground in sight.

"If I had a penny every time I heard that, I'd be rich," said Mac.

"Mac, you are rich," Sephtis replied, to which Mac chuckled.

"Why do you even care?" Scarlet asked Varjud. The bear shrugged.

"Seems rather cruel to be okay with people dying via impalement, blood loss, degloving, etc," he said, arms crossed.

"Touche. Well, see ya," Scarlet said, jumping over the fence with ease. Mac did the same, and Sephtis flew over it. There was only a little bit of solid ground past the fence, and after that, only an endless sea of limestone stalagmites, razor sharp; slipping on any of those would likely be fatal...

"You're making a huge mistake," Varjud frowned.

"Yadda yadda yadda, can we go already?" Sephtis said. "I can fly us over these." After Mac nodded, he grabbed their arms, and they flew in the air, trying to find the end of the sharp stalagmites.

It was incredibly dark up there, and what cave would be complete without stalactites hanging down from it? They were just as sharp as the stalagmites, and just as numerous; bumping into any of them would be a painful experience...

"You can fly back at any time now," Varjud called out to them.

Sephtis winced, for he had not seen the stalactites and was hit by a few of them. Scarlet, sensing that Sephtis was in trouble, and created a red force field in order to protect them for a bit. Sephtis, seeing the force field, sighed and stopped flying, allowing the trio to all land in a bubble as Scarlet strained to keep it up. They kept rolling, though Mac and Scarlet had to switch control of the force field eventually, and when Mac got tired, Sephtis had gathered enough energy to carry the two of them again. Basically, they were all taking turns.

Watching the force field roll away into the darkness, Varjud just sighed and walked away from the fence.

After a bit of time, the trio finally got past the stalagmites and stalactites, and they were finally able to hit the ground again. While Mac was fine due to having such a high energy reserve, Scarlet and Sephtis were on their knees, panting. Mac turned around. "Hey, Scarlet, take this." He put his hand on her forehead and transferred some of his energy to her, allowing her to feel better.

"Thank you," Scarlet said with a sigh. "What about Sephtis?"

"All I did was fly," Sephtis said inbetween breaths. "And as soon as I knew what way to fly to avoid those spiky things, I was pretty much free. I'll be alright."

Mac gave him a fist-bump and told him "You're the man, Sep!" causing Scarlet to smirk.

There was still nothing but darkness around, and still some stalagmites, but they weren't as numerous as before. There was also a flapping sound... As soon as Mac heard the flapping, he crackled with electricity, showing some light. Sephtis equipped Kyoya and Scarlet did the same to her gun, and Scarlet tried to sense what was near.

It sounded like the wings of bats, probably thousands of bats. The light of the electricity allowed the trio to see just what they looked like; they looked like they were made out of pure shadows, with glowing red eyes. When Mac saw the creatures, he burst out laughing, and Scarlet and Sephtis looked at him like he was crazy. He responded with "Look at them! They're Lunabats! This is hilarious!"

Sephtis chuckled and Scarlet rolled her eyes before the eagle started twirling Kyoya, creating a whirlwind around them that would send bats flying away. Some bats were sent flying away, but still more were taking their place, starting to dive at the trio now, eyes glowing brightly; they were trying to drain the very energy of the three! Sephtis kept twirling Kyoya, creating a makeshift shield of wind, and Scarlet yelled "RUN!" and the trio ran, trying to protect themselves.

The bats continued to pursue them, screeching and squeaking as they tried to get past the wind shield. There seemed to be no end to their numbers... Mac knew this, and though Sephtis sure was skilled, he was only a pre-teen - he wasn't going to be able to hold the wind shield up for long. With a deep breath, Mac was suddenly surrounded by a blue aura, and his fur, his clothes and hair color changed to shades of white and blue. Before Sephtis or Scarlet could react, he grabbed their arms and burst forward in a twister of lightning, determined to clear a path and/or find one.

The lightning twister shredded through the army of bats with ease, and would likely let them break through any limestone stalagmites in their path; of course, shards of razor-sharp limestone were going to end up flying all over the place... The lightning twister was able to defend Scarlet and Sephtis from the stalagmites, but Mac was hit repeatedly, yelling multiple times. He couldn't wait until he sensed the Aphotic Orb... or at least something that would let him stop.

Fancy-Pants Thing

"Varjud?" Synkka came running up to the bear. "Those three... did they really go back there??"

Varjud nodded.

"Yup; they didn't wanna listen to me when I told them it was dangerous," he said, shaking his head. "I'll be honest, though, if they come back alive, I'll be damn impressed."

Part 2

Deeper down in the cave, flashes of light radiated through the tunnels. Orange and green illuminated the area like a strobe light, followed by a strange sound. The sound of psychokinesis.

Vendeta the Hedgehog was knocked back against the wall as Vendeta Blue flew over to him, grabbing him by the neck and pinning him to the wall.

"I...killed you..." Vendeta said, struggling to breath "I...ripped out...your circuits. You're...dead."

"Correction," the robot replies "Previous damage. Not critical. Boundary Gate. Still active. Teleportation. Possible."

"How did you...rebuild...yourself?"

"Teleported to. Platinum City. Dimension VA-TIO. Repaired systems. Using city's tech."

"You're...damn...persistent."

Vendeta's palm struck the robot in the chest and fired a Force Palm, knocking the robot away.

"But so...am I." Vendeta said, breathing heavily. The two then fly towards each other, clashing in mid air as a huge blast of light radiates through the caverns.

Mac sensed their battle and stopped when he neared them, landing onto his stomach. Scarlet and Sephtis landed onto their feet and looked at the Vendetas and Mac stood. Is that.... Vendeta?! What is he doing here?!

"That's the white hedgehog from before, right?" Scarlet asked. "The one you felt dèjá vu with?"

Mac nodded. "I feel it with that robot, too... but it's not good. I need to recharge though, so, Scarlet, you could-" Scarlet whipped out her gun and fired plasma bullets at Vendeta Blue. The robot is hit by them, too busy dueling Vendeta to notice. Vendeta Blue is knocked back and Vendeta floats over to Mac and Scarlet.

"Well, this is quite a reunion," he said. "What are you two doing here? Where even is here?"

"We're looking for this edgy orb of power," Sephtis said. "If you can sense it, it's super strong! ...at least, that's what they tell me. But whatever - how have you been? Has life been okay?"

"Yeah, life has been fine. Who are you again?"

As he said that, a blue blur struck into the side of Vendeta and Vendeta Blue was back to pinning the Guardian to the wall again. Mac put his hand back, signaling for Scarlet and Sephtis to not move forward. "You guys look for the Orb. I feel like this guy and I have unfinished business."

Scarlet sighed, and Sephtis grabbed her arm, flying them away. Meanwhile, Mac unsheathed Angel and tried to stab Vendeta Blue's arm. Vendeta Blue elbows Mac in the face but as he does so Vendeta uppercuts the robot. Mac, in turn, fires a lightning bolt at the robot for a team attack. Vendeta Blue is knocked into the celing, and Vendeta followed up by kicking him in his face.

"Thanks for the help, Mac," Vendeta said "That won't keep him down for long. Let's get moving: I want some answers."

"So do I," Mac said, a headache roaring in his head everytime he looked at the blue copy. Why did he have so many memories he couldn't remember? "Should we head to my gang, or in private?"

"Either would work for me," Vendeta said "So long as we are away from that thing."

As he said it, Vendeta Blue started to pull itself out of the ceiling it had been embedded into. Mac nodded, surrounded himself in electricity and burst forward, fast as a lightning bolt, trying to get with his allies. Vendeta teleport dashes with him as Vendeta Blue pulls himself down from the ceiling. The robot scans the darkness, but sees nothing and flies off down the tunnel, blindly looking for Vendeta.

Scarlet and Sephtis, who were shooting and cutting down stalagmites and broken stalactites, turned around to find Mac and Vendeta. Before the duo could get a word in, Mac quickly asked Vendeta "What the hell are you doing here?! I thought we were done with that dimensional bullshit! Is Luna back, too?! What about Tel-Eth?!"

"I don't know what happened to Luna," Vendeta said "And Tel-Eth vanished after me and Ion defeated him, although I doubt he's dead. That thing is a robot copy of myself, created by Doctor Eggman a while ago when I was on another adventure. I thought I'd killed it for good, but then it came to Kryte and tried to kill me. It opened this portal and I ended up here. It wasn't until you turned up that I'd realized I'd jumped dimensions."

"...wow. That's tough stuff," Mac said.

"I still remember being stoned," Scarlet said, clenching her fists. "Should we kill the bot, or ignore it?"

"I'd rather not be thrown to another dimension right now," Vendeta said. "Especially when I have friends here who can help get me back. Now let's get moving."

The current area seemed to be less cramped compared to the deadly forest of limestone stalagmites, but it was still darker than any moonless night.
Fancy-Pants Thing

A blue hedgehog with black legs and red stripes on his quills was walking into the fearful caves. “ Geez I can’t see a thing in here.” He said

There were some soldiers on high alert now, patrolling the village; after word had gotten out that intruders had gone into the Point of No Return, things were tense. It wasn't too dark in the village, though, there were torches lighting the way, and moonlight was filtering in through the skylights carved into the cavern ceiling. A few soldiers did notice Lightning, but didn't say anything to him.

“This is the place.” Lightning thoug. Just then Lightning saw the solders “I need to come by.” Lightning said

One of the soldiers, a male skunk, looked at Lightning.

"Who are you?" he asked.

“Lightning the hedgehog” he said

"And what are you doing here?" asked the skunk, suspicious of Lightning.

“ Chasing after Eggman.” Lightning said. The skunk frowned.

"Eggman...? We've seen no trace of him or his men, what makes you think that he's here??"

“I followed him here.” Said Lightning. The skunk remained suspicious of Lightning.

"Then where did you see him go, exactly? We certainly didn't see him come into the village."

“Ok then.” Said Lightning Just then Lightning ran past the soldiers and said “See you later.”

"HEY!!"

The skunk, as well as some other soldiers, took off running after Lightning.

“Do you know who my brother is?” Lightning asked with a grin just then Lightning became a blur. By then, Lightning would likely be too far away to hear the soldiers' response.

"For Chaos' sake; why are people so damn desperate to get into the Point of No Return?!" the skunk cursed. Another soldier, the female chinchilla from earlier, just sighed.

"Let him die back there if he wants to," she huffed. The soldiers had given up chasing Lightning.

Lightning slowed down “I better be careful.” Lightning said to himself. The fence that barred off the Point of No Return was still there, and beyond that was an expanse of pitch-black darkness.

Lightning carefully walked “Ow.” Said Lightning. Lightning noticed that blood was coming out of his finger then he noted a razor sharp stalagmite.

The stalagmites were absolutely everywhere, and navigating through them would be incredibly difficult; it was unlikely that Lightning would get through unscathed...
Fancy-Pants Thing
Back with the gang, Mac was using his sword to cut down potentially threatening stalagmites with Angel, while Scarlet was holding a force field above them all to protect them from falling stalactites. "Who put that blasted orb in here, anyway?" Mac grumbled, slashing at another stalagmite. "What does that thing do, anyway? It probably isn't just going to transform you into Luna 2.0."

"Maybe it gives you demon powers!" Sephtis said with a smile on his face, blasting a stalactite away with Kyoya. "It'd be cool if it, like, gave me the blood of my ancestors. I'm pretty sure my great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great grandma's nephew's fifty-fourth cousin's aunt's twenty-first cousin thrice removed was distantly related to a demon, so.... maybe I would be able to fly!"

"You already can fly," Scarlet reminded him. "We were literally flying ten minutes ago."

"Oh...." Sephtis replied, now sad. The native creatures of the cave, mostly blind, pale lizards that fed off mineral deposits and tiny insects, scattered left and right as the group blasted their way through the razor sharp rock formations. As they traveled, other things besides chunks of stone were flying around, now; namely, purple-hued minerals of a resinous lustre. Vendeta used his psychokinesis to grab one and draw it towards him, examining the object.

It was a chunk of raw Tenebrite, decently-sized; it seemed to absorb a small amount of any light shed on it, making it look darker in color than it actually was.

"Huh," Vendeta said "Never seen this stuff before. I'm no mineralogist, but I guess keeping this stuff with us wouldn't hurt."

Vendeta keeps the material held by his psychokinesis, continuing on with the rest of Mac's group and looking over his shoulder for Vendeta Blue.

"Huh. That stuff is weird," said Scarlet. "It's energy signatures kind of remind me of Luna's, but more... dark." Scarlet shivered. "Like... pure darkness. I have a feeling that if I could feel goodness, these things would be pure evil."

"Eh," Sephtis started with a shrug. "It's not like they're alive or anything. They're just some jewels, that's all."

"Hey, doesn't the Abomination Orb or whatever also have spooky energy?" Mac replied. "We definitely shouldn't let the robot back there get its hands on it."

"Or this," Vendeta replied. He brings the Tenebrite closer and grabs it with his hands.

Fancy-Pants Thing

Lightning was walking through the cave but a stalagmite nearly impaled him by now lightning was bleeding from several cuts. There seemed to be many more broken stalagmites along his way, however, as if something had broken through them in their path. Lightning reached a drop where it curved downward there was a stalagmite just begging for him to ride on like a surfboard. Lightning pulled out his sword and cut the stalagmite and rode it down.

Fancy-Pants Thing

Eggman was trying to contact Birgitte. “Birgitte do you copy?”

Birgitte frowned a bit as she pulled up her wrist-mounted PDA and flipped it open.

"Lord Eggman, sir?"

“ Do you have the orb yet?”

The dog bit her lower lip, rather afraid to answer; as much as she hated Lord Eggman, she still feared him.

"N-No, sir, not yet," she said, wondering why he had contacted her instead of contacting Norrix; he was the Sub-Boss, after all.

”Well hurry up Sonic’s brother is close behind me and is looking for me. also if you fail me I will robotisize all of you”

"Y-Yes sir," she said, not bothering to ask any further about what Eggman was going through; she didn't want to risk irritating him.

“Also tell Norrix to send a few troops to slow Lightning down and that is a order “

She nodded briefly.

"Yes sir," she said.

Eggman turn back to his machine. Birgitte sighed and went up to Norrix.

"Norrix, sir? Apparently some brother of Sonic's is after our boss, and he wants us to send troops after him..."

"Wait... since when did Sonic have a brother?" Norrix frowned. "Oh, nevermind. We better do what he wants..."

Fancy-Pants Thing

Lightning jumped off of the stalagmite. Lightning walked deeper into the cave and thought he saw another group. Vendeta is still studying the Tenebrite when Lightning arrives. Lightning reached for his sword and pulled it out a bit. Vendeta's hand was covered by a green glow as he raised his hand with his palm now facing towards Lightning, although he keeps looking at the Tenebrite.

"Who are you?" Vendeta asked "And why are you here?"

“Lightning the hedgehog brother, of Sonic and I am looking for Eggman” he pulled the sword out a bit more

I don't remember Sonic having a brother, but I never pay attention to that guy anyway, Mac said before flashing a smile. "Don't think I don't notice that sword, now~" Mac took out his own sword Angel, twirling it before resting it on his shoulder. "We've got some stuff to deal with, so if you're gonna try to kick my ass, could you hurry it up?"

Could people please stop talking about that Sonic? Vendeta though to himself. He was mostly ignoring Lightning, and trying to see if any of his psychokinetic powers reacted to the Tenebrite. A faint 'spark' of Darkness-energy seemed to emanate from the mineral when Vendeta tried to use his psychokinesis on it.

Lightning ran down and pulled his sword out and spend forward, causing Mac to surge with electricity. "Oh, so you are looking for a fight. Well then, I'll be happy-"

"Hey, Mac, you can't hog all the action!" Sephtis wailed, jumping in front of him. "If he's gonna fight ya, I want in! I'll show you why I'm a junior assassin, just you wait!" Sephtis equipped Kyoya. "You guys keep trying to figure out that jewel stuff, and I'll deal with him!"

"Just don't die, got it?" Scarlet said, pulling a very disappointed Mac's arm. "Mac, you and I have to focus. Don't you sense that weird energy?"

"Maybe it's a part of the Apophis Orb?" asked Mac.

Sephtis, meanwhile, swung Kyoya around, blasting three powerful gusts of wind at Lightning.

Lighting jumped out of the way landed and ran over in a blur, making Sephtis smirk. "Alright, Speedy, let's see how you deal with this!" Sephtis raised Kyoya above his head and twirled it around, creating a strong gust of wind that would either suck nearby Mobians in or push them far out. However, it also messed with the stalagmites and the stalactites, and Scarlet saw three heading towards Mac's back. Effortlessly, she walked behind him and swatted them away.

"So, what's the plan?" asked Scarlet, annoyed. "Do we study the jewels, look for the orb, or look for the robot?"

Lightning looked around and ran around in a circle and made a tornado to counteract the gust of wind. Sephtis grunted before blasting his own gust of wind, along with three stalactites, at Lightning. If this keeps up, the other three are gonna be hurt!

Lighting broke the stalactite and charged forward, charging his fist with energy. Vendeta sighed.

”Can we please calm down and answer each other’s questions?” he asked. “I think we have better priorities than fighting each other."

One of the pale, gecko-like lizards was climbing up Vendeta's leg, now; how it could see where it was going despite being blind was a mystery. Or perhaps it just thought Vendeta was a weird stalagmite. Vendeta thought little of it, seeing he had other priorities.

Lightning slowed down “that depends are you evil”

"Kid, the answer to that may take a while."

”umm ok “ Lightning touched the gem on his sword and started to change

"...the hell are you doing?" Scarlet asked, wondering what was happening. This guy... he goes off and on at random. Way too dangerous to keep around, and that's saying something, considering I'm looking for a gem of great dark power with a trigger-happy assassin-in-training and a jokester mercenary.

Part 3

Donning silky white clothing with blue and lilac-colored trim along with a blue/purple box, Charlotte Berute the Monkey walked through the Dark Clan's village without a care in the world. Sure, she was probably gathering a lot of attention when she was supposed to be getting information, but who cared? If anyone tried to interfere, she could blow them up easily. It was for Keira, so it didn't matter who had to die.

Making sure she was keeping her axe well-hidden in the back of her shirt, Charlotte walked to a random clansman with a light smirk. Pushing her golden locks away from her face, she stared at him intently with her light blue eyes. She fluttered her eyelashes a little before asking, "I'm sorry to be such a bother, sir, but do you happen to know where a very amazing artifact might be? I was hoping to see something very magnificent, but I'm afraid I don't know where it is. I believe that it goes by the name of the... Aprophet Orb?"

The clansman, a teenage grey wolf, blushed lightly. Who was this random foreigner, and why did she want to know where the Aphotic Orb was? Sure, she was cute, but... he was sure that the other clansmen wouldn't want him spreading rumors around to a foreigner. "I'm sorry, ma'am, but I don't think that I have the right to tell you."

Charlotte stood in place for a few seconds. Who was this kid, calling her ma'am?! She was only a few million years old! I hate this... but I can't break character. I'll get my revenge after I know. "I was visiting one of my relatives here, so it's a shame I can't participate in the folklore. It'd be fun to introduce you to them and tell them about how awesome you were, but oh well-"

"Oh, the Aphotic Orb?! That's right past the gate, in the cave!" The teen didn't waste any time. He was never any good with the other girls, so this was like a Get Out of Jail Free card! And all he had to do was tell her a place where the orb might've been? He couldn't believe his ears!

"Oh! I think that's them behind you. Hi, Auntie!" Charlotte said, waving to nothing with a smile on her face. The wolf turned around... and Charlotte took her axe out.

SHWING!

He fell on his stomach, a red line across his back. Charlotte smiled and hid her axe before screaming, yelling for someone to come. Once a crowd gathered, she slipped out of them, heading straight for the fence.

A crowd was starting to gather, and it was't long before some soldiers started to arrive as well, doing their best to usher the panicked people away from the scene of the horrific crime. Varjud was among them, kneeling down next to the teen's body, putting a hand to his neck to check for a pulse. Already a deep blossom of blood was pouring from the axe wound.

"Who did this??" Varjud growled, his free hand clenched in anger; what kind of coward went after an unarmed civilian?!

"I saw someone!" a middle-aged woman piped up, slamming her walking stick on the ground repeatedly in her rage. "They were a blonde-"

Before she could finish, her head exploded. Still running, Charlotte sighed, and her glowing hand was hid in her pocket. Phew. That was close.

The head explosion caused a chorus of horrified yells to erupt from the crowd (a few people were on the verge of fainting), and the soldiers were hard-pressed to try and calm the panicked civilians.

"Get them out of here!" Varjud roared. "Get them back to safety, now!"

Thankfully, the terrified people seemed eager to flee the scene, and the soldiers had no issue in shepherding them away from the the area. Varjud had gotten no pulse from the teen wolf; he was dead. Even worse, he now recognized the corpse...

"Var, what's going o-"

The bear grimaced a bit; he recognized that voice. This wasn't going to be pretty.

"Fal... I'm sorry, but-"

As soon as she saw the body, the wolf scout shoved past Varjud.

"No...!!" she cried, practically falling to her knees next to the body, shaking hands hovering over it. "No, no...!"

She gingerly attempted to turn over the corpse. It seemed like whatever weapon had been used was able to tear through flesh, because the a pressed red blood at his front, looking like he'd been cut through the chest. The sight made her gasp and recoil, her hands going up over her mouth.

"M-Melns...!!"

The sound of her shout sent another wolf running to the scene.

"Faleisus, what ha-"

The sight of the body of the wolf Melns made him falter.

"Melns...?"

Varjud sighed, shaking his head.

"I'm sorry, you two," he said. "I don't know who did this, and our only other witness is, well..."

He looked over at the headless corpse of the middle-aged clanswoman, and shuddered. Faleisus, meanwhile, was hugging the slightly smaller wolf to her body, crying silently, ears pinned back.

"Does anyone know where they ran off to??" Ahvardus demanded.

A young boy was still around, and he bit his nails, wondering if he should tell or not. I don't want my head to explode, but... if they killed Melns, I won't let them get away! "I saw the woman run into the caverns!" he yelled, pointing to the fence. Melns was such a good friend to me... I can't believe anyone would do something like that! "If you find her... can I punch her before she's executed?!"

"Those damned caverns again... why is everybody so obsessed with them??" Varjud grumbled. Ahvardus, meanwhile, turned towards the boy.

"You saw her?? What did she look like?" he asked.

"She was a blonde, like the elderly lady said, and she had a bow. She also hid an axe behind her shirt..." he said.

Ahvardus frowned.

"I'm certain that none of the clanspeople here are blond," he said. "It had to have been an outsider...!"

"Do you think... this axe-murderer wanted the same thing that tiger and his friends wanted?" a stoat mused. "The Aphotic Orb?"

Varjud just snorted.

"They can die back there for all I care," he growled, clearly on edge. "Whether the Orb's actually back there or not, I don't give a damn!"

"I want that b**** dead," Faleisus hissed, still hugging onto Melns' body.

"You are not going in after her, Fal," Varjud said brusquely. "Nobody is going into those caves. We don't need any more deaths..."

Fancy-Pants Thing

Back outside, Norrix and his group were gathered near the entrance to the village.

"Did you hear all those screams, sir?" asked Olga, frowning. "Sounds like something bad went down in there."

Gavriil couldn't help but smirk a bit, but he said nothing. Norrix, meanwhile, nodded.

"Yes, I did," he said. "They're likely to be much more guarded right now... and Lord Eggman doesn't want us to go in guns blazing."

"Why not?" Olga huffed. "What are swords and spears going to do against our weapons?"

"Well, for one, we're vastly outnumbered," Norrix replied. "Two, many of their numbers are combat-capable. And three, Lord Eggman wants us to conquer, not kill, if we can help it; a dead Mobian is no use to him at all."
Fancy-Pants Thing

“My story is this - a long time ago, when I was young, my brother played a prank on me, so I went to train. From there I saved Tails' life from Metal Sonic - then, I was tricked by Eggman into almost killing Sonic, Shadow and Silver but I snapped out of it before I killed Sonic. Then Eggman revealed his robot called the Eggtiton. The four of us then went super, and Eggman almost beat us until Sonic and I fused into Hyper Lightnic and beat him, and I ended up here.” Lightning said as he finished his story.

"...the hell?" Mac said, getting Scarlet's approval until he revealed why exactly he was confused. "You've fused with someone before too? It's weird, isn't it? I mean, it's like you're one person, but two people at the same time! You can hear their thoughts, their secrets... but then again, Ken is technically me, so maybe it was diff-"

Scarlet reloaded her gun and shot Mac with a cryokinetic bullet, freezing his head and effectively shutting him up. "All right, dramatic backstories aside, why are you here? Do you want the orb? Why do you want the orb, if you do? 'Cuz we have enough subplots in the roleplay as it is, and if you're looking for the orb, there's no way in hell you're gonna get any help from us."

"Yeah! We're gonna steal that orb fair and square, so you better not get in our way! I'm an assassin-in-training, y'know!" Sephtis declared proudly, putting his thumb to his chest with a large grin.

"...you don't have to make us sound so evil, dude," Scarlet dully replied. She sighed before aiming her gun at Lightning's head. "Give me one good reason why I shouldn't shoot you right now. If it's decent, I might be nice and give you a five-second headstart."

“One, we fused a lot, and I have no idea who or what you are talking about. Also,” Lightning moved out off the way in a flash. “I have no trouble with you - I am only looking for Eggman."

A vein throbbed in Scarlet's head, and her eyes turned bright pink. Mac started to melt rapidly (and his frozen head had a scared expression), and Sephtis backed away from her. A red aura flared as she yelled, "THEN GET THE HELL OUT OF HERE! EGGMAN ISN'T ANYWHERE NEAR HERE, SO GET YOUR ASS SOMEWHERE ELSE!"

"Cool your jets, Scar!" Mac said, finally free. "We can safely tell you we don't know if that robot thing works for Eggman, but isn't Vendeta a space traveler or something?" Sephtis shrugged, leaving Mac to give him an annoyed expression. "Anyway, I don't think Eggman would be interested in any of us-"

"And we'd all take turns murdering him if he dared to put his hands on Alexia again," Scarlet angrily added.

"-so I think you're probably best looking out for... hmm..." Mac seemed lost in thought.

"Hey, weren't there some soldiers outside?" Sephtis continued. "Who knows, maybe the clan is led by Eggman too!"

“Fine I will leave ok?” Lightning turned to leave and started to run away.

"Wow," Vendeta said to Mac "I've only seen you that annoyed fighting Luna."

Meanwhile, the Tenebrite chunk in Vendeta's hand seemed to pulse faintly, the normally dark purple sheen brightening somewhat.

"Interesting..." Vendeta muttered. He made the rock float in the air with his psychokinesis.

"I don't get that thing," said Scarlet with crossed arms. "Its energy signatures are so... weird."

"It seems to react with my psychokinesis, somehow," Vendeta replies. "I have no idea what it's doing, but I want to figure this thing out. I think we should get moving, incidentally. The blue guy could appear at any moment."

Lightning stopped. “Who are you talking about?“

"A blue hedgehog based off this him. Makes us look like a buncha jokers," said Mac, pointing to Vendeta with his thumb.

"Please," Vendeta replied "He went down easily both times I fought him. The time before this I didn't even need help. He's got a power boost now, admittedly, but he's nothing we can't handle."

"Correction," A mechanical voice said from behind Vendeta "I can kill you all."

Vendeta whirls round as Vendeta Blue force palms him in the face, knocking him away and making the Tenebrite fall out of his hands. "Alright, screw it, I'm killing this thing," said Scarlet, creating three afterimages of herself. The only real one was the one of Vendeta Blue's left, who was trying to kick him in the face, towards some stalactites. Vendeta Blue uses his psychokinesis on all three, quickly discovering that the Scarlet on the left is the only one who has mass. He grabs Scarlet's foot and throws her against the cave wall.

Lightning pulled out his sword and had it at the ready. The blade gleamed as Lightning charged at Vendeta Blue. In this area of the cavern, the walls and ceilings were chock-full of Tenebrite, creating a mysterious and oddly beautiful purplish that shone all around the group as they continued to clash, seeming to intensify as the fight did.

"My, what's going on here?" said the blonde monkey from before with a stalagmite held tight in her tail. She then saw Vendeta, Mac, Scarlet, and Sephtis. Oh, Keira told me about them. One of them being Luna's one-off enemy, two of them being long-running nuisances, and one of them being a traitor. "Well then, you all seem busy. Why are you all here?"

Sephtis was flying towards Vendeta Blue, blasting bursts of wind to help Lightning, but as soon as Mac saw the attractive female, he immediately lost focus. "Well, we're here looking for a beautiful artifact... perhaps one to give to someone as beautiful as yourself," Mac said with a wink.

Oh, great. He's a flirt. Charlotte gave Mac a meek look. "Wh-Why, I'm flattered..." I'm way out of this bozo's league. "It makes me so happy that you would say such kind things about me..." He probably says that to all the girls. Unfortunately for him, I'm no moron. "However, I am in need of something else. I've heard that there is, in fact, a powerful artifact, and I was wondering if any of you had already claimed it."

Mac blushed and scratched the back of his ear. The slightly-damaged Scarlet slapped him upside in the back of the head. "Hey, attention queen! Take your dainty requests somewhere else, we've got a problem to deal with!"

"Oh my... how aggressive," Charlotte said. "I guess I'll be on my way..." Charlotte's eyes momentarily turned yellow, and right above Mac and Scarlet, a large amount of stalagmites and Tenebrite fell, with Scarlet luckily being able to put up an energy shield in time. However, unless they want to do a large attack that'd damage everyone, they were very much trapped, not able to hear anything outside of the rubble dome.

Charlotte smiled. Those two must've been the long-running nuisances. Well, then, I'll need them to keep a high opinion of me. Charlotte approached Vendeta. He must be the traitor. "You. I'll be claiming your skull unless you get me that orb."

Lightning was launched into the air by the air and he came down sword over his head, while the light from the Tenebrite embedded in the walls and the ceiling seemed to pulse slightly. Was all this activity causing the crystals to behave oddly?

"Is that a euphemism, lady?" Vendeta replies to Charlotte. He then tries to punch Charlotte. Meanwhile, Vendeta Blue is staggered by the bursts of wind, but manages to steady himself and tries to uppercut Sephtis when he arrives. Sephtis blocks the punch with Kyoya before trying to nail Vendeta Blue in the side with it.

Charlotte smiled at Vendeta's attempt before jumping over him, turning around, and attempting a sweep kick. Vendeta jumped over the sweep, floating in the air, and tried to hit Charlotte horizontally with a Force Blade. Charlotte quickly took out her axe, deflecting the blade, before trying to kick him upwards in the chin. Vendeta blocks the kick with his other arm and tries to kick Charlotte in the head. Vendeta lands his blow, but Charlotte does multiple backflips to regain her footing.

"My, my. You're keeping up with a god's intern. You're not a bad fighter, are you~" she said, before throwing her axe like a discus at Vendeta's head. Vendeta catches the axe with his psychokinesis, pulling it into his hand. He then fired Psychdarts at Charlotte. Charlotte groaned, her hands glowing yellow before making the ground explode underneath Vendeta. Then, she's hit by a PyschDart, but she runs to avoid the others. Vendeta is knocked upwards, but quickly rights himself in midair, hovering just bellow the ceiling of the cave. By the time he had rightened himself, Charlotte had jumped at it, trying to chop at his scar with her glowing hand. Vendeta leaped back from Charlotte's attack.

Meanwhile, Vendeta Blue teleport dashes past Sephtis' attack and tries to Force Palm him in the back of the head. Sephtis was hit by the attack and was sent flying, but he regained his composure and blasted more air to Vendeta Blue. Lightning turned around and started to make a tornado to help. Vendeta Blue weaves in and out of the blasts of air and tries to kick Sephtis while also firing PsychDarts at Lightning.

Sephtis grumbled, flying at Vendeta Blue and trying to whack him in the head. Vendeta Blue is hit and his eyes flicker slightly, before he tries to punch Sephtis in the gut. Sephtis smiles before using Kyoya to block the block and bring a gust of harsh wind from the side, trying to hit Vendeta Blue's side. Lightning blocked the darts with his sword. Vendeta Blue is knocked away by Septhis, being knocked into one of the cave's walls in a cloud of dust.

The impact of Vendeta Blue crashing into the cave wall almost felt like it shook the entire place; the sound was mingled in with something else... something suspiciously like a low groan.

Underneath the rubble and Tenebrite, a red explosion occurred, sending a ripple through the air. Where the rubble had been, an annoyed Scarlet and slightly frightened Mac stood. The chunks of high velocity rubble smashed into even more stalagmites and stalactites, causing a bit of a noisy chain reaction and more pieces of limestone to fall down from the ceiling around the fighters.

This explosion also caused a particularly tall stalagmite to start to crumble and finally collapse. Did the general area seem to get a bit darker...? Lightning was laying on the floor, unconscious and with some rocks on him, but he was alive. The tornado he'd made saved his life. "Is it just me, or are the shadows getting closer?" Sephtis asked.

"That's an edgy way of putting it," replied Scarlet.

“ ughh ow” Lightning moaned as he woke up, his head hurting. Oddly enough, the darkness seemed to be more concentrated at an area further back into the cave. And then there was a noise; a noise not unlike some huge creature that sounded quite upset.

"Well..." Vendeta said "I'm not sure continuing to fight is a good idea."

"Correction," Vendeta Blue said, floating out from the cloud of dust "Continuing. Excellent idea."

He tries to fly at Vendeta, and the Guardian throws Charlotte's axe into it's chest. However, Vendeta Blue catches the object with his psychokinesis, pulling it to his hand just like Vendeta had and swings it at Vendeta. Vendeta screams as the axe leaves a gash on his shoulder. Mac bolted forward, trying to stab Angel in Vendeta Blue's chest.

Vendeta Blue created a portal to a frozen mountain in front of Mac, stopping Angel from hitting him and resulting in snow falling into the cavern. Vendeta Blue attacks Vendeta with the axe again, but Vendeta creates a Force Blade in his hand and the two Vendetas start dueling.

"Mac, you, Sephtis and Vendeta deal with the robot," Scarlet yelled out to them, reloading her gun. "I'm gonna check out this thing."

"Well... I don't want to be useless. I'll help," replied Chalotte, knowing Scarlet didn't see any of her misdeeds.

"You coming?" asked Scarlet to Lightning.

It sounded like there was something huge moving around back there, with the sound of massive claws scraping into the cavern floor. There was another eerie howl, quite loud. Whatever was making that noise was not happy.

“What is that thing?" Lightning asked, picking up his sword. Wait, was that some eyes in the darkness, high up in the air? More importantly, what was that concentration of darkness on the cavern floor...?

The Vendetas keep dueling, and the real one catches a quick glance at Lightning.

"Oh, for crying out loud, now he has a concus-"

Before he can finish, Vendeta Blue force palms Vendeta in the chest, and he's sent flying into the wall again.

Lightning turned around.

“Catch!” Lightning yelled as he threw his sword near Vendeta. Vendeta Blue hadn’t noticed the sword, and before he had time to register it Vendeta pulled it to his hand with psychokinesis and stabbed Vendeta Blue in the shoulder with it. The robot responded with some garbled noise before trying to punch Vendeta with his free arm, but Vendeta quickly pulled the sword out and teleport dashed out of range.

”Good call, kid” Vendeta told Lightning, keeping his eyes on his robot duplicate. There was another howl, even closer this time...

"I say we kill it," Scarlet said, glowing.

"Why, what a brutal strategy," Charlotte replied. "Maybe we should tame it?" I want to kill it too, but she can't know I'm a fighter too early...

The glow from Scarlet made it easier to see the odd concentration of darkness on the ground, almost as if it was coming from an object. Far above that, there was another glow; one coming from at least four golden eyes. Lightning picked up a sharp stalagmite, and a low rumble came from the general direction of the eyes as they lowered; it was still too dark to see the thing's true form... Scarlet intensified her aura even further, lighting up the cave with red lighting while yelling. Charlotte looked at Scarlet with interest.

The source of the darkness was clear, now; it seemed to be a bowling ball-sized orb comprised of pure darkness energy, laying on the cavern floor. But the red light also illuminated something else, something that was looming over the two; a huge creature, horned creature with four arms that seemed to be covered in Tenebrite armor, with pitch-black fur growing from the exposed areas.

"Hello! What're you doing here, if I may ask?" asked Charlotte, appearing to seem innocent and well-mannered. The giant tilted its head to the side, as if not really understanding what Charlotte just said to it. Its gaze moved down towards the ground, towards the bowling ball-sized object, and a huge, crystalline claw moved forward to carefully cover the object, as if protecting it from Scarlet and Charlotte. It then looked back at the two Mobians, and just stared.

From behind, Mac came dashing in with his own sword, trying to slice off Vendeta Blue's shoulder.

Lightning looked back. "Restrain the robot but dont be to close to it" just then Lightning chucked the stalagmite at Vendeta Blue then moved.

”Shouting tactics. Ill advised.” Vendeta Blue replied. He blocks the stalagmite with his psychokinesis and chucks it away, while blocking Mac with the axe. However, while focused on the other two, Vendeta rushed up behind him and stabbed his sword into Vendeta Blue’s other shoulder, heavily damaging both of the robot’s arms.

”Keep it up!” Vendeta shouted. “He can’t take all three of us at once!”

Lightning started to charge his stun attack and ran at Vendeta Blue and prepared to punch the robot. Vendeta uses his psychokinesis to keep Vendeta Blue in place, leading to the stun attack hitting him, knocking Vendeta Blue back. Vendeta then teleport dashed behind Vendeta Blue and kicked him back towards Lightning.

"Lightning! Let's slice this thingamajob up!" Mac said as Angel grew chainsaw-like edges, signifying its transformation into Heaven. Then, Mac ran forward, trying to slash at Vendeta Blue at the same time as Lightning would make his own attack. Lightning backed away then jumped into the air.

It seemed that the great beast had just about enough of these shenanigans, however; with a loud howl, it lurched forward and lashed out with one of its massive forearms, aiming right for Vendeta Blue. Vendeta Blue was knocked through several walls, ending so far away no one in the party could see him until they heard some kind of explosion. Vendeta looked shocked.

”Well,” He said “That happened.”

Lightning turned to Vendeta “Can I have my sword back please?”

The giant monster was still quite upset, however, and let out a howling roar at the remaining explorers, its eyes gleaming and Tenebrite armor seeming to shine. It charged up a ball of Dark-Element energy within its open mouth, before firing it at them at high speed. Vendeta chucks Lightning's sword to him before teleport dashing out of the way of the energy ball. The energy ball exploded in a decent radius of about 10 feet, sending chunks of stone flying everywhere and leaving a crater behind, and the creature was already preparing to launch another one. Lightning grabbed the sword and moved out of the way and ran towards one of its legs.

Charlotte did a cliche damsel in distress yell, and since Vendeta Blue had been knocked away, Mac was free to surge with electricity and bolt in order to grab Charlotte and move her out of the way. "Madame mozelle," he said with a smirk.

"Why, thank you, monsieur," she replied with a flirty wink.

Scarlet walked between them, grabbing Mac's arm. "Quit it, Mac. We have a monster to kill." Scarlet reloaded her gun and fired several plasma bullets at it. Then, she put her gun on her belt at ran forward, trying to see if she could perform a melee attack.

"Sorry about her," Mac said to Charlotte before taking out Zip and Zap. "I'll make sure we beat this thing quickly." Mac crossed his guns and fired a large amount of cryokinetic bullets at its legs, trying to freeze them.

The plasma bullets from Scarlet's guns impacted the Tenebrite armor on the beast's chest, barely fazing it but causing it to turn its attention to her. With a snarl, it slammed both of its huge front forearms down on the ground, releasing a massive shockwave of Darkness energy that tore up the ground as Scarlet ran at it; some of Mac's cryokinetic bullets ended up hitting its left lower arm, freezing that partially and causing it to howl in rage. Scarlet yelled as she got sent up into the air, but she was caught by Sephtis.

"I got this one, Scar!" he told her before dropping her (causing her to scream until she hit the ground) and firing several gusts of wind at the beast. Of course, the wind blasts only served to enrage it further, as it was far too large and heavy to be blown over. It turned and whipped its long, thick tail at Sephtis, now mostly ignoring Scarlet and the others.

While Calamis is focused on Sephtis, Vendeta flies up behind the beast and tries to stab it in the back with a Force Longsword, aiming for areas between the thick armour plates that covered the creature. Sephtis was knocked out of the air onto Scarlet, and Mac charged himself with lightning before equipping his gauntlets and bursting forward, trying to punch the monster.

The plate-like armor on the creature's back started to glow slightly, although it was unaware of Vendeta's presence right now. Seeing that Sephtis was no longer nearby, it had nothing to really focus on, leaving it open for Mac to punch it. Mac landed his hit on its cheek, trying to put more force into his fist in order to paralyze the creature temporarily.

A good portion of the creature's cheek area was solid Tenebrite, but Mac was able to connect his fist to its unarmored lower jawline, causing it to roar and reel back violently, just as Vendeta managed to force his blade in between the plates on its back. It thrashed about wildly, swinging its head around (even going towards Mac at one point), before going into a more crouched position; the paralysis seemed to have worked.

"Let's go get this thing you're looking for," Vendeta said "Before this thing comes back to it's senses."

"Why don't we kill it now?!" Scarlet said, looking aggravated. "I'd rather not have it chase us down."

The creature howled as it struggled to break free of the paralysis, its eyes looking around frantically for the orb that it had tried to guard earlier.

"Just seems kinda sad to kill it like this," Vendeta replied "I can go get the orb, you finish it off."

”I agree after all if Eggman doesn’t have the orb that is good I think I might go with you”

The creature was still trying to fight the paralysis, and howled angrily at the intruders, clearly not wanting them near the Orb (wherever it was right now).

"That works," said Scarlet. "Sephtis, go with Vendeta. Those spikes are no joke."

Sephtis sighed. "But I wanna help kill it!"

Mac gave a smile along with a deadly glare to the eagle, and he quickly flew over to Vendeta. Charlotte walked to Vendeta, too. "I'm no fighter so I'll be best going with... Vendeta, is it?" she gave a false smile to Mac and Scarlet, to which Mac scratched the back of his head and grinned and Scarlet rolled her eyes.

"Whatever," she said, two orbs spinning rapidly in her palms. "Here goes-"

"TASER LASER!" Mac said, putting his arms in a "P" position and firing a bright yellow laser at Calamis.

"WHO YELLS THEIR ATTACK NAMES?!" Scarlet replied before firing two orange beams along Mac's.

The poor beast was still struggling to get past the paralysis, letting out another howl as the lasers and beams hit it in the side. This time, however, it managed to get its tail moving, and tried to swing it at the two. Mac was swatted away, but Scarlet jumped and dodged it before trying to land an energy-powered kick to the top of the beast's head.

Further in the darkness, the Orb was laying on the ground, although probably quite hard to see, due to the extremely low light levels around it. Vendeta walked past Calamis, looking for the orb. Lightning followed Vendeta, and Sephtis followed after him too.

Scarlet's kick connected with its head, but due to being heavily armored, it didn't seem to do much more than piss it off again; the strength of the blow forced its head down, however, where its snout bonked into the ground, cracking the earth slightly.

"REEEEEEEEAAAAGH!!!"

Scarlet fell onto her back and yelled, growling as she looked at it. When the earth cracked, she hopped back onto her feet. Mac waved to her. "Scar! Distract it! I'll use my Thunder Grenade a nuke this thing!"

"Stop naming your attacks, you dork," Scarlet said with a sigh. "Fine, then. Guess I'm not monster duty." Scarlett burst forward to Calamis' front and tried to kick it in the cheek with another energy-powered kick.

This time, it seemed to be more ready for her attack; as soon as she got close, it opened its mouth wide and attempted to bring its powerful jaws down right onto her leg, shrieking in fury and pain. Scarlet let out a scream of desperation as she made finger-guns and shot several ergokinetic bullets at the creature's face, trying her hardest to get out.

Mac winced as he watched, and an electric blue orb started to form in his hand. Dammit... just hold out for a bit longer, Scar...

The creature lifted up its head, still holding onto Scarlet, before swinging its head violently and tossing her. It then tried to get its limbs moving, huffing from the effort. One of its eyes was badly damaged by the bullets, now closed and bleeding. Scarlet's leg was badly injured as she hit the ground - the only thing protecting it was an ergokinetic aura. It bled, and Scarlet yelled as she stood up.

She stood up, glaring at Calamis, before her eyes went a type of violet-pink and her red aura flared, like fire. She clenched her teeth and fists. "YOU ASSHOLE!" Scarlet violently pointed her finger to a moderate amount of orange hair that was on the floor. "DO YOU KNOW HOW LONG IT TAKES DO THIS THIS STUFF?!" The blood on Scarlet's leg was rising into the air, along with the hair on Scarlet's head, before she burst forward to Calamis' face and tried to punch it in the eye.

The creature turned towards Scarlet as she screamed at it, and it opened its mouth, letting out a loud shriek in response, charging up an orb of Darkness as she flew at its face. Her fist connected with its already injured eye, and it let out a horrible roar of agony, the energy orb shooting from its mouth, towards Mac.

"Of course it comes for me," Mac said with a grumble, blasting a little beam with his free hand that was easily beaten out by Calamis' projectile. Mac decided to throw the Thunder Grenade into the air and do a fancy cartwheel to dodge it before catching the Thunder Grenade once again. The Darkness projectile exploded behind Mac.

Scarlet, meanwhile, wasn't letting up, grabbing onto Calamis, determined to cause it as much pain as possible by trying to hit the monster with a rapid flurry of punches. Scarlet was lucky that Calamis couldn't quite use its arms; otherwise she might be in for a serious world of hurt. However, it did swing its head around violently, shrieking loud enough to make some of the stalactites shake, before attempting to slam its own head into the ground repeatedly, trying to dislodge Scarlet. The paralysis was starting to wear off...

As soon as Scarlet fell to the ground for the third time, Mac grinned and yelled "I HOPE YOU'RE HUNGRY!" before firing the Thunder Grenade at Calamis' other eye, and if it hit it'd cause a notable explosion. Calamis had lifted its head after hearing Mac yell, just in time for the Thunder Grenade to slam into its face, where it exploded violently, sending a shockwave throughout the cavern and also causing the beast to topple over onto its back with a shriek. The stalactites in the area shuddered, and started to fall.

Scarlet's eyes were opened wide, but Mac bolted over to her and surrounded both of them with a force field as the stalactites descended. Scarlet gave Mac a bit of a smile and the smallest of hugs before Mac put a hand on her wound. "I'll heal this up for ya, buddy," he said as his hand glowed blue.

Meanwhile, trying to look powerless for Mac and Scarlet, Charlotte was running around screaming, trying to dodge the stalactites. Sephtis was a help, for he was swinging Kyoya around, blasting them away with wind. Charlotte have a fake smile to the eagle (who gave her a thumbs-up in return) before heading to the Aphotic Orb, trying to grab it while everyone was distracted. The Orb was laying there, unguarded and pulsing faintly with energy.

Calamis, still very much conscious, ended up being partially buried under a hail of stalactites, howling in pain as it tried to get back up; its cries sounded weaker than normal, clearly it had sustained a lot of damage, yet it was still quite alive. It tried to roll over onto its side, clawing at the air. Sephtis tried blasting wind at it, desperate to keep it down. "Why - won't - you - die?!"

The air blasts just caused it to howl in more pain; in its desperate state, it really just looked like a huge and terrified wounded animal... its tail flicked as it struggled, flinging pieces of stalactite around. Sephtis yelped and flew around mindlessly, and Mac upped the durability of his force field, causing his healing with Scarlet to be slowed.

Vendeta ignores the chaos going on around him, using his psychokinesis to try and find the orb. He figured that he could end the fight early if they find it and get out of this place. Charlotte saw him heading towards it before firing a yellow beam at his side.

Sensing that the Orb was in danger now, Calamis shrieked and struggled even harder to get back upright, now completely ignoring Sephtis, Mac, and Scarlet, looking in the general direction of the Orb. Not noticing or really caring about Calamis, Vendeta teleport dashed behind Charlotte and got her in a chokehold.

"You're lucky Mac can't keep his hormones in check," Vendeta told her. "And he's not here to vouch for you. So...why do you want to kill me, exactly?"

Vendeta rested his palm against Charlotte's head while she was still in the chokehold.

"Tell me now," he continued "Or you won't want to see what happens next."

"Why, aren't you a gentleman~" Charlotte said with a smile, not struggling with the chokehold. "My master, Keira, is the mother of a little girl named Luna. She needs lunar power to empower her, so I shall take the Orb. It's not something some silly mortal like you would understand." Suddenly, from underneath him, a yellow beam would rise up.

"Wait a minute," Vendeta replied "Did you say Lu-" Vendeta was hit by the yellow beam, blasting him into the ceiling.

"Now, stop being a pest and disappear!" Charlotte threw her axe where Vendeta was. Then, she turned around and started looking for the Orb again. Vendeta flies out of the way of the axe and flies straight at Charlotte. Charlotte's eyes glowed yellow, and her axe came flying back to her before she fired a beam from her hand. Vendeta disappears, teleport dashing behind Charlotte and trying to kick her in the back. Charlotte was kicked, but she landed on her hand and kept running to the orb.

Just then a gold light appeared and a golden streak hurtled itself at the orb before grabbing it. Charlotte growled, and her eyes shimmered even more as stalagmites were sent at the streak. The streak moved out of the the way and revealed to be Lightning. Charlotte jumped high into the air, coming down and swinging at Lightning with her axe.

Calamis finally managed to roll over onto its feet, sending pieces of stone flying as it dug its claws into the ground and got up. With a howl, it forced its tired body to move towards the Orb.

Lightning was fighting Charlotte and tossed the orb over to Calamis and used his sword to fight her.

Calamis, seeing the Orb be flung, tried to catch it in its mouth. Vendeta managed to catch it with his psychokinesis and pulled it back over to him, teleport dashing away from Charlotte to make sure she didn't get he. He reappeared floating above Calamis.

The beast ended up closing its jaws down on empty air, its three eyes (one was damaged too badly to be usable) looking around wildly for the Orb. It didn't notice that Vendeta had teleported directly above it. Charlotte swung her axe, and it was sent flying at one of Calamis' other eyes. Lightning jumped to grab the axe.

Calamis reacted to the axe flying at its face by instinctively and violently jerking its head back and away to avoid being hit (even though Lightning was jumping to intercept the axe). Vendeta might've gotten smacked by the beast's armored head if he wasn't careful...

Charlotte's eyes glowed brighter before darkening again, and her axe stopped before Lightning could grab it. It returned to her, and Charlotte put it on her back before firing a V-shaped beam, one side of it aiming for Lightning and the other for Calamis' eye.

Part 4

Back at the village, the sounds of combat had reached the ears of the already frazzled clanspeople there; the howls were especially worrying, as no one had any idea just what was making that kind of noise...

"It's the monster!" one of the youngsters cried, pointing towards the entrance of the deep cavern. "It's the monster that lives back there! I bet it's gobbling up that bad lady that killed Melns and Missus Tamno!"

As the Clanspeople talked, Vendeta Blue walked out of the cavern. He wasn't damaged to the point of disrepair like his previous battle with Vendeta, but he was damaged enough that he had to withdraw. In his hand he held a large chunk of Tenebrite. He looked at the panicked Clanspeople before a portal opened up below him, and he fell into it; it then closed it up behind him.

"...wow! That was really cool!" the kid piped up, jumping up and down. Varjud sighed and rubbed at his forehead.

"Hopefully this all blows over soon..."

Fancy-Pants Thing

In the caves, Lightning yelled "Chaos control" and teleported to the ground .Vendeta, meanwhile, managed to narrowly dodge Calamis' attack, although he was now in the beast's line of sight. Its three eyes focused on Vendeta, the pupils narrowing when it saw the Orb in his hands. It let out an extremely loud, screeching howl, and lunged furiously at him.

Sephtis flew near Vendeta, yelling "Hey! I'm open! Over here! Ven! Gimme!"

Charlotte continued firing beams at Calamis, trying to deal with it so that she could easily steal the Orb from the others later. The beams glanced off its heavily armored face, but a few got it in the neck; despite the pain, it continued to focus on Vendeta, and the Orb. It swung one of its huge forearms at him. Vendeta threw the orb over to Sephtis and used his psychokinesis to hold of Calamis’ attack long enough for him to fly away.

With its arm caught by the telekinetic ability, Calamis howled in a rage and swiped at Vendeta with its other forearm, eyes burning with fury. Vendeta flies away from Calamis and fires PsychDarts at the creature. Sephtis grabbed the Orb, blew a raspberry at Calamis, and flew away, blasting some wind at it with Kyoya.

The PsycheDarts hit Calamis in the upper portion of its head, not doing much damage at all; it turned its head towards Sephtis and fired a great multitude of small, fast-moving Dark-Element shots at him. While Calamis is focusing on Sephtis, Vendeta creates knuckledusters out of psychokinetic energy and tries to pummel Calamis where its fur is exposed. Calamis gets its arm freed from the telekinetic grip and, still focusing on Sephtis, starts lumbering after him, only for Vendeta's strikes to hit it in the side, directly behind the middle pair of arms.

"REEEAAAAAGH!!"

The creature was being fueled by desperation now, and, despite Vendeta's attack, continued to pursue Sephtis, staggering and stumbling every now and then. Due to its darkness-triggered healing factor, its injured eye was almost fully healed by now, not that it mattered much.

Sephtis continued teasing it while blasting it, flying throughout the air to make sure he wasn't hit. Meanwhile, Charlotte was still blasting lasers at its other eye.

And Calamis continued to run, panting harshly as it forced its tired body to pursue Sephtis, claws digging and ripping into the ground in its desperate haste. It was starting to slow down, however.

Fancy-Pants Thing

"So much fighting still in there," Varjud mumbled, now staring into the mouth of the cavern; a crowd of clanspeople had gathered as well, the eerie and agonized howls of Calamis reaching their ears with ease.

"Whatever's making that noise, it sounds like it's in awful pain," a female chinchilla frowned, arms crossed.

"I was hoping it was beating up that bad lady and those invaders that went into the cave," one of the kids pouted.

Fancy-Pants Thing

Vendeta looks over at Team Mask and Sephtis.

"Alright!" He shouted "We have the orb and this thing isn't getting up any time soon. Let's run while we still can!"

Scarlet nodded and grabbed onto Sephtis' leg, both of them prepared to escape the dangerous cave. Mac looked around, wondering where Charlotte was, but Scarlet shot him a glare that reminded him that Calamis was there. He surged with electricity, and all three of them began to accelerate, zooming through the cave.

And yet Calamis continued to pursue them, but certainly couldn't catch up to them. This did not stop the beast, however; it seemed that nothing short of death would stop it from reclaiming the Orb...

Lightning looked at Calamis and the others and he yelled “Stop!”

Sephtis blew a raspberry at Calamis, still flying and nearly out of the cave, before yelling to Lightning "Why should we stop?"

Calamis responded by firing more Dark Rounds at the fleeing Mobians.

“Listen, what right do we have stealing the orb? And if we steal it, won’t the monster kill those Mobians looking for the Orb? It could kill everyone outside the cave and more!” Lightning put his sword down and powered down.

Septhis sighed as Scarlet fired orbs of energy at the rounds, getting hit by one and wincing before Mac started speaking up. "You really think that's our problem? Those people are jerks, anyway, and if they can control darkness, they can take him! Not our fault they didn't think of some war strats!"

Fancy-Pants Thing

"Uhh... is it just me, or are those sounds getting closer...?" the chinchilla frowned, backing away from the cave entrance a bit. Just then, a stray Dark Round came zooming out of the cave, thankfully too high up in the air to be a danger.

Mac, Scarlet, and Sephtis all stopped, with Sephtis holding the Orb. Scarlet took it out of his hands and put it in Mac's. "You're the fastest of us. I'd start running," she suggested. He nodded and surged with electricity again before bolting out of the village. Then, Scarlet and Sephtis stared at Calamis. "How are we gonna deal with you?" asked Scarlet, softly.

The Clanspeople quickly backed out of the way in a panic when Mac came hurtling out of the cave and through the village. Calamis, meanwhile... completely ignored the others and continued to chase after Mac, although it was nowhere near as fast as he was. The duo's eyes opened wide as they ran to Calamis, trying to grab its tail.

As the beast was entirely ignoring the two, it didn't notice that they had grabbed onto its tail, likely being swung around a bit as the creature continued to run, starting to reach the mouth of the cavern. While Sephtis was sent flying into the fence, Scarlet planted her feet into the ground and sent energy to her legs, determined to at least slow the monster down.

The beast had attempted to jump up and over the fence at this point, managing to bury its claws right outside of the mouth of the cave, crushing the fence in the process and sending the nearby Clanspeople fleeing in a screaming panic. It howled and tried to climb out while Scarlet continued to pull on its tail. Sephtis yelped before flying out of the way at the last second. "You're a huge jerk, y'know that?" he said to it before flying up and trying to stab it in the neck.

"ITS THE MONSTER!" the same kid yelled, jumping up and down in excitement. "IT'S REAL, I KNEW IT WAS! WOWIE!!"

Calamis ignored all the panic, putting its focus into trying to escape so it could continue to chase after Mac. The searing pain in its thick-furred neck caused it to howl in pain, and it swiped a huge claw at Sephtis in a fury.

"WHY MEEEEEEEEEEEEE?" Sephtis yelled, getting swatted away towards the enthusiastic kid. Sephtis gave him a smile before using Kyoya to make whirls of wind around Calamis' legs, trying to set the monster off-balance.

The kid watched in awe at this entire scene before being dragged away by the female chinchilla so he wouldn't accidentally get hurt in the scuffle. Varjud, who was a bit of a distance away, ended up recognizing Sephtis.

"Wait a minute, that's one of the intruders! They got out and they brought a monster with them?!"

Calamis had its claws dug into the earth still, trying to clamber up out of the cavern and into the village; the wind caused it to hunker down, however, snarling. It tried to shake Scarlet off of its tail, now. Scarlet was sent flying high into the air, and she huffed before taking out her gun and firing rounds of cryokinetic bullets. Sephtis, meanwhile, tried to stab Calamis' teeth.

As Scarlet was firing at Calamis from above, its heavily armored back absorbed most of the bullets. Sephtis, meanwhile, made a big mistake by even going near the creature's mouth, as it swiftly swung its head towards him, fully prepared to crunch down on him and his weapon. Sephtis shrieked in fear, trying to back out and dodge the beast but fall on his butt in the process. Sephtis growled at Calamis while still hurrying back on his feet.

Calamis responded to the growl with a horrible, shrieking howl as it now managed to climb out of the cavern; it had escaped! Sephtis gulped and headed high into the air. "Phew!" he said. "Well, talk about close!" He tried making whirls around the guardian's teeth, knowing that getting close wasn't a smart move, as Scarlet fired more cryokinetic bullets.

Now that Calamis had managed to get out of the cavern, it proceeded to try and make its way out of the village, making no effort to attack any of the Clanspeople; it was still keen on going after Mac. Mac, who had been still running, opened his eyes wide open, blasting lightning at Calamis. Scarlet and Sephtis headed to its tail once again, trying to stall it.

"We could really use Ven right now!" Scarlet said, straining.

"What is going on here?!" Varjud demanded, running after Sephtis and Scarlet. "What did you do?!"

"We're stopping this thing from stealing what we rightfully stole!" yelled Scarlet. "We're having a little bit of trouble, though, so I'd appreciate it if you could either help or - ARGH!" She kept holding on, expression fierce.

"What exactly did you idiots steal??" Varjud cried, but grabbed onto Calamis' tail, as well.

"The Apple Orb!" Sephtis answered giddily.

"Now you're not even trying to remember its name!" replied Scarlet.

"The... the Aphotic Orb?!" Varjud cried. "That was actually back there?!"

He then growled.

"And you just stole it?! No wonder we have a monster in the village now!!" he cried. Calamis shrieked and tried to jerk its tail violently.

"Eh, monsters are like, every Tuesday," Sephtis said with a shrug. "I was expecting it earlier, to be honest."

"This thing has attachment issues when it comes to the Aprophetic Orb thingamajob!" Scarlet yelled, her feet started to dig into the ground.

"It was probably protecting the Orb!" Varjud huffed, grunting as he tried to dig his feet into the ground as well as Calamis moved its tail. "So really, this is all your fault! You better have an idea of how to deal with this...!"

"Maybe give the Orb back to it?" Ahvardus suggested as he too started to help Varjud, Scarlet, and Sephtis out.

"What if you try shooting it again?" Sephtis asked her. Scarlet fired a bullet that easily ricocheted off Calamis. Sephtis blushed. "Okay, maybe that wasn't the smartest idea..."

Scarlet smiled. "It's kind of like a deadly game of tug-of-war if you think about it," she said. "Plus, it doesn't need the Orb that bad. We'll use it for... other things."

"Mac does need a new ping-pong ball," Sephtis suggested.

"I meant, like, y'know," Scarlet said, and Sephtis replied with an "Ohhhh!"

"What exactly do you need that Orb for, anyways??" Ahvardus accused. "How do we know we shouldn't just let this monster eat you and then let it have the Orb back?? It's not like it was even hurting anyone until you clowns showed up!!"

"Well-"

Scarlet was interrupted by a chatty Sephtis. "Therewasthisalienladywhowashalfalienandidn'treallylooklikeanalienbutshewasanalientrustmeorIguesshalfalienbutshewasreallymeanshekilledmydadandshewasedgyinfactshehadedgypowerswellnotreallyshereallyhaddarknesspowershehhehsomekidswereafraidofthedarkwhentheywerebabiesbutIthefearlessSephtisBrionatheFifthwasnotandneverwillbebutanywaystogettothepointshecancontroldarknessandifshegetsherhandsonthisshecouldbecomeagod-ishladyandshe'llterrorizeeveryone!"

"...okay, again, but slower please??" Avhardus groaned.

"Half-alien half-god lady who controls darkness might get her hands on this thing, and we can't have that. Plus, I wanna use it," translated Scarlet.

"I didn't say that last part!" said Sephtis.

"She might not have even known that this thing was here until you guys dragged it out into the open!" Ahvardus cried. "You should have just left it alone! This is still your fault! I bet you're responsible for drawing in that blond lady who killed my cousin Melns!!"

He grunted as he continued trying to pull on Calamis' tail to prevent it from leaving; it was still struggling to get out of the village.

"Ahvardus, yelling isn't going to help anything!" Varjud cried.

"Well, someone was probably going to try and take it eventually. Maybe not by getting your cuz killed, but still," said Scarlet blankly. "Sorry about Melns, tho. And we can't give up with all of this we've started. And was it a monster that killed him?"

"I just said it was some blond lady that killed him," Ahvardus sighed. "And sure, maybe someone might have tried to search here eventually, but they'd have to have an idea that it was even located here!"

"You're going to give that Orb back when you're done with it, right?" Varjud asked. "Something that powerful should probably not be available to... well, anyone."

To Varjud, Sephtis replied "Probably... I think. I'll ask Mac. He's, like, the leader, kinda."

The bear huffed, but said nothing.

To Ahvardus, Scarlet asked "A monkey with a bow?" suspiciously.

"Our only witness didn't get a good enough look at her to determine her species, but he did say she had a bow! And an axe!"

"Oh, god." Scarlet suddenly stopped pulling.

"What?? What is it??" Ahvardus asked.

"I think I-" Scarlet was then hit in the side by a yellow beam, and Charlotte presented herself, smiling and waving at Ahvardus.

"Hello~" she greeted, firing another beam at Calamis. The wolf's eyes widened in shock.

"Y-You...! You murderer!!" he cried, pulling out his crossbow. Calamis let out a shriek of pain as the beam hit it in the flank, and it finally turned around to confront them; Varjud let go of its tail just in time to not get yanked along.

Vendeta then walks out of the cave holding a chunk of Tenebrite and then teleport dashes behind Charlotte.

"That's enough from you." He says. He then tries to kick Charlotte in the back, following up with a psychokinetic grab that smashes her into the ground if successful. Sephtis was sent flying for the third time, being the only person who was still holding on to Calamis before he turned around.

Charlotte was hit by Vendeta's combo, and she got up with a bruised face. Her eyes glowed yellow, and large chunks of rock came out of the ground. She fired two at Ahvardus and two at Vendeta.

Ahvardus' eyes widened in fear as the two chunks of rock came flying at him, and he managed to leap out of the way just in time. He loaded a bolt into the crossbow and fired at Charlotte while Varjud pulled out his scramasax, turning towards Charlotte. Charlotte equipped her axe and twirled it, blocking the arrows.

"My oh my, aren't you just..." Charlotte threw the axe at Ahvardus. "Pathetic."

Ahvardus wouldn't be able to get up and dodge the axe in time. His eyes widened in fear as the weapon came hurtling towards him... before Calamis' massive, crystalline fist came slamming down in front of the wolf, the weapon clanging harmlessly off of its claw.

Vendeta creates a Force Longsword and easily slices through the rocks. However, he stays still for now: he has a feeling Calamis is going to be dealing with this one.

Fancy-Pants Thing

Lightning dashed out of the cave and looked around at the chaos. Mac was still running around, and he caught Lightning's eye. "Hey, you! Can you come with me?" asked Mac. Lightning ran over, his sword out just in case. . .

Mac looked around to make sure Calamis was being handled before saying, "I'm going to head to the woods with this thing, but it won't be easy if I do it alone. Hey, swordsmen have to stick together in a world of guns, right?" Ignore the fact that I have two of them, that's not important.

Fancy-Pants Thing

Back in the village, Charlotte's eye glowed yellow, and she tried taking her axe back. With a grunt, Calamis moved its claw in an attempt to pin the weapon to the ground, glaring at Charlotte. It was at this point that Varjud swung at her with his scramasax. Charlotte did a cartwheel to dodge it before smiling and firing another beam from her hand. Varjud managed to dodge the laser, glaring at her.

"You're going to pay for what you did to Melns and Tamno...!" he growled.

"Oh, have you had a burial service for them yet? They were getting in my way, y'know? A gal's gotta do what a gal's gotta do~" Charlotte tried jumping over Varjud and kicking him in the back of his head.

Varjud ducked a bit when she jumped over his head, whirling around to face her as he attempted to block her kick with his sword.

Lightning came dashing into the village and jumped at Charlotte. Charlotte backflipped, trying to get Lightning to hit Varjud. Vendeta used his psychokinesis to try and keep Charlotte in place. Vendeta succeeded, but Charlotte's eyes glowed, and the ground beneath him exploded. Vendeta is blasted upwards, crashing into the ground a few meters away and losing his hold on Charlotte. Charlotte grinned, throwing her axe at Varjud.

Varjud managed to use his sword to block the axe from hitting him, although the force that it was hurled at caused him to stagger backwards. There was a howl, and now Calamis was swinging its claw at Charlotte. Charlotte was hit by the swing, but she caught her axe in midair and shot a blade beam at it.

Calamis roared as the beam struck it in the neck, causing it to stagger, eyes squeezed shut in pain. By now, other Dark Clan soldiers were showing up; one of them, a female otter, fired a blast of darkness energy at Charlotte. Charlotte was caught off-guard by the blast, hitting the ground as Scarlet reemerged, pointing gun at Charlotte and shooting. Charlotte flipped, dodging it. "Well, well... isn't this unfair?"

"You're a murderer; in my eyes, you don't deserve 'fairness'," Varjud growled, pointing his sword at her.

"Of course, the hero speech," Charlotte said, casually deflecting a bullet Scarlet had shot at her with her axe. "What's next? 'You will pay for what you've done!' 'I will avenge those you've hurt!'" Charlotte grinned.

"I'm working for a force higher than what you youngins could understand. I'm not going to be stopped here." Charlotte ran to Varjud, trying a simple sliding sweep kick. Growling again, he swiped at her with his blade when she attempted the slide kick, trying to slash her as she approached. She tried reflecting the blade with an energy-powered leg, causing her to bleed but releasing an explosion of energy.

The explosion ended up knocking Varjud back a ways, landing on his side. He groaned as he got up, still gripping his sword, and the other Dark Clan soldiers were starting to ready their weapons.

Unfortunately, there were some civilians, too curious for their own good, hanging around the fringes. Some were eyeing Calamis with fear and confusion, while others were paying more attention to the ensuing fight; a few winced as Varjud was thrown back by the energy explosion.

Charlotte looked around. I don't have enough energy reserved to create a large enough explosion... if only there was some kind of distraction to get their attention somewhere else. It'd have to be big, though, and someone they all mutually despise...

Fancy-Pants Thing

Outside, the fighting had not gone unnoticed by Norrix and his squad, and he hastily rang up Eggman.

"Boss! Boss, we have a big problem...!!"

Eggman answered the call with a groan, his bespectacled gaze practically piercing through Norrix.

"What is it now?! You better have that Orb, Norrix...!"

"Well, uhh... sir, there's a big fight going on in the Dark Clan's village! And we've seen a huge monster in there...! We might need the Egg Chameleon right now, as backup!"

Eggman frowned.

"You can't handle this problem by yourself? Ugh..."

The mad doctor rubbed at his chin now.

"I suppose this could be a good test run for my Egg Chameleon; and if it helps you buffoons get that Orb, all the better."

Norrix let out a faint sigh.

"Thank you, sir; I promise we will get that Orb for you...!"

Part 5

Things were quiet (at least, as quiet as they could be) for a bit, both inside of the village and outside of it. Nobody was prepared for what was to come, not even Norrix and his squad; the only sign they got that Eggman had answered their call was the faintest dark outline, roughly ten feet tall, darting into the village. Norrix grinned.

Inside, the inhabitants there got a rude awakening as a huge shape threw itself onto Calamis at high speeds, sending the dark beast crashing onto the ground with a howl. The Dark Clan civilians promptly attempted to scramble away in a panic, and even the soldiers were badly startled.

"Aw yeah, baby," Charlotte said, slowly backing out.

Sephtis was in the air, finally having recovered from Calamis' blow. "What is that? Sweet!"

Calamis roared and tried to whip its head around to bite at the huge robot, but it dodged with uncanny speed and opened its mouth, firing a spray of bullets at Calamis' face. The beast howled in agony as the bullets, while mostly glancing off of its armored head, got it in most of its eyes and also in the neck; the spray of bullets was wild, and some of them came dangerously close to the others. A blast of spiky black lightning neared the robot, coming at quick speeds.

The robot turned its head, but was hit by the blast of black lightning, skidding back a distance. Its eyes glowed, and it seemed to vanish, cloaked in darkness and near-impossible to see with the naked eye. Calamis tried to get up now.

Mac, having left Lightning, smirked. "Hey, now. I don't know why you're bullying that poor abomination over there, but he didn't do anything to you. But I have a feeling that you aren't on my side." He started to glow before his fur turned blue, with his clothes turning white. "Now, normally I wouldn't be so confident, but I think you should question whether you wanna do this." Mac's eyes went completely white, and the his shirt and pants (save for the blue) turned black as he carried the Aphotic Orb. "Cause this is mine right now, and I'll tear you to pieces... wherever you are."

Vendeta teleport dashes next to Mac and cracks his knuckles. He takes little notice to Mac's changing appearance.

"Alright, Mac," he said. "Let's see what this new opponent can do."

"New opponents, old times," responded Mac.

The Egg Chameleon was suddenly right up in their faces, and swung at them with one of its claws. Vendeta teleport dashes backwards and flies straight at the Chameleon, aiming to bombard it with punches. Mac followed suit, creating a black shadow clone that attacked with him.

The Egg Chameleon opened up its mouth as Vendeta and Mac flew at it, firing a widespread spray of bullets at them. Vendeta blocks them with his psychokinesis and lets them drop to the ground. Vendeta tries to punch the Chameleon in the mouth. Mac and his clone jumped back, creating orbs of darkness around them and planting them into the ground. Then, dark spikes rose from underneath the Chameleon.

The Egg Chameleon's eye turned towards Mac even as Vendeta's fist connected with its steel-hard head, and seeing him prepare the attack, it dashed out of the way of the dark spikes just in time, before swinging its claw at Vendeta again at high speed. Vendeta is caught off guard by this sudden burst of speed from such a large machine and he is knocked away. Meanwhile, Mac slashed at the Egg Chameleon with a black lightning-powered Angel, with his shadow clone doing the same from the other side.

The force of the strike from Angel caused the Egg Chameleon to pitch forward, using its claws to prevent itself from fully face-planting into the ground. Bracing itself with its feet, it then suddenly rotated its upper body a bit like a windmill, trying to slam its arms into Mac. Mac's shadow clone disappeared, and he smirked as he caught the Egg Chameleon's giant fist with his hand. "I feel like I have a god's power surging through me..." Then, Mac responded with a darkness-powered punch. "It feels AMAZING!"

The Egg Chameleon was not expecting Mac to be able to catch its forearm like that, and it attempted to wrench its arm out of his grasp, and maybe fling him in the process if he refused to let go. The darkness-empowered punch struck the robot in the face, this time making it fall to the ground.

"........."

It lashed its bladed tail at Mac with frightening speed, certainly not down for the count but getting quite angry, now. Mac was sent flying backwards, but as he started getting up, two pitch-black shadows clones got up with him. "Oh, so you're putting up a fight now?! It'd be boring if you went down too easy!" Mac equipped a black lightning-empowered Angel along with the clones, and while the clones threw their blades at the Egg Chameleon, Mac ran forward.

Fancy-Pants Thing

Meanwhile, Charlotte saw that Varjud was distracted and threw her axe at him. Can't have any witnesses now.

Varjud was too busy looking out of the cave, watching Mac fight the robot, and the axe ended up catching him in the shoulder of his right arm, burying itself into his flesh. He let out a cry of pain and dropped his scramasax, falling to one knee.

"Varjud!!"

Already a few soldiers were running to his aid, while the others looked around.

"It had to have been the murderer! She's still around here somewhere!" one of them cried, drawing her weapon. Calamis let out a low groan, looking around as well; only one of its eyes was functional, the other three wounded too severely to see out of. Barely in front of it, an explosion occurred, not hitting it but creating a crater.

"REEEEEEEEAAAAGH!!"

The loud noise and rush of air from the explosion did nothing but panic the poor beast; already nearly deprived of its sight, it barely had any idea what was happening two feet in front of it, and having been out of its safe, dark cave for so long without having reclaimed the Orb it was hard-wired to protect...

It turned and attempted to bolt away from the thing that startled it, its limbs and tail flailing wildly as it ended up smashing into a nearby wall in its panic, its claws scratching at the stone as it tried to push itself away, and eventually it stumbled out of the cavern, blindly headed for Mac and the Egg Chameleon.

The Egg Chameleon, meanwhile, had put up its forearms in an attempt to shield itself from the swords thrown by Mac's two shadowy clones, before opening its mouth and firing a spray of bullets at the real Mac. Mac twirled with sword quickly, deflecting the bullets before spinning around and firing a black blade beam at it and not noticing Calamis. Charlotte's axe seemed to come out of Varjud on its own, sending itself at Calamis' head.

Calamis wasn't really paying attention to anything around it, too gripped by confusion and panic. There was one thing it could see, however... and that was a bowling ball-sized purple spot, hovering around next to some kind of shape. It let out a low howl and started to shamble towards the spot, just as the axe connected to the top part of its head, not really injuring it due to the diamond-like hardness of the 'helmet'. It howled again, but forced itself to ignore the axe attack; it was so close to getting the Orb back, and then it could finally rest once more...

The Egg Chameleon used its speed to duck out of the way of the blade beam, before it noticed Calamis staggering towards it and Mac. Mac noticed it too, sending his shadow clones to try and resist Calamis' charge. "Um, Ven? I could use a bit of help with this thing!"

Calamis couldn't even really see the clones coming at it, and then ended up running right into it; the sudden sensation of something grappling onto it made it howl and claw blindly at the shadow clones. The Egg Chameleon, seeing an opportunity, launched a straight-armed jab at Mac. Vendeta teleport dashed in front of the jab and used a Force Wall to block it.

Mac, meanwhile, started sparking with black lightning, putting his arms in a P-shaped position forwards. Have a taste of my TASER LASER! He thought, firing an electric black beam at Calamis.

The Egg Chameleon attempted the same rotational arm strike attack on the Force Wall, while Calamis was struck by the beam of black electricity; the Darkness-element portion of the attack did nothing to it, in fact it even seemed to empower it slightly as one of its damaged eyes seemed to start to open. Of course, getting hit by the electricity was certainly not fun, and it howled, staggering to the side and smacking into a tree.

With a furious screech, it ripped the tree straight out of the ground and threw it in the direction the beam had come from; its good eye seeming to be ablaze with primal fury. Vendeta grabbed the tree with his psychokinesis and hit the Egg Chameleon with it. His Force Wall had nearly shattered at this point. Vendeta looked round at Mac.

"Mac, do you have shadow teleportation in that power set like Keira did?" he asked. "Because I have an idea."

"I can give it a whirl. Honestly, what can't I do at this point?!" Mac replied, giddy and firing another lightning bolt at Calamis.

The tree ended up smashing right into the Egg Chameleon, breaking against its steel body as it crumpled to the ground. While Vendeta and Mac had been talking, Calamis had started to charge blindly at them, using its ability to see the Orb that Mac was carrying to guide it. The lightning bolt glanced off it its armored head but didn't stop its charge; it was practically on top of them now, screeching at an ear-piercing volume.

"I suggest," Vendeta continues, almost seeming oblivious to Calamis "We get out of here. We have the orb, let the monster and the robot deal with each other."

"We best be hurrying," Mac said, making himself into a shadow. "Cool!" it said, though shadow-Mac's voice was muffled as it tried to escape. Vendeta also teleport dashes into the woods, keeping out of sight of both Calamis and the Chameleon as best he could. And not a moment too soon, as Calamis would've landed right on top of them had they not moved; over 3,000 lbs. of furious monster isn't really something one would want on top of them.

The Egg Chameleon's glare focused on the blind, enraged beast now as it got up; it was hard-wired to focus on the Orb, but right now it considered Calamis a bigger threat. Taking advantage of the beast's near-blindness, the Egg Chameleon charged with terrifying speed, tackling Calamis into yet another tree.

Mac's shadow stayed a good distance away from them. "Ven, what's our game plan? I mean, one of them is gonna win eventually."

"The robot is more of a threat than the monster right now," Vendeta said. "I suggest hit-and-run tactics on the robot and then try and stun the monster. Send it back into the caves or something."

Vendeta might've been drowned out from the ear-splitting screech coming from Calamis as it grappled onto the Egg Chameleon with its huge front arms and latched onto its neck with its jaws, trying to crush its neck. The Egg Chameleon's bladed tail lashed against the beast's thickly-furred side, managing to dig in deeply.

"Alrighty then," Mac said, slightly rising from his shadow and firing a bolt of black lightning at the robot.

With Calamis grappling the robot, it would have no chance to dodge the lightning bolt, but it did manage to twist its body enough to force Calamis to take the hit instead. The beast howled, releasing its jaws from the robot in the process, and attempted to kick the Egg Chameleon away fro it using its hind legs. Vendeta tries to pull the Egg Chameleon away from Calamis with his psychokinesis.

"I don't feel very comfortable fighting that monster thing, considering that it was protecting the Orb and I'm using it," said Mac.

Vendeta shrugs. "Then get the hell out of here."

"Like hell! I'm not leaving my kinda-new pal here to fight again these things! I just need to throw it away to someone..." Mac found a dazed Sephtis, bolting to him and tapping him on the head. "Yo, Sephtis! Carry this thing and occasionally fire darkness blasts in the sky!"

"Really?! Sweet!" Sephtis said, his jacket getting the same black effect and his eyes becoming completely white as Mac changed back to normal. The eagle soared into the skies, but Mac faced Vendeta, lightning bolt in hand.

The Egg Chameleon was successfully pulled away by Vendeta's psychokinesis, to which it responded by opening its mouth and firing a missile at him. Calamis managed to climb to its feet, shaking its head and body like a wet dog, before looking around. It couldn't see the Orb anymore, and that sent it into a panic. It howled and started stumbling forward, trying to find where the Orb might've gone.

Further away, Norrix and his squad were watching the fight.

"This doesn't seem good," the wolverine frowned. "The Egg Chameleon's not doing too well... and that giant monster's not helping at all!"

"Think we should step in, sir?" asked Gavriil.

Scarlet seemed annoyed. She was sensing too many energy signatures at once. Mac and Sephtis' were changing, the Egg Chameleon didn't have one - only an immense force, the monster's was fierce, and some other familiar ones further away... plus, that axe chick disappeared, and Scarlet was in the mood to crack some skulls.

She walked to Mac, pushing him back. "Mac, I've got this one. I didn't just come on this trip just to watch you and him fight a huge threat by yourselves. You got all the fun when you were battling that human guy - now it's my turn!"

Mac sighed, going back into his base. "You're such a killjoy, y'know that? Whatever, I guess I'll be fair for this."

"I'll give you some covering fire," Vendeta said. "Good hunting."

Vendeta flew up into the air and fired Psychdarts at the Egg Chameleon from above. Scarlet saw that Calamis was confused, and she charged a Spin Dash before attempting to slam her heel onto its head as Sephtis fired a blast of darkness at the Egg Chameleon.

Her heel connected to the beast's diamond-hard 'helm', not really injuring it much, but the force still forced its head downwards; in response, it lashed its tail towards her, while the Egg Chameleon dodged the blast of darkness and fired a missile from its mouth at Sephtis. It dodging away from Sephtis' darkness blast left it open to the Psychdarts, however, which slammed into its torso.

Sephtis controlled the darkness in his missed attack, using it to fire at the missile and fire at the missile and cancel it out. Meanwhile, Scarlet was hit by Calamis' tail, but she grabbed onto to it, trying to whirl Calamis around and throw it into a tree.

Calamis weighed well over 3,000 lbs. so it was highly unlikely that Scarlet would be able to make it budge, especially when she didn't have any additional velocity on her side. Instead, Calamis whirled around like a dog trying to catch its own tail, jaws open wide as it screeched at her; it started charging up a sphere of Darkness energy in its mouth. Scarlet put energy in one hand, trying harder to spin it, while with the other she fired a large orange beam to Calamis' face.

The beam ended up hitting Calamis square in the face, making its Darkness attack misfire. With its body flailing around due to the pain, its tail swung up into the air. Scarlet was sent flying into the air, but Sephtis caught her. He then spun around vertically, sending her flying with a Spin Dash towards Calamis' head.

As Scarlet and Sephtis dueled Calamis, Vendeta kept up the attack on the Egg Chameleon, teleport dashing up to it’s face and punching it. The Egg Chameleon took the attack and swung viciously at Vendeta with one of its claws while the hedgehog was right up in its face. The hedgehog flies upwards over the claw swipe and goes to dive-kick the machine.

The robot opened up its mouth as Vendeta came diving at its face, unleashing a storm of bullets at him. Vendeta tried to teleport dash out of the way, but was tiring from the constant battle and got hit in the shoulder. Scarlet, meanwhile, collided with Calamis' diamond-hard head, making it stagger somewhat, screeching in anger. It lunged at her now, mouth open wide.

Dark Clanspeople were starting to gather near the mouth of the large cave, watching the fight in awe. Vendeta appeared next to the Clanspeople, clutching his shoulder.

”What are you doing?“ He growled “Get out of here! It’s not safe!”

"Uhh, we kind of live here, you know!" one of them retorted. But Varjud shook his head.

"He's right! Get back into the cave, everyone!"

Scarlet bounced off of Calamis, opened her eyes, and saw Calamis approaching. "Oh, you've gotta be kidding me," she said before firing a short-range bust of energy from her hand, blasting her to the side and to the ground. Then, Scarlet began to run in circles, trying to confuse Calamis.

The beast's jaws chomped down on empty air with a loud noise; it snarled, eyes watching as Scarlet ran around in circles... it responded by slamming both forearms into the ground to generate a massive shockwave of Darkness-energy.

"Oh, shoot!" Scarlet said, watching the shockwaves and jumping in the air. However, the sheer force knocked her off-balance, distracting her for a little bit and leaving her vulnerable.

Normally, seeing Scarlet supposedly out of commission would've been enough for Calamis to assume fighting was no longer necessary; but the ancient beast was furious right now, furious at the meddling of these tiny beings. It leaned down to grab onto her boot in its maw, and then toss her away.

"CRAAAAAA-" Scarlet was thrown with lots of force, more force than she was expecting from Calamis as she appeared like a red blur in the sky, colliding with Sephtis as they both hit the ground. Mac appeared in front of them.

"How'd that go for you, Scarlet?" he asked. Not waiting for an answer from the furious Scarlet, Mac's hands jolted with electricity before he fired lightning bolts at Calamis. What'll it take to put this thing down?

With a shriek, Calamis opened its mouth and fired a concentrated spray of Darkness energy towards the trio; the thunderbolts slammed into it, although it held its ground despite the pain.

Sephtis flew down with a confident smirk, pointing Kyoya at Calamis. "You'll hafta try a lil' harder than that, bud!" he yelled with pride before ejecting darkness from his spear as if it were a flamethrower, cancelling out Calamis' Darkness energy. Sephtis twirled Kyoya and stabbed it into the ground. "Hey, Mac, take the Prophet Orb! Your white hedgehog friend dude looks like he needs help, and you're stronger than me!"

While the Darkness energy fired from Kyoya did cancel out the monster's attack, leftover streaks of it ended up colliding with it, and were absorbed to heal it somewhat.

"Gee, I appreciate it," grumbled Scarlet, who was applying energy to her wound.

"Why, thank you, little man!" Mac gave him a thumbs-up. "Ven and I are gonna beat that robo-thingy's ass backwards!" Mac's yellow aura began to shine for a bit before he immediately turned back into his TAI form, turning his aura blue. Sephtis threw Mac the Aphotic Orb, and Mac returned to his TAI/Aphotic state, and his aura turned black.

"It's good to be back." Mac said, crackling with black lightning. His body converted itself into the black lightning that was surrounding him before blasting off, leaving Scarlet and Sephtis to stare down Calamis.

Scarlet winced. "Sep, I'll need a bit of time to patch this up. I only need like a minute before I can fight again. Can you hold that monster off?"

Sephtis chuckled. "Easy-peasy! You can count of me, Scarlet!" Sephtis yelled in excitement before flying directly at Calamis, seemingly trying to ram straight into it.

When Sephtis started flying towards Calamis, the monster reared up somewhat, before lashing both forearms in his direction. Seeing Calamis rear up, Sephtis' eyes widened and he immediately stabbed Kyoya into the ground, causing him to spin around it. After seeing Calamis' attack, Sephtis smiled and launched himself at Calamis' right arm and tried to slash it with more speed than before.

Calamis roared in pain as Sephtis managed to slash through its right arm, and its massive tail came swinging forward, trying to catch him as he flew past. Sephtis gulped quickly before Calamis' tail hit him, sending him flying into (and knocking over) several trees. The force he'd been sent flying at left an extremely large dust cloud, but Sephtis flew upwards out of it.

How much time does Scarlet need again? Sephtis asked himself before bolting downwards with Kyoya outstretched, attempting to cut Calamis' other arm.

This time, Calamis was more prepared for Sephtis' attack, and tried to block his slash with its diamond-hard armored forearm; its front-most right arm was currently out of commission, though. Sephtis grunted, being knocked off of his assault by Calamis' arm, and he hit the ground right to the side of Calamis.

The beast let out a low growl as it lurched forward, limping on its injured arm before turning to glare at Sephtis. There was an odd look in its eyes... an almost pleading look, one that said 'please just stop, I'm so tired of this all'.

It turned its head back towards Mac now, and let out a howl. Sephtis hurriedly got up and twirled Kyoya, stopping when the tip was pointed at Calamis. "Oh, I've got ya scared now, don't I?" Sephtis smirked. "The great Leunga Sephtis Briona the Fifth has surpassed whatever big dummy was tried battling him! This'll go down in the books!" Sephtis pointed at the cave where they'd come out of. "Just go back in there, and everything'll be alright."

The creature let out a heavy groan, almost akin to a sigh, and simply swatted at Sephtis with its left forearm. It was not going to leave without the Aphotic Orb. "THAT'S NOT WHAT I WANTEEEEEEEEEEED!" Sephtis yelled in worry as he was sent flying by Calamis' attack into another tree.

This time, Sephtis didn't immediately get back up - instead, he just stayed there, thinking. Wow. This... is nearly impossible! I don't even know if can stop this thing!  Sephtis sighed. ...maybe we should just stop. I've taken a lot of blows, and I almost kinda feel bad for the village- Sephtis shook his head wildly.

"WHAT AM I SAYING?!" he yelled, getting back onto his feet. "I WON'T GIVE UP UNTIL I CAN'T FIGHT ANYMORE!" Sephtis flew to Calamis, aiming a kick towards its face to temporarily stun it, planning a speech afterwards.

Calamis had started lumbering towards Mac when Sephtis' kick hit it square in the side of the face, making it stagger off to the side with a shriek. Sephtis jumped off of Calamis and spun around confidently before landing on the ground and pointing at it with Kyoya.

"Hey, you big thingamajobber!" Sephtis yelled, trying to get its attention. "Do you really want that orb? Really? Okay, think about how much you want that orb... and multiply it by a gazillion, and now you got me! I am Leunga Sephtis Briona the Fifth, successor to the bloodline of greatness and blah blah blah! I won't go down until you stop me, so ha!" Hopefully Scarlet's almost done, I don't know how long I can hold this monster off!

Calamis' ears perked up a bit as it listened to Sephtis' little speech. It almost seemed to be considering his words... and then it lunged at him with a roar. It seemed to understand that Sephtis was a real obstacle now; an obstacle that needed to be neutralized. The wound on its right arm had started to heal thanks to its darkness-induced healing factor.

Sephtis' eyes widened and he yelled in fear, but to protect him in the nick of time, Scarlet showed up, trying to catch Calamis' attack. Then, noticing the healing wound, she'd trying firing a small beam from her free hand at it.

Calamis shrieked and continued to press its massive, heavy fist against her, trying to crush her beneath it. The searing shot connected with the still-healing wound, making the great beast stagger back with a roar. It opened up its mouth and fired more Dark Rounds at the two. Scarlet backflipped to dodge it just narrowly, and Sephtis flew into the air, firing sharp blasts of wind at Calamis.

The wind blasts did nothing when impacting Calamis' diamond-hard armor, but the blasts being aimed at its face caused it to have to close its eyes, snarling. It charge forward blindly now, roaring in fury. 

"Woah there!" Scarlet yelled, doing a flip. She landed on Calamis' back. "Clear!" she yelled as her hand glowed red. She put them down, and if her attack landed, it'd feel like two small infernos erupting on Calamis' back.

Calamis' back was almost entirely covered in the thick, plated, diamond-like armor; there wasn't really a place Scarlet could put her hands that'd connect to its flesh, unless she wanted them crushed between the very thin openings in the armor. And now the creature was trying to buck her off, screeching. Scarlet was sent flying off, but Sephtis caught her, wincing.

"We can't beat this thing," Scarlet said. "Maybe Ven was right. We need to get it back in its cave." 

"On it!" yelled Sephtis, safely putting Scarlet down on the ground before flying a few meters in front of Calamis. He began to twirl Kyoya like a fan, and like a fan, it shot wind so violently, it might've threatened to push Calamis back.

The wind was certainly threatening to blow over some trees as well. Calamis sunk its massive claws into the earth; even being as heavy as it was, the wind was enough to stagger it, but blowing it all the way through the village and back into the Point of No Return? Not likely to happen.

Snarling, it tried to lurch forward, eyes narrowed because of the wind. Scarlet pushed through the wind with intense difficulty before grabbing Calamis' tail. "C'mon... you big oaf... move, goddammit!"

Trees were toppling over now because of the wind, and slowly skidding across the grass. Calamis, however, would not budge; it lashed its tail when it felt Scarlet grab onto it.

"JUST GIVE IT THE ORB BACK!!" came a yell from nearby the mouth of the cave; it was Varjud, watching the fight happening and struggling to not be blown away by the wind. "VOIDSTAR DAMN IT, YOU'RE GOING TO DESTROY THIS ENTIRE FOREST!!"

"WE DON'T EVEN HAVE I-" Scarlet was launched off of Calamis, and Sephtis' strong winds resulted in Scarlet hitting the cave and falling on her stomach.

"SCARLET!" Sephtis yelled, frightened for her safety. He stopped his windy assault and stabbed Kyoya into the ground, resulting in a pillar of strong wind erupting from under Calamis. The pillar of wind was enough to cause Calamis to topple over onto its side with a roar. Sephtis then grabbed the edge of the dull end of Kyoya and spun Kyoya around slowly, and an air bubble appeared around Calamis' head and threatened to take the oxygen out of it.

The beast's eyes widened at that, and it reared its head back, roaring as it clawed desperately at the air bubble.

Meanwhile, Scarlet began to rise near Varjud, prepared to go back into the battle.

"Your tiger friend must have it, then," Varjud frowned, although he tried to help Scarlet get back up. "Tell him to give it back to the creature so it leaves!"

The area outside of the cave was a mess; trees uprooted and blown over onto their sides, the ground tore up... it was a rather sorry sight.

"Why do you care about this forest?" Scarlet asked. "And we can take this thing, it's no big deal. I've dealt with worse."

"Because it's still our home, and the home of others, too!!" Varjud all but roared at Scarlet, looking quite angry. "You and your friends are causing so much destruction, and for what?! An artifact that's best left untouched!"

"Tch, fine, I guess we could try moving this somewhere else," Scarlet said. "How about if we just trying luring that thing somewhere else?"

"How about you just give it what it wants?" Varjud huffed, arms crossed.

"...God, I hate that outcome!" Scarlet huffed. "Whatever, I'll find a way!" She ran to where Mac and Vendeta were fighting the Egg Chameleon.

Part 6

A little bit after Vendeta was launched by the Egg Chameleon, black lightning was surging into the air and sent itself downwards at the same level of mechanized fighters. It circled the Egg Chameleon, appearing as a black blur, before shooting straight for it and turning back into Mac.

"All clear!" Mac yelled enthusiastically before his hands began to glow a pitch black, shocking with black lightning. Mac followed this through with trying to put his hands on the Egg Chameleon and electrocute it.

The giant robot narrowed its eyes at the sight of the black lightning streaking around it. When Mac went towards the robot to try and grab onto it, it lunged forward, trying to pin him beneath its bulk. "Oop," Mac said, the grab being successful. "You got me! Psych!

Mac turned his body into black lightning again before breaking into two parts, the lightning on both sides of the Egg Chameleon. On the left, there was the normal Mac with hands covered in a black aura, and on the other, two shadow clones of Mac that had copies of his Angel sword in hand.

"Time for some triple trouble!" all of them said before the shadow clones jumped at the Egg Chameleon, slashing at its center.

The Egg Chameleon rumbled a bit, looking back and forth between Mac and his clones. It wasn't able to react in time to the two slashing at its center, and it pitched backwards from the impact, landing with a heavy thud. Chuckling, all of the Macs raised their hands and shot black lightning into the air, and a few seconds later the three bolts came down, aimed at the Egg Chameleon.

The huge robot was able to roll out of the way just in the nick of time, and camouflaged itself with the surrounding darkness of night-time, vanishing almost completely.

Mac and his clones growled, and Mac snapped. The shadow clones disappeared before Mac called out to Vendeta. "Hey, Ven! I'll need some help with this one!"

And right up behind Mac, the Egg Chameleon reappeared, swinging its forearm towards him. Vendeta teleported between the two of them and blocked the Chameleon's attack with a Force Wall.

"Apologies," He said "I was making sure the civilians were safe."

Vendeta made the Force Wall disappear before going to uppercut the Egg Chameleon.

The Egg Chameleon had already backed up somewhat when Vendeta re-arrived and wasted time by explaining where he had gone. Again, it cloaked itself in darkness and vanished. Mac cursed and stuck his arms out to the side, holding Zip and Zap (which glowed in a malicious black aura). "Ven! If you can keep me up in the air and twirl me around with your telekinesis, we'll be able to hit that thing wherever it is!"

With this plan in mind, Mac jumped into the air, already beginning to fire blasts of dark lightning in a spray of projectiles.

The invisible Egg Chameleon had leaped up high into the air when it heard Mac's voice, aiming to crash down on Mac from above. Before the Chameleon can hit him, Vendeta uses his psychokinesis to pull Mac out of the way.

The now-visible robot landed hard, making a small crater on impact. Seeming to bristle in indignation, it opened its mouth and fired bullets at Vendeta. Mac jumped in front of Vendeta and twirled Angel, deflecting the bullets before a shadow clone of Mac erupted from behind the Egg Chameleon, charging its fist with black lightning and punching downwards.

The robot couldn't react in time to the shadow clone appearing behind it, and the punch connected with the back of its neck, making its bullet-spewing mouth jerk upwards, sending shots into the air. It staggered, before lashing its long tail at the clone. The clone gasped and was hit by the tail, and Mac yelled out in pain.

"GOD! I didn't think hurting the clones would hurt me!" Mac grabbed Angel, and it surged with black lightning before Mac fired a black blade beam at the Egg Chameleon.

The Egg Chameleon ducked, but not enough to stop the beam from glancing across the top of its head, scorching the metal. With a hiss, it charged at Mac with frightening speed. Vendeta teleported above the Chameleon and created several spinning Force Blades between it and Mac, hoping it will run into the swords or at least deter it long enough for Mac to find an opening.

The large robot, despite its size, managed to skid to a halt just in time, its face a mere inch from the blades. With a metallic growl, it looked up towards Vendeta, and fired a missile from its mouth at him. Vendeta swiftly flew out of the way of the missile before making the blades fly towards the Chameleon.

This time, the blades hit their mark, a few sparks flying from the robot's body as they crashed into it, making it go skidding off to the side. Mac was charging up for a big attack, but he was grabbed by Scarlet. "Whaddya need, Scar?" he asked, impatient. "I'm about to shred this thing into BITS, and I'd appreciate it if you didn't distract me."

"Screw that, you guys are taking this thing on easy," Scarlet replied. "But that monster? We're not. He's been kicking our ass pretty much ever since we started, and I honestly don't think there's anything we can do besides just give it the orb back... but I'd really hate to give it the orb back."

"Like hell that's happening!" Mac responded before cackling a little bit, surging with black lightning. "This orb feels great! I never wanna lose this type of power!"

"But we can't beat it!" Scarlet said. "We got no choice other than waving the white flag!"

"...we can't beat it..." Mac said, a sinister grin appearing on his face. "...but that machine can."

Scarlet was about to yell in protest, but Mac materialized the Aphotic Orb in front of him. "Hey, robo dude! Catch!" Transforming back into his vanilla TAI state, Mac threw the Egg Chameleon the orb, expecting great things to happen.

The Egg Chameleon turned its head towards Mac, a robotic hiss sounding from it as it tensed, before seeing the Orb go flying right at it. It looked just as shocked as Scarlet likely was, which was pretty amazing for a robot. A massive metallic claw shot out and snatched the Orb in mid-air, bringing it in for observation.

".........."

The robot almost seemed to grin as it placed the Orb into a now-open compartment on its chest, said compartment closing afterwards. The effect was immediate, a great aura of darkness starting to emanate from the robot, its optics now glowing a deep purple.

Fancy-Pants Thing

Norrix ended up getting a call on his PDA; frowning, he answered it, not at all surprised to hear Eggman on the other end of the line. What did surprise him wasc the fact that the mad scientist sounded please.

"About time you found that Orb and gave it to my Egg Chameleon! Good work!"

The wolverine blinked.

"Sir we... we didn't find the Orb, though," he said, sweating a bit.

"What do you mean?? I just got a massive energy spike from the Egg Chameleon, it had to have been the Orb!"

"P-Perhaps it found it for itself?" Norrix questioned. Eggman hummed a bit as he thought.

"Hmm... yes, perhaps so," he said, before laughing. "No matter! Now I can enact the next phase of my plan!"

Already he was sending instructions to his machine...

Fancy-Pants Thing

Vendeta looked at the powered up Chameleon before looking at Mac.

"What's the plan?" He asked "Should we run and leave this thing to the monster?"

"We can't let the monster win, either," Mac explained, powering up with blue electricity going off around him. "We let the robot deal the most damage, but we still need to do some damage to the freak ourselves. When I fired that darkness lightning at it, it healed; if it gets the Orb, we're absolutely done for."

The Egg Chameleon, however, was making its way towards the village. It had been given the order to raze it to the ground. Varjud's eyes widened in shock at the sight of the now empowered robot.

"WHAT DID YOU IDIOTS DO?!" he yelled in Mac's general direction.

”I’ll hold the Chameleon!” Vendeta told Mac. “Try and get the monster over here before that thing reaches the village.”

Vendeta flew over to the Egg Chameleon and tried to hold it still with his psychokinesis: he didn’t have much energy left and he doubted he could take the empowered chameleon on his own, but he could at least buy the village some time.

Damn it, Mac. The Hedgehog thought. This had better work.

The Egg Chameleon turned its gaze to Vendeta now, the psychokinesis briefly halting it in its tracks. Its body hummed with dark energy as it fought against the hold, trying to open its mouth so it could unleash a salvo on him.

Mac turned into electricity and shot himself at Calamis, trying to give it a shocking blow to its eye. 

Scarlet and Sephtis had been watching the ordeal, and Scarlet had formulated a plan. "Sephtis! You go with Mac, I need to help Ven before that thing kills all of the civilians!" Scarlet jumped above the Egg Chameleon and charged a Spin Dash before firing herself downwards, attempting to close its mouth before it could fire the blast.

Calamis had become distracted now when it sensed that the Orb's energy had gone into the Egg Chameleon, and was preparing to make a move towards it when Mac launched himself at it. He missed the eye, but hit hard enough to make the beast's head jerk harshly off to the side. Scarlet smacked into the Egg Chameleon right on top of its head, making its blast attack fire downwards and cause a shockwave.

To avoid the shockwave, Sephtis flew into the air, and began heading towards the staggering Calamis. He spun Kyoya around above his head with lots of speed, creating a strong whirlwind around Calamis and threatening to lift it into the air. The massive creature wasn't budging quite yet, due to being so heavy, but it was starting to flail around, as if on uneven footing. It screeched and opened its mouth to launch a blast of darkness at Sephtis. Mac jumped inf ront of Sephtis, swinging Angel to deflect the blast, before firing a jolt of lightning from his sword.

Vendeta jumped into the air and dodged the shockwave, but as he did so lost his hold on the Chameleon. It lunged forward now, aiming a darkness-infused swipe in Vendeta's direction. Vendeta is knocked away by the swipe, luckily managing to land on the ground feet first. Scarlet began to charge a Spin Dash before firing herself at the Egg Chameleon's arm, attempting to take it off.

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