Warning and Author’s note: Hmmm. I got rid of that pest Oni on the condition of doing my own warnings. *hissss* So all you very weak people reading this, this tale has violence *what good is a story without some?*, profanity, and sexual content *Okay I admit maybe*. By the way, some of this stuff is the result of listening to my Final Fantasy 7 music CDs too much. Let’s see, Sonic, Sally, Tails, Dimitri, and others that I can’t name from the top of my demon head are © to Archie Comics, Sega, and DIC. Scorch T. Hedgehog is © to herself. All other are © to me and the City Keepers (as much as I hate them and want Socara’s head.). Spells used are © either to Squaresoft or who ever as copyrights to the Slayers.

Emerald and Brass Chapter 6 by Nin’nako Foxie
Survival of the Fittest

        “So, your name is Oni?”
        Rain poured continuously outside of the inn’s bar.
        “Yeppers, dat bes mes namies.”
        It didn’t seem it was going to let up anytime soon. The lightning and thunder seem to have become more intense than normal.
        “Ancients! I can’t believe this you little bitch!” A table was turned over.
        “To bad! I won this poker game fair and square! So fork over the money and I’ll be leaving!”
        A fight broke out by the card table, interrupting Sally, Sonic, and Oni’s conversation. They looked over to see a female hedgehog beating on the head of the bear she had been playing poker with. The other two members of the game, just sighed like this was normal. The hedgehog finally through the bear out the door.
        “Damn it Scorch,” said one of the players. “If you keep winning I’ll lose all my money.”
        “You shouldn’t play then,” the hedgehog he had called Scorch, grinned.
        “Okay,” Sally said after everything had gotten back to normal. “That’s an unusal name, but that’s not the point. I would like to thank you for saving Tails, even if your life was in danger.”
        “Na prob,” Oni smiled. “’sides, dat ‘bot wassa being reallies meanies anna mes wanna ta make ups ta Tails fer gettin’ hims all muddy anna stufferz.”
        “Yea, thanks. Tails is my bud, wouldn’t trade him for the world,” said Sonic. “But don’t take this the wrong way. I think you’ll have to keep away from him and us for your own good.”
        Oni frowned and her big ears fell to the side of her head.
        “You see,” said Sally, “we’re not on very good terms with Chaonen. And he’s not a person you should cross.”
        “U peeps bes nuts, goin’ against hims!” shouted Oni.
        “I suppose you shouldn’t go against a dictator of the city and at least half the planet,” Sonic said sarcastically.
        “He’s a dictator?” asked Oni.
        “You didn’t know that?” asked Sally, very much surprised. “He’s the one that runs this city and at least two-thirds of the planet now. Everyone knows who he is!”
        “Hey, if you don’t know him, then how do you know we’re nuts?” retorted Sonic.
        “Oh dat! Mes wassa sayin’ mes na wanna go against an adept in the Dark Magicks. Noppers, dat stupids unless U bes adept inna some form Ur selfers.”
        “How’d you know that?” asked Sally, becoming suspicious.
        “U can tells justa by lookin’. Didn’t U peeps know?” Oni asked back, now surprised at them.
        “No we didn’t. We knew he was strong in magic, but nothing else.”
  “Tails, shouldn’t you still be in bed?” Asked Sally, standing up and helping Tails sit down.         “Well, I wanted to thank Oni in furson. I’m glad she’s still here. Besides, I slept a full night,” Tails said. Oni blushed and giggled. He turned to Oni. “ An I really mean thank you. Not ever day someone helps another in this city. Especially in a situation like that.”
        “U bes welcomes!” replied Oni. Then she cocked an eyebrow. “U peeps rebels o’ somethin’?”
        Sally looked at Sonic, Sonic looked at Tail, and Tails coughed. “Sally, that’s your call,” he finally said.
        “Yes Oni,” she said softly so no one could hear. “We’re rebels like you said.”
        “Somethin’ reminds mes offa U. Do U go any picies offa U in da city?”
        They didn’t say anything.
        Suddenly Oni grabbed several pieces of paper from her sleeves. “Let’s seeeeeee. Yeppers dat U peeps...”
        “Oni?” Asked Tails.
        Oni made a funny face, staring at the papers. o.O “Dat bes lot’s o’ money...”
        Sally looked nervously around, making sure no one heard. Sonic slowly reached for his blaster.
        “Oh wells,” she said tossing the papers away. “Butta dat wanted posters hadda good picie offa Us.”
        Tail sighed in relief. But Sally was still suspicious. Could be a trick to get us off our guard, she thought.
        “Excuse us for a moment,” said Sally, pulling Sonic to another corner. “We have to be careful of her.”
        “Why? I thought she would make a good Freedom Fighter.”
        “She could be after the reward money for us and be pretending not to care.”
        “That girl? She’s too whacked to catch us.”
        “Let’s question her first, then see.”
  They walked back to the table and found that the meals they had ordered had arrived. Oni was putting toothpicks into her potato and pretending they were tentacles trying to eat the peas. Sonic gave Sally a ‘she’s wacked’ look.         “What’s your occupation, Oni?” asked Sonic, sitting down.
        “Mes be mercanary.”
        Sally elbowed Sonic, then whispered something to Tails.
        “Do you think it’s fair the have Chaonen preying on people like us?” Sonic continued.
        “Na! U peeps nicies! Na want peeps hurtin’ Us!” Oni exclaimed, clearly worried.
        “So, if you could, would you try to stop Chaonen and return the planet to the Mobians and have the Acorn family rule again?” Asked Tails.
        “Sures! Butta who da Acorns?”
        “The royal family that ruled before this all happened. If you asked the elders around here, most would agree that they like life under the Acorn rule, because the King and been fair and just,” explained Sally.
        “Would you like to join us in our rebellion?” Asked Tails.
        Oni looked surprised, then jumped up. “Yea!” she smiled. “Would bes kewlie!.” Lightning flashed at the same moment, making her response seem more like some sign of impending doom.

        Damn damn damn. “Ow! Fucking hell! What are you doing!” Chaonen screamed at the Shadow.
        “Sorry, Chaonen-daimyou,” it replied. “But if you would stop moving, I probably can get the bone aligned faster.”
        Chaonen grumbled and sat back again. Damn it. Why the stupid knee. Rather have them go for my damned neck. He shouted again and tried swiping at the shadow with his razor sharp claws, but it just passed through as usual.
        “Chaonen-daimyou, should you not get a real healer?”
        “Yeah right, they can’t do anything. I’ve had adept healers try fixing my knee, and THEY can’t do anything! I’ve had this damn problem since who knows when and you know it! Can’t even walk without same damn support or this brace!” Chaonen fumed.
        “No need to lose your temper, Chaonen-daimyou.”
        He grumbled under his breath and let the Shadow finish up. Hmm...review. Don’t let anyone near my knee. Don’t cast that spell again because you ended up hitting not only the Freedom Fighters but Metal and Socara as well! And...hmm...I know there was something else. Ah yes, kill Dimitri.
As Chaonen grumbled to himself some more, he felt a bit of movement by his head where it was leaning on the edge of the sofa seat. He sifted slightly and looked up. “You’re finally awake.”
        Socara sighed and rolled over, looking down at Chaonen.
        “Done, Chaonen-daimyou.”
        “Good,” said Chaonen as he put on and tightened the brace, then rolling his pant leg back down. Socara wrapped her blanket tighter around herself, despite the blazing fire close by that was drying them both off. Then sat down by Chaonen and leaned her head against his shoulder. Chaonen smiled, enjoying the extra “thought” he had added. He pulled her onto his lap and gently kissed her. She looked surprised for a second, then smiled for the first time in 5 years.
        She looks so much more beautiful when she smiles...
“Chaonen-daimyou, do you not think you spend too much time with her now?” The Shadow asked suddenly.
        “What?! I’ll do as I please. Shouldn’t you go back to work?” Chaonen snarled.
        The Shadow gave him a “I’m-Not-So-Sure“ look, then floated away.
“Now where were we?” Chaonen kissed her again. She snuggled closer and letting him stroke her body. He slipped his hands under the blanket and caressed her back as he layed down on the carpet with Socara on top of him. Hell, I have a nearly naked female lying on top of me and I’m still fully dressed.
        Suddenly, there was a huge crash of thunder. Socara gasped in surprise and cling more tightly againest Chaonen,whimpering. He didn’t recall her being this scared over thunder before. Maybe I accidently made this mistake during the Mindshaping. “Hey, it’s just thunder,” he said, stroking her soft hair. “I’m here. And always will be. Because you’re mine. Mind, body, and soul. Now and forever.”

“We need some kind of plan,” said Sally.
        “Yeah, we didn’t do too well today,” Tails said quietly, whispering a prayer for Lacoria’s soul.” He remembered how they had search for Lacoria. But when they arrived at where Lacoria was last seen, the body was unrecognizable. Tails had wondered what whoever did it had done. Dimitri had stayed behind, never speaking a word or even any sign of sorrow.
        “Hey Tails!” Sonic said, snapping Tails back to the present. “Any ideas?”
        “Er...well, maybe we could just hide for the rest of the time,” he said, saying the first thing that came to his mind.
        “Hmmm...that would be good, but where would Chaonen never look? His mind is too warped for us to try to think like him,” said Sally.
        “Let’s ask Dimitri and Oni,” suggested Tails.
“Tails, don’t you think Oni’s kind of a ditz?” asked Sally.
        “What?! Oh come on Sal! Give her a chance. She’s really nice. Believe me.”
“It’s just a tad hard to believe, but no one ever guess Snively was some Dark adept with the actual genius to take over the planet in one swipe,” sighed Sally. “Okay, we’ll go find them. Tails go get Oni, Sonic and I’ll find Dimitri if we can.”

Dimitri surveyed the area. Claw marks were all over the ground. Lacoria...
He grinned slightly. You stupid fool...

        “We couldn’t find Dimitri,” Sonic said, when ever met in the inn.
        “He’ll probably come back when he’s ready,” sighed Sally.
        “Why?” Asked Oni.
        “Oni, Dimitri’s lifemate was killed today,” Sally explained.
        Everyone stared at her in disbelief. Sally glanced at Sonic. “His lifemate was his wife, you know the one person you pledge your heart to forever,” said Sonic. Oni cocked an eyebrow.
“Whatever,” she said. “NEways, so wes gotta find somewhere ta hides rights?”
        Sally nodded, even more suspicious of Oni now.
“Wha’ about deres? Dat big placie.” They looked to where she was pointing. She was pointing towards the castle.
        “Insert scary music and lightning crash here,” muttered Sonic.
“Oni! Are you insane!?” Shouted Sally, losing her temper.
“Maybes,” she shrugged. “Great place fer hide anna seek!”
        Sally clenched her teeth.
“Actually, she does have a point,” said someone behind them. It was Dimitri.
        “Dimitri,” said Tails, “what do you mean?”
        “Think about it. Chaonen may not think we would actually hide in his own castle. The place is filled with corridors from Chita’s and Draca’s reports and would be an excellent place if we’re not caught.”
        “More like entering the Serpent’s layer to me,” said Sally. “But...”
        “That does make some sense,” said Sonic. “50-50 kind of.”
        “The clock is ticking away, Sally,” Dimitri added.
        Oni glanced at Dimitri and cocked her eyebrow again.
Before the sun rise the next morning...
        “And how was I convinced of this?” hissed Sally as she crouched against the wall. Their day had been mostly uneventful, except for a run in with Metal Sonic.
        “Don’t ask me,” said Sonic. “I’m going to scout ahead. Then if the coast is clear we’ll split up.” Sonic took off in the direction of the back gate of the castle. Moments later he returned. “Okay, two guards in the back, a few more beyond the gate. One of them is Chita.”
        “Hmm... how do we get in?”
        “Mes got idea,” said Oni standing up. “Come on peoples.”
        “Oni! Someone will see you!”
        “Dats okies! Dey na knows mes Freedom Fighter, ‘member?” Oni smiled.
        They followed her in the shadows till they came upon a cart filled with food supplies. Oni walked up to the driver and talked for a minute. The driver got out and walked around to the back. More whispering. Then suddenly Oni punched him out. Sonic ran up and tied the driver in rope, then hid him in an alleyway. The Freedom Fighters all hid in the cart while Oni drove to the gate.
        “Halt, who goes there?” Asked the guard, a young cheetah.
“Chita!” Tails whispered. “It’s us.”
        “Mes be deliverin’ food stufferz,” said Oni.
        Chita looked the cart over, then shouted, “Open the gates! Food supplies!” The gates opened and Oni drove in.
        “Hey! mes new! Fillin’ ins, so where mes take dis thin’?
        “To the back port, just by the Helicopter pad but more to the left,” replied Chita.
        “’kay! Tankies!”
        When the Freedom Fighters jumped out and hid behind the bushes and trees while Oni took the cart to where it should be. There was a huge commotion when the wheel suddenly broke and fell off, tipping the cart over but Oni jumped out in time. “Mes cart! Hey someone help mes wit dis!!”
        Several servants come out to help. When a servant passed near Sally, she lunged, knocked him unconcious then dragged him into the bushes. Quickly stripping him, she put on the clothes and went to help.
        Good thing this has a hood, thought Sally.
        “Okay Tails, looks like we need duds of our own,” whispered Sonic.
        “Right,” said Tails, “But no one’s coming close to us.”
        “Yea, so what to do? Even I’m not fast enough to get by all these people without someone seeing me.”
        “Uh oh.”
        “Metal Sonic is out here too.” Tails pointed towards the helicopter pad. Indeed, Metal Sonic was flying towards the overturned cart. “He must be seeing what all the noise is. And if he has his heat sensors on, I can’t use my illusions to get passed him.”
        “Maybe if we’re lucky, lightning will strike him,” grinned Sonic. “Perhaps we could sneak around.”
        “What do you think Dimitri?”
        Dimitri shrugged. “I don’t know about you but I’m fine.” He stood up.
        “Dimitri!?” Hissed Tails. But Dimitri just walked by all the servants and even Metal Sonic. Then came back. “What the?!”
        “I can cast a cloak that prevents anyone from seeing me. But I can’t cast it on you two.”
        “So we’re the only ones left without a way in,” said Sonic, thinking hard.
        “Yep. Catch you on the flip side,” said Dimitri, walking away.
        Oni pretended to fix the wheel. “Hey U! Mes need a wrench! Got one?”
        “Yeah, in the kitchen, I’ll go get it.”
        “Dats okies, mes ‘ill get. U clean ups dis mess.” She walked inside and shook off as much of the rain as she could. Then looked around for a wrench.
        “Hey! What are you doing in here?!” Shouted a cook.
        “Mes be lookin’ fer wrench.”
        “So you’re the driver of that cart. Over their in the closet.”
        “Tankies!” Oni ran off towards the closet. Then when no one was looking, snuck into the castle. “OooooO Dis place pretty!” she exclaimed looking around. Hai! Pretty lights wit pond!”
        Someone grabbed her from behind and before she could scream, covered her mouth. The person dragged her into a dark deserted area. “Shut up! It’s me, Dimitri.”
        “Hey! How comes mes na see U?!”
        “Because I was using magic to make myself invisible, got that?” Dimitri replied. “You’ll get caught if you wonder around in the open like this.”
        “Sorries,” Oni said looking at her feet.
        “Come one, this was your idea, let’s find a place to hide,” sighed Dimitri.
        “Okies!” Oni brightened up ran down the hall, then up a flight of stairs just as a guard passed by. To Dimitri’s surprise, Oni suddenly jumped and flew up into the darkness of the ceiling. The ceiling was being supported by several beams. No one could see them this high in the dark. Dimitri levitated up after her.
        “Not bad,” he smirked.
        But Oni didn’t stop there. “Mes wanna go lookies ‘round!.” Then jumped from beam to beam farther into the castle, completely silent.

        Sally finished cleaning the mess and was about to go in when she say Metal Sonic. Oh no! Can’t let him see me! Seeing everyone else going in, she put herself in the crowd. When inside the kitchen, another servant immediately grabbed her arm.
        “Where do you think you’re going, wench?! Do dem dishes over there!”
        “Yes, sir,” she murmered and did as she was told. Greaaaaaat. Now I get to do dishes. This is what I get for dressing as a kitchen servant!

        Outside, Sonic and Tails were now hiding in the large oaktrees. “At least we’re not getting rained on,” said Tails.
        “Don’t you know the storm safety rules?” Laughed Sonic. “Never go under a tree or in one.”
        “Oh.” sighed Tails. “Hey Sonic! I think if we climbed to the top of this tree, we could avoid the lights and get inside by a window or something!”
        They climbed higher, and did find a window. As Tails picked the lock with one of Sonic’s quills, Sonic stood a lookout. “Tails! Get back! A guard is coming!”
        The guard below them stopped and lit a cigarette. Taking in a long drag, he leaned against the tree. Later he left.
        A minute later, Tails picked open the lock and stepped in. “Where are we?”
        “Looks to me like the Dining Hall,” Said Sonic. “Doesn’t look like it’s been used in a long time.”
        “Yeah,” Tails ran a finger along the table. “Needs major dusting.
        “SHHHHH,” hissed Sonic, someone’s coming!” They ducked under the table and pulled the tablecloth down. The sound of metal hitting stone but muffled by carpet came closer. A guard stopped infront of the semily open doors of the dining hall, looked in for a bit then continued on.
        “We need a better place to hide,” said Sonic.
  “Let’s go upstairs, maybes there’s an attic or storage room.”         “Good idea, come one.”

        Oni stopped. Dimitri stood by her. Below them, voices were coming from down the hall. Dimitri narrowed his eyes when Chaonen could be seen. Something black wa floating beside him.
        “I told you that you were suppose to be working on the Circle,” Chaonen said.
        “Chaonen-daimyou, I couldn’t find your staff. I was going to ask you,” the Shadow said.
        “You couldn’t find it?!” Snarled Chaonen. “Argh...then look harder! Search all the storage rooms!”
        “I am almost finished searching, Chaonen-daimyou and I have still not found it.”
        “Well, don’t talk to me about it ‘till you’ve searched all of them.”
        “Yes, Chaonen-daimyou.”
        Their voices became inaudible as they walked farther down the hall.
        I wonder what they’re talking about... thought Dimitri.
        “Kewlie!” Oni whispered. “He gots a Shadow! Anna itta looks likes an Asian dragon! Kawaii!”
        “Of course he has a shadow,” hissed Dimitri.
        “Na! Not shadow everyone has! A Shadow! A kewlie creature thin’ dat lookies likies a 3D shadow wit intelligence.”
        “Dat one talkies anna lookies reallies smart too! Make good companions,” Oni smiled.
        “Let’s just go. We still haven’t found a place to hide. Maybe an unused room. Most be some somewhere around here.”
        “I can’t believe I lost a day just repairing I lost almost a full day just repairing Mecha Knuckles, “sighed Chaonen. “Hmm...they only have to survive for a few more hours. No matter, it’s almost finished and by the time they realize what is going on, it’ll be too late. Even if they never realize what’s going on. This world will be mine, and I can get back home where I’ll have more power than anything the mortals of this world have ever dreamed of.”
        Chaonen turned towards the table Mecha Knuckles was laying on. “Just a few final adjustsments.” He popped open the plate over Knuckles’ chest, tweaking with a few wires. Then ran a quick scan over him. “What the hell?” Something weird had appeared on the screen. Chaonen flipped Knuckles’ over and opened a compartment in his back. What he say delighted him greatly.

        Sally finally washed the last dish. Oh man, I’m never going to look at dishes again. My hands are killing me! She looked at her hands, now all wrinkly from the soap water.
        “Alright wench!” She turned around. It was the same servant who told her to do the dishes. Not more cleaning! “Take a five minute break.”
        Sally sighed in relief and dragged herself out of the kitchen. She looked at her watch and realized that she had been washing dishes for almost and hour and a half. Looking around, she realized she most be in the servant quarters.
        “Chris! Oh good you’re on a break!” A guard ran up to her.
        “Sorry,” said Sally, making her voice higher then usual. “You must be mistaking me for this ‘Chris.’” She turned to leave.
        “Wait! How come you’re wearing his clothes! Only he has that pin I gave him!”
        “Umm... I must have gotten the wrong shirt,” Sally said hastily.
        “You think I was born yesterday! Guards!! We have an intruder!!” He shouted grabbing Sally’s arm.
        Oh no!! Sally, punched him in the stomach and knocked him down. She wrenched free of his grip and ran. But another guard came from around the corner in front of her. Two came from behind. I’m trapped!
        “What’s going on here?!” someone shouted.
        “Captain!” said the guard who had thought she was Chris. “We have an intruder!”
        The captain shoved by the guards. She grabbed Sally and looked at her. She? Oh thank the Ancients! It’s Draca!
        “You damn idiot! It’s just a kitchen wench!” Draca shouted at the guard.
        “But Captain! She’s wearing my friend Chris’ clothes.” the guard said back slowly.
        “Shut up! Don’t talk back to me! I don’t give the fuck what she wears! Just some laundry mix up! Do this again and I’ll have you on laundry duty to make sure no mix ups happen again! You here me soldier!!??”
        “Ye-yes, Captain.”
        “Back to you’re posts people!” Draca shouted at everyone else. “I’ve seen this wench several times before! She works here!”
        Everyone ran off as soon as she stopped talking, and started glaring at them.
        Sally let out her breath. Oh Ancients that was close. “And you wench! Come with me!” Draca jerked at her arm, not hard but enough for Sally to get the message. They walked down the hall, turned left and into another hall. At the end they entered a dining hall. Draca slowed shut the door.
        “Sally! What are you doing here?!” Draca asked.
        “Well, we thought that the last place Chaonen would look for us is his own castle,” said Sally. “And thanks for the help back there.”
        “No problem. You’re lucky I came along.” Draca said. “You’re idea in a real risk though. But a good one in my opinion.”
        “I really need a place to hide though.”
        “Quiet!” Draca murmered. Sally shut up. Draca slowly walked towards the other end of the long dining table. Keeping her distance she drew her gun, then used her spear to lift up the table cloth. Sonic and Tails popped out. “What the hell?! You guys we’re here all the time?”
        “Yep,” said Tails. “We just didn’t know it was you and Sally ‘till you came closer. Awfully dark in here.”
        “Hey Sal gal,” smiled Sonic.
        “Sonic, this is no time for greetings. We need some place to hide and quick! I was a hair width away from being caught.”
        “Sorry, Sal,” said Sonic. “Me and Tails we’re thinking of finding a storage room or attic to hide in.”
        “Go up three flights, then turn down the second hallway on you’re left. And go down the first hallway on the right. Then on more flight up. All of those rooms there were once bedrooms but now are storage rooms. No one uses that hall or the rooms,” said Draca.
        “Okay, thanks!” said Sonic as they left the room after making sure the coast was clear.
        “Good luck,” Draca whispered.

        Dimitri slowly opened a door covered with dust. Inside was dark and musty so he summoned a mage light and went in with Oni following him. The room was filled with old boxes and crates.
        “A storage room,” Dimitri said, mostly to himself.
        “Yeppers, anna big too. Hey! Dis great placie fer hide anna seek!” Oni exclaimed.
        She is a ditz, Dimitri thought. “Can’t you ever think seriously, Oni?”
        “Blah, dat borin’s,” Oni said back.
        “You look over there,” said Dimitri, pointing to the west side of the room. “I’ll look over here.”

        Chaonen shifted the image on his mirror. “Knuckles, go greet our guests.”

        Sonic, Sally, and Tails continued down the hallway. “Which way do we go now?” asked Tails.
        “Draca said up one more flight,” said Sally. “So far so good, we’ve only seen one guard. If fact, this wing looks deserted.
        “All the better, eh Sal?” smiled Sonic. “But where are the stairs?”
        “Over there,” said Tails. “I think I see the banister. Kinda hard with the bad lighting.”
        “I wonder why Chaonen barely uses this wing,” Sally said.
        “Who cares, come on,” urged Sonic. “Heh, maybe he has some dark secret that he doesn’t want his servants seeing.”
        “I hope your joking, Sonic.”
        “Of course! Sheesh, lighten up,” Sonic said as he turned to go up the stairs. “Hope none of you are afraid of the da-”
        “Sonic what is it?” Sally asked. Then she show why Sonic had stopped suddenly. A few steps up, Socara was sitting by the banister casually leaning against her sword.
        A hell. I don’t want to fight her, thought Sonic.
        “Um...Sally,” Tails said nervously. “What kind of sword has a blade of energy?”
        “I don’t know,” Sally replied, slowly drawing her gun. She took a step forward onto the staircase. Socara made no indication of stopping her. Instead, she continued to sit quietly with a blank stare. “We out number you Socara, so come on quietly and you won’t get hurt.”
        Sonic reached for the rope in his backpack. But Socara still didn’t move. “Put down the sword,” Sally continued. She took another step forward. If she gets away, she’ll probably tell Chaonen where we are.
        “Hey!” Tails shouted. Sally and Sonic whirled around. “AAHHH! It’s Metal Sonic! He’s crushing me!”
        “Stay back or I’ll snap this kitsune’s spine,” threatened Metal Sonic, tightening his hold on Tails.”
        “How did he sneak u-oomph!” With their backs turned Socara had suddenly tackled Sally to the ground. “Socara! Ah!” Sally ducked to the side just as Socara tried to stab her with a dagger. She missed but left the dagger inbedded in the floor and had the sword at Sally’s throat in an instance. “Sonic!”
        “You’re the only one left, hedgehog. And you can only save one,” sneered Metal. “Throw down you’re weapons.”
        Sonic looked from Sally to Tails and back.
        “I think you should do as he says,” Sally said.
        “Argh!” Sonic threw down his sword and gun.
        “Socara, tie Sally up and bring her along,” commanded Metal. As Socara did as she was told. Metal aimed his blaster at Sonic. “Up the stairs, now.”
        “Not likely,” came another voice. Metal turned around just as Chita slammed him with her spear. He shot the spear out of her hands then threw Tails at her. They both smashed into the wall together.
        “Tails! Chita!” Shouted Sonic. Seeing his chance he rushed at Metal. Grabbing his sword he went into a Sonic Spin and slammed Metal. With the deadly combination of Sonic spinning at Super Sonic speed and the blade of the sword. Metal didn’t have a chance.
        As this went on, Sally suddenly rolled over and kicked Socara in the stomach. Socara fell back, and swung her sword at Sally, but she blocked it with her gun. Socara let go with her non-robotic hand and punched Sally before she could block that too. She then jumped backwards and try to slam her foot down on Sally. But missed again as Sally rolled to the side. She leaped up and roundhoused Socara. She too missed and was uppercutted by the echidna with her robotic hand.
        Sally grunted and fell back. “Alright. If you want a fight. You’re getting one,’” she said.
        Socara got into a fighting stance with a twisted grin.

        Time seemed to go slower as Sonic realized that Metal had blocked the what would have been a fatal blow with some sort of energy shield. “Bastard,” he muttered.
        “Damned idiot,” Metal smirked back.
        “You’re the idiot, it’s two to four,” Sonic spat back. Metal suddenly fell as Chita kicked his feet out from under him. They all dog piled Metal. But its robotic strength threw them all off. Tails quickly put up an illusion, one that was easily believed of them surrounding Metal again.
        Metal looked at all the illusions of Tails, Sonic, and Chita. The Sonic illusion gave him the finger.
        The real Chita and Sonic soon realized what was going on and got out of the way. Metal didn’t suspect a thing.
        Wait, thought Chita. This ain’t right! His a robot. He shouldn’t be able tah detect illusions with his sensors! She whispered her thoughts to Sonic.
        “Ancients you’re right! Then why can he see them?” Sonic whispered back. “But we’ll find out later. We have to help Sally. Chita, stay with Tails incase Metal gets wise to our trick. Then get away as soon as possible.”

        As this went one, Socara had Sally pinned by the neck with her knuclaws and was beating her across the face with her other hand, having dropped her sword. “ARGH!” Sally screamed grabbing Socara’s fist before she was too dazed to even see straight. But to her surprise, Socara was a lot stronger then she thought.
        Another twisted grin pasted Socara’s face, when Sally realized that she was charging up her Knuclaws, with Sally’s neck still in between them. “Sonic!” Shouted Sally, desperate for help.
        “Sal! I’m coming!” Sonic shouted back, rushing forward at Super Sonic speed and tackling Socara off of Sally. In a flash he had a gun aimed at Socara’s head. “Sal, you okay?”
        “Yeah,” she said, quickly getting up. She looked towards Tails and Chita. “What are they doing?”
        “Keeping Metal busy,” Sonic said. He turned towards Socara. “Okay, lets have a little Q & A. Where’s Chaonen?”
        Socara pressed her back closer to the wall, but didn’t answer.
        “Answer, or you’ll be missing a head,” Sonic went on, though he wasn’t sure he could live up to his threat.
        “Sonic! Look out!” Chita shouted suddenly from behind. Sonic gasped and threw himself to the side just as Metal flew by him and almost hit the wall.
        “Keep away from her,” Metal said.
        “Hrumph, so now da Great Metal Sonic is now just a bodyguard,” mocked Chita.
        “I take no shame in that. It’s just orders from Chaonen,” Metal replied.
        “Tell us where he is and we’ll let you live,” said Sally, “relatively speaking.”
        “Why go looking for him? You only have an hour or so left to survive. But, I’ll take you to him if you can catch me.” Suddenly, without the slightest warning he grabbed Socara who gave out a squeek of surprise, fired up his jets and blasted off down the hall.
        “Sonic, why do you want to find Chaonen?” Asked Tails.
        “Because little buddy, I think this ‘hunt’ isn’t exactly what he told us to be.”
        “Tails,” Sally cut in. “We believe this may be a cover-up. You see, the day before this, we picked up odd energy readings from the castle. Really faint but, strange. Right before we left, I checked it again and it was stronger.”
        “So, you’re saying that Chaonen purposed this so we wouldn’t notice this.”
        “Righto,” said Sonic. “And we’re gonna blow up whatever it might be.”

        Dimitri tried not to breath too deeply. The dust was really irritating him. “Ancients,” he muttered. Oni on the other hand, was quick enjoying this. She pranced around on all the boxes and was pretending to be Queen of the Box Pile. “Oni! Stop moving so much! You’re kicking up a lot of dust!”
        “Sorries,” she said, sitting down all disappointed.
        Suddenly a fireball shot at her from out of the darkness. “Meep!” She screamed and ducked, the fireball just singing the top of her hair.
        “Mecha Knuckles!” Shouted Dimitri, ducking behind a box. He charged up a energy blast and held it.
        “Nice to see you all here,” Mecha Knuckles said, he would have been grinning if he could.
        “Yea, righties,” retorted Oni.
        “Well...you’re right. I lied.” He throw another fireball at Oni just as Dimitri threw the energy blast at Knuckles.
        “AHHHH!!! RuN!” Shouted Oni just as the two blasts hit. There was a huge explosion and they were all flung to the ground. But now all the nearby boxes were one fire.
        “Ancients damn it!” Snarled Dimitri, when Knuckles emerged from the flames. He got up and ran for the nearest exit, which was the door.
        “Hey! Wait ups!” Oni shouted running after him. Dimitri just reached the door, but Knuckles shot a burst of flames that blocked them from the door. “Da window!”
        Running as fast has as they could, they headed for the window. Dimitri shot another blast at Knuckles that knicked him on the shoulder but did no real damage. “Veer rightz,” Oni suddenly said, dragging Dimitri with her. “Wanna see wha’ ova derez.”
        “Freaking Bitch! Someone’s trying to kill us and you want to know what’s in the corner?!” Dimitri screeched. He tried to pull away from Oni but her gripped was tighter then he thought.
        “Hey! Dere issa one! Mes rightz mes rightz! Jump in dude who swears ‘lots!” Oni jumped and nearly choked Dimitri to death. A sudden bright light blinded him then darkness.

        “Why are you bringing them here, Chaonen-daimyou?”
        “Because, I want to at least kill one person.”
        “But why here, Chaonen-daimyou?”
        “They’re messing up the rest of the castle, and besides, here they can’t escape.”
        “Are you feeling alright, Chaonen-daimyou?”
        “Socara-hime is getting very sick, Chaonen-daimyou.”
        “So? I don’t need her right now.”
        “Neither of us can take care of her Chaonen-daimyou.”
        “Give her back to the Freedom Fighters, Chaonen-daimyou. She will not reveal anything. There is no downside for you.”
        “You’re getting annoying.” Chaonen growled, getting up from his seat. “Why all the concern for her? Hmmm? You are my servant, and only serving her because I commanded it. Recall that?”
        “Yes, Chaonen-daimyou, of course. I am only concerned if she becames to weak to retreive it when the temple is located. Also, we will never find it this way if the staff is not present, Chaonen-daimyou.”
        Chaonen tossed something to the Shadow. “I found it. Mecha Knuckles had it. I looked up some old surveillance tapes to find out why. Apparently, he has found it and was robotized with it. So it was stuck in a compartment in his back.”
        The shadow nodded and disappeared with the staff.
        “Now let’s have some fun. Metal!”
        Metal Sonic stepped up from the shadows. “Yes, sire?”
        “Who would you like to kill?”
        “My own preference is Sonic the Hedgehog, sire.”
        “I’m in a good mood right now, so you may have him. But if you like. Keep him alive. Maybe we can have some more fun later.” Chaonen turned to Socara, who was sitting on the floor and leaning against a pillar of marble, knees touching her chin. “And you?” He didn’t expect an answer. “Go after that new one. The blue female fox with wings.” She nodded.
        “Sire,” said Knuckles. “The fox and Dimitri are here. And the others have just arrived. They are in the next chamber.”
        “What?! Damn, they weren’t suppose to be in there,” Chaonen thought for a moment. “No matter. I give you all free reign in what you would like to do to them all. Just be sure they die and stay dead.”
        He looked down at Socara. “What’s wrong with you?” She flinched. “Who cares.” He made her stand up and gave her a shove. In the next chamber he could a lot of yelling. “How unoriginal,” he muttered to himself.

        Sonic shooked his head and looked around. One moment they were in the hallway. The next in some sort of big room. Sally touched his arm. “Where are we?” She asked.
        “You tell me,” Sonic said.
        From nowhere they could hear screaming. It grew louder and louder, then suddenly Oni and Dimitri landed on top of them. “Oomph!” Sonic cried out.
        “Ah! Get off of my tails!” Tails shouted.
        “Ow! My tail!” shouted Chita.
        “WEIII!!! Dat was funz! Do againies do againies!” Oni squealed happily.
        “Oh shut up, bitch,” grumbled Dimitri. He shot a small shock at Oni. She yelped and jumped off of Tails.
        “Wha’ U do dat’s fer?!” She screamed back.
        “Because you’re being a major pain in the ass! If it weren’t for you! We wouldn’t be here!”
        “Wellz, we got away fromz da robot dude!”
        “No we didn’t and he’s right there! And so is Metal, Socara, and Chaonen!!”
            Sally had been looking around as everyone argued. They appeared to be in a very large room. Infact she could even see the walls. Pillars lined the edges of what looked like a road. They formed a wide circle around a glowing pool. It looked like water but was darker and a deeper blue. The surface was as smooth as glass. She snapped back to attention when Dimitri suddenly shouted that the enemy was with them.
        “What?!” She looked around them. Indeed they were surrounded. “Oh Ancients!”
        “The Ancient Walkers won’t help you here,” grinned Chaonen. “Those old fools are worthless.”
        Sally gasped. In all her life, no one had ever spoken of the Ancient Walkers that way.
        “Go burn in Hell,” Sonic snapped, shoving Dimitri off of him.
        “Hi Mister Deinonychus!!!” Oni suddenly shouted, drawing the stares off all her fellow FF on her.
        Greatly suprised but not daunted, Chaonen replied, “Salutations. Who are you? A new Freedom Fighter?”
        “Yeppers!” Oni grinned broadly. “Mes be called Oni!”
        Chaonen blinked, surprised yet again. “Well, just to say. You’re Freedom Fighting career is over.”
        “Reallies?” Oni’s ears flopped down. “Aw nutz! Oh wells. Go out wit a bang, yea?!” From out of her sleeve she grabbed a battle ax and launched herself at Chaonen.
        At this the battle started. Sonic found himself immediately face to face with Metal Sonic. “You’re going down this time, Sonic,” Metall said.
        “Oooooo! I’m so scared!” Sonic mocked.

        “Oh darn ittaz” Oni muttered when the echidna had tackled her away from Chaonen. She slowly began to circle the echidna. “Wha’s Ur namie?”
        The echidna didn’t reply.

        “Ah a traitor among my guards,” Chaonen said, looking at Chita. “Well, I have no interest in you so. Bye.”
        In as instant Chita could feel her body on fire. Flames engulfed her body in a split second and she died while still standing.
        Sally heard Chita screaming. She spun towards the sound and saw Chita engulfed in flames. “NOOOOOOO!!!!” She screamed. “CHITA!” Her first reaction was sending a wave of water on Chita. Putting out the fire. But to her sorrow she knew it was too late.
        “We don’t tolerate traitors,” Chaonen smirked.
        “AHHH! Monster!” Sally screamed, she pointed her hands at Chaonen and the biggest wave she ever managed to generate swept at Chaonen. This has to get him.
        But Chaonen meerly laughed. The wave hit some kind of shield before it was even a few feet away from him. “I don’t think so Sally.”
        He snapped his claws and immediately Sally was trapped within a force field. She launched herself at it was couldn’t get throw. Kicking, shooting, and hitting it didn’t work either.
        “You could have done this the whole time?! Then why are you doing this!?” She screamed at him.
        “Why, to have at least a little fun, of course.”
        The look on his face didn’t make Sally feel any better.

Dimitri glared at Knuckles. The robot glared back, in a well...robotic way. Dimitri jumped into the air. “Rain Destroy!” A shower of energy arrows rained down on Knuckles. He was able to dodge most of them, others he blocked with his shield, but one struck in hard in the shoulder.         “Shoulder immbolized. Initiate attack sequence.” He rushed forward and uppercutted Dimitri in the face. Dimitri fell back and almost hit the ground. Another barrage off attackes finally had him down.
        Dimitri grunted and slowly stood up. “Alright.” A dark laugh emit from him. “Now it’s Enerjak’s turn.”

        Sonic barely had enough time to dodge Metal as he zoomed by. Just as he missed, Sonic flung the pummel of his blaster down onto of his head.
        “I will not be defeat this easily,” Metal shouted, whirling around on his jets. On his arm a panel opened and a laser cannon came out. The end of the barrel began to glow red.
        “Ha!” Laughed Sonic as he dodged the shot. “Too slow!” He razzed Metal Sonic. “Oops, too slow again.” As Metal shot at him again. Metal fired several more times, but Sonic dodged them easily. “Ancients, that’s all you can dish out?”
        “On the contrary,” replied Metal. The laser cannon went back in it’s panel. “Look at the floor.
        Sonic glanced down for a moment, still keeping his eyes on Metal. All he saw were burned marks on the floor where Metal had shot. Suddenly the marks began to glow like the laser cannon. Red beams of light connected the marks in a circle, then shot into the air. Surrounding Sonic on all sides. “What the?!” He touched the beams. “OW!” He shouted, shaking his singed hand.

Enerjak?! You have been destroyed,” exclaimed Knuckles.
        “Meerly bidding my time. And this time, Dimitri won’t be gaining control again. So, my archenemy so lowly servant to another. This is an unexpected pleasure,” laughed Enerjak.
You still talk too much.”
        “The lowly robot remembers! Now I will have the enjoyment of seeing you die!” A green glow formed around Knuckles. Slowly it began to crush him.
        As abrupt as the glow formed, it disappeared. “What?!” Screamed Enerjak. “Who dares defy the Great Enerjak?!”
        “I realize that I would be the last one to help the Freedom Fighters. But you’re not one of them and this is my servant. I decide his future,” Chaonen said calmly.
        “I have the power of 11 Chaos Emeralds! You think you can best me in the mystics?!”
        “I don’t think I can. I know I can. Now shut up. Like Knuckles said, ‘you talk too much.’”
        “Foolish mortal!! Now pay the price for insulting the Great Enerjak!!” But even before he could start an attack. His head was missing.
        “And the Return of Enerjak hits the theatres with the record length time of 5 minutes,” grinned Chaonen, putting his hand down just as Enerjak’s body fell to the floor.

        Tails just stared as he saw Enerjak/Dimitri’s body hit the ground. Just a bloody stump where the head had been. He can do that?! His thoughts screamed. He started to realize Chaonen had really been holding back his powers if he could just kill someone with the power of 11 Chaos Emeralds without even breaking a sweat.
        “Tails!” Sally shouted through the force field. “Get me out of here!”
        “I don’t know. Just try something!” Sally said.
        Tails tapped the force field. Hoping to see how strong it was. But his hand got stuck. “Huh?”
        “Tails, what’s wrong?”
        “My hand’s stuck,” he pulled away, the field was sucking his arm in. “AHH! It’s got me!”
        “Nice touch, eh?” Smiled Chaonen. “These types of force fields are such fun.” Then shoved Tails in. “Why don’t you sit back and enjoy small talk with Sally? There’s only one fight left.” He pointed towards Oni and Socara.

        Oni was having fun. She liked to fight. Blood was fun to watch too. The Freedom Fighters would have been appalled at this idea. She just wished the echidna would talk a little. Conversations were always nice. And she liked to make new friends.
        Socara wiped away some blood from a cut on her cheek. The fox scared her in an eerie way. But yet there was a certain feeling about her that was comforting. She hoped she would lose the battle and die.
        Chaonen watched in amusement. Oni’s good. Hmmmm... He walked forward and disappeared. Only to appear beside Socara. “Oni, what do you think of the Freedom Fighters?”
        “Huh? Ermm... na knows. Just met,” she shrugged.
        “Well, if you had the choice, would you choose to fight for their lives and a Chaos Emerald? Or have guaranteed freedom away from here alive?”
        Sally winced. Our lives in her hands. We’re doomed. But maybe there’s still a chance.
        Oni got a far off look in her eyes. “OOOOOooooooOOOOO, shiny pretty rock. Drrooolll :P* Go fer Chaos Emerald be mes! Heehee shiny shiny fun! Oh yeah, and dere lives too, wha’eva.”
        Tails hung his head. “Sally, you’re right. I was wrong by her. Just a cold hearted mercanary.”
        “Well, she’s our only hope now,” Sally said.
        “Splendid!” exclaimed Chaonen. “Defeat Socara here, and you all fo free with a Chaos Emerald.”
        “WEIIII!!!!” Shouted Oni, hopping up and down. “So dat her namie. Pretty namie :)”
        “Socara?!” Sonic shouted. “You can’t do that!!”
        Chaonen turned towards him. “Why not? My other servants are robotic. I prefer blood.” He turned back to Oni and Socara. “All right. Choose one weapon of you’re own choice. It’ll be the only one you can use during the match. I believe Socara has choosen her sword.”
        Oni thought for a moment. Then she stuffed her battle ax back in her sleeve.
        Where is she hiding all that stuff? Tails thought.
        She held out her hand and a staff appeared. On top was a leather pouch covering what was shaped like a curved blade. “Okies. Got mes.”
        Chaonen nodded. “Then begin.” But Socara fell down on her knees, grabbing his leg and shaking her head desperately. “What do you mean you don’t want to do this?! You have no say in it!” But why? The spell shouldn’t be fading this much. Should at least been another hour or so. He grabbed her dreds and pulled her off. “Look,” he said, face very close to hers. “I don’t know what the hell is going on in the mind of your’s, but you’ll do as I say. I’m sure you remember what happened the last time you defied me.”
        She dropped her head and looked at the ground. “Fine...we’ll do it the easy way.” He suddenly wrenched her head up and slipped a small device beside her eye. Then through he on the ground by Oni.
        “Dat na very nice,” Oni said, looking down at Socara.
        Socara suddenly clutched her head and started screaming. Oni jumped back in surprise. The screaming soon stopped and Socara wasn’t moving. Oni cautiously poked her with her staff. “Yellow, Miss Socara ma’am. You awake?” No response. Without warning, Socara’s hand shot out and grabbed Oni’s ankle. “Hey!” shouted Oni, but with a jerk of her hand she flipped Oni to the floor.
        “AH!” she screamed, rolling out of the way, a split second before Socara could give her a major headache with her sword. “Erm... you okies so somethin’?” She ducked another attack and blocked a swing with her staff. “You, ahhh, startin’ ta scare mes U knows.”
        Socara snarled at her. She rubbed her head like it hurt a lot, then lunged at Oni again. Oni “Ack!”-ed as she barely managed to dodge that one. “Okies, U goin’ downs!” She swung her staff at Socara’s stomach. Then as Socara jumped over it, swung it up, striking Socara under the chin. Socara landed on her feet, then ducked a roundhouse from Oni. Grabbed her foot as it went by and threw her into a pillar.

        “How much did you pay her?” Chaonen asked.
        “What?” asked Sally.
        “How much did you pay her?” He repeated, never taking his eyes off the combatants.
        “What do you mean?” asked Sonic.
        “A mercenary doesn’t work for nothing. Whether the payment is money or items.”
        “Why should we tell you?!” Shouted Tails. “Why should we tell you anything?! You killed our fellow Freedom Fighters and friends!”
        “You don’t have to. It’s you’re choice. But I was curious. One with her skills usually demands a high price. Ah, a sight to behold. A riddle wrapped in an enigma.” He looked towards Sally. “Prehaps, seeming she likes gems. I could hire her.”
        “She would never help you!” Sally hissed.
        “Don’t be so sure. After all, I believe she knows none of you trust her or not even like her. And it would appear, she wants to be friends with my Socara.”
        “You’re Socara? She’s not your’s! She a living being, not an object to be owned and toyed with!”
        “I do not look upon her as an object. She’s like a playmate to me.”
        “For sick games,” snarled Sonic.

        Oni tilted her head back when Socara had grabbed her arm and kicked at her head. But she didn’t expect her swinging her leg back, therefore taking a hard blow to her face. She retaliated and swung the pouch covered part of her staff at Socara.
        The echidna dodged, but the tip of one of her bangs was cut off. “Yeppers, blade can still cut even wit pouch on,” smiled Oni, when Socara looked very surprised. She jumped at Socara and propelled of a pillar when she ducked. But as she landed, Socara lunged forward feet first and kicked her legs out from under her. A slash delivered a nasty wound to Oni’s arm. Blood splattered on the ground. “Owwie!” Oni screamed.
        Socara didn’t like the look in her eyes and jumped back. Oni quickly torn off the pouch on her staff, to reveal a long curved blade. It was almost transparent as glass and glowed a steady light blue. She grabbed the blade by the base and threw it like a boomerang at Socara. She shrieked as the blade flew by, slashing her robotic arm nearly all the way through. The blade, like all properly thrown boomerangs flew back slashing her across the leg before she could avoid it.
        With her back turned, Oni tackled her to the floor. Socara kicked the fox off, and quickly got to her feet. But her robotic arm was no longer functioning and she couldn’t swing her sword very well. Her robotic hand slipped and fell into something watery.
        The blade swung to Oni, she held out the tip of her staff and the blade snapped back on to reform a scythe.
        “Not towards the Mirror!” Chaonen shouted suddenly.
        But Oni had lunged forward, leaped up and swung her scythe down at Socara. In her panic Socara shut her eyes and pointed the blade at Oni in the last second. There was the sickening sound of pierced flesh and the crunch of cracking bones.
        Things seemed to go in slow moment for the Freedom Fighters as they saw there last hope dropping her sycthe and clutching at the blade the was now going through her stomach and through her back.
        Socara felt the impact, then warm blood dripping down on her. She slowly opened her eyes.
        Oni could feel the horrible pain. Then blood dripping from her mouth. The clutched at the blade, ignoring the pain in her fingers. “DIGGER BOLT!!!” She screamed.
        “Let go!” Chaonen shouted.
        Socara’s eyes widened. But then she was screaming as electricity ripped down the blade and through her. Darkness came as she dropped the sword and fell.

        There was a THUD! and a SPLASH! at the same time. Chaonen ran forward and dropped to his knees, looking in the Nin’nako pool which couldn’t function as a “mirror” with its surface disturbed this badly. “Socara!” He screamed. There was no way of telling how deep the pool was. It seemed of infinite depth. He couldn’t see her anywhere. “Socara!!”
        End pf Chapter 6

Preview: I’m doing the previews too. Hanging in suspence anybody? I doubt it. You’re probably all thinking “This dull! Why the damn hell I’m I reading this piece(s) of crap?!”
NE-ways... a short returned of Enerjak who was mainly around to show Chaonen’s power. Chita got burn. *O.O fire! Heehee*. Things seem to be looking down for everyone. Both Oni and Socara defeated. So who won?
        Wait, that was just review. Fine, a preview. The Freedom Fighters get their prize, but at what costs? A fully pledged *or is it fledged?* new member. Rest and relaxation is what everyone needs.