After over a month since grimlock1997 and I had last updated 'Family of Four', we're back with a brand new episode! A two parter to be exact!

In this two parter episode, following a rather boring day in Hedgehog Village, Mina comes up with the idea of exploring a cave somewhere on Bygone Island, and her family, Sonic, Tails and Zooey, agree to this idea, and soon head out in search for a cave somewhere in the jungle. When they find one, Sonic soon learns that it has the one thing he wasn't expecting to see inside of it...

Episode 6 is being split in two parts, mainly because we were struggling with the latter half of it, and then suddenly my area got slapped with a hurricane-force wind threat that will probably leave me out of commission for up to a week (unless, by some miracle, the power stays on throughout the entire ordeal). The winds are expected to gust up to 75 MPH by Sunday night, and I'm not looking forward to spending over 24 hours living in fear of Mother Nature's tremendous violence against humanity.

We hope you enjoy the first part, and welcome back the 'Family of Four' series!


(Part 1)

It was a quiet day on Bygone Island, and while the winter weather was slowly starting to clear away in time for the spring season, it didn't mean that the weather would warm up for at least another few weeks. Small bits of frost remained on some parts of the island and around Hedgehog Village, but there wasn't enough to make it slippery like ice.

In the village, nothing much was going on as everyone got on with their daily business, doing nothing particularly interesting. Ever since New Year's Eve had passed, everything had gone quiet once again, and as promised, Doctor Eggman came back to once again trying to take over the town, but to very little success, as Team Sonic always foiled his plans like usual.

The family of four were sitting around in the living room of Mina Mongoose's house, trying to figure out what to do on a burning day like this. Sonic and Tails were listening to Mina playing on her brand new guitar that she had gotten for Christmas, while Zooey was in the kitchen getting herself and the family some juice boxes from the fridge.

"Ohh, what to do, today?" Mina thought, strumming on her guitar.

"I can't do boredom, that's one thing," said Sonic, feeling a bit restless than usual, "Eggman's not attacking town today, and I particularly don't fancy helping Vector solve another case for him."

"Vector?" asked Mina, "You mean that crocodile detective from that popular detective show he produces?"

"Yep, that's him," confirmed Tails, "Amy had asked for his help one time, after her precious hammer got stolen, and all that fuss snooping around the town, was just for an inanimate object getting stolen."

Sonic chuckled a little at that comment Tails made, and although he found that a bit funny, he knew that Amy would possibly knock the living daylights out of the fox if he had said that around her.

Zooey came into the living room carrying four boxes of juice for her small family. She gave an orange juice to her "sweet peach," Tails, an apple juice for Sonic, a pineapple juice box to Mina, and cranberry juice for herself.

"Here you go, guys," she said, handing out the juice boxes, "Just thought that some carton drinks would be refreshing."

"Thank you, Zooey," said Tails, smiling at his girlfriend, and he took a sip of his juice, "But we haven't been able to think about anything we can do, today."

"And we've been everywhere on this island, too," sighed Sonic, taking a sip of his drink, "It gets really boring on this island after a while."

Zooey could only nod understandably to the boys, drinking out of her cranberry carton as she did. The room went quiet again before Mina clicked her fingers, a sudden thought coming into her mind.

"Ooh, I know!" she exclaimed, "Why don't we go explore a cave somewhere?"

"A cave?" Zooey asked curiously.

"What kind of cave?" asked Tails as he sat up on the couch, "There are very little caves around the area."

"Except for that blasted Buddy Buddy Temple," Sonic pointed out, shuddering at one particular memory based on that name, "Urgh, I do not want to go back in that nightmare temple again."

Tails could only nod in agreement with Sonic, as the thought of the Buddy Buddy Temple only reminded him on how Amy, Knuckles and Sticks kept saying "No!" to him, while they were arguing over who should be temporary leader in Sonic's absence. Whenever Tails calmly suggested he should be in charge, he would get shot down with negative feedback, even from Orbot and Cubot.

Thankfully, Sonic had found out about this not too long ago, and so he managed to talk with Amy, Knuckles and Sticks about giving Tails a chance sometimes. Although they were reluctant at first, they did agree to those terms, since Sonic was the leader, and he had faith that Tails would grow up someday to become a great leader.

Mina, having thought about the cave idea, got up from her couch and carefully placed her guitar in a corner of the room. She turned back to her family with a warm grin.

"Well, guys, if you want to do something today, then I think we should go and see if there is a cave around," she said, "So, let's pack a few snacks in a basket, get our coats on, and go cave searching!"

Once the mongoose girl had finished that sentence, Sonic and Tails glanced at each other for a moment, thinking about the idea of going cave-searching. Although they knew that Eggman could always attack the town, it would make a bit of a nice change to have a bit of a day off from fighting him for once. Besides that, Knuckles, Amy and Sticks were most likely unavailable to hang out with today because of other things they might be busy with. So, perhaps spending the day with their girlfriends would be a good way to relax from their usual antics.

After giving each other a nod of acknowledgement, Sonic and Tails stood up from the couch and looked over to Mina and Zooey.

"Well, I think that's a great idea, Mina," said Sonic, winking to his girl, "We could all use with a bit of exercise, and a different adventure for once."

"And it would beat sitting around in this ghost town all day, too," added Tails, crossing his arms over his chest with a grin, "We're in, Mina!"

Mina giggled in excitement, clasping her hands together, while Zooey finished off her cranberry juice box and stood up from the other couch.

"Well, in that case, let's get some snacks together, grab our coats and go exploring!" said Mina excitedly, as she dashed her way out of her living room.

Sonic chuckled at his girlfriend's overexcited state, finding her to be a little more energetic than he was, given that the mongoose girl had super speed like he did. Sometimes though, he worried that Mina could be a little hard to control when she was in this excitable state, whenever someone agreed to an idea of hers. Luckily though, Mina was able to keep herself calm and stable through the whole excitement moment.

Tails and Zooey could only chuckle together at their friend's near hyperactive energy, as the family walked out of the living room, went to join Mina in making a bit of picnic food and snacks to take with them in a basket, got their chosen coats to wear, and headed out of Mina's home in the village to begin their journey to search for a cave to explore somewhere in the jungles of Bygone Island.

The four took a curious walk through the jungle, wondering if they could find someplace they had never previously explored. Their curiosities seemed to get the better of them with every step they took.

Fruits were seen hanging from the trees above, looking bright and edible, the grass was fresh and greener than it had ever been before, flowers were blooming beautifully in the sunshine, butterflies fluttered quietly around the jungle, and squirrels jumped around on the trees and branches, gathering acorns and taking them back into their hollowed out tree homes.

For their coats, since it was a bit chilly in the jungle, Sonic was wearing his winter coat that he used during the search for the Meroke Crystal on the island's snow mountains, Tails was wearing what looked like a familiar grey trench coat with six white buttons on it, Mina wore a simple fur-trimmed purple and black-streaked winter jacket, and Zooey was wearing a red winter jacket, which was the same color as her dress.

Mina, who was carrying her new guitar slung on her back, just in case the group needed any relaxing music during their journey, looked up at the jungle trees and sighed in bliss, while her family followed close behind her.

"This is such a beautiful place," smiled Mina blissfully.

Zooey, who was carrying the group's picnic basket in her hand, nodded in agreement to the mongoose girl's comment, and looked up at the fruits in the tree branches, which included apples, cantaloupes, grapes, oranges and pears.

"I could spend a night here if I thought about it," said Zooey, admiring the many fruits in their surroundings, "There's just so many wonderful fruits here."

"I could spend a day anywhere," smirked Sonic, simply enjoying the idea of wandering around some unknown place, "As long as I have a chili dog on that day."

Tails looked up at Sonic with a teasing smirk.

"You can't go anywhere without eating a chili dog, can't ya, big bro?" he asked with a chuckle.

Sonic turned to Tails and just shrugged his shoulders in a cool fashion, nodding with a smile.

"Don't you think that coat is a little too thick for you, Sonic?" asked Zooey, looking at Sonic's thick winter jacket.

"Nah, it's not as thick as you think, Zooey," replied Sonic, "It may look like it, but really it's just an ordinary one from the inside of the material, while the outside of the jacket has warm wind and winter proof layers."

Zooey only nodded in reply to Sonic's explanation, although she felt a little confused by what he was talking about, since Sonic could talk almost a mile a minute with his cocky attitude. Not everyone could understand what he was talking about at times. Brushing the subject aside, Zooey followed on with the family, taking Tails' hand as she did, which made the two-tailed fox smile.

As the family of four continued on walking through the jungle, Tails spotted something rocky and grey to their right.

"Hey! Is that a cave I see up ahead?" said Tails excitedly, pointing ahead to what looked like a cave entrance.

The four ran to the entrance and stopped to get a closer look at it. Mina led the group forwards, feeling the most excited out of the group.

"Oh boy!"said Mina excitedly, "We've found our first cave!"

When they arrived at the entrance, they could tell just from the outside, that the inside must be huge and long, just like a tunnel. For a moment, everyone stood outside to admire the features of the entrance, before deciding to take a walk inside.

"Wow, this places looks big, guys," said Zooey.

"And it's a bit echoey," added Tails, hearing his voice echo inside the cave.

"And it's just the place we can explore away from the town," grinned Mina excitedly, "This is just the day off that we needed."

"This is pretty cool," chuckled Sonic.

As the hedgehog took a few steps in, however, he heard the sound of himself stepping in what sounded like a shallow puddle. He tensed and looked down, and he saw that the cave floor was covered with water, but it wasn't just one puddle. There were actually quite a few puddles of water scattered about the cave floor. Within a moment, his mind shifted into panic.

"Uh, ... maybe not as cool as I thought," he stuttered, shaking his shoe off from any small water drops on it.

"Oh, come on, Sonic!" laughed Tails teasingly, "Water is just water!"

"There's no need to be afraid of just the simplest puddles," chuckled Mina.

"Maybe we'll find just about anything in this cave," added Zooey.

"If you say so, guys," said Sonic doubtfully, and he reluctantly followed his three friends inside.

Just as he started to follow them, a small drop of water dripped from a stalagmite on the rocky ceiling and fell onto Sonic's head with a cold, harmless drop and disappeared quickly. Nevertheless, it was enough for him to jolt from the feeling of water being dripped on his head.

"Ahh!" he yelped as he jumped in fear.

While Tails led Zooey on further into the tunnel-like cave, Mina heard Sonic yelp and walked back over to see him. She looked at him with a kind smile, while rubbing a finger gently across his cheek to calm him down.

"Don't worry, sugar plum, I'm here," said Mina, giving her boyfriend a reassuring hug, "It's only water, it's not gonna hurt you."

Sonic could only hug Mina back in a bit of a panicked state, but he did try his best to keep himself calm within the arms of his girlfriend. As much as he didn't want to be like a bit of a coward around his family just because he was afraid of water, he just couldn't help it today. The last time he got scared around water was when he was forced to wear that swimsuit Tails had made for him. Now that he was inside a cave with puddles of water around the cave floor, Sonic just couldn't help nearly shaking like a leaf in front of his girlfriend. Even if he was proclaimed as the fastest hedgehog alive, the only weakness he ever had to slow him down was water.

Sonic looked at Mina as they broke away from their hug.

"I'm sorry, Mina," he sighed, "It's just ... I cannot stand water at all. I've nearly drowned twice in the past, and I don't intend to go swimming anytime soon. I just hope we can get this cave exploration done as soon as possible."

"I understand, sweetheart," said Mina, gently rubbing one of Sonic's ears with her hand, "Everyone's gonna have a fear of something in their lives, but we must stand tall and be brave, otherwise you may never conquer that fear later in your life."

"Well, the way I'm going in this cave, I don't think I'll ever conquer water for a minute in my life," Sonic said back, listening to the drips of water in the cave around the two of them.

"Just try and keep calm, okay, Sonic?" asked Mina nicely as she held Sonic's hand in hers, "For me, sugar plum? Please?"

Sonic looked at Mina's sweet and kind-hearted smile, seeing that she wanted him to be safe, but she also wanted him to promise her to keep himself calm in the water caves. Although he would usually deny anything to do with water-related topics, Sonic just couldn't say 'no' to his girlfriend.

Gently grabbing her hand in his, Sonic leaned forward and kissed his girlfriend on the lips gently, which Mina returned without hesitation.

"Okay, Mina," he promised as they broke off the kiss, "I'll try to remain calm. Just for you."

Grinning, Mina replied, "Thank you, sugar plum. Now, let's go and catch up with Tails and Zooey. We don't want to be left too far behind now."

Nodding to his loved one, Sonic kept his hand in Mina's as the two began walking off together further into the cave.

Tails and Zooey had noticed their absence and waited for them to catch up. Once everyone was back together, the family of four continued on with their exploration.

Sometime later, Sonic had managed to stay calm for a little bit, although as the journey in the cave continued on, and more droplets of water kept on splashing down on the back of his blue quills, the hedgehog's promise to Mina was slowly beginning to degrade.

Mina could already sense Sonic was tensing again, but said nothing, and kept her hand firmly in his to keep her boyfriend from running off.

After a few minutes of silence, Zooey finally broke the silence.

"What do you think we'll find in these caves, guys?"

"I'm not sure, Zooey," replied Mina, "All we have seen so far are puddles of water."

"Perhaps we may find a shortcut or an exit out of this cave?" suggested Sonic, although the others ignored that question completely.

"Maybe some treasure?" pondered Tails curiously.

"Possibly," said Zooey, "But, where would we find treasure in a cave like this?"

"You'll never know, Zooey," Mina spoke up, "Until we look into this cave further, then we don't know what we'll find in it."

Tails then saw something ahead, although it looked more like the end of the cave route they were walking on.

"Well, I think I've found something," he said, "But Sonic isn't gonna like it."

"W-What is it, Tails?" Sonic questioned, stuttering a little.

The blue hedgehog found the answer to his question when he saw what Tails had 'found'.

"I found this," Tails simply said, pointing forwards.

Much to Sonic's disheartening dismay, the family of four had come to the end of their path and saw what looked like a long stream of water, rushing through what looked like a long cave tunnel, almost like a tunnel of love cave, except without the romance, animatronics or cardboard cut outs of love hearts and other things related to the tunnel of love.

The water flowed quietly and somewhat soothingly, and it looked crystal clear, but to Sonic, this water looked like it wanted him to step into it and be dragged underneath it into a world of no return.

While Sonic was not at all keen about seeing this "nightmare" in front of him, Mina, Tails and Zooey were intrigued by the flowing stream, which seemed to be almost like a rushing river.

"Wow, would you look at this, guys?" said Mina, her eyes almost as sparkly as the water.

"Who would've thought we'd find a water stream inside an old cave?" added Zooey, dipping her hand gently in the water.

"Hey, Sonic, you reckon you could swim in this stream?" joked Tails, gently poking at his brother's chest with his finger.

"A-Absolutely not, Tails!" objected Sonic, glaring at his brother, "You know that I can't swim! I almost drowned in that ice lake, if you remember rightly! And you made me wear a swimsuit underwater just to stop Eggman trying to drown me!"

Tails almost laughed at the hedgehog's overreacting nature, as he knew that poking fun at Sonic's aquaphobia was one way to make him anxious, especially around the very substance close by him.

"I'm just joking, Sonic!" chuckled Tails, trying not to burst out laughing, "You know I'd never make you swim for real."

"You'd better not," Sonic muttered, almost shaking on the spot.

As Mina turned around and went over to Sonic and gave him another reassuring hug, Zooey continued to look at the water and watched it rushing through a tunnel-like cave mouth, heading into darkness straight ahead.

"Say, guys, why don't we travel through that tunnel, and see where it leads us?" asked Zooey, pointing to the tunnel on the water stream.

Hearing this almost made Sonic shake again, as the thought of sailing on water almost made him want to run out of the cave as fast as his legs could carry him.

"T-Travel on that water? Without a b-boat?" he stuttered, "You must be j-joking!"

"I'm not joking, Sonic," replied Zooey, "I say we travel through that tunnel and see where it goes from here. Maybe we might find something on the other side of it."

"Well, without a boat or a raft, I don't see how we're gonna reach the other side, if there is one," said Mina.

Tails had heard the conversation and while there was no boat or raft to be seen, he thought about using his creativity on this problem for once. After all, without Amy and Sticks around to give critical words to him and his ideas, this was finally the day for him to become useful to his friends.

Looking down at his grey trench coat, Tails knew that the coat he was wearing wasn't just any ordinary one, because it had a special ability in it, but he had yet to show his family on what it could actually do to help them sort out the 'no boat' problem and travel down the water stream and through the tunnel.

Walking to the edge of the cave floor and turning around to face his family, Tails got their attention by calling to them.

"Hey, guys! I have just the thing to help us travel down this water stream!"

"Ooh, really, Tails?" asked Zooey with interest.

"And what would that be, little one?" asked Mina, putting an arm around Sonic.

"It's this!" said Tails, gesturing at his apparently ordinary-looking trench coat.

Zooey, Mina and Sonic just stared at their fox friend, almost confused out of their minds at first, thinking that a coat was not going to help them in their time of need. Sonic, in particular, was very doubtful at this little idea.

"A coat?" he said, dumbfounded, "You're saying a trench coat is going to help us swim across that icy cold trap of unforgiving evil?"

Tails just chuckled quietly as he reached for one of the six buttons on his apparently normal trench coat.

"You guys may think this is just an ordinary coat," he smirked, "But you won't be judging my ideas once I've shown you what it can really do. Just watch and it'll answer your question."

Everyone just watched in doubtful silence as Tails grabbed one of the buttons on his coat and pulled it out, revealing some black string attached to it. Letting the button go and retracting it back to its original place, Tails stood still before a sound was heard coming from the coat itself. It sounded like an air pressure building up inside the coat's material.

Before the group could even ask what was going on, they were silenced into stunned surprise as Tails' coat began inflating right in front of their eyes, with air inside the coat making it move around and push out in various places in the material. Thankfully, though, the inflating trench coat was not changing Tails' shape or form at all. While his body remained absolutely normal, the coat continued to inflate, almost acting as an airbag, but it did let Tails stay on the ground by his feet.

"W-What the...?" Mina stuttered, clearly surprised.

"What kind of coat is that?!" Sonic exclaimed loudly, earning glares from the two girls.

Tails just chuckled at seeing his family's stunned looks, just as the coat finally stopped inflating and made the fox look like a familiar cyborg human inspector with gadgets in his body, only he wasn't wearing the hat to go with it. Once the coat stopped inflating, Tails stood there with a smile, feeling happy that one of his inventions had actually worked for once.

"Did that answer your question, guys?" he giggled.

"Wow!" exclaimed Zooey, rubbing her eyes to make sure she wasn't hallucinating, "That definitely surprised me!"

"Such creative genius indeed," added Mina, giggling at Tails, "That was amazing, Tails!"

"An inflatable coat?" said Sonic, his eye almost twitching in disbelief, "You can't be serious, Tails?"

"Yes, I'm serious, Sonic, and this coat is gonna be your raft to help us sail along this water stream!" grinned Tails.

Jumping backwards off the ground, Tails splashed down onto the water, and because his inflatable coat was full of air and water proof, it allowed him to float above the water, the coat acting as a raft for his family, once again, the coat never changing Tails' body or form at all.

As Tails used his arms to keep himself from drifting away from the group, he grinned to Zooey, Mina and Sonic. The blue hedgehog looked almost pale like a ghost, knowing now that Tails planned to help them sail across his most hated enemy, other than Doctor Eggman or Swifty the Shrew: Water.

"Well, all aboard!" smiled Tails, "This inflatable coat will be your raft for the one way journey down the stream. Just be careful when you sit on the coat, guys, 'cus any sudden movements or sharp objects will puncture this coat."

Zooey turned to glance at Mina and Sonic, and while the blue hedgehog said nothing and shook like the leaf he was, Mina smiled and nodded to Zooey, acknowledging the creative idea Tails had made with using his inflatable coat as their raft to travel downstream.

"Well, let's get on, guys!" said Mina, "We have the rest of this cave to explore yet! We need to see what's on the other side of it!"

"Wait, what?!" exclaimed Sonic in alarm.

Nodding to the mongoose, Zooey grinned, grabbed the picnic basket from Sonic's hand, and carefully made her way onto Tails' inflatable coat raft, making sure to be careful where she stepped, before sitting herself down on the coat, putting the picnic basket on her lap, and making herself as comfortable as possible.

Tails smiled up at Zooey, who in turn, smiled back at her boyfriend in return, before smoothing a gentle hand across his cheek, making him giggle.

Mina was the next to board, but when she looked back at Sonic, expecting him to follow her onto the coat raft, he did not move a muscle, nor a leg.

"Come on, Sonic," she called to him, "We have a raft to go through the tunnel. Don't keep us waiting now."

"Umm, s-sorry, Mina," Sonic responded, slowly backing away, "But I kinda can't keep that p-promise from earlier. I, uhh, can't do water, nor boat rides. So, I think you guys can go on without me, okay? I'd prefer to stay on dry land and run anywhere my feet can take me."

Knowing that Sonic was breaking his promise to her, and knowing that he was trying to weasel his way out of sailing on the water, Mina glared unimpressively with her eyes half closed, before quickly dashing over to Sonic and grabbing him gently yet forcefully by the arm, before the blue hedgehog could even get a chance to run away.

Once he felt his girlfriend grab him by the arm, Sonic knew that he couldn't get away from the mongoose girl, but it didn't hurt him to try anyways. However, no matter how much he tried to run, Mina just wouldn't let him get away from her.

"No, you don't, Sonic," said Mina, dragging a struggling Sonic over to the waiting inflatable coat raft, "You're gonna sit with us on the raft, even if I have to force you to sit on my lap."

"N-NO!" shouted Sonic, trying but failing to get free from Mina's grip, "Let me go, Mina! I'm serious! I don't wanna sit near the water! I'll drown! Let me go!"

"Oh, don't be such a baby," Mina scolded, paying no attention and keeping her grip on Sonic's arm firm, "And you're supposed to be the fearless leader of Team Sonic, aren't you?"

As Sonic continued to struggle to get away, Mina carefully stepped onto the coat raft, and sat herself down on it, keeping a panicking Sonic down on her lap to ensure he didn't try anything stupid on the journey he was forced to go on.

Tails looked up to see Mina and Sonic were on board.

"All set, guys?" he asked.

"Yes, Tails," said Zooey, smiling at her boyfriend.

"I don't wanna go sailing!" screamed Sonic, looking in horror at the water beside them.

"We're ready, Tails!" called Mina, completely ignoring Sonic's protests, "You can start our journey now!"

"Okay, then!" Tails said, acknowledging the 'all-okay' signal, "Now, everyone, just sit back, relax, and let the inflatable coat take us on our journey down the stream of water."

With his arms no longer paddling the water to keep himself from staying in place, Tails placed both of them to his sides, as the current in the water began to move his coat along the stream slowly and carefully. Zooey smiled at what the tunnel could possibly show from inside, while Mina continued to hold Sonic down to once again make sure he didn't try anything stupid.

Within a few seconds into the journey, the inflatable coat raft entered the water cave tunnel and disappeared into the darkness.

So, the family of four have entered the water caves, much to Sonic's dismay, and are now traveling into a tunnel on the water stream, with Tails using his inflatable coat as a raft for his family to sit on, as they continue on their journey.

As you probably guessed, grimlock1997 got the inflatable coat idea from the original 1983 'Inspector Gadget' TV series. :)

We hope you enjoyed part one, and please stay tuned for part two!