It was mid-day in the jungles of the Mystic Ruins. Two Mobian squirrels were making their way through the dense underbrush; the slightly taller, rust-colored member of the pair was holding what looked like a small tracking device.
"Okay, explain why we're out here again? It feels like a sauna...!" the younger squirrel complained. His older companion frowned but didn't turn to him, instead focusing on the device.
"I told you, we're checking up on the Plumed Sylphs that got microchipped," he said, looking upwards now, towards the trees. Normally they were alive with the sounds and sights of the jungle's rich ecosystem, but today things seemed silent, and that unsettled the rust-colored squirrel. He held the device up, brow furrowed.
"...this isn't right...there should be some kind of signal...!"
This particular stretch of the jungle was home to a colony of Plumed Sylphs...at least, it normally was. But there didn't seem to be any sign of the creatures. The resident colony had about half of its members microchipped about a month ago by members of G.U.N's Soumercan Wildlife division, to keep track of them, but he wasn't getting any of the microchipped individuals on the radar.
Where were they?
"This isn't good," he mumbled to himself. The two continued walking forward until the older squirrel's tracker started to beep. Ears perking up, he darted forward, following the radar. His companion groaned and took off after him, wiping sweat off his brow.
The radar led them to a clearing; a small creature was huddled up near the base of a tree, seeming to be crouching over something. The rust-colored squirrel's ears drooped.
He walked forward slowly, and the creature immediately flared its considerably large (compared to its body) and feathery wings, hissing. The younger squirrel peered over his companion's shoulder.
"Is that a Sylph...?"
"Yeah. A Plumed Sylph..."
But his attention was focused on the form below the defensive Plumed Sylph; it was another Plumed Sylph, but clearly deceased, its wings, antenna and tail having been removed, leaving only bloodied stumps. It's still-living companion was valiantly guarding the body.
"They had to have been mates," he mumbled. A rustling noise came from the Sylph as it rapidly vibrated its wings, as if trying to scare the two squirrels off.
"So is one of them microchipped, then?" the orange-red squirrel asked. The other slowly approached the Plumed Sylph, crouching low to not seem so large to it.
"Yeah...I don't know which one has the chip, though..."
The Sylph hissed and chattered at him again, continuing its threat display even though it would unlikely be able to significantly harm either of the two squirrels, not that they had any intention of harming it. Rowan, however, needed to collect the body to bring back to G.U.N's Soumercan Wildlife Division for study, and he slowly crept towards the Sylph.
The Sylph lunged at Rowan quick as a whip, and the sudden movement admittedly startled the squirrel, causing him to freeze in place. The Sylph continued to screech at him, still rustling its wings.
"Uhh... maybe we should leave it alone," Conner mumbled. Rowan shook his head.
"I can't, I need to bring the body back to G.U.N," he said, watching the defensive Sylph; despite its size, it was clearly not scared of Rowan, and he knew the critter could give him a nasty bite if it wanted to.
"Problem is... Sylphs mate for life, and they get incredibly attached to their mates..."
"Why not bring the living one back too, then?" Conner suggested. Rowan frowned.
"Not sure if that'd be a good idea, taking it out of its natural habitat," he said, sighing a bit as he sat down, still watching the Sylph. Conner shrugged.
"It'd be kinda mean to take the body and leave the survivor nothing to grieve over, though, wouldn't it? Don't you wildlife guys do animal rehabilitation or something?"
"Well, yes, but that'd have to be discussed with the higher-ups," Rowan said.
Somewhere in a dense forest, a female cheetah could be heard shouting.
"Ouch!", she cried. "That's the third time already! Why are there so much weeds here!?"
"Well I don't really know, but I think that the fact that we are in a forest might have something to do with it sis," her younger brother snarkily replied.
"Oh, shut up Bolt", she huffed in return.
The group known as Lightning Bolt was searching the woods as part of a "simple" retrieving mission. A young and rich businesswoman had tasked them to retrieve a young male Solas Koskerafi and any kind of Quetzalcoatl pair, specifying that she wanted them alive and in good health. While the task looked pretty on paper, the group ran into some...difficulties.
"I think your discomfort is tied with your current clothing not covering enough", a grey cat said.
"Well sorry mister monotone, how was I supposed to know we would be attacked by an angry mob of landsharks, that would get my clothes all wet? I had no choice but to wear these clothes (which I ironically wanted to wear while taking a break at a lake...)", the female cheetah replied.
"You may be right", Flix replied. "Come on guys, don't tease her that much", said a male bull to them. "Let's just continue, it's easy money!"
"You still believe that Raul?", Bolt replied. "That easy money managed to outrun even me and those damn snakes almost blinded me. Not to mention that we've been walking forever without encountering anything now. Hell, the only ones we were able to get close with were Flix's distant family!"
"I don't remember meeting any relatives", Flix replied at the snarking cheetah. But perhaps the group may yet catch a lucky break; in a small clearing up ahead, a Solas Koskerafi was grazing peacefully on some grass, and seemed unaware of the approaching strangers.
"You're maybe right Bolt, maybe we should..." "Wait a minute, look over there! Isn't that one of those deer we're looking for?" the cheetah said while interrupting his tall friend. "I knew we would find another one haha! Easy money here I come!", he continued enthusiastically.
"I really am ashamed we share the same blood sometimes", his sister sighed. "I do hope you're not going to charge at him again trying to slash it with that dark claw of yours, or do I need to remind you again we need him in good health?"
"First of all , it's Shadow Claw okay? Second of all sis, no, one time is enough. The last time they got away due to your intervention. And third, I already know how to deal with this; go trump card!", Bolt said while pointing to Flix.
"But that's not my name, why would you call me that?", the cat replied. After a quick explanation from the sighing cheetah, Flix disappeared in a shadowy portal, only to partially emerge under the unwitting creature and grab it down by its legs. Due to Flix' powers being darkness based, the Koskerafi was weakened and could not directly struggle against the capture. Bolt and Raul used that short time to quickly grab the creature and try to detain it.
AS soon as its legs were grabbed, the Koskerafi let out a panicked bleat and started to squirm, thrashing as hard as it could against the combined efforts of Flix, Bolt, and Raul. Being so small, however, it really had no chance in a physical sense. Still panicking, it opened its mouth, antlers glowing, and spat a few bolts of Light energy at the Mobians.
Bolt was able to avoid those coming at him and Raul managed to shrug off the one that hit him (meanwhile Bolt's sister was frantically moving left and right to avoid being hit), but soon as the Koskerafi's bolt's hit Flix' portal, it closed with him in it and the Koskerafi's legs came out. Sensing the creature would regain composure, Raul slammed it with both his arms on it's back, putting all of his force into it, causing the poor Koskerafi to drop down.
The terrified creature was trying to stand back up when Raul's arms came slamming down upon its back, causing it to bleat in pain and collapse underneath his pressure; its legs were too trapped for it to kick, and it seemed like most of the fight had been taken out of it. In a nearby tree, some Sylphs had been nervously watching the fight, before Raul's attack caused them to flutter away with panicked chirps.
The sound of the panicked Sylphs fluttering away scared Bolt's sister, who started running away. "Sis! The Tenebrite net!", Bolt shouted to her. Grabbing her backpack, she quickly took the net and gave it to the boys, who both proceeded to put it on the suffering creature. "Sorry for that buddy", Raul sadly said. "Didn't want to harm you more than necessary, but we had no choice."
The Koskerafi just continued to bleat in terror, struggling its hardest to get out of the confines of the Tenebrite-fiber net; the latent Darkness energy in it seemed to sap the creature's strength somewhat, however, keeping it from thrashing too much.
While the creature was still struggling, Flix emerged from a portal. "Look who finally decided to show up", Bolt said to him. "A fine trump card you make!" "Sorry for that, I got lost on the way back", Flix replied. "Well since you're here, can you transport this one into the van?", Raul asked. "No problem", Flix replied as he opened another portal.
By now, the Koskerafi had stopped bleating, well and truly exhausted, which put the watching bull a bit more at ease.
The robot lackeys, Orbot and Cubot were joined by the Eggman Army and were tasked in capturing the animals, which was their primary mission. Cubot was fidgeting his thumbs around.
"Hey uhh... Orbot? Remind me again as to why Eggman wanted us to capture these small, furry adorable creatures?"
With Cubot's question comes with Orbot turning himself around to face his dimwitted friend, his expression looking unamused at best, "Perhaps Eggman hasn't given you enough upgrades to your memory banks. We've been sent to capture animals for his usual deeds. I needn't to explain this any further, you square-headed dolt..."
Cubot groaned out, obviously hating the name but still continued to search with Orbot and the others, no less. The faction of the Egg Army that Orbot and Cubot were accompanying just so happened to be Sub-Boss Avalaine's faction of the Soumerca Egg Army... and she was quite displeased.
"I fight beak and nail to get my base set up in this jungle and I don't even get to keep the ecosystem in check," she grumbled. "What does he need wild animals for?? He can build pretty much anything he wants!"
The leopard accompanying her said nothing; she had well gotten used to her boss' tangents of being environmentally conscious. However, something caught her eye.
"Boss, look," she pointed up ahead, to a gap in the trees; this pathway led out into a lovely beach, the sand warmed by the sun. And hanging out on the beach was a pack of Thresher Tiebúron, numbering about fifteen strong; there were several pups in the pack, as well.
"I call first dibs!" Cubot called out before hurriedly heads towards the beach, throwing caution to the wind in the process.
"Cubot, wait--!" Orbot groaned out in frustration and with annoyance. "That square-headed dimwit, I swear...!"
"Cubot you imbecile!!" Avalaine screeched, watching helplessly as he bolted towards the pack of Tiebúron. The sight of Cubot running towards them immediately set the adults on edge, and they promptly formed a wall between the charging Cubot and their pups, snarling.
"He's probably going to die," the leopard commented.
Cubot immediately screeched to a halt, upon gazing the sight of the adults, looking up at them with sheer terror kicking in. "Uhh... nice big fishes?"
"Cubot! Move away from them veeeery slowly, no sudden movements either!" Orbot advised before covering his eyes with his hands, unable to bear to watch.
"Y-You got it, dude!" Cubot spoke before turning his attention back at the adult Tiebúrons. He took a deep breath and soon ran back towards the group, in a comical fashion while screaming in terror, rushing back behind Orbot.
"Do something, Orbot!"
Orbot was aghast at this, "Me?! Preposterous! You can't depend on me as your shield! Not when you came close to provoking these aquatic beasts and being shredded to bits!"
The Tiebúron pack, however, did not give chase, not wanting to leave their pups behind; one of the females did briefly charge after Cubot as he ran, but this seemed to only be a bluff, and she went back to the pack.
"Yeah, how do you like them--!" Cubot was interrupted by Orbot, who had shut him down temporarily. Orbot sighed a bit with unease before looking at the two.
"Cubot can be quite a handful at times, always charging in without devising a plan first." Orbot was weary from Cubot's antics, his hand onto his head and shaking his head a little with disbelief.
"Oh, I guess he didn't die," the leopard shrugged.
"Why did Lord Eggman program him to be so stupid?" Avalaine groaned, before gesturing the group to move out.
"Come on. We're not messing with Tiebúrons."
The Tiebúron pack watched the group, holding their ground.
"I suppose it's because Eggman didn't want his hands dirty. And knowing Eggman himself, well, he takes all the credit from our hard work." Orbot responded while following Avalaine, with Cubot in tow.
"I can only imagine Eggman just sitting inside the Egg Carrier, just either sitting there and being proud of himself or doing more of his usual scientific research." As Orbot hated to admit it, Eggman does indeed take all the credit for himself, even if his minions were doing all the work.
"Unfortunately, we don't have a choice," Avalaine sighed. "We do what he wants, or else we pretty much die for it..."
She was, of course, referring to the activation of the fail-safe in the Cybernetic augmentations that each Egg Soldier, Sub Boss, and Egg Boss had; upon activation, the unfortunate victim would be completely paralyzed, although still conscious. The same applies to the lackeys as well.
"I suppose you're right. I had to stop Cubot from playing with Eggman's equipment by just shutting him down the other day. Don't ask why, Cubot's clearly not bright, yet I had to lie by having one of the Badniks take the blame. Had I not done so, well, we wouldn't be here. And as much as I detest lying, it was the only way to save our functioning parts."
Orbot never liked lying, much less displease Eggman, yet it was the only way to ensure Eggman wasn't seriously displeased from an incident.
"Why did Lord Eggman make Cubot such a dunderhead, anyways?" Avalaine asked, raising an eyebrow. "It seems... counterproductive, considering how much he hates failure and idiocy."
"Well, you see--"
Orbot's response was soon interrupted when the Egg Base's alarm went off from the distance. It seems there's a possible intruder.
"Oh dear, we have an intruder, Avalaine!" Orbot exclaimed. "Hopefully not those Tiebúrons you mentioned!"
Her beak curled into a sneer (somehow).
"If it's those cowardly huntsmen again...!!"
Avalaine turned and bolted back towards the base, jumping up into the air and spreading her wing-feathers, flying away. The leopard frowned.
"Do wait up!" Orbot hastily followed the others, struggling to keep up due to carrying Cubot, who was still shut down.
It soon becomes evident that there was no huntsmen, but rather, a red-colored Mobian fox just outside of the base! He looks about ready to fight, but instead chose not to at all, and the guards stood ready to retaliate. Even when the fox was ready, he refused to attack, for obvious reasons too.
Avalaine landed on her feet in between the guards and the fox, glaring at him with her sharp eyes. She didn't know if this fox was a member of the Silver Huntsmen or not.
"And what exactly are you doing at my base?" she growled, arms crossed now. The leopard, hedgewolf, and cricket were still trying to catch up. One of the Egg Soldiers gestured towards the fox.
"He just showed up here for no reason, Boss!" he said.
"I can see that," Avalaine huffed.
The fox's HUD from his goggles pointed an arrow towards the direction of Avalaine and company. He turned himself to face Avalaine and the others. The screen scans them from his visor goggles; normally, it says that hostiles were detected, but he decides to temporarily shut it off, deciding not to attack them. And even if he wanted to, he'd rather not run the risk of setting the jungle ablaze.
"Was sent to find and protect animals. Didn't think I'd inadvertently wander here."
Orbot dropped Cubot, upon quickly realizing this, "Oh no!" He quickly retracts himself into a floating sphere. "Please do not harm us! It was all Cubot's doing, I was only part of the act!"
Orbot had quickly floated behind Avalaine out of fear, "That's Razer, Avalaine... he has a bad temper especially after Cubot demanded some currency off of him!"
Razer merely crossed his arms; he wasn't amused by Orbot's comments, but didn't said anything. Avalaine just frowned.
"I don't care who he is," she said, before turning her attention back to Razer. "You said you were sent to protect animals...? By who?"
"It's classified. But if any, I was sent to protect animals from poachers who abduct them and sell them for profit." Razer simply answered; it seems he was not a poacher, or a Huntsman. Orbot nervously retracted back as he took a careful approach towards Razer, his hands clasped together as if begging for mercy.
"Please, whatever you're gonna do, we're sorry for what we did to you! Cubot wouldn't shut up and I did my best to defuse the situation! Erm... no pun intended, but still, I ask for forgiveness!"
Razer merely groaned and rolled his eyes. "Whatever. Now please pull yourself together, you're embarrassing yourself."
"So... I take that as a yes?" Orbot asked to be sure.
Razer seemed to have a slightly annoyed expression to it, doesn't say anything. He knows Orbot is just making a fool of himself.
"Oh! Um... right." Orbot let out an uneasy chuckle and floats back next to Avalaine. She raised an eyebrow at Razer, not really expecting that kind of an answer.
"Really? Well, then, at least I can respect you," she said, arms crossed. "Unless you're lying to me; but I don't think you'd be stupid enough to do that, hm?"
The leopard, hedgewolf, and cricket finally showed up at the scene, panting slightly.
"We're here, boss! Where's the intruder??" asked the cricket. Avalaine waved a hand.
"Never mind that, he's not a threat to us," she said.
"May I ask who you guys are?" Razer asked; he might've introduced himself but Orbot seems to already told her his name.
"I am Avalaine, a Sub-Boss of the Soumerca Egg Army," said the harpy eagle. "And you are Razer, I presume?"
"Alondra," said the hedgewolf, bowing her head slightly.
"You can call me Cruz," said the cricket. He thumbed towards the leopard.
"I am not mute, Cruz," Bidane frowned.
"Right... and yes, I'm indeed Razer." Razer confirmed his name to the others. Orbot seemed weary of this.
"You're lucky we didn't inform Eggman of this! Of course, Cubot here isn't very bright of himself..."
Razer simply rolled his eyes again before looking at him. "Look, even if I were to incite a battle, I'd rather not. And even then, I wouldn't attack without reason, not without setting the jungle on fire anyway."
Indeed, he never attacked, even if he took a defensive stance.
"You could say I'm a bit of an environmentalist at times."
"But why side with us? We're bad guys!" Orbot exclaimed.
"Your point? There's a thing called 'even evil has standards'. Not all bad guys are considered an automatic threat. Only the bigger bad ones that are a real threat." Razer corrected him.
"Not like we enjoy working for that bloa-"
Alondra quickly clasped a hand over Cruz' mouth.
"Shut up, Cruz," she hissed. "We can't risk bad-mouthing Lord Eggman, you know this...!"
"Alondra has a point," Avalaine muttered. "Anyways... yes, we're technically villains, working with Lord Eggman and whatnot, but you're right in that we do have standards! Very astute, Razer."
A faint smile crossed her beak, but it was quickly replaced by a more serious expression.
"You speak of a 'bigger threat'; have you run into those deplorable Silver Huntsmen, as well?"
"'Silver Huntsmen'? Well that's a first..." Razer was obviously surprised at this; he was never told about the Silver Huntsmen until now. "I take it they're a much bigger threat, then."
"They have a surprisingly strong foothold on this planet," Avalaine said, frowning. "Surprisingly strong for a gang of parasites..."
She had spat that last word out of her mouth like it was venom. Cruz frowned.
"Boss, why are we getting chummy with this guy, anyways? He's our enemy, ain't he?"
The harpy eagle smirked.
"Well, you know what they say; 'the enemy of my enemy is my friend'."
Razer gave a nod. "You bet. And if that's true, then I can be a pretty valuable ally. I just can't test it outside, really."
Orbot looked at Razer with surprise. "So, you want to test it inside the base?"
"Up to your leader, really." Razer simply said. He really doesn't wish to test it out in the open, even if the guards were still weary of his presence.
"Test what, exactly?" asked Avalaine, narrowing her eyes somewhat at Razer.
Razer simply opened his palm of his hand, which shows a small yet noticeable ball of fire in front of Avalaine before closing his hand with the flame disappeared in an instant, to prove that he is pyrokinetic.
"Hmm... interesting," Avalaine nodded. The fireball seemed to catch Bidane's attention, and she looked towards Razer briefly, before looking away, not wanting to be caught staring.
"Yeah. I only made it small and not risk showing off too much." Razer spoke to her. Orbot was still weary of Razer but still spoke out nonetheless.
"It seems you're not the only fire user, Razer. Bidane is also a fire user, but to a lesser extent..." Orbot then looked at Bidane. "...no offense."
Bidane seemed to stiffen up briefly, shooting a glare at Orbot.
"You don't need to spill my personal details, Orbot," she huffed.
"Erm... my apologies." Orbot cleared his throat before turning his attention to Avalaine. "Perhaps we can continue our conversation inside, and bring Razer along with us?"
"Wait, what if Lord Eggman calls up and finds us associating with an enemy?" Cruz frowned. Avalaine looked over at Razer, before smiling a bit.
"We'll just claim he's our prisoner," she said.
Razer gave a nod in agreement.
"Yeah. I won't hold any objections, so long as our important task isn't compromised." Razer soon further added, "Of course, if Eggman does call, you guys will have to make it as real as possible, even if it'll leave me a few bruises and such. Least he'll believe it."
"We'd better hope he believes it," Avalaine said. "Anyways, let's get inside..."
She started walking towards the front entrance of the base, with the other Egg Soldiers starting to follow suit. Orbot followed inside with the still-shutdown Cubot in tow, and Razer joined up shortly afterwards.
The interior of the base was, as one would expect, modern and of high technical advancement. Avalaine led the group into the large recreation room, where a few Egg Soldiers were hanging out; they looked up as the group approached, and noticed Razer.
"Who's that?" one of them (a female otter) asked.
Razer simply waved a hand. "Just a Mobian who's willing to aid others in fending off against poachers." He simply looked around the inside of the base.
"Fret not, Soldiers! He means no harm, though extra caution must be taken in case our dear leader calls in." Orbot explained, soon Cubot rebooted himself after being shut down.
"Wha..? Where am I?!" Cubot looked around in confusion.
"We're in our base, Cubot. And I hope your reckless stunt was worth it." Orbot chided him.
"Wait, where are those big shark things? Did we capture them? Tell me we did!"
Orbot merely shook his head. "No, and we have a visitor who's willing to aid us in fending off those huntsmen."
Cubot glanced to Razer, which soon gets him spooked, "Ah! No, not him! I can't take being barbecued! Help me, dudes!" Cubot tried to run away, but Orbot grabs a hold of him, groaning in annoyance.
"I assure you he means no harm and is far more level-headed than your faulty processing unit, Cubot..." Orbot responded, with an unamused tone to it. He waved a hand to the Egg Soldiers. "Pay no mind to my friend, he's just having the usual case of the Mondays... as usual..."
The otter stared at Razer and the two robots, before shrugging and going back to her book.
"Alright, cool," she said. Cruz jumped onto a nearby couch.
"Sooo... when exactly do we start fighting those Huntsmen?" he asked. Avalaine frowned, rubbing at her chin.
"First of all, we need to know where exactly they are," she said. "I know they have to have a base somewhere around the Viridian Jungle..."
"Is there a training grounds in the meantime? I could use one of your members to help fully harness pyrokinesis. And if the huntsmen does prove a large threat, then we'll have to bring our a-game on."
Meanwhile, Cubot stopped turning and was turned around by Orbot to look at him face-to-face.
"Listen, Cubot, you must keep your composure in check, especially when Eggman calls in at anytime. We can't have you interfering with our work, got it? Those Tiebúrons nearly tore you up to pieces!" Orbot spoke to Cubot in a stern manner.
"Aww! Does that mean I get no fun?" Cubot whined.
"Oh, you can have fun, all right. Just ask one of the Egg Soldiers, or even one of the members except the leader, and leave us be."
Cubot jumped for joy. "Oh boy! Thanks, dude!" He soon approached to one of the Egg Soldiers or the members for Cubot to distract himself. "Hey, any one of you wanna play game of cards with me?"
"No," the otter replied, not even looking up from her book. Cruz shrugged.
"Sure, I guess," he said. "You got the cards?"
Orbot himself let out a sigh of relief, "One of these days, Cubot..."
Avalaine, meanwhile, gestured towards a hallway.
"That leads to our training room," she said. "It's mostly for combat and arms training."
There was then a soft meow, and a Fluminato with a prosthetic back paw scampered out into the recreation room, towards Avalaine. A genuinely pleased smile crossed her beak as she scooped the critter up into her arms.
"Ohh Splash, there you are!" she cooed, while the Fluminato purred.
Razer followed Avalaine, glancing to the entrance of the training room. He gave a nod before looking at Bidane.
"You up for it? I know Orbot seemed to give it away, but either way, I shall assume my role as your trainer, Bidane."
The leopard didn't say anything at first; was she a bit flustered, perhaps?
"I... suppose it couldn't hurt," she mumbled, following after Razer; Avalaine was too busy nuzzling the purring Fluminato to really pay attention to what was going on. Alondra cleared her throat.
"Erm, boss? The Huntsmen?"
"Hm? Oh, yes, them," she said. "I think it'll be best to send Hoverbies or Buzzbombers to scout the area for us, first."Razer soon entered inside the training grounds with Bidane, Orbot taking a glance at the two before following Avalaine. Alondra also followed after Avalaine, as did a couple of other Egg Soldiers.
Returning from the van, Flix rejoined his comrades with some food, beverages and spare clothes. "I thought your bodies could use some rest and energy, so I brought this" the cat said. "Thank you Flix! Sometimes you aren't that weird", Bolt's sister said while starting her attack on the food, quickly joined by Raul. "Yeah thanks buddy", Bolt said "But who are those clothes for?" Flix just watched the overactive female in response, who was intent on gobbling up the most food possible. "Oh."
"By the way, I'm positive that we aren't the only ones out here", Flix said. "Why's that?" Bolt asked "Because I went back to where those Tiebúrons had attacked us when I got lost, and saw them pursuing some kind of yellow robot", the cat replied. The cheetah started grinning "I always liked some competition", he said while cracking his knuckles.
After the party had finished eating and rested a bit, Bolt got up to stretch. "So, what do you plan to do now little brother?", his sister said to him. "Well, we still have to get a pair of those snakes...but at the moment I want to check out those other people that might be here. Seeing if they are friend or foe. If they are friendly, we could cooperate on the task, but if they aren't...""We kick their asses." Raul added. "Wow, I kinda forgot you could get like this" the female cheetah told the bull. "Well if they aren't friends or innocent animals I don't see why I would hold back", the bull responded.
Somewhat close to the Jade Fortress Egg Base, a female wasp could be seen flying away, darting quickly through the trees before landing near an unassuming-looking old warehouse; there was a male jaguar standing outside, smoking a cigarette.
"Oh, Kidan, what's up?" he asked. The wasp, Kidan, frowned a bit.
"I think that overgrown buzzard and her little posse might be paying us a visit soon," she said.
"Overgrown buzzard, eh? I bet it's Ava, right?" the male hawk asked Kidan.
"Wonder what else ya found?"
"What other overgrown buzzard thinks she's queen of the jungle?" Kidan chuckled, arms crossed. "Apparently her little posse adopted some random fox into their fold; I don't know much about him, though."
"A new Egg Soldier, ya think?" the jaguar commented, puffing out a ring of smoke towards the wasp, who grimaced and waved away the offending cloud.
"Ugh! Lars, either put that damn thing out or don't go blowing it in my face!"
"Red fox, eh? I doubt he's one of them Egg Soldiers. Shame Avalaine can't handle my good looks, or even me handling those creatures with 'care', if ya can put 'em that." Marvin laughed.
"Guess she's always gonna be flight-less, buuut I'm sure she'll make it up the next time I see the little birdie again." He commented, rolling his eyes a little, "I guess I didn't realize that a tough bird like Avalaine could be such a lightweight."
Marvin did caught interest about the red fox Kidan mentioned. "But that red fox did caught my attention, now that you mention it. Shall I ask one of our buds to know about that fox boy?"
"Still can't believe ya dated that uppity old crow," Lars laughed, putting out his cigarette. "She thought she could do something to keep the jungle safe if she joined that fat doctor guy, eh? What a loon!"
Kidan chuckled softly, arms crossed.
"Go for it, Marv," she nodded at him.
Marvin nodded at her and heads downstairs inside the base and into the computer room manned by the fellow Huntsmen.
"Listen up! I need one of you to find the red fox seen from last footage! And scan the individual fellow to see if he's an Egg Soldier or not!" Marvin ordered, before muttering to himself, "Even if he isn't, doesn't make him one of ours either..."
"That's boring, though, can't we just go out looking for him?" one of the Huntsmen asked, before his comrade lightly slapped the back of his head.
"Idiot! We might get caught if we do!"
It didn't take long for those in the computer room to bring up footage of Razer on the screen.
Marvin looked at Razer, which matches the description. "Interesting. Run a full scan and info on him."
One of them did as Marvin asked.
"What's so special about this fox, anyways?"
"Let's say he's pretty foul-tempered and has flames to show off. We're getting those Tiéburons before they do. And we'll be sure to give these whack-jobs a greeting they'll never forget..." Marvin spoke, with a sinister tone to it, wielding his taser rifle. He regroups with Kidan and Lars.
"Get the poachers. We're gonna beat these has-beens in their own game."
Lars chuckled, cracking his knuckles."Sounds like a great time, Marv! Let's go!"
Back at the Jade Fortress Egg Base...
"Oh my. Hope these two have their training completed..." Orbot spoke with concern. Cubot, meanwhile, was groaning out in frustration from losing a card game against Cruz.
"Ha! That's two in a row, Cubot," Cruz snickered. "Care to try again?"
Cubot growled a bit before nodding at Cruz. "You're on!"
Meanwhile, a young, black crow swoops in to check up on Cubot, giving a playful grin. "What's wrong, ya square-headed dolt? I thought you're good at playing cards!"
"Ah! Kid, I'm busy trying to win here!"
She huffed upon being called that and pecked her beak at the side of his head repeatedly. "Stop calling me a KID!"
"Owowowowow!" Cubot yelled out as she stopped pecking him; she never liked being called as such and soon ran to Avalaine.
"Hey, Ava! Anything new?"
Cruz had done nothing to stop the young crow from picking on Cubot; in fact, he found all this amusing. Avalaine smiled over at the girl when she heard her voice.
"We're preparing to confront those poacher mongrels," she said. "Right now, a new ally of ours is helping to Bidane train a bit."
She gave a nod before tilting her head. "Awesome! But who's our new ally, Ava?"
"His name is Razer," she said. "He says he's an enemy of poachers... we have to keep quiet about our alliance with him, however. I doubt Eggman will approve."
"Is he? Well, if Eggman does find out, do we have to roughen him up a little?" Ariel asked curiously.
"If it gets him to believe that Razer is our prisoner, then yes," she nodded.
"Good enough!" Ariel chimed. Avalaine smiled, before turning towards the training room.
"...they've been in there for a while," she hummed. "Must be an intense training session."
There was a loud explosion, with the door having blown through and slams against the wall. Avalaine rubbed her chin as she contemplated the charred door.
"Seems I was right."
"What the hell was that noise?" Perlita grumbled, looking annoyed as she glared over the book she was reading.
Ariel lets out an alarmed screech and hides behind Avalaine. "Wah! What was that, Ava?!"
Orbot nodded in agreement to Avalaine. "Well, at least it wasn't the Huntsmen... think we should investigate, Avalaine?"
"Might as well," she said, starting to walk towards the training room.
The duo, which turned out to be Bidane and Razer, stepped out of the training room, with Razer waving a hand at the others. "Heya. Sorry about that... it seems the Elemental Link was a bit too strong, but on the plus side, Bidane's much stronger than ever."
He turns his attention to Bidane. "Wanna demonstrate?"
Bidane opened her mouth to reply, when Avalaine quickly interrupted her.
"Not inside of my base, please," she said, frowning. "Show it to me outside."
"Yeah! We're not here for a barbecue yet!" Ariel spoke as Razer follows them outside. Once they were outside, Razer nodded to Bidane again.
"Are we going to show her the Elemental Link?" asked Bidane.
Razer gave a nod. "Yeah. Least we're out in the open this time. Now, same as before, Bidane."
He soon makes the same pose as before, even after having accidentally blown the door off earlier. Bidane matched his pose, her arm and shoulder up against his. Avalaine watched with interest.
Ariel stood behind Avalaine, as a bit of precaution. Razer closed his eyes, his flames emerging along with Bidane's. Soon enough, the flames grew much bigger than normal, and unleashed a large flame equivalent to an afterburner, with a significantly large range.
Avalaine's eyes widened at that; she clearly hadn't been expecting such a massive gout of fire, and she looked a touch worried, as if fearing the flames might reach the trees and set them alight.
"Well, uhh... that's certainly impressive," she hummed, nodding a bit.
Ariel squawked in surprise before hiding behind Avalaine. Thankfully, the flames barely touched the trees, though the powers combined were still quite immense.
"Whaddya think? I call it Elemental Link, Avalaine. When we combine both of our powers into one, they can come in real handy against our foes." Razer spoke, and gently bumps a fist onto Bidane's shoulder, "And seeing Bidane, she's got potential."
"Wow... that's awesome! Still pretty hot, tho..." Ariel commented.
"Of course, I can't show off too much... especially since I'm rather concerned engaging in battle in forested areas." Razer mused.
Ariel tilted her head a bit, looking a bit confused. ""Why is that? You're not a coward, are you?"
"...no." Razer flatly answered.
"He doesn't want to burn down the forest, clearly," said Avalaine.
"Ohhhh. So he's an environmentalist?" Ariel curiously asked.
Razer nodded a bit. "Pretty much. Besides, no hero would be that reckless and defeat villains at a cost of causing irreparable damages."
"Are you saying we're the bad guys?!" Ariel narrowed her eyes at him. This made Razer jump a bit and dart his head a little, unsure what to answer.
"No, of course we're not the bad guys," said Avalaine, putting a hand on Ariel's shoulder. Of course... sometimes she wasn't so sure of that. They didn't attack the environment, no, but they were still under the allegiance of one of Mobius' greatest threats...
The base's alarm had rung out once again. This time, when Orbot rushed out of the base, he gave urgent news to Avalaine.
"Avalaine! It's Dr. Eggman! He's calling in!" Orbot shouted with worry.
Upon hearing this, Razer readies himself and looked at Bidane with a nod, as to have her hold him prisoner, maybe roughen him up a bit. And he looked at Avalaine and Ariel. "Well, ready when you are."
"Don't be too hasty, we could always just hide you; Eggman might not even have to see you," said Avalaine as she answered the doctor's call. "Lord Eggman, this is Avalaine speaking."
"Finally!" Eggman grumbled, "I've been trying to contact you yet something's interfering with the signal! Anyway, have you captured the creatures in Soumerca yet?" Eggman asked, eager for good news. He isn't aware of Razer's presence, thankfully.
As soon as Orbot had informed Avalaine of Eggman's impending call, Bidane had dragged Razer out of the room, making sure that the doctor had no idea that he was there; it was a lot easier than having to explain his presence.
Avalaine, however, was not looking forward to having to break the news to Eggman. Fingers drumming nervously on the keyboard, her gaze briefly shifted away from the screen.
"Sir, we had encountered a pack of wild Tiebúron, but... well, Cubot had to be a fool and muck things up, so, uhh... we've been set back, but just by a bit! I promise we'll collect those creatures for you, your Lordship."
Avalaine, like almost everyone else in the Empire, feared the mad doctor, and rightfully so.
All Razer had to do is watch, his mouth covered by Bidane in case he makes a noise.
Eggman groaned out in disapproval, "Of course Cubot had to be a complete buffoon and nearly sabotage my plans. Just retrieve those Tiéburons post-haste! And be sure Cubot stays inside; the last thing we want is him causing more problems for all of us, and all of you, too. And you better not fail me this time, Avalaine."
Eggman had turned off the transmission after giving a stern tone to Avalaine regarding her objective.
The harpy eagle bowed her head as the doctor scolded her, like a child who had been caught stealing from the cookie jar, but she was just glad her fate wasn't worse than some stern words. After the transmission ended, steel talons scraped across the metal around the large transmission station's keyboard, and she turned away from it.
"Get the others, we have work to do," she said her voice stiff.
Orbot saluted and goes to get Cruz and the others, "Uhh, everyone except Cubot, we much capture these creatures under the orders of Dr. Eggman. He's ah... visibly displeased."
"What?! Eggman's displeased?!"
Orbot crossed his arms in disapproval, "Yes, and it was because of your reckless actions, Cubot. Consider yourself lucky that your parts are still intact. But you are to remain inside this base until we return."
Razer looked back at Bidane. "...suppose I have to come with you guys, right?"
"Well, we're not leaving you here to babysit Cubot while we're away, are we?" Orbot asked.
"Hey! I don't need a nanny!" Cubot shouted.
"But, Ava, do you really want to leave Cubot alone in your base?" Cruz said, arms crossed as he looked over at the robot. She frowned.
"...not really, no. Maybe we can shut him off while we're away, if no one wants to babysit him."
Razer nodded at Orbot. "Do it."
"WHAT?! You double-crossin', good-for-nothin'--" Cubot was abruptly shut down by Orbot, fulfilling the fox's request.
"There." Orbot looked up at Ava. "Shall we get going, then?"
"Thank goodness. Yes, let's get going," Avalaine nodded, already heading for the door, as did most of the other Egg Soldiers; a few stayed behind to keep an eye on the base.
Razer had followed Avalaine, taken to the same area from before. He hid himself behind a palm tree as to get a look at them.
"What are those things?" Razer whispered to Avalaine.
"Tiebúrons," said Avalaine, frowning a bit. "They're generally not dangerous if left alone. Unfortunately, we can't do that..."
She looked over at the others.
"You all brought tranquilizer guns, yes?"
Her comrades nodded, hefting up the guns.
"Good... still, I feel like we should've brought some Badnik reinforcements," Avalaine sighed.
Razer was unsure about this when he saw them wielding tranquilizer guns. He's clearly not one to do dirty work for them, but because they were forced to work for Eggman against their will... it's not like he's had much of a choice. He obviously doesn't want to beat him, but rather, join them without Eggman snooping around.
"Say ah... mind if I get a shot? I know I'm not one to do dirty work, but, it's best that I could be a volunteer, Ava." Razer asked. Ariel had stayed inside the base, just currently making doodle art around the shut down Cubot.
"Ugh... can't Eggman just make robots that look like these things, instead of making us catch them?" Perlita frowned, but she handed her rifle over to Razer. "Go for it; just be careful. And don't shoot any cubs."
One of the male Tiebúrons was already lifting his head and looking around, as if wary of any potential threats.
Razer slowly nodded and grabbed the rifle from Perlita and holsters it around his back. He slowly emerged from the bush, taking a careful approach towards the Tiebúrons, but makes no further approach. All he could do was slowly look at the pack, being careful as to not bat his eye at the pups.
The wary male turned his head towards Razer now, staring him down, as if daring him to shoot, but he also held his ground, nostrils flaring slightly as he sniffed the air. Cruz hung around near a tree, gripping his rifle tightly, prepared to shoot if Razer suddenly got attacked.
Razer stared back at the male, not backing down or showing any signs of fear. He knows he doesn't want to do this, but if he doesn't, Avalaine and her crew will end up perishing at the hands of the mad doctor. He spoke softly at the defensive male. "I don't want to do this... and I'm really sorry."
He slowly brings the tranquilizer from his back, but as he does so, he was suddenly shot in the back from behind, unleashing a torrent of electrical shock; it was an ambush!
"GAAAHH!!" Razer shouted in pain, his body frozen in place as a result of an electrical shot, the tranquilizer rifle dropping onto the sandy ground. The shock was enough to paralyze him, resulting him in falling forward, face-first onto the sand!
An unheard, though a familiar voice, is heard after firing off a direct hit to Razer, "Get 'em!"
The sudden attack on Razer caused the Tiebúron pack to turn and scatter now, while the Egg Soldiers discarded their tranquilizer rifles in favor of their regular weaponry, looking around wildly.
Avalaine frowned, eyes narrowed. That voice was very familiar... and it was making her blood boil. Bidane, meanwhile, ran over to Razer, eyes wide.
The poachers had quickly surrounded the Tiebúrons, even holding the pups hostage to ensure that the adults can't get near them. Razer's body twitched uncontrollably, unable to move normally with the prongs embedded in his back.
A cackle was heard as Marvin flew over to see Razer and Bidane. His tone of voice cold as ice. "Stay down, little doggy." He retracted the prongs back inside the rifle before turning his attention to Avalaine.
And he gave off an obviously fake smile, "Well well, if it isn't sweet little Avalaine! Did ya miss me?"
The Tiebúrons snarled at the poachers, clearly enraged now but the sight of the guns trained on them kept them in place. Bidane had knelt down besides Razer, frowning; she wanted to help him, but she was likely to get shocked too if she tried to touch him right now. Her ears flattened when she saw Marvin, teeth bared.
Avalaine, however, was practically beside herself with rage.
"You!" she hissed, her steel talons unsheathing themselves. "I told you I'd maim you if I ever saw your face again, Marvin...!"
Cruz frowned as he looked between the two birds.
"Ohh... so this is Marvin," he hummed. "Want me to blow him up, Ava?"
"He's mine to deal with!" she snarled in response.
Marvin, however, had no interest in dealing with Bidane; all he wants now is Avalaine, his ex-girlfriend.
"Now, is that any way to greet your handsome gentleman like myself, Avalaine?" Marvin asked jokingly, not showing any signs of fear from Avalaine. Other poachers had prevented Orbot's approach, and they look at him with extreme prejudice, with cutting tools being brought dangerously close to him.
"N-No, get back you fiends! I can't afford any spare parts! Ohhh I knew I should've brought Cubot along to use him as a shield once more!"
"Tch, yer gonna need more than spare parts, ya hunk of junk!" One of the poachers cackled, with the circular blade brought dangerously close to him, forcing Orbot to retract himself into a sphere, though it only made the poachers laugh at this.
Razer is still unable to move, though Bidane should be safe by touching him. He, however, is still paralyzed due to his muscle nerves painfully constricting him.
Marvin had further added, "I just had to be sure that fiery fox boy here isn't gonna cause us any trouble, and hoo boy, did that plan work out perfect! Maybe next time if I'm lucky, I can get his hide for my collection!" Marvin chortled, just to get under the feathers of his ex.
"Hey, I wonder how far I can punt this little orb dude?" Lars laughed, putting a foot on the balled-up Orbot. Bidane looked around nervously, reaching out and trying to carefully flip Razer onto his side and onto his back, trying to see what the damage was.
Avalaine was nearing her boiling point now, and her allies were quick to move away from her; they could tell when she was getting ready to fly into a rage. With one swift movement, the harpy eagle stepped forward and struck Marvin across the face as hard as she could, her steel talons still unsheathed.
"Shut your f***ing beak, Marvin!" she hissed, eyes narrowed dangerously. "You pathetic little slimeball... I can't believe I ever had any kind of attraction to you...!!"
She wanted nothing more than to kill the hawk right now...
Marvin was slapped square in the face. It only made him smile wickedly, even if wincing in pain, slowly trailing a thumb over his beak as to wipe it off. His cheek, however, had visible scratches on it. "Well, well... finally showing what you truly are, eh?"
"Hit 'em high, Lars!" One of the poachers encouraged Lars.
Orbot was trembling in fear, unable to switch back from being pinned on the ground by Lars. "P-Please have mercy! If Cubot was here, you'd take him instead!" He pleaded, though it obviously gets nowhere.
"Now then..." Marvin tosses his taser gun to Kidan before looking at her. "Tell our buds to load up our prizes." He then looked to Lars, "And Lars, do what you want with that piece of useless metal. I have a 'date' with my ex."
"What say you and me go have a one-on-one together? I'd love to pluck your feathers 'till ya can't fly no more!" He cracked his knuckles, and torqued his neck side by side as well. He licked his chops as to taste the wound.
As Razer was rolled over to his back, he tried to muster whatever strength he has left by moving his arm, as if to aim at the poachers. His hand was violently twitching from the nerves being damaged from a taser shot, but still tried to aim for a shot. His flames struggling to ignite. "Got... t-to..."
He was getting weaker, despite his efforts to try and launch an attack, but he was slowly fading and losing consciousness. Yet he still tried to make his attack count before he was held back.
"What I truly am?!" Avalaine barked, sounding quite offended. "I'm not the one who's a craven little parasite, Marvin!!"
She started striding towards him, murder in her gaze as she locked eyes with the hawk. Standing tall, she cracked her knuckles as well, expression grim.
"I would love to, Marvin," she sneered. "I'd kill you... but I think a sub-Mobian like you should be dragged to my boss, and, well... we'll see what he does with you."
She grinned now.
"It's what you deserve, after all."
None of the other poachers, nor the Egg Soldiers, were paying attention to Razer and Bidane, instead focused on the ensuing fight between Marvin and Avalaine; Lars, however, was kicking Orbot around like a soccer ball.
Bidane frowned, looking worried, before she noticed Razer attempting an attack.
"N-No...!" she hissed out, grabbing his wrist. "Y-You're too weak...!"
Orbot shouted in pain, as he was punted far and away, nothing but a small glimpse of light in the sky, not to be seen.
Razer looked at Bidane, who stopped his attack. "B... Bida..."
He wasn't able to finish the last sentence before having lost consciousness, his vision having faded to black.
The poachers load up the Tiebúrons, including the pups, inside the large kennels as they begin to transport away back to their base.
Bidane's eyes started to fill with tears as she hugged onto Razer, watching helplessly as the poachers ended up making their getaway with all of the Tiebúrons. Cruz frowned as he watched this, as well.
"The boss isn't gonna like this," he said. Ava, however, didn't seem to care.
"I'm getting a much better 'prize' than some land sharks," she grinned in an almost feral fashion, before lunging at Marvin, talons outstretched.
"Now that's more like it!" Marvin unsheathed talons of his own, gets into fighting stance, "What say we tango?"
Marvin readied himself. If Ava's crew were wise, they'd head back to the base, and take Razer with them.
Avalaine struck out with her claws again, this time aiming for Marvin's chest, while the Egg Soldiers quickly made their way over to Bidane and Razer.
"C'mon, we're getting out of here," Alondra said as she and Cruz lifted up the unconscious fox. Bidane nodded, quickly getting up and retreating with the others.
"What the--?!" Marvin's cockiness got the better of him, and just barely dodges away from Ava's attack, which still left a sizable scratch around his chest.
He looked back at her gang, hauling off Razer and looked back at her with a snarl, "Why you..!"
Marvin launched at Ava, swiping his talons at her to try and hit her.
"What, mad you're not getting what you came here for??" Avalaine sneered. She quickly raised up an arm to try and block Marvin's swipe, but of course his talons just dug into her arm as a result. Hissing in pain, she swung at his face with her other hand.
Marvin looked absolutely livid and soon took flight in mid-air. "Okay, little birdie. Let's see your best up in the air! And when I'm done with you, I'll come after your fox friend and claim my prize!" He yelled out and soon lunged forward, picking up speed in his descent from the air.
Using her own natural agility, Avalaine did a backflip backwards, away from Marvin, before gathering Wind energy into her hand. She then swung her hand, sending a crescent of concentrated wind at the hawk.
He struggled to stay in the air as a result of Avalaine's Wind attacks, resulting him to lose his balance momentarily. "Gah!"
Marvin had soon retaliated with a Wind Slash, hurling towards her. "Take this!"
As minutes pass by with the two facing off each other in a brutal showdown with blow after blow, it seems Marvin had underestimated his former lover, with him on all fours, heavily panting out from exchanging blows, though Marvin had the worst of it. He cursed out in his breath and looked up at the harpy eagle, teeth clenched with a defeated yet angered sneer.
"How could I... be bested from a little birdie like yourself..?!"
Hatred continued to burn in Avalaine's eyes as she stared down at her defeated ex, panting from the effort it took to overcome him. She was so tempted to kick him while he was down, to plant her foot upon his back and break his spine beneath her heel...
But no, she already had plans for him.
"You were an idiot to underestimate me, Marvin," she spat. "But what could I expect from a coward who picks on helpless creatures?"
Marvin grunted, still grimacing in severe pain as he looked up to her. "Tch, typical from a little birdie..." He fruitlessly taunted, "So, what are you waiting for? I've killed and tortured creatures before, just like any Huntsmen would... and I've no shame either. So... what are you waiting for...?! Do it!"
He was sure enough to tempt her to finish him off. He had nothing to trick him, especially with his whole body being beaten to the very core after a grueling battle.
"I already told you I'm not going to kill you," Avalaine growled. "You don't deserve that kind of mercy, Marvin."
She reached down and grabbed him harshly around the neck, dragging him up to his feet.
"You're going to be a 'gift' for my boss," she said, squeezing his neck slightly.
"Ack! You mean.. Egg-head..?!" Marvin choked out, trying to pry himself free but to no avail.
This was definitely bad news for the hawk, and it seems karma is looming over the horizon!
"Oh, that's exactly who I mean," she grinned, seeming to relish in his fear as she started dragging him back towards the Egg Base.
Marvin kept squirming as to pry himself free, yet his strength wasn't enough to break free from Avalaine's clutches. The Egg Pawns looked at an injured Avalaine, stunned in silence.
"Uhh... who's that?" An Egg Pawn asked, pointing at Marvin. The other Pawns looks at each other confused.
"I would say he's my ex-boyfriend, but that's too kind for the likes of him," Avalaine huffed, looking over at the Egg Pawn. "Anyways, let's just say he's a 'gift' for Dr. Eggman."
"Umm... alright!" The Egg Pawn answered and soon calls up Eggman again. It didn't even took ten seconds for an already-irate Eggman to answer.
"What is it this time, Avalaine?! There'd better be good news regarding the creatures you just captured, I'm in no mood for socialization!" Eggman answered with obvious annoyance.
Avalaine frowned as she dragged Marvin up a bit closer.
"I... I apologize, sir, but our efforts were thwarted by poachers," she said. "However, I did manage to get ahold of one of the scumbags responsible."
Eggman paused for a moment, his expression having radically changed.
"Poachers, you say? Seems this must be the fellow who's been causing trouble this whole time. The last thing we need is competition. Send him over to the teleporter pod. into my holding cell." Eggman instructed.
Marvin, being the defiant individual even as a poacher for The Silver Huntsmen, spat onto the monitor.
"Tch, guess this must be the head honcho. Can't say i'm impressed; for someone who's supposed to be a genius, it seems you've had too much brain food enough for you to forget about going on a diet!"
This, however, clearly set Eggman off. For as defiant as Marvin can be including his ex-girlfriend, he's certainly sealed his fate for him to be used by Eggman for the mad doctor's own leisure.
"With pleasure, sir!" Avalaine practically cackled as she shoved Marvin into the teleporter pod. "Have fun, Marvie; can't say I'll miss you!"
Eggman, looking obviously enraged, shuts off the transmission and begins to dangerously approach Marvin in a holding area. "What is about me going on a diet?"
With Marvin's fate now in the hands of the mad doctor, the Egg Pawn approached to Avalaine.
"Come! We must get you treated! And ah... I'm afraid I need to tell you the bad news about your ah... friend."
The Egg Pawn further added, "Also, we can't locate Orbot anywhere!"
Ariel had stopped doodling the shut down Cubot and looks at Ava, "Ava! What happened to you?!"
"I'll be okay, it's just some scratches," Avalaine huffed at the Egg Pawn. "And I'm sure Orbot will be okay... I'm more concerned about Razer right now."
She looked over at Ariel now, frowning as she knelt down near her.
"Don't worry about it, Ariel; just a little scuffle," she said.
The young crow looked at Avalaine, "What happened to Razer..?"
She asked, unsure at first, before glancing back and then back at Avalaine, "Umm... should I check him out? I'll only be just a minute, Ava! I promise!"
"He got attacked by... well, I think calling him my 'ex boyfriend' is too nice for him," she said, standing back up. "Anyways, Razer should be in the medical wing by now."
Perlita came out into the room, looking over at her boss with a frown.
"Boss? Your, uhh... your arm's bleeding."
Ariel had already left to see Razer in the medical wing, unaware of Avalaine's arm bleeding. Had she saw this, she would've freaked out. As she enters the medical bay, she could see Cruz, Alondra, Bidane, Razer, and the medical doctor gathered around the bed.
"Razer?" Ariel asked, as she carefully hopped up on the bed. Razer, however, was unresponsive. She was confused regarding him not answering. She turned to the others.
"Umm... why isn't he answering? He doesn't look hurt... is he?" The young crow asked again, now realizing that Razer isn't really asleep, especially with the oxygen mask around his muzzle, and with an IV stuck in his arm, along with tubes that had just been released. They were intended for treating Razer's damaged muscle nerves inside.
"He's been electrocuted badly," said the medic, frowning. "We're trying everything to counteract the paralysis, but... well, the taser hit him in the spine, and as we know, that's not good."
"WHAT?!" Ariel squawked in shock and looked at Razer; Bidane was gripping onto his hand tightly, tears streaming down her cheeks. The young crow frowned and looked at the doctor.
"Isn't there a way to, y'know, maybe Cyberize him so he can at least go and kick some butt? I mean, he doesn't work with us and, and I hate to say this... but we need him." Ariel suggested, before sitting herself down on the bed, looking at Bidane.
"Biddie... if you like him, you're ah... welcome to tell him how you feel... if he wakes up or not." She spoke before getting off of the bed and waits for both the doctor's answer and for Avalaine to arrive.
"We'd have to take him to Eggman to Cyberize him," Avalaine frowned. "And, well... that'd just seal his fate, wouldn't it? He'd have no choice but to serve under him..."
She sighed, arms crossed.
"He doesn't deserve that fate. No one does..."
Bidane looked over sadly at Ariel, ears drooped, but she was too upset to speak right now.
Ariel darted back to Bidane and back to Avalaine. "But that means those mean poachers will win! Isn't there a way to Cyberize him without having him to serve Eggman?! Like, maybe treat him as a prisoner? Surely the big guy doesn't like making things easy, right Ava?"
"If he gets Cyberized, he gets the fail-safe implanted along with it," said Ava, frowning sadly. "Which means he can't disobey the boss. Or he gets paralyzed completely, and locked up."
"I wish I could do more," the medic frowned. "But I'm not a specialist in these kinds of things..."
"What kind of specialist would we need for him, doc?" asked Cruz.
"A neurosurgeon, most likely."
"Well.. there should be some around here! Almost like Cyberization but without serving him!" Ariel looked up at Ava. "What do you think? It's one way, really! And... I don't want Biddie to be sad..."
"The only thing I can think of is either getting him to a neurosurgeon, or perhaps some kind of implant or replacement that's not Eggman's technology."
"Neurosurgeon it is, then! Is it okay if I stay with Biddie to try and cheer her up, Ava?" Ariel asked, giving her a quick hug to go for.
"Yes, I think that'd be for the best; you'll both be safer in here, after all," she said, hugging the little crow in return.
Orbot had gotten up albeit in a damaged state from a kick by Lars. He was aimlessly wandering around due to both of his optic lenses being completely gone missing, "Avalaine?! Everyone?! Why is is dark all of a sudden?!"
He feels his hands around his eye sockets and gasps in shock, "Oh no, I'm blind! I can see! Where are my optic lenses?!" He ran around in a state of panic, blindly running into trees, bushes, and into the path of the remaining Tiebúrons!
The Tiebúrons that had avoided being captured, about four in total, were in a state of dismay; mates and children had been stolen away from them, and in desperation, they had started sniffing and searching, trying to follow the poachers. One of them ended up running snout first into the blinded Orbot, letting out a startled grunt.
"Oh! Avalaine, thank goodness! Have you seen my optic lenses? I couldn't see without them after that pesky poacher kicked me like a soccer ball!" Orbot asked, unaware that he was speaking to a Tiebúron. Of course, he noticed that the skin felt rough, not soft like feathers.
"Wait a-... Avalaine, when did you lose feathers? Oh no! Don't tell me the poachers did something to you!"
The Tiebúron growled a bit, and swatted at Orbot.
"Ack!" Orbot recoiled back from being swatted. "Well, I never! That's no way to greet Eggman's sidekick, Avalaine! You should know better!"
Of course, he isn't even facing the Tiebúrons, even though he's at their presence, after being swatted away, and was instead taking to... nobody.
The four Tiebúrons looked at each other in confusion; the robot clearly had no idea what he was talking about. Eventually, the one in the lead started walking past Orbot, her tail smacking him as she passed, and the other three followed her.
Orbot felt the smack again and turns around, "Hey! That's no way to show respect, Avalaine! Cubot may not be very bright, but don't take your frustrations at me!"
Of course, he was talking to one of the Tiebúrons, though due to his lack of optic lenses, he clearly couldn't see. And he kept mistaking it for Avalaine.
The creatures just ignored him, resuming their hunt for the poachers.
Back inside the base, the crew had already left with Razer in tow, leaving Bidane and Ariel behind. Ariel sat herself down in front of Bidane, who was still distraught though had stopped crying.
"So um... is it okay for me to ask you something, Biddie?" The young crow asked; she wasn't sure what to say, but had been ordered to stay with Bidane until they return.
The distraught leopard sniffled a bit, wiping at her eyes as she nodded.
"O-Of course, Ariel," she said, her voice a bit hoarse from how much she had been crying.
"So umm..." Ariel paused for a moment before asking, "Do you like Razer, Biddie?"
"W-Well, of course I do," she nodded, still a bit teary-eyed.
Ariel beamed happily and grasps her hands around Bidane's. "Well, what would you tell him? I mean, I know he's an enemy and all, but ah... what would you tell him?"
The leopard frowned a bit, blinking.
"I... I'm n-not sure what I'd tell him," she admitted, looking away a bit. Clearly she was new to these kinds of feelings.
"Well... if he does comes back, just tell him how you feel!" Ariel spoke before adding, "Besides, Razer would've say the same to you. He helped make you stronger, right?"
Bidane blushed a bit, and couldn't help but smile.
"Th-That's true, he did," she admitted, nodding. She didn't like the sound of 'if' he came back, though...
"See? If Ava can make me stronger, then he can do the same to you too! I'm sure he's tough too! And... well, he likes you too!" Ariel spoke; even though Razer never told Bidane that, it might come out true.
Bidane blushed even more at that, eyes widening.
"He... he does?" she asked, feeling her heart skip a beat.
"Pfft, why wouldn't he? You just gotta tell him how you feel about him is all! Sure he looks as if he can blow a fuse, but it doesn't mean he hates us!" Ariel added before grasping her hand.
"Sometimes, you just have to believe. It's what Ava tells me, and I love her as my big sis!"
The leopardess looked away a bit, smiling sheepishly.
"I... guess you're right about that," she agreed, nodding. She did seem to be feeling better, now.
"Thank you, Ariel."
Avalaine and her crew carry the still-unconscious and paralyzed Razer to a small hut, which seemed primitive on the outside, but quite modern on the inside. They are greeted by an unnamed neurosurgeon, who was already starting to close up before seeing them, with a disgruntled expression, "Oh great. Just when I was closing up shop..."
The unnamed neurosurgeon, complete with a surgeon outfit that conceals their appearance altogether, looked at the unconscious Razer. "Who's this fellow? Is he napping or something?"
"Wow. There's an entire operating room just chillin' out here in the jungle?" Cruz asked, looking around with an expression of awe. Avalaine ignored him and instead walked over to the neurosurgeon.
"He's been paralyzed by an electrical jolt to his spinal cord," she said. "He needs your help...!"
The unnamed neurosurgeon adjusted their goggles a bit, muttering quietly for a brief moment. They let out a soft groan and reached an arm to Avalaine. "Alright, alright. Give him to me, I'll see what I can do."
Avalaine easily lifted up the unconscious Razer and carefully passed him over to the neurosurgeon.
"You know... this sure is a strange place to set up shop," she hummed. "I imagine you don't get many patients out here..."
"I've treated wounded animals before. Treating a Mobian is no different. I should know; I've seen them hurt animals before I started treating them and let them roam free." The neurosurgeon stated before carrying Razer to the medical room. They carefully lay him face-down and preps a scan on him.
The x-ray image shows that Razer's nerves were damaged to the point where he can't move his body around. They squawked in shock. "What the--?! He's been entirely paralyzed altogether! This'll take me a whole week for me to get this boy back up to his feet!"
They grumbled and exits the room before rummaging through their coat, grabbing a specialized beeper before giving it to Avalaine. "Here. You'll need this. If you hear it, that means I finished fixing your friend up." And also muttered a bit, "Can't believe I'm gonna get my wings full for this..."
"I'm uhh... not sure if that's quite the same thing," Perlita muttered, arms crossed. Avalaine ignored her as well, instead focusing on what the neurosurgeon had to say. She did not look pleased by their response to Razer's condition.
"Weeks?? Damn it," she mumbled, grabbing the beeper that the neurosurgeon had given to her, putting it into her pocket.
"Well... it's better than letting him remain paralyzed for the rest of his life. Thank you."
She felt like the neurosurgeon was vaguely familiar to her, though...
The neurosurgeon, upon hearing closer, sounded obviously feminine, as they, or she, whispered to Avalaine, "It's good to see you again, Ava. I'll let you know when your friend is finished healing. Now go."
She heads back to the room as to begin treating Razer, working thoroughly to get those nerves in him working again.
At a Soumercan beach, Ajax was seen sitting at the beach, looking annoyed from the assigned task that wasn't intended; to stop the Soumerca Egg Army from stealing animals, but had wanted to stop the poachers himself... why not both?
"Great... Razer gets the spotlight while I just stay in the shadows, as always..." Ajax grumbled, chucking a small rock into the ocean.
Unbeknownst to the young hawk, the four Tiéburons spotted him, with the alpha female approaching him with a sniff and a growl, teeth bared. This got Ajax's attention, causing him to jump back in fright. "What the--?! W-What are you..?!"
Ajax took a step back, but the tiéburon advanced forward, sharp teeth bared. She thought he was a poacher, and began to try and bite down on him. This prompts Ajax to narrowly jump back from its sharp teeth and yell out, "Hey! I'm not food, back away you shark-things!"
This, however, prompts the tiéburon to growl viciously and pursue him!
"S-Stay back!" Ajax backed up, but sees her starting to go after him, with the three other tiéburons to follow her as they chased Ajax into the forest, yelling out in fright.
"This is why I don't depend on fending off for myself! This is the worst assignment I've ever had!" Ajax yelled out as he tries to escape from the angry tiéburon, in which he never caused any provocation. It might be the case of mistaken identity, as they thought he was Marvin!
The creatures were in a foul mood after having most of their pack (and the pups) stolen from them by the poachers. The big alpha female was closing in fast, snarling.
Ajax hesitantly pulled a small, taser gun and points at the female, but one of the males were quick to swat it away with his tail. With the young hawk frightened, he could only raise his hands up as to try and show mercy, in which the female tiéburon was showing none of it. And the pack had him surrounded!
"Ack! Um... help! Razer! Anybody! Help me!!" He yelled out, trying his best to yell out for help. He'd fly up, but is too frightened to do anything, especially with one of the tiéburons having chewed and spat the taser gun into scraps.
The pack of four closed in further, the alpha female practically face to face with Ajax now. She seemed to almost be examining him, nostrils flaring as she sniffed at him.
All Ajax could do was stay still, his body visibly shaking with fear. He had no choice but to wait for help to arrive, lest he risks becoming their personal chew toy. He closed his eye, his other eye covered by an eye patch.
"Hey!!" a loud shout came from Ajax's right. The alpha female perked up, backing away somewhat to look towards the sound of the voice.
Ajax looked at the alpha female backing away, as were the pack, before looking towards the right. "Razer...?"
Of course, it sounded nothing like him...
Avalaine strode into view now, and clapped her hands sharply at the pack.
"C'mon! Back up!"
Amazingly, the pack of four did back away from Ajax, now eyeing Avalaine warily.
Ajax looked at Avalaine and back at the Tiéburons before muttering to himself, "Great... I dunno which is worse; me about to be eaten by those things, or having to turn myself in to the Egg Army..."
He sighed out reluctantly and hesitantly ran towards Avalaine. He got himself behind the harpy eagle. "Get me out of here... even if it means having to turn myself in! And where's Razer?!!"
All she had to do was stand there and not back down in the face of the four Tiéburons, and they eventually left, still on the search for the rest of their pack. She turned to Ajax now.
"How do you know Razer?"
As Ajax watches them leave, he looks up at Avalaine. It seems she was a bit taller than him. "He... he's a friend of mine. Was sent here to stop the Egg Army from nabbing animals. I guess now that's out of the question..."
He stood back from her and holds his hands out, as if surrendering himself to her. "Well, I'm ready to turn myself in..."
She pushed his hands down, frowning.
"Your friend is... eh, busy right now," she said, her voice low. "Recovering from a severe injury; he's not at our base right now, but I can take you to him. But you have to do me a favor; act like you're my captive, in case my boss calls."
Ajax could only nod and stood close to her. He seems to have serious confidence issues. "Right. Razer does a better job than me anyway..."
"Follow me," she said, and started walking away.
"Who are you anyway?" Ajax asked, looks around while following her closely in case he ends up getting lost. The hut was thankfully nearby.