I do not own Sonic.
Chapter 4: Familiar Face in a Familiar Place
"So tell me, Sonic...Where are we going?" Amy queried irritably, her arms folded. Her gloved fingers drummed against her arm. Her gaze was focused on Sonic, who turned back to her and winked. She then shifted her eyes to Tails, who blinked in response. "And why aren't we taking the Tornado!?"
Tails shifted uncomfortably. "Well...I...uh..." was all he could say. Tails tugged at the straps of his backpack nervously.
"Oh c'mon, Amy." Sonic chuckled, amused. "It's more fun this way...sleepin' under the trees, enjoyin' the world the way it's meant to be enjoyed...and travelin' on your own two feet. Nothin' beats it...well, goin' a bit faster might." At this, Sonic winked at her. Cross, Amy shook her head, hands going to her hips.
"Sonic, it's Fall!" she pointed out, still shaking her head. "That means it's going to start getting cold at night! I don't have a thick fur coat like Tails...all I have is my dress. And you...Well, you don't ever seem to mind it!"
"Well, Ames," Sonic began smartly, a sarcastic grin forming. "That's why the two of ya are carryin' sleeping bags." He pointed to the backpacks the two were wearing. Sonic, content to sleep in the elements, hadn't brought a sleeping bag of his own, instead wearing a pack that carried mostly food.
Amy threw up her hands, frustrated. Sonic chuckled at her, stopping only when her glare deepened and her hand began to threaten summoning her hammer. She let loose a throaty groan of contempt, and sat down on a large rock. Tails shrugged meekly at her.
"Besides Amy, you know why I can't go back to my workshop..." He said, looking at the rocks.
"Yeah...I understand. Anyways..." she turned to Sonic, who was grinning at her again. "Where are we going? You never really told us."
"Trip down memory lane." He answered, winking. "I'm takin' ya to a place where me and Eggman had one of our first little matchups. Some kinda old ruin north of here. It had a lot of lava, which was weird, let me tell ya... I can't recall the name..."
"The Marble Ruin!" Tails interrupted. "I remember hearing about it! I haven't actually been there, though."
"Yeah...not so cold there with all the lava." Sonic chuckled at Amy, who gave him a weary-eyed stare.
"You're enjoying this, aren't you?" She asked in a strangely neutral voice, hands firmly on her hips.
Sonic flashed her a wink and a thumb's up, letting loose a smug chuckle. "Doll, you better believe it."
Amy's thoughts came to a screeching halt as she stood up, her hands falling flatly to her sides. "Doll?" she said sweetly, a grin creeping across her face.
"Oh, crap." Sonic's smug expression melted into terror as he realized he had just made a grave mistake. Amy, grin widening, slowly approached towards him.
"Doll." Amy repeated, somewhat deadpan. "Now, what do you mean by that, Sonic? Hmm?" As she spoke, she leaned close to the cobalt hedgehog and batted her eyelashes. Sonic began to furiously scratch the back of his head, and his legs twitched.
"Well, I-uh, I-I..." As Sonic stammered, the pink hedgehog moved from close to uncomfortably close, her eyelashes still batting. He gulped, his face starting to color from the proximity...which Amy noted, and filed away in her mind for the future. She stopped her eyelash-batting and gave him a heavy-lidded stare.
"Umm...not gettin' there by standin' here!" Sonic shouted as he sprang away nimbly, his feet moving at incomprehensible speed to the untrained eye. He dashed away to the north as Amy furiously stomped on the ground, expression instantly changing to one of rage.
"Sonic, you get back here right NOW!" she screamed, taking off at a run after the blue blur. Tails, now alone, broke into laughter at the two of them as they began to disappear off into the distance.
"The more things change..." He said to himself simply as he took flight after them. Sonic was never gonna live this down. Looking up, he frowned thoughtfully.
"I hope they don't ruin all of their supplies..."
After a while, the two hedgehogs came to an old, crumbled ruin, nestled snugly against a mountain range. After catching up, Amy latched a firm grip on Sonic's arm, causing him to shuffle nervously. He couldn't tell whether she was pleased or angry...Her expression indicated maybe a little of both. Cursing his big mouth, he looked over the ancient stone structure before them. The ruin wasn't particularly large, but the impression was that at one point it had been very majestic. Columns and platforms of purple stone could be seen everywhere. Every now and then an entrance to underground areas could be seen. Amy, still gripping Sonic's arm, stared at the ruin thoughtfully, unsure of what to think of the place. What struck her most, was the lava. Between the ruin itself and them, were pools of it...Or at least something that LOOKED like lava. Inside some of these pools, there were pieces of landscape seemingly floating in the lava itself: islands, isolated from the rest of the landmass. The next thing Amy noticed, was the heat. It felt rather sweltering next to the lava pool, and she released Sonic to wipe away a bit of sweat that had already started to form.
"So Sonic," Amy said, breaking the silence as she released him. "This is where you and Eggman had one of your first battles?"
Shrugging off his discomfort, he broke into a grin. "You got it! Busted his bots up pretty good, too."
"But why are we here?" Amy asked. "Seems like a boring place to go on vacation..."
Before Sonic could answer, the whirling sound of twin tails spinning at high speeds halted him. Tails landed next to Amy and immediately fell to his knees, panting with exhaustion. Concerned, Amy knelt next to him and gently rubbed his back.
"You're outta shape, Tails." Sonic chuckled. Amy shot an annoyed glare at him as the fox continued to pant.
"Well...Sonic," Tails gasped, "I've been...locked up...in my...workshop...for months!"
Take it easy, bro, catch your breath." Sonic advised, grin disappearing. "Wow, you're really outta shape. Back before our whole trip through space, flyin' like that wouldn't have tired you out quite THIS much."
After catching his breath, Tails stood up and Amy stepped away, watching him. Tails frowned at Sonic, who blinked in response.
"I know this is kind of an obvious thing to say..." Tails breathed in deeply, and exhaled slowly, finally regulating his rhythm. "But you're hard to keep up with...And the two of you went really far."
Sonic smirked and rubbed the bottom of his nose. "I guess we did."
Tails turned his attention to Amy. "And how were you able to keep up with him...and do it for so long without getting tired?"
Amy smiled sweetly. "Well, I exercise," She stated, making no effort to hide her pride. Her hands went to her upper waist and trailed down over her natural curves. "And I'm making sure I never lose this figure." She glanced over at Sonic, who was staring at the lava pool in front of them, causing her to wrinkle her muzzle in disappointment.
"Right, stupid question." Tails chuckled as he rubbed the back of his head, remembering that Amy had been chasing Sonic for years now, and oftentimes quite literally.
"So, what's with the lava anyways?" Amy asked, changing the subject. "How were they able to keep it like that? I mean, doesn't lava eventually cool down?"
"Beats me." Sonic said, shrugging. "I just know the stuff's hot, and it makes things catch on fire. What about you, Tails? You have any idea?"
Tails furrowed his brow in thought. "Hmm. Well, there are a few theories." Tails began. "The ruin may lie on top of an active shield volcano."
"A-Active volcano?" Amy shivered. "You mean we're standing on something that could explode?"
Tails shook his head. "No Amy." He reassured. "Shield volcanoes are - relatively speaking of course - the type that usually erupt peacefully with quiet lava flows, rather than big explosions." He took a look at the pool. "Yeah, it's lava, all right. But you're right, Amy, this is strange. I mean, it may be a different kind of lava or something. Back before we found that Chaos Emerald in Africa on Chris's world, I read up on a volcano there that erupted smooth, fluid black lava apparently made of something called natrocarbonatite-"
Whoa whoa whoa, whoa, Tails," Sonic commanded, interrupting the fox. "Before you start talkin' some weird language on us, get to the point!"
Tails scratched the back of his head nervously. "In other words, maybe this lava is made out of something other than regular lava." He finished.
"Whatever." Sonic groaned impatiently. "It's hot, it makes stuff burn, I'm not touchin' it. Right Ames?"
She didn't reply. Sonic blinked at her. "Ames?"
"Sonic, Tails, what's that?" Amy asked. Her gaze was on something moving on the far end of the pool. The object quickly floated up and hovered towards them. It was small and metallic with a dome-like shape, a small set of helicopter-like propellers keeping it airborne. A small camera below the dome was fixed on the three of them. A small icon rested near the bottom of the dome: A face with a bald head, round glasses, and a large moustache grinned at them, face like a madman.
"Eggman!" The three said in unison.
"Unauthorized persons have entered perimeter." The robot droned with the deadpan, metallic voice of a machine. "Alert sent to Superior. Beginning expulsion."
A pair of small hatches opened on the sides of the dome and small guns rolled out. They pivoted, taking aim at the two hedgehogs and fox, and began firing a stream of red lasers. Sonic bounded away from Amy and Tails, while the pink hedgehog landed on her feet opposite Sonic. Tails, not accustomed to this anymore, landed ungracefully on his stomach next to Amy. Sonic jumped and went into an extremely fast spin, the air moving off of him screaming a high pitched whirring sound. Sonic launched forward towards the robot as lasers bounced harmlessly off of him. He slammed into the hovering machine, crumpling it and sending it into the lava pool. Using the impact as a bounce, Sonic landed in the center of a small island in the pool. Almost immediately, the island began to sink into the lava, the grass on the island already catching fire. Sonic leapt away quickly and landed on the far end of the lava pool, away from Amy and Tails. He dashed back to them, and inspected to make sure they were unharmed.
"Eggman." Amy spat as Sonic pulled her upright. "What's he doing here? Thanks, Sonic."
"Whatever it is, Ames, it can't be good." Sonic answered as he helped the fox to his feet.
"Where do you think he might be?" Tails asked, brushing himself off.
"I saw a tunnel that leads down back there." Sonic answered simply. "If I remember, there's a lotta space underground here. I say we go check it out." Tails and Amy nodded as they followed the cobalt hero towards the underground entrance.
As they entered the tunnel, they quickly found that Sonic wasn't kidding. There were numerous passageways and corridors that led to lava pits, strange temple rooms, or rooms filled with Eggman drones, some of which were firing thin lasers at the walls. Tails noted that the drones appeared to be searching for something. Sonic's memory of the place wasn't that good, unfortunately, and he led them to many a lava-filled dead end or robot trap. One particular trap managed to catch the hem of Amy's dress in a laser fire. Furious, Amy summoned her large Piko Piko Hammer and charged at the guilty drone.
"Eggman's going to pay for this!" she growled as she swung her powerful hammer and smashed the drone flat. Chuckling at her, Sonic went into a spin and destroyed another. Amy spun around and flattened a second, while Sonic's momentum carried him into one more. Tails, in the heat of the conflict, managed to loosen a laser from a fallen drone with his screwdriver and, after some figuring, began to shoot it at any drones left floating. He took note of the oddly thin focus of the laser when he used it, like it wasn't exactly designed for use as a weapon. Some of the other drones clearly were using weapon lasers, but not this one. Hmm...
After a while, the room filled with smashed metal parts, and no drones remained. Amy, fuming at the holes near the hem of her dress, slammed her hammer into a fallen drone for good measure. She harumphed and turned towards Sonic. He was alert, and watching down the corridor they had entered from.
"I don't see any more." He said, turning to Tails. "This is buggin' me. Where the heck is Eggman?"
Tails appeared to be ignoring him. He was concentrating on the small laser gun in his hand. After a moment, he fired the beam at the wall. It appeared to have burned, or rather, burned through, a small point on the wall. He blinked, and fired again, this time keeping his hand on the trigger as Sonic and Amy looked on. The laser appeared to burn that point through even further, as if trying to create an opening. Smiling, Tails turned to the befuddled hedgehogs.
"Tails...what were you doing with that laser?" Amy asked, trying to piece together what she had seen.
"This is a cutting laser." Tails replied simply, and inclined his head to the fallen drone he had taken the laser from. "That robot was using it to cut through the stone. Eggman must be trying to find something...but I can't figure out what he would want here...unless there's a Chaos Emerald hidden here!"
"Talk about deja vu." Sonic drawled. "That's exactly what Egghead was after last time! I'm gonna lose it if he comes at me with that same machine."
Tails pressed his hand against the wall. "Hmm. I wonder if there is something on the other side of here," He thought aloud. He fiddled with the laser for a moment, then fired it again. The laser was a brighter pink, and appeared to cut through more strongly. Tails cut the stone in a circle, and crisscrossed the center with an X. "Amy, do you think you could break the wall?" he asked.
"Leave it to me!" she affirmed energetically, gripping her hammer in two hands. She walked up to the wall and prepared to swing.
"Be careful, though." Tails said. "I'm worried that the roof may collapse...don't hit it really hard."
Amy tutted and swung her hammer. The wall buckled violently where Tails had cut, and fell through. The wall hadn't been more than six inches thick, and the laser had cut through about four inches, or so the burns told them. Tails watched the roof closely, hoping that Amy's swing hadn't rattled the whole room down. Luckily, the roof hadn't begun to crack, and the fox sighed with relief. Blinking, he noticed that Amy and Sonic had already gone through the hole, and began walking to it himself.
"What the-!" Came Sonic's surprised yell as Amy's startled gasp rang out. Tails stopped dead for a moment, then picked up his speed and turned around the corner. He looked up...into the large brown moustache and blue glasses of Dr. Eggman.
AN: I apologize greatly for the long wait. I ended up stumped on how to continue this, and was mad at myself for not introducing one particular character. I just found my idea, and what's more, said character will be coming in next chapter. Also, the volcano Tails mentions here does, in fact, exist. It is called Ol Doinyo Lengai, in northern Tanzania. See you later...