Disclaimer - I do not own Sonic or any other characters. They are property of SEGA and anything Sonic the hedgehog affiliated with it.

Hey my peeps! I'm back for just a second. Let me first start off by saying I wasn't going to write this at first. But something came up which gave me a little time and I took the opportunity. This chapter is different than my others, and theirs more character development for other characters other than Blaze and Sonic. I'm quite happy with how it turned out actually. Because Blaze and Sonic are more developed than the other characters, and this chapter switches a bit more from their perspectives, and and everyone gets little bit of screen time.

So here it is. I had a writing bug and just couldn't help myself. And I still feel silly writing this sonic stuff. But I am happy and proud that some people like this stuff. I'd like to thank all the people who continue to read and support my stuff over the years, Thank You. I hope you like it!

Interlude: Phantasmagoria

Summary: A scary holiday is taking place around Mobius, but Cream notices something different about Blaze and Sonic, and she is unsure. But Blaze and Sonic catch on, and they try to hide their union again. But with rumors of a monster and the chaos of the holiday, there is a battle of wits as Cream attempts to find the truth, and Blaze and Sonic attempt to shroud it.

Genre: Romance/Humor/Mystery/Angst


It was a dreary day, white and grey scattered across the skies above, though there were cracks in the clouds that revealed a bit of blue behind the thick autumn skies. The suns bright evening rays cascaded down onto a village that sat by a shore and on a nearby forest. The trees leaves had turned varying colors of red, yellow, and orange and scattered across much of the ground. Two individuals were walking from a large open field full of beautifully colored flowers near the forest this autumn evening. Blaze the Cat, holding her usual stoic expression walked in a calm manner. She sported a purple scarf around her neck wearing her usual attire, and she held a single blue rectangled flower in one of her hands.

Cream the Rabbit happily skipped around Blaze wearing a long brown scarf of her own as they walked back to the village. It was a bit cool out today. She carried a straw flower basket full of flowers she picked, and she held an ecstatic expression as she childishly danced around Blaze as they walked back home. Blaze could see how pleased she was, but she held a stoical expression. It had been a bit dangerous around the area of the village and the new emerging city lately. People had been gossiping and making rumors about a red eyed monster kidnapping people and turning them into monsters after it took them away.

Blaze's hills and Creams footsteps squished on the leaves and soft grass as the village was in seeing distance. Blaze glanced to her left into the darkened forest. It was getting dark out and her mind began to play tricks on her, thinking of such silly things as scary monsters, to which she had faced off in real battles with real atrocities, so the thought of a child's monster did not scare or faze her obviously.

Because she knew such things were not real as she grew, but it didn't stop her from thinking the darkened forest in the distance was a little creepy. So she turned her head straight again and caught Cream smiling at her still enamored by her pick of flowers. Blaze nodded silently with her stoic expression, and Cream continued to hop around humming to herself. Blaze's lips did curl down into a frown slightly as they approached closer to the village. Now she didn't believe the villagers, and she didn't want to dismiss them either, because she had seen many a strange things in her life. But since she'd been staying in Sonic's world, she had not seen anything of the such, most definitely none of the gossip she'd been hearing lately. Much certainly not anyone being kidnapped or the what…

But Blaze even felt a bit of hesitation at her own thoughts though, because within the pass week, they'd been hearing most of the red-eyed monster's kidnappings supposedly happening in the new emerging city….

Nothing strange had happened in the village since she started living here, mostly other than fights with Eggman's bots occasionally. So personally she didn't believe the rumors. She'd been here a while now, and nobody had been hurt or kidnapped. Even the people in the emerging city didn't have proof someone was kidnapped. So as it stood it was just a rumor…

And Blaze sarcastically rolled her eyes, wondering if it had anything to do with the festive holiday in Sonic's world that revolved around the macabre. She had something similar in her world, but she wondered if it was just a viral rumor that was spread around to spook others because of the holiday. This Spooky Festival was starting today, and she figured that might not be a coincidence. So Blaze dismissed it for the time being, because right now it just seemed like a scary story to frighten others for the holiday…

Speaking of which, Blaze's expression became stoic again as she thought of how much time had passed since her last big misadventure. It had been some months since her parents had forcibly met Sonic, and it seemed that their irritation was starting to grow again….

She would never tell them…

But she knew they expected her to now…

She had a bad feeling in the pit of her stomach about the situation and hoped Sonic could hold her later…to melt in his arms to ease some of her anxiety…

She hoped Sonic and she could figure something out to slow her parents more…

And as those thoughts passed her mind, Cream finally stopped hopping around and began walking normally next to her. Blaze noticed though, as she'd hung around her, Cream had begun to mimic her. Watching her proper manner and even right now it looked as if she was attempting to walk in a calm manner like herself. And Blaze smirked a bit because she wasn't aware that the girl had looked up to her at all until sometime ago. When they first met Cream helped her and showed her the power of friendship. Now it seemed to have reversed, and she was learning from her as Marine had.

Blaze's expression became stoic again as Cream and she walked nearer to the village. They were passing some crops, and the clouds blocked out the sun again leaving a dark dreary gray around them. The wind blew their scarfs as they passed by some farmers of their village planting seeds. Any other time of the year most villagers came and left the village anytime. But because of recent rumors, when Cream begged her mother to go pick flowers, she stepped in and offered to escort her.

She didn't know about the red-eyed monster for sure…but she felt it much better if Cream did not go out alone in the darkened settings this fall…

As they approached closer to the village, Cream finally spoke glancing at Blaze and holding her flower basket close to her chest. She held a smile as she spoke "Hey? Miss Blaze?"

Blaze glanced at her with her usual stoic expression "Yes?"

"You don't think there's really a monster kidnapping people do you?" Creams eyes now looked curious as she glanced at Blaze, and maybe a little fearful if Blaze wasn't mistaken.

And Blaze reassured her looking straight ahead again holding her stoic expression "Most likely no. It is an old wives tail at best for the time being. I would not concern yourself with it."

Cream nodded her head but squeezed her eyes shut "I sure hope so Mrs. Blaze." she shivered opening her eyes still looking slightly worried as she turned straight ahead again "That monster sure sounds scary."

"…." Blaze remained silent nodding her head as Cream questioned her again.

"Say miss Blaze? Do you ever wanna get married?" Cream spoke as she picked a flower from her basket and inspected it "With you being a princess and all, I bet it wouldn't be too hard."

At this Blaze's heart beat fast for a moment and she blinked her eyes at the young girl's curiosity. As they continued to be friends, and as Cream grew, she began asking such questions about boys and romance. She figured she was getting around that age. She too used to entertain such thoughts before bad happenings began in her life. Because she hid all the pain that she gained from her wisdom, and as she grew she'd had varying opinions on the topic. Cream did not know of her stigma in her home land, and the politics and the struggles of her life. Some of which she hadn't discussed with anyone in her life until recently…she felt comfortable relaying such things to Sonic…

And with the circumstances in her world one might think it'd be more prominent in her life, by alas it was not. But even she, never spoke much about what she thought about marriage. And she kept her head straight with a stoic expression as she spoke "I would elucidate…but I simply did not ponder upon such subjects much. At the moment, I did not care so much for marriage in the past…"

And Cream raised an eyebrow at Blaze's pause glancing at her, but she continued "I thought about having a significant other sometimes…but I lost interest in it…" Blaze ran a hand through her hair keeping her stoical expression as she looked ahead "I enjoy zephyrs in my time off now…"

Blaze's pause was not lost on Cream, but at the same time confused her a bit. As Blaze did not say what she thought about marriage or romance presently. Her mentioning the past was lost on her. However, Cream sometimes did not understand Blaze and the big fancy princess words she used, so she dismissed it again.

Creams smile returned, and she placed her flower back in its basket. She began hopping around her in a circle again "Well at least we'll be friends for long time!"

And Blaze donned a small smile as she did enjoy the new friendships that had entered her life "As do I."

And not long after Blaze spoke, Cream and she finally entered the threshold of the village, down by the bottom of the hill. The villagers were going on as usual, but they were preparing the village for the spooky holiday, dressing their houses and business's with decorations. Straw men dressed in clothing sat in the chair of one home. White cloths hung from the roofs of some homes, made to look like ghost, and pumpkins were everywhere carved into the oddest and creepiest facial expressions.

Blaze and Cream were headed to the market where the farmer's distributed foods to meet with the others. Cream held extra excitement on her face because of the festivities and her flowers. Blaze, on the other hand, her stoic expression returned. Her mind wandered back to Sonic, her relationship, and all the things that had transpired in the time that had passed recently. There was no time to discuss it now as she had to keep up appearances, but she was sure to do so later with a certain someone…


A few minutes later…

Blaze and Cream entered a busy little market within the village that sold produce and other goods. They walked through the crowded market looking for Vanilla and Cheese. They were waiting for them so they could return home; the guys were supposed to be waiting for her as well. As they walked through the small busy market, Blaze noticed someone she hadn't seen for a short while. Rouge sat atop a roof on one of the nearby buildings observing the passersby's below; Rouge had disappeared for a short while after her misadventure with her parents.

Rouge noticed her from above, and she continued to smirk as she usually did when she caught Blaze looking up at her. Blaze remained quiet and twiddled her fingers between her flower as Rouge returned her attention to the people below. Blaze returned her view to the people around herself as well, as she knew she might encounter Rouge occasionally while she stayed in the village for a short while.

Fortunately, it did not take long for them to locate Vanilla, Cheese, and the guys. They were standing in front of a few fruit stands. Vanilla was holding a brown bag full of goods and she and Cheese curiously looked over the stand they were at. The rest of the guys, Sonic, Marine, Tails, and Amy were standing at a nearby fruit stand and saw them approach, but continued speaking with the vendors. They all held small bags full of goods as well.

When Blaze and Cream approached through the busy crowd, the vendor, Vanilla and Cheese noticed. The vendor went back to doing whatever she was doing. And Vanilla and Cheese smiled as they turned to them. Cheese happily flew over to Cream, and Cream giggled playing with him while Blaze conversed with Vanilla. Cream tuned out the conversation as she overheard her mother asking the general stuff, like if she was ok or was she too much hassle.

Cream looked down at her flowers in her basket then back up. Blaze held a stoic face as she spoke to her mother, and Vanilla nodded with a smile as she spoke to Blaze. And before long their conversation was done, and her mother told her to come so they could return home. Cream thanked Blaze and she humbly welcomed her gratitude as Cream followed her mother to another stand before they left the market.

Blaze joined the guys at the nearby stand, and they greeted her. Though moments later Amy, Marine, and Tails moved to another stand briefly as they did not find what they were looking for. It left Sonic and she standing in the busy crowd a few feet away from each other, as Sonic continued to look over the stand he was at. Blaze held up the single blue rectangled flower she had picked and sniffed its fragrance. Her eyes closed enjoying the misty smell of the flower. She held her stoical expression as her eyes opened, but soon she turned her head to look at Sonic, and he noticed glancing over at her with a curious look….


And not too far away…

Just across the way, Vanilla was busy looking at another stand not paying her daughter any attention as she chatted with the vendor. Cream and Cheese were busy playing with one another near Vanilla in the busy crowd when Cream saw Blaze through the crowds. A smile was still on her face as she stopped giggling and Cheese stopped chasing her. She stopped in her tracks looking over at Blaze and Sonic as Cheese happily landed in her arms. She held him as she looked at Blaze and Sonic. Cheese's eyes were closed, and no one seemed to be paying them any attention but herself.

And Blaze calmly walked over to Sonic twiddling her blue flower. Cream's smile slowly faded as her brows furrowed, until curiosity filled her face. She could see Blaze's usual stoic face, but as Sonic turned to face her, she noticed something different about Blaze…

A side of her she had never seen…

Blaze kept the blue flower held near her chin as she twiddled it…her expression softened…and her eyes became half lidded as a gentle smirk came over her lips…

Creams eyes widened, and her jaw dropped as she stood frozen where she was. She had never seen Blaze express such an amorous expression. The gentle smile Blaze suddenly had was something so uncharacteristic from Blaze from what she'd seen of her. Before she knew it, they were both standing very near to one another, and Cream's mind was already jumping to conclusions. But maybe they stood nearer so they could hear one another talk…it was loud in this busy market…

She wasn't sure…

She watched as Blaze held the blue flower up for Sonic to see with a smirk on her face. And Sonic curiously blinked his eyes as he sniffed at the flower. Blaze lowered it once he was done and Sonic smiled back at her speaking to her. She couldn't make out what they were saying unfortunately. Creams eyes stayed widened as she watched them talk and her mind was teetering on the possibility of what she was seeing, that being something unexpected going on with Blaze and maybe even Sonic.

But then she knew she saw something for sure, and Cream didn't know for sure exactly, but she lost her breath for a moment as she just had an intuitively knowing feeling…

As Blaze's eyes became glazed, and she stared at Sonic holding a fond expression…holding her gentle smirk looking at him with half lidded eyes…

And even Sonic's expression softened this time as he smirked at her…and Blaze twiddled her blue rectangled flower as she spoke again…

Cream watched as her heart beat faster…

As Blaze spoke this time her head tilted very slightly to the right…

And Sonic tilted his head to the left as it looked like they locked eyes…and as he spoke…Blaze held a single hand to her mouth and giggled briefly in a dainty fashion…

And in the few moments where Blaze's fond expression focused on Sonic, and he stared back at her with a grin as she finished her soft laugh…Cream's mind was blown…

And her eyes remained widened because she wasn't sure she was seeing what she was seeing…

She would have never expected…she never even considered…

As the surprise left her face, her eyes remained wide…but there was a curious look on her face now….

And she wondered…

Were her eyes deceiving her…

But that look in Mrs. Blaze's eyes…

She could see it…Sonic too now…

And Cream suddenly snapped back to reality as she quickly looked around. To her dismay, no one was even paying attention to them. Blaze's interaction was very brief though…

And because it was so brief, by the time Cream looked for validation from another, Sonic's and Blaze's expressions seemingly returned to a less...intimate…one…

As her mother was not paying attention, the crowds of people were not paying attention, and neither were Amy, Tails, and Marine. Cheese was still snuggled up in her arms with his eyes closed. And as Cream darted her eyes back to Blaze and Sonic, the guys had walked back over to them. And the stark contrast was no one seemed to notice…

As the guys rejoined them, they had seemed to lose their fond expressions…

But then Cream was startled out of her thoughts by her mother as she called for her to go. Cream nodded silently…still staring at Blaze and Sonic…

Wondering if she was seeing what she thought she was seeing…

It was quite the shocker because she was young, and it was new and weird for her to see people who were close to her, her friend's especially, so close to each other. Not in a bad way...but it was just a…wow…for her…

And she stared at them a few moments longer as they began to walk in an opposite direction. Her lips curled into a slight frown as she carried Cheese and her flowers to follow her mother…


And just across the way…

As Blaze walked with the guys, she had saw Cream just as they were leaving in her peripheral vision. She saw Cream staring at Sonic and her after the guys joined them. She glanced back at Cream leaving with her mother and sighed under her breath. And though she held a small smile as everyone talked about what they were cooking tonight, she knew Cream had saw them. Because as they walked through the crowds, Blaze felt a bit of trepidation on top of already trying to keep things under wraps with Sonic. She looked down at her flower as she twiddled it, still with a weak smile to keep up appearances…

The girl had picked up on them…

She might have been young…but she saw something…

She most definitely was going to have a chat with Sonic later. And she saw a good opportunity arise since Rouge was back. Although she was going to have to make a trip back to her homeland to get payment for Rouge…


Later on that night…

Sonic swiftly made his way through the night to Blaze's house. He sneakily looked around himself in the darkness as he made his way down the hill to Blaze's and Marine's indoor dock, and pressed himself up against the back wall of the structure. It was chilly out tonight and the clouds above obscured the moon. Sonic stealthily, with his back pinned against the wall, slid his way down to Blaze's bedroom window. He lightly knocked on the window and guessed Blaze heard the wrapping of her window as he heard movement.

Moments later, he heard the click of her window unlocking, and he pushed it open and crawled inside. Once inside her room, he softly closed the window and faced Blaze with her hair down and in a purple silk nightgown. She had a drowsy smile, and her room was still neat and organized as usual, though her room was dimly lit by a few candles and their candlelight.

And Sonic smirked as they both made sure to keep their voices low "Is there a special occasion?"

Blaze gave him a wise look "Does it not fit the theme of this holiday?"

And Sonic pinched his lips together nodding in approval "You know what, you're right. It sort of gives tonight a creepy old world feel for the next few days."

Sonic then pointed behind Blaze, and she curiously looked to see nothing but her closed door. But then Sonic spoke in an even softer tone as her back turned, so to not alert Marine; whom which he still did not know knew "And then a monster gets a sneak attack!"

Blaze was caught off guard, and her eyes and mouth widened as Sonic grabbed her from behind pulling her to himself. Blaze laughed softly as she attempted to stop Sonic tickling her, but soon she felt how cold his skin was and reversed his surprise attack on her. And she backed up into him, grabbing ahold of his arms and keeping a firm grip as her body became warmer.

Sonic chuckled back in response as Blaze closed her eyes and snuggled her head against him. She kept pushing him back until they both fell back and were sitting on her bed. She sat on Sonic's lap, and he kept his arms wrapped around her as she held him close. He noticed how warm she was and guessed she was trying to warm him up, so she spoke first.

Her eyes remained close with a smirk on her face "I think we have another problem…"

Sonic yawned closing his eyes as well and spoke in a joking manner "A save the world kind of problem?"

"NO!" she spoke in a playful manner but paused as she spoke "….Cream was looking at us today…."

And at this Sonic questioningly opened his eyes and looked down at her "No way. You sure?"

Blaze nodded with her eyes closed "Certain. Though we do have an advantage at this particular time. We should be able to throw her off with all the chaos of the holiday these next few days; I surmise this might be harder to pull off on a non-holiday."

Sonic nodded in agreement still looking curious "You got any ideas yet?"

Blaze shook her head with her eyes closed "I will think of something…" she paused "…We still have other issues to tackle that are of more importance…" she paused again "…My parents…" she sighed sounding a little disheartened now "…They will not let it be…"

Sonic mumbled without speaking as a frown formed on his face. As he looked down at Blaze, he could see her expression had become neutral with her eyes closed. Ever since her parents had come to meet him, Blaze told him of how subtly evocative they had become. Confirming their fears that they had learned something but were now trying to passively aggressively force it out of her…

They had been more and more persistent in the passing months….and they had even mentioned him now…

They still hadn't come up with a plan, and all of it was a bit overbearing at times…

When it came…they would face it…

They did not want their current union destroyed by…marriage….

Eggman Nega had been up to his old antics in her world stealing resources, and they still expected of her to thwart him. There were other things going on as well, but many things were going on all at the same time at the moment…

Then Sonic closed his eyes for a moment sighing again as Blaze spoke. Her smirk returned "…We are going to face it one day…"

Sonic nodded silently in agreement at her factual statement, but she spoke again "…For now…I just want some silence…" then she spoke in a softer tone "…With you…"

Sonic opened his eyes to look down at her again to see her smirk, and he grinned holding her a little closer. She became a little cooler as well as he was warm now. And she squeezed his arms a little tighter as she became limp in his arms with her eyes closed and a smirk on her face. The sound of wind rapped softly against her windows. The moon and its light peeked through the clouds in the night's sky once again, and some of it was visible through Blaze's window. The faint light of the candle fire's burning glew softly and reflected their shadows off the walls. And the sloshing of water outside her room on the dock where the S.S. Marine lurched and creaked was all that was heard, but that was the silence.

And they said nothing until it was time for Sonic to go this evening, because while in his arms Blaze still felt sort of uncharacteristic of herself sometimes in this partnership. Despite all that transpired, her being so comfortable being…silly…with another felt strange still…

Because her relationship with Sonic had progressed to the point where everything they did felt natural. It was as if she was out of character, but she remembered that much had changed in her life, and she had changed too in this partnership. So the change in herself felt less strange as she understood, this too would pass…

And nothing stayed the same ever…

But….this…this silence…right now…it was wonderful…


The next morning….

There were many people getting up around the village for another day. On top of the hill, the doors to the plane hangar were open and the Tornado sat near the entrance of the doors. Sonic leaned on his plane with his arms crossed, a wrench in one hand, and a grin on his face as he watched the sunrise. Tails and he were doing some general maintenance on the Tornado. There were tools all over the ground, the engine hatches were open, and some plates had been removed and were sitting on the ground. He breathed in deep inhaling the fresh cool morning air with a satisfying smile, taking in the view of the oceans and the mountains in the distance. It was still cloudy and white in the skies, and he figured the sunlight would be blocked for the rest of the day.

Tails had become more skilled than him working on his plane over the years, but he still liked to pitch in and work on it occasionally. Because Tails always had it in top condition unless they got into a fight. They had to collect metal and make their own parts which was not an issue, because over the years, they had made enough spare parts that they might never run out.

Then just behind Sonic, Tails came out a door from their house carrying a large bolt. Sonic turned and faced him as he handed him the bolt. Sonic nodded and lowered himself to the ground yet again this morning onto a wooden sliding board. He pulled himself underneath the engine and began tightening the bolt onto a place in the engine, and Tails peeked his head into the open engine hatch looking down with a curious expression.

It was quiet and peaceful until they both heard the sudden clack of someone's footsteps. Tails looked away from Sonic, and Sonic stopped turning his wrench looking up through the engine as Tails was startled.

"BOO!" a woman's silky voice said.

And Tails sighed sounding slightly shaken, but he sounded happier as he spoke "Oh hey Rouge. Nice scare."

Rouge giggled at him, then suddenly peeked her head over the open engine hatch with a curious look, blinking her eyes looking down at Sonic "I didn't know you could fix this. Never knew you did this type of work too."

But Sonic lowered his wrench and gave her a wise look "Occasionally."

Then she donned a seductive smirk "What else don't I know about you?"

Sonic raised an eyebrow as he began working on the Tornado again "That's all the info you're getting out of me today before I scare you."

And Rouge chuckled as she glanced over at Tails and winked at him. Tails sheepishly rubbed the back of his head with a big grin as Rouge looked back over the engine hatch "I've already gotten my scare from Tails, you won't see me coming…" she smiled deviously "It's gonna be hard to scare me…I live in the shadows…"

Rouge chuckled as Sonic shot back at her, and she questioned Tails and Sonic if they were making another trip to Angel Island. As this was happening, two other villagers were walking up the hill to Sonic's and Tails's home. Blaze and Marine walked with things in both of their hands. Blaze walked in a calm manner with her usual stoic expression and the sack of Sol Emeralds in one of her hands. And Marine had a goofy expression with both of her arms filled to the brim with her tools.

As they reached the top of the hill and approached Sonic's and Tails's home, they noticed the hangar door was open. So they instead walked to it. They found Tails looking slightly embarrassed and Rouge with her head fully in the engine compartment talking to Sonic as they threw playful insults at one another.

Tails turned to notice Blaze and Marine and smiled once he saw them. Blaze nodded with her stoical expression, and Marine struggled to hold all her tools. Tails waved them over to the door of their house "Hey guys, let's get started so maybe we'll be done before noon."

As Tails walked over to the door Rouge glanced back at Blaze still smirking, but while no one was looking Blaze quickly winked at her. And for a moment Rouge lost her smirk, but she saw through the cat's always calm demeanor and serious eyes. She wanted to talk to her about something…

Then Rouge smirked again nodding silently as she turned back around to mess with Sonic. Tails opened the door for Marine, but she didn't look where she was going and crashed right into Tails knocking them both on the floor. They both yelped and started complaining as Blaze sighed standing at the entrance of the door. So she briefly glanced over her shoulder at the Tornado. She held a stoic expression "Good morning Sonic, Rouge."

"Right back at ya." Sonic responded.

And Rouge hinted at her chuckling "And a good after noon."

To which Blaze nodded in understanding that was the time they would find each other. As Blaze waited for Tails and Marine to get up, two other villagers were walking up the hill to Tails's and Sonic's home. Cream and Cheese and Amy walked up the hill to the front door of the home, though Amy was confused by Creams behavior this morning.

Cream held a sheepish grin as Amy looked curiously at her. She had just asked Amy an out of the ordinary question. After yesterday, Cream was convinced and still shocked seeing Blaze and Sonic being so close. But because of how subtle it was she had no proof, and no one was believing her so far. She just knew she saw something happening between them…she just wasn't sure how to describe it…

She had asked her mother if she had ever noticed anything with Mrs. Blaze and Sonic, and her mother quickly dismissed her saying she had never seen anything of the such. Her mother chided her and said her eyes were playing tricks on her. So she even got up early this morning and asked the closest neighbors to Sonic's and Tails's home had they ever seen anything strange with Sonic and Mrs. Blaze. They also said no, and left her with a witty comment as well. Saying she could shoot her eye out poking around in other people's business.

So when she saw Amy this morning, she figured she would be the best person to ask. She knew everything about him…

Everyone knew she liked Sonic. And she would know best if something like what she was describing was happening, because she always kept a close eye on him.

And she had to admit it was frustrating as Amy was giving her the same reaction now. Amy tilted her head, and she looked at her curiously not knowing how to respond. And Cream felt embarrassed and flustered because no one seemed to believe her.

She had asked Amy…had she seen Blaze acting strange lately…

To which Amy replied blinking her eyes curiously "No…what do you mean Cream?"

Even Cheese looked confused as Cream paused with a weak smile looking at the ground for a moment. As she just realized she could cause some turmoil with her words and talking behind others backs; especially with Amy. She didn't want to imply that something was going on even when she wasn't sure, and she didn't want to hurt Amy's feelings with untrue accusations. Word of it could even get back to Sonic and Mrs. Blaze, to which she knew Blaze would not be happy. She had seen on occasion what Blaze looked like when she was unhappy…

And now suddenly, Cream realized asking these questions might be a bad idea. She needed help from elsewhere. Cream looked at Amy with a weak smile trying to lie her way out now "Oh…its nothing…it's just Mrs. Blaze still seems so distant even after being here for a while now…"

Cream chuckled nervously, and Amy raised an eyebrow as they stopped in front of the door to Sonic's and Tails's home "That's nothing strange, that's just how Blaze is." Amy shrugged then smiled "Besides, if there was something going on with my Sonic I would have noticed."

And Cream didn't want to imply that there was something going on behind her friend's backs, but she realized she just had, just by asking Amy. So Cream thought up a lickity split excuse to exit the conversation. Cream shook her head "Ahh…welll! It's just I saw Sonic looking at your outfit the other day and…"

Amy cut her off though as she smiled brightly "I knew it!" Amy turned and opened the door "Hold that thought Cream. Oooohhhh Soooonnniic!"

Cream sighed in relief as Amy walked in the house "See you later Amy…."

Amy was already gone though searching for Sonic and Cream closed the door to their house. Cream then looked at Cheese with a determined look "Come on Cheese, we need to get some outside help." and she then dashed in the direction down the hill "And I know just who could help us!"

Cheese looked confused but he quickly followed after her…


Inside Sonic's and Tails's home, inside Tails's workshop, Blaze, Marine, and Tails heard Amy enter the house and call out for Sonic. They smirked and continued on what they were doing.

Tails's workshop was a fairly large area on the first floor of the house. Just like the rest of the house a lot of the room was furnished with wood. It had wooden floors, ceilings, white-painted walls, and very minimal design. It was also well lit. There were many tables lined up against walls of the room, stacked to the brim with technological do hickeys and tools. Wires, metal, and machine parts were strewn all over the room but still mostly organized. There were even wall racks that held many tools and multiple computers in the room. However, Tails, Marine, and Blaze stood in the center of the room in front of five black claw like machine parts.

In the middle, the Sol Emeralds sat on a small table. There were really no cables protruding from the machine. And Blaze questioned Tails with her arms crossed and a light frown on her face "If I understand you, this machine has been designed to sustain and…"

And Tails finished with a smile "It can sustain and vibrate large masses of energy. In this particular case, it's been designed to use the energy of the Emeralds as a sort of internal power source to power the field generators. And once their energy has been activated the force field that is generated by the power of the Emeralds keeps them encapsulated in a near indestructible energy cage!" Tails held his arms up in the air and lowered them with an excited smile "You know, because the Emeralds are powerful…"

Blaze looked impressed nodding her head, and Marine held wide eyes "So wait, you're like saying the Emeralds will produce a force field around themselves! One powered by their own super power!"

Tails nodded "Exactly!" Tails had a pair of goggles on his head, and he lowered them over his eyes "All we need to do is test it now."

"Boy, Knuckles is gonna be happy bout this." Marine spoke with a grin.

"Hmph…" Blaze uncrossed her arms donning a stoic expression "I would suppose so. He requested it after questioning my guardianship. Being in two places at once is difficult."

"He can probably come down for a slumber party now!" Marine held a big grin at Blaze.

And Blaze frowned at her chastising her "Marine…"

Marine continued smiling at her though and Tails finished adjusting his goggles "Knuckles could have a much easier time protecting the Master Emerald with this machine. All you gotta do is…uhhh do whatever you do with the Sol Emeralds."

Blaze nodded silently looking over at Tails and stepped closer to the machine. And Tails lifted his arms into the air again, and he started laughing manically like a mad scientist "Muwhahaha!"

Marine rubbed the back of her head, and Blaze's ears bent back with an apologetic expression. As what Tails was doing was unnecessary, but he had been working on this machine for a while, so they figured he was excited to see if it worked.

Blaze's face became serious as she closed her eyes and lifted her hands into the air. Her opened hands faced towards the Sol Emeralds, and she focused…feeling for the energy of the Emeralds…

Then soon the dull Sol Emeralds on the table surrounded by the black claws began to glow. Once Blaze felt the energy of the Sol Emeralds surging through her again… she began willing and trying to control the energy to surround itself with the machine…

The Sol Emeralds continued to glow, and the black machine claws began to vibrate. Tails stopped laughing and Marine and he looked on it awe, as Blaze's eyes shot open and the Sol Emeralds glew even brighter. They continued to glow brighter until the light from them was blinding. But suddenly, the machine engulfed the Sol Emeralds in a green force field encapsulating them.

With a frown, Blaze blinked her eyes as she lowered her arms, Tails lifted his goggles with a look of surprise, and Marine held a similar look of surprise.

The Sol Emeralds still glew bright inside the force field, but the green glow of the force field shielded some of the powerful light from the multicolored stones. They were beautiful shining like they were…

Tails jumped up and down in excitement seeing the machine he and Marine had been working on work. Marine smiled brightly and ran up to the green force field and punched it. She pulled her sore hand away but continued to smile.

Then Blaze glanced at Tails still with a frown on her face "How do you turn this thing off? It doesn't seem to have any switches."

Tails spoke with a big smile "It doesn't. It only operates with large amounts of energy, and that's all it'll respond to. The only way to turn it off is to manipulate the energy powering it…"

Then Blaze's frown softened into a stoic expression, though her brows remain knotted together as she understood what Tails was getting at. The Sol Emeralds were sort of in a state of permanence right now, unreachable because of the powerful energy powering the shields. And that meant only individuals who were chosen and could control the power of the Emeralds could shut it down…

So that also meant only individuals who were meant to or chosen could reach them…they would be safe forever until the right one was able to touch the energy…

Most likely chosen by the Emeralds themselves…

Blaze nodded once more as Marine stepped back, and Blaze instead placed her hands on the green energy shield. She kept her eyes open this time as her brows knotted into a serious expression. Her claws clench into the shield once she felt the Sol Emeralds energy surge through her body again, and she willed the energy to release its grasp…

And sure enough the Sol Emeralds bright glow began to fade, and the machine began to power down. As the power drained from the machine, Blaze looked at the Sol Emeralds with a stoic expression…she was in control….it was still strange to think sometimes…

But it finally powered down, and Blaze stepped forward and grabbed a Sol Emerald. She inspected it while Tails grinned in excitement "I love it when a plan comes together. If I get to Angel Island in the next few hours I might get back before nightfall."

Tails and Marine looked over at Blaze as she spoke with her usual stoical expression "I could see use from this as well. I will of course provide you the needed materials if I should chance to ever have use." Blaze turned away from the machine to look at them both "Now that, that business is out of the way I have other affairs I must attend to."

Tails looked curious "Sounds serious."

Blaze nodded "I must make a trip to my homeland today. Marine and I will not be back until evening."

Marine grinned goofily "I got sea legs today!"

Tails nodded still looking excited "Thanks for letting me test with the Sol Emeralds too. Now that I've tested with both sets of Emeralds, I'm sure it'll work on the Master Emerald! Muwhahaha!"

Tails slapped his goggles back over his eyes and raised his fist into the air once more as he laughed manically like a mad scientist. Blaze smirked slightly looking apologetic again, but Marine joined him wrapping an arm around his neck and laughing heartily as well; because she had contributed in getting this machine to work. Blaze sighed as she needed to tell Sonic…and the others that she would be departing…just after she found Rouge that is…


A few hours later…

It was getting towards noon and Blaze had set off down the hill into the village to search for Rouge. It was still plenty cool out and the sky had become grey, white, and dreary for another day. Villagers indulged in the spirit of the spooky holiday dressed in strange and colorful outfits. Blaze wore her usual attire and purple scarf again, and she walked with a stoic expression as she searched for Rouge. She instructed Marine to get the S.S. Marine ready while she took care of something…

Marine saw through her and knew she was up to something, but she trusted her and did not question her further. The others knew she would be gone for the day as well. Rouge left the house when she and Marine came back out into the garage, where she was still teasing Sonic. Blaze frowned a bit as she'd come to know how much attention the bat liked to receive…she just didn't like it when it was Sonic…

There was a certain something that was different in her behavior when it came to males…

Rouge kept everything about herself secret…she didn't think she truly knew anything personal about the bat…

Blaze was almost nearing the farms at the end of the village, and she was getting ready to turn around, but she noticed a small shop, one of the only two shops in the village. And she spotted Rouge sitting alone at a table drinking what looked like to be tea from a white cup. This was where they were to meet…

So Blaze turned and walked towards and into the shop. A villager who recognized Blaze opened the door for her as they were leaving and Blaze smiled to thank the villager. But as soon as she entered her lips curled down and a frown came over Blaze's face. This shop that sold and prepared fresh food was nominally busy, and the scent of freshly cooked foods was pleasant. But Rouge had noticed her by this point and Blaze moved at a quickened paced and sat down at her table. She liked to keep business with Rouge brief as Rouge collected any useful information she came across…

Rouge crossed her legs, and she smirked at Blaze as she sat down "You rang?"

Blaze kept her frown. She placed her hands on her lap, and she sat upright "Unfortunately yes. I have need of your services again."

Rouge continued to smirk as she lifted her cup to her lips again, and she closed her eyes as she spoke "Go on…"

"I believe Cream is suspicious. I saw her looking at us…" Blaze spoke with intent eyes.

Rouge held her cup in her hand as she spoke "What? She saw you in public?"

"We were not doing…anything…in public…certainly nothing to raise suspicion. We were just talking…and looking at one another…" Blaze continued to frown and her mouth pinched together sounding slightly embarrassed.

Rouge placed her cup down opening her eyes, and a grin formed on her lips with pink lipstick "I see…a nosy child…" she leaned back in her chair "Young ones do pick up on things. I'm honestly surprised no one else has seen it yet…" Rouge chuckled "It's almost comical…"

"I don't know how she has become aware, only, I need your help to throw her off. This holiday presents the right level of chaos and is the perfect opportunity I think." Blaze continued sitting straight up with a serious expression, ignoring her comment as all matters with Sonic made her sheepish.

Rouge rested her elbows on the table and folded her hands "I think you know what to expect of me, do you know what I expect of you?"

"It is a nine hundred carrot pink diamond. It is as big as the palm of your hand." Blaze raised an eyebrow staying serious.

And this intrigued Rouge. She removed her elbows from the table as she raised an eyebrow looking curious as well now, and Blaze continued "I am going to retrieve it today so you can inspect it."

Rouge then smirked "Big spender…" she laughed softly "I'm on duty as of now."

Rouge picked up her cup and began sipping from it again, and even though Blaze kept her frown staying in a serious demeanor, she was curious as to the entire nature of the individual who sat across from her. She'd dealt with Rouge a few times dealing with matters of Sonic, but even after the long period of time it had been she still didn't know much about her. Now that their business was concluded she was satisfied and ready to go mostly…

But she had a nagging in the back of her mind…

And Blaze questioned her as her frowned lightened a bit "…This is a bit off topic if you don't mind me asking…"

Rouge shook her head as she sipped her drink "Not at all…whatever it is…"

Blaze cleared her throat "Ahem…" she paused still frowning as Rouge smirked locking eyes with her "Why do you stay here in this village at times? Excuse me if I sound blunt, but you do not seem to be the type who would hang around…" Blaze looked for the right words "…I should say…good guys…"

Rouge huffed playfully through her nostrils and sipped on her drink keeping their eyes locked "You're right. Sometimes this isn't my scene, that's why I leave sometimes. My usual sources have run dry, so I'm hanging here for a while."

And Blaze couldn't imagine what she meant by sources, but she pressed on still curious about her "Were the Babylon Rouges not associates of yours? I have not heard mention of them for quite some time."

Rouge placed her cup down this time and looked down into it "They're still around. I freelance with them sometimes, and we go…find…treasures." Rouge smirked deviously "I ditch them though when they have nothing else to offer…"

Blaze wrinkled her nose thinking that was a quite rude thing to do. Even if they were all thieves…

Blaze donned a curious look raising a single eyebrow "What of the other fellow you spoke of last time we convened?"

Rouge looked up at her as her smirk grew bigger "Who? Nack?" she chuckled "If we run into each other. We treasure hunt together if the time is right. He's a good thief, but we got into a bit of a hot spot last time…"

Blaze frowned a bit as Rouge continued "I got what I wanted so I'll guess I'll see him around next time…if there's a next time…" Rouge's grin became malevolent "I suppose they thought they pulled the wool over my eyes…"

Rouge lifted her cup finishing her tea and Blaze was slightly surprised that she left her associate behind after attaining what she wanted. And as she looked at Rouge, she could see her selfishness again. She seemed to be motivated by her gains only.

She was thinking there was more to Rouge because she occasionally helped in a positive manner, but it seemed she was uncaring in many ways. Even in her dealings with them, it was always about what she could gain. From the info she collected to those she chose to selectively help if there were some gems involved.

Blaze's brows furrowed, and she held a light frown as Rouge and she stared one another down. Rouge held her sly smirk again, and she was ready to go because someone they knew might see them talking.

Rouge had little integrity…no credibility…no sincerity…no regret…not much principal…no honor…no ethic….

No respect…no veracity…no honesty…no penitence…no pride…a criminal… no morals…

Her greed…

And even she had times of extreme frustration where she lost it. Where she had no more respect or regrets left when fighting or defending herself from the enemies you had in life. She felt there was always a time and place that was good to lose those things. However, Rouge was on a different level…

What she saw across from her…you got what you saw…

And Blaze finally stood from the table, as there seemed to be just as a nasty side to her as well as already being selfish. Blaze's brows remained knotted with seriousness on her features "We will meet tomorrow to discuss other details."

Rouge nodded with a smirk "I won't be far…"

With that, Blaze turned and exited the shop looking around to see if she saw anyone they knew. Rouge watched her go with a sly look, and Blaze felt a bit of unease having to consort with an individual like Rouge. She encountered many heartless people in her life as the Princess and Guardian of the Sol Emeralds. She had to deal with individuals with no empathy every time she returned to her homeland. It made her heart warm thinking of how lucky she was to come across someone like Sonic. His trust was more valuable than any material possession, and she was glad she had marked him and her territory, unbeknownst to anyone's knowledge of course.

She briefly thought for a second there might be more to Rouge than what was on the surface after interacting with her for a while now. But it seemed under the hood, she might never be more positive in nature despite her doing positive things from time to time. Suffice it to say, Rouge's narcissistic and selfish demeanor was a little disappointing to Blaze, as she tried to see the good in others. But many times there were things out of her control, and all she could do was accept things as they were, and see what she could presently do about it…


Meanwhile, in another area of the village…

Cream and Cheese had finally reached the help Cream was sure she needed. Cream and Cheese both had big smiles on their faces as they stood in front of the building of the Chaotix Detective Agency! Well…it looked more like a dilapidated old shack…and it sat back away from the other homes and businesses in the village…near the trees of the forest…

It was only one floor as well…

Cream scratched the back of her head with an apologetic smile thinking of the strange placement of their building. Cream walked forward, and Cheese followed. She had heard the villagers complaining about the Chaotix when they first settled here, because the first building they built was sort of ugly in appearance to surrounding houses, and it didn't fit in with the other homes...

And the villager's complained about their property value going down, so they asked them to move it. And come to think of it in hindsight as Cream thought back, where they built their building now didn't really matter. Their building was still ugly and falling apart in comparison to the other buildings in the village even now. Cream glanced behind herself at the other houses in the village with curious eyes. The homes in the village were really nice compared to…and Cream turned back around to the structure in front of her…this…

And she sort of had to agree with the villagers…

The Chaotix Detective Agency building…erhm shack…was helped built by the villagers with the Chaotix. But the Chaotix wouldn't listen to the experienced builders, and they designed the building to their specifications…which was this she stood in front of…

It was painted mostly red, and the boards and beams were painted white. There was a small roof above in front of the building which she stood near, and on the small roof was a white sign with smudged black ink that read:

"Chaotix Detective Office!" in bold.

It missed pieces of wood, and the screen door was crooked. The other door was a white painted door with an open sign that hung from it.

Cream hesitated for a moment to wonder if they could really help her, but she heard of them actually solving a pretty big case at the new emerging city, and word of it had even spread here. She didn't have much other choice too though as she didn't want to ask her friends so openly about a matter she now realized she shouldn't speak of so openly.

Cream looked at Cheese with a big smile "Let's go!"

"Choa!" Cheese responded.

And Cream stepped up to the screen door noticing a door buzzer, so she pressed it. Nothing happened. So she instead knocked on the screen door, and she heard some movement inside pretty quickly.

And moments later the white door behind the screen door swung open revealing Charmy. He looked confusedly at Cream and Cheese "Hey Cream, what brings you by?"

Cream waved at him and she carefully chose her words "Hi Charmy! I was wondering if you guys could help me with something? There's sort of a...mystery…yeah…a mystery that I need help with…"

And Charmy's jaw dropped staring blankly at her. Cream and Cheese looked confused for a moment. But while Charmy stared at them both an annoyed Vector called to him "Hey Charmy! why do you have the door open? You're letting all the warm air out! What's going on!"

Charmy shook his head and blinked his eyes, and he flew wildly back into the house "Vector! Vector! I think we got a case!"

"What!" said a shocked sounding Espio.

Then there was a loud crash sounding like empty bottles and cans, then Vector showed up at the door blinking his eyes curiously at the visitors at their door. When he saw Cream he looked even more confused "Cream? You have a mystery to be solved? Like a real one?"

Cream and Cheese nodded, and Cream spoke in a bright tone "Sure do!"

Vector then rubbed his eyes and blinked at Cream one more time, then a big smile came over his face "Well then little missy you've come to the right place!"

Vector opened the screen door and stepped aside "Come on in!"

Cream and Cheese smiled as they stepped inside and Vector closed the screen door; he left the white door open. The inside was fairly clean though they did not have lots of furniture. Nothing was painted, all the walls were brown bare wood, and even they were missing some boards. She thought there might be a crack somewhere too because it was breezy inside here.

There was a single desk with some papers stacked neatly on it, a stained-glass green lamp sat on the edge of the desk. There was a single chair behind the desk and in front of the desk. There was a bookcase behind the desk in the far right of the room, but there were only a few books and a clock hanging on the wall next to the bookcase. The white shades on the windows in the front and back of the room were only slightly open and let some of the dreary light in from outside.

Cream and Cheese walked over to the single chair in front of the desk noticing a picture frame on the wall to their left. The picture frame sat inside a square like enclosure on the wall surrounded by wooden borders. Inside the picture frame was a newspaper cut out, and it looked to be some kind of achievement.

As Cream sat down and Cheese landed on her lap, she just noticed Espio to her right standing near the head of the desk. He held a serious expression and remained silent. Vector hurriedly rushed back over to his desk, and Charmy went to the left side of the desk.

Vector grinned as he slammed his hands down onto the desk "Before we get started, it is policy that we discuss payment methods."

Cream let go of Cheese and reached into her pockets. The Chaotix donned curious expressions as Cream produced a small wad of cash. Vector leaned forward on his desk with a look of desperation "Where'd you get all that money?"

Cream looked slightly annoyed "I saved my allowance."

Charmy landed and sat on the edge of the desk with wide eyes "We could sure use that right about now."

Cream still looked annoyed "This is almost my whole year's allowance."

Vector's eyes fixated on her money "We haven't seen that kind of money in almost a year."

Espio crossed his arms with a serious look "How about ever."

Cream held on tightly to her money, and Cheese looked annoyed as well. Cream wanted to make sure she was getting a good deal "What are your credentials?"

Vector grinned losing the desperate look on his face, and he sat back down in his chair folding his hands together "I can assure you we never turn down work that pays. No matter what your issue is, we will solve it or your money back guaranteed!"

Cream still looked suspicious, and she raised an eyebrow "Really?"

Charmy then smiled and flew off the desk and over to the wall on her left "If you don't believe us, take a look at this!"

Vector got up and joined Charmy at the wall, and Cream and Cheese went over to see what they were talking about. Cream and Cheese looked at the newspaper clipping seeing that they really had solved a case in the new emerging city. From the looks of it, they solved the mystery of the mayors disappearing office supplies. Apparently, the Chaotix just happened to stumble across the deliveries being shipped to the wrong address. The article described how no one could figure it out for weeks until they showed up.

It also said they were paid handsomely. And at that Cream and Cheese smiled enthusiastically. Cream looked impressed now "Wow! You really did solve a mystery!"

Charmy and Vector grinned while Cream looked at them admirably. Even if it was only a minor mystery, she figured it was better than nothing.

Charmy then flew over to the desk "I'm going to go get the rag!"

Vector poked his finger into his chest "Do you have any questions before we get started?"

Cream nodded her head with a smile "What other cases have you solved?"

"Uhhhhh…hehe…" Vector rubbed the back of his head grinning nervously.

Cream raised an eyebrow in curiosity again "Well how many cases did you fail to solve?"

And Espio spoke up with a serious expression near the desk "To date we have…"

But Vector cut him off clearing his throat in a very rough manner. Cream and Cheese looked confused, and Espio huffed closing his eyes. Then Vector tried to move the subject along with a sheepish grin "Just tell us what we can do for you."

And Charmy returned to Vector with a clean white rag that Vector snatched from him. Charmy looked irritatingly at him, and Vector gave him a wise look while Cream spoke "Well…there's these people I know…and well I think I just found out something about them…and I want to know…if there's really something going on…is it true…"

"What exactly do you want to know?" Charmy asked in curiosity.

Cream paused as she looked for the right words, and Vector questioned her "Who are these people that we are investigating?"

Cheese looked lost, but Cream donned a determined expression "…it's about…Mrs. Blaze and Sonic…"

The Chaotix looked surprised, but she spoke again before they could speak "Please don't say anything to anybody. I don't know if it's true, that's what I'm trying to find out."

Vector blinked his eyes in surprise "Whoa, what's going on with them?"

And Cream thought carefully for a second again, as she knew she needed to choose her words more carefully again. And she spoke with a serious face "It's not really with them…it's like…more around them…can you guys like watch their behavior…and see if they are acting strange or something…"

Then Vector's mood lightened as a smile came over his face again "Is that it? This will be a cakewalk."

Espio opened his eyes walking to the front side of the desk with a smirk "Formal observation. It seems this task will not be difficult at all."

Charmy still looked curious though "But what's different about their behavior?"

Cream looked flustered and Cheese and the others noticed, but she regained her composure still holding her serious look "It's just…their friends and all but…" but Cream threw her arms in the air looking exasperated "Look, you'll just know when you see it okay?"

Charmy then smiled giving her a thumbs up "Just anything suspicious! Got it!"

Vector then took the rag he'd gotten from Charmy and began polishing the wall around their single successful case newspaper clipping "Ahhh, we still got a lot of space to fill."

Cream then handed Vector her money, and Vector was ready to take it, but Charmy grabbed it before Vector could and buzzed away. Vector growled looking annoyed and chased after him "Since when did you become treasurer?"

Charmy giggled as he flew just above Vector where he couldn't reach and dangled the money "Since you made me one. Don't you remember?"

Vector gritted his teeth as he hopped up and down "Oh yeah…well…let me just see it anyway!"

Espio sighed shaking his head and he walked over to Cream and Cheese "Have no worries, your investment will be safe. I suggest we discuss further details whenever you are ready."

Cream smiled and nodded her head "Maybe tomorrow. I gotta get home before my mom kills me."

"Choa! Choa!" Cheese exclaimed.

"We are open all days of the week." Espio said with a serious face.

Cream nodded and waved at them all as she and Cheese headed to the front door "See you guys tomorrow!"

They all said varying good-byes, but Espio turned around to see Vector giving Charmy a nuggy on his head. Espio slapped his fore head then commented on their behavior as the front door shut "We should be honing our skills for our next mission."

Vector grinned with an aggressive face as he kept Charmy locked in his arm "We can train for the rest of the day as soon as I give our treasurer a little lesson in manners."

Charmy was able to wrestle himself out of Vectors grasp and began tickling him. Vector tried to grab him again, but he flew around him, missing, until he fell over his chair and thudded onto the floor.

Espio crossed his arms raising an eyebrow as Vector looked dizzy on the floor. Charmy flew over to their bookcase with a triumphant smile "That'll learn ya!"

Vector held up a finger "Alright! Let's get to work…uhhh…" he said as his hand fell.

And though the Chaotix did not let Cream be aware of the fact that they hadn't solved a single case since they settled in the village, they were confident of their abilities and were sure they could crack this case. Somehow anyway…


Elsewhere…

A few hours had passed, and Blaze and Marine had long since traveled back to their world. But it was not noon in Blaze's world, it was morning when they first arrived, and it was evening now. And Blaze and Marine were still not used to the time transition between worlds. Because even though it had only been a few hours since they left Sonic's world, the time was completely different in her world. It was literally separate…

And so, even though they spent only a few hours in Sonic's world, they still lived out and spent another whole day in a different world. They had spent the whole day in her world. And people were aware that she was here today…

It was dark and dreary in Sonic's world, but here in Blaze's world, the weather was still warm and nice, and it usually stayed that way all year round. Blaze and Marine were walking down the stairs of the Royal Castle after having eaten at a restaurant in the Castle. The restaurant had an outside area on the upper areas of the Castle, and they ate on the balcony with a great view of the city and the beautiful sunset thereafter.

Now they were getting ready to head back to Sonic's world. Marine held a delighted face thoroughly enjoying her meal, and she walked down the stairs in front of Blaze. Blaze held her usual stoical expression as she walked in a calm pace down the stairs after Marine. She had enjoyed her meal of redfish as well. They walked pass another floor taking note of the sign above the door they passed. It read the number ten; they were headed to floor five first before they left the Castle.

The staircase was quiet other than a few other people above them entering and exiting the staircase, and there was a warm breeze blowing through the staircase windows from the nice weather. Blaze's hand glided across the cool stone railings on the stairs as they descended, thinking of the things that had happened in her short stay. The Sol Emeralds were protected, and she had to retrieve them before she left.

She also had to file some paperwork, as she and Marine had helped some Mercenaries break up a trafficking scheme that tied to Eggman Nega. People still stared at her…

It was unexpected, but she went to go and help the Mercenaries. But like so much in her life, as Princess, as Guardian of the Sol Emeralds, she was still honor bound. It was still her duty to protect the city, and she did so.

The politicians and higher ups still disliked her…

And in general, for lack of better words, people here still strongly disliked her. And because of the environment, she had retreated back into her shell to protect herself from the negativity around her. Of the stone face she always wore…

She would be glad to…

Just as those thoughts passed her mind, Marine and she were getting ready to head down another flight of stairs passing by another door. However, Blaze and Marine paused as the door near them opened and two female cats who looked to be employees stopped where they were with the door open.

Blaze remained quiet "…"

And the two females eyes widened in shock. They hesitated but looked at Blaze peculiarly before they scurried to her left up the staircase. The door behind them slowly shut, and Blaze turned back around to continue walking down the stairs. Her face remained stoic and Marine glanced back at her with a reassuring smile. Blaze nodded as they continued down the stairs.

She would be glad to get back to Sonic…

Marine and she walked pass another floor, the sign above the door red number seven. For the most part, life in her world remained mostly unchanged. She had taken care of her needed business while she was here, so that's all that really mattered. She had retrieved the pink diamond for Rouge, and she had dealt with the press because she was seen in public helping the Mercenaries. The media talked about her because she had shown up in the city again. She had dealt with political leaders, though she did not cause much collateral damage this time around. She had dealt with people's negativity towards her while she was here, and she had dealt with…her parents…

Who were becoming increasingly upset yet again…

She met with them privately at their request and Marine was not with her this time…

Because they knew something and were playing stupid…and she knew…they assumed she assumed…that they knew something…and she assumed…they assumed that she assumed that they knew something…

But she played dumb as well acting like she didn't know what they were talking about…and when her parents got upset they were intimidating…

Because they knew she knew she wasn't saying anything on purpose…and it infuriated them because she refused to tell them…

They were most likely going to try to trap her and Sonic one day…

With a light frown Blaze shook her head as Marine, and she reached the right floor. Her business was concluded for now…

In time…

She would move pass this…

All this in her life…

Sooner or later…

When they finally reached the right floor, floor number five, Marine opened the door for Blaze after having pulled out a card and placing it on a black door scanner on the door. The door buzzed, and the scanner flashed green indicating the door was unlocked, and they stepped into a large winding hallway. This floor was the military HQ in the Royal Castle. She just had to fill out some paperwork before they departed…

Blaze and Marine stepped onto brownstone marble floors as the door behind them shut. The lights above them were fluorescent and there were many military, Castle employees, and a few Mercenaries moving through the hallways. Blaze and Marine walked down a few hallways pass offices and doors and made a left down a hallway with more doors and some glass teller windows.

There was a dead end down this hallway and there was only one teller window open. The rest had signs that said to use other windows. The one teller behind the window was a male leopard, and he wore white-collar clothing and black glasses. And he stopped filing his paperwork to look up at them.

He gave them a dirty look and reached down under his desk, and Blaze frowned. Marine looked slightly irked as the leopard handed her the papers and a pen. For his rudeness, Blaze moved down a window and began filling out the papers. Marine looked on curiously for a minute or two because they were interrupted by the most unlikely of foe.

They did not notice at the intersection of the hallway, that two individuals stopped in their tracks "Well what have we here?" said the silky voice of Tiara.

Honey giggled as well. Blaze did not look up from her papers, her ears twitched, and she continued writing. Marine leaned back and took notice of them with a curious look.

"Tiara…" Blaze said calmly with a stoic expression.

"Princess…" Tiara said with a grin

Tiara stopped just in front of Blaze, and Marine and Honey squealed as they locked hands with big smiles on their faces. Marine and Honey immediately began to talk about female matters while Tiara placed her hand on the counter and leaned on it as she spoke "So what brings you by this time around Princess?"

Blaze flipped a paper and began writing on it as she spoke "A more personal matter this time actually…" Blaze darted her eyes and glanced at Tiara; she had a look of knowing on her grinning face to which Blaze figured she might have known. Blaze looked back down at the paper "Were you looking for me?"

Tiara slightly tilted her head "I saw your little rumble on the news, but I didn't make it in time to the action, but I'd thought I'd stop by and say hey…"

Somehow Blaze did not believe her "I knew I would run into you sooner or later."

Then Tiara dipped her head down to her level, and her hair spilled over her shoulders and hung to her side "I've been keeping up with you all day…"

Blaze finished writing on her papers and folded them back to normal. She then slid the papers pass Tiara to the rude teller as she turned to look at her; Tiara stood upright as well. The male leopard teller got up from his seat away from the window as Tiara continued to grin at Blaze.

And it was true Blaze had not actively avoided her, in fact, she was expecting her. Blaze spoke with a stoic expression "And why would that be?"

Tiara's grin only became bigger "Well, I heard from a little birdie…"

Blaze interjected raising an eyebrow "Janet?"

Tiara nodded "Yes Janet. She hurt her wing by the way."

"Give her my condolences." Blaze nodded.

"Will do." Tiara placed her hands on her hips giving her a wise look "Well, I found out from a little birdie about those little portals of yours…"

Blaze remained unsurprised as she responded, as she knew Tiara had high-level clearance as well "Well Janet was never one to keep her beak shut too long. Have you seen them?"

Tiara nodded gleefully "That just begs the question, what in the heck is that?"

And at this point Blaze knew that was probably the most she got out of snooping around high-level government information. As she knew all information regarding Sol Emeralds was classified at the highest clearance, and any information regarding them came directly to her. So for her to know any other information about the portals she had to get it directly from her.

So she left her in the dark like everyone else other than her parents who had forcefully seen the portals with their own eyes. Tiara was clever, and if she told her where she was going, she would surely figure it out and there might be more tension between them again. As she never stopped asking about Sonic, but she was already too close now. If she knew she was going to see Sonic…it would just be a mess…

"It is unfortunately something I cannot speak about." Blaze gave Tiara a serious look as she frowned slightly "It is something I have not even told our leaders everything about."

And Tiara's lips pinched together looking slightly upset, but she knew that look on Blaze. When she was serious, she meant it. But Tiara's upset expression softened and she grinned again "Well it can't stay that way forever. Everything becomes declassified in time. I'll just find out later."

"Until then." Blaze's frown softened into her usual stoical expression.

Her words rang true with her though, and it made her gut churn because that usually was true. And not only with classified information, but also in life. Nothing ever lasted forever…

Tiara then ran her hand through her hair "I know you're about to leave again, come have a drink with us."

Blaze crossed her arms donning a frown "Well…"

Blaze was brought out of her questioning as Marine suddenly grabbed and tugged on the end of her purple coat. She put on a fake sad face with puppy dog eyes, and she spoke in a fake sad tone "Awwwwww! Come on Blaze!"

Blaze looked over at Honey as well, and she held her fist at her sides smiling brightly and excitedly. And Blaze knew she could not deny them as they were becoming closer friends, even though there was a little deceitfulness on her part. For now anyways, everything was okay. Blaze then sighed donning a stoic face again. She wanted to get back to Sonic's world, but a few minutes wouldn't hurt.

Blaze then looked back at Tiara "Nonalcoholic I presume?"

Tiara nodded keeping her grin "Of course, I need you sober anyway."

Marine and Honey squealed like little children as they followed Blaze and Tiara down the hall. Because Blaze knew what she was about to ask next. Tiara had remained stable and acting herself after Sonic left, though she still seemed lonely sometimes. But for the most part, she was still steady, but that didn't stop her from questioning her anytime she could about Sonic.

As they walked down the halls Tiara looked at the floor in a timid manner "So Princess…about that hedgehog…"

Blaze rolled her eyes lying "I have not seen Sonic."

Marine and Honey giggled hearing Tiara's question, though Marine actually knew the truth. And Tiara responded still looking timidly at the floor with a grin "I figured as much Princess, I wasn't asking about that…this time…tell me about him…what do you know about him?"

Marine's and Honey's snickering grew louder and Blaze looked at Tiara slightly curious. Tiara finally looked over at Blaze with a smile and rubbed her chin "What does he like to do? What's his favorite food?"

Blaze grimaced as she began to tell half truths about Sonic, because she knew the real truths and wasn't sure she should tell the whole truth. At least with white lies, she could keep everything shrouded in disarray so nobody could find the truth easily. And because of the lies she had to tell to keep Sonic and herself hidden, she felt a bit of guilt. Even if her lies were for a good reason, it felt dishonorable.

In other times in her life, she would have felt alone in a situation where she felt bad about something. But just having the respite to Sonic was a blessing…and she couldn't wait to pour herself out again and release much negativity as of late…


The next day…

Blaze and Marine had made it back to Sonic's world in a timely fashion the previous day, although it was evening when they returned. The time transitions between worlds were still jarring. It was morning time now in the beach side village, and many were beginning to awake. Blaze had just awoken as well, and she sat up in her bed with a slight frown on her face. She blinked her eyes with a drowsy expression as her consciousness came back to her. Dressed in her night clothes, purple pants and shirt, she pulled her purple silk sheets off herself. There always seemed to be times in her life where she did so many things she did not want to do…

Whatsoever she had feared had come to life…

And things she did not want to happen, happened anyway…

But she had help now…Sonic…and his reassurance made her a bit more hopeful than she used to be…

And she did not have to deal with this mess on her own any longer; which made her smile a bit as she got up out of her bed. Throwing Cream off would be tough, but with friends now, it made it a little easier…

So Blaze got dressed partially, leaving off her purple coat, revealing her white clothing underneath as she went to the trunk in the corner of her room and pulled some special clothing out that they had tailored while in her world. She carried the clothing over her arm as she exited her room and into the kitchen to a delicious aroma.

She held a curious expression as she stopped just pass the threshold of Marine's room; her door was open. Marine stood with her back turned at their stove cooking something as she glanced back with a big smile "Ho there mate! Are ya ready for a hearty morning meal!"

Blaze's expression became stoic "What have you prepared?"

"Can't you tell? Redfish!" Marine turned back around and stirred the pan.

Blaze's nose wrinkled in slight irritation as what she was cooking was not as obvious as she claimed it to be "What type of redfish?"

"You know, that one fish…" Marine lowered the fire on the stove.

Blaze's brows knotted in frustration giving Marine a chastising look, and a frown dawned upon her face. And Marine glanced back at her seeing her stern expression. Marine grinned sheepishly as she continued to cook and Blaze spoke in a stern tone "Could you be a bit more specific next time Marine..."

"Sure thing boss lady, so are ya ready for the agenda today?" Marine said as she turned the fire off on the stove.

Blaze put the clothes she was holding on a nearby chair, and she sat down at their table with her stoical expression returning "I suppose these next few days will really be full of thrills and chills."

Marine took the pan she was cooking on and put the sizzling fish on two plates on the table. There were also two glasses full of water on the table and silverware. Marine put her pan down as she joined Blaze at the table; Blaze picked up her fork and took a bite of her food. Marine spoke with a big grin "I'll say! It was a scare enough trying to keep Sonic under wraps from your folks. Do you think Cream really knows?"

Marine stuffed her mouth with food as Blaze spoke after swallowing her food "It is uncertain. Nevertheless, it was like I was telling you yesterday, any suspicion is dangerous. You understand what would happen if anyone found out…"

Marine nodded silently with her mouth full of food, and Blaze continued as a light frown formed on her face. She looked down at her food and ate some more "It would be scary if word got out about Sonic and I.…" Blaze spoke in a slightly worried tone.

But Marine swallowed her food, and she put her fork down on her plate. She stood from her chair and slammed her hands on the table awaking Blaze from her thoughts. Blaze looked up slightly surprised seeing the vigor and excitement on Marine's face "And that's why we're gonna stop em! We're gonna stop em all!"

And Blaze smirked again, for another time she could not stop herself as her life continued to change and so did she. She was so different than she used to be, and much of her coldness was not present any longer. As her friends helped her, she was lifted and so were they.

"We will not let them progress." Blaze said with a smirk.

Marine chuckled "It's in the bag…" Marine then twittled her fingers "…even if your parents found out a teensy little bit…"

Blaze nodded as she got up from her seat "Well first, we are going to have to blend in like everyone else…"

Blaze took a piece of clothing off the back of her chair and held it up so Marine could see it. It was an orange piece of clothing, and Marine's eyes became wide "Is that mine?"

Blaze nodded with a smile "I had Gardon visit the taylor. The outfits look great, do they not?"

Marine jumped up from her seat with an excited expression "Too right I do! We're going to look right on the town." Blaze handed her the clothing and Blaze picked up another piece off her chair, but Marine then gave Blaze a big grin, and she winked her eyebrows at her "What do you think Sonic will think mate?"

Blaze paused blinking her eyes and looked up from the purple fabric she was holding "I…ah…" she was caught off guard for a moment, but she smirked again; Marine had never stopped teasing her about Sonic "…I am sure he will…appreciate…what I have chosen to wear…"

Marine giggled holding her outfit up to her neck "I'll say!"

Blaze looked slightly embarrassed about the implication that Sonic would be checking her out. But she gave Marine a chastising but playful smirk, and then they finished their breakfast and went to her room to get dressed in the appropriate spooky time attire. Starting in the next few hours the village was basically going to be in a party mode for the next two days, and there were going to be plenty of thrills, chills, and scares as she attempted to continue and hide her union…


A short time later…

Up at Sonic's and Tails's house, it was still early morning as the others got dressed for the spooky holiday. Cream and Cheese sat by a window, and while Cheese was preoccupied happily eating a cupcake, Cream stared up into the dark dreary gray skies holding a blank expression. The living room was lively as everyone got ready to enjoy the day.

Cream glanced back behind herself as the door to Tails's workshop opened and Tails came out wearing a white lab coat and goggles over his eyes. He walked into the kitchen. Amy then came down from upstairs wearing a red short dress, painted tattoos of bats, skeletons, and other assorted spooky things on her arms, and a pink shirt under a red hooded cloak. She went out into the garage. Just behind herself her mother, Vanilla, stood behind Sonic who sat in a chair as his quills were painted.

Her mother wore her usual clothing, but she also had black lipstick, and she wore spiky black epaulettes on her shoulders. Sonic chuckled every now and then as Vanilla painted his fur a darker blue and the tips of his quills white. Sonic also wore dark-gray gloves. And her mother occasionally turned and dipped her paintbrush into some painting tools on a nearby table. Vanilla had also painted cheeses face to look like a skeleton. Cream herself was dressed in all black robes, and she carried a plastic toy scythe.

She continued to hold a blank expression as she waited…

As soon as they all got ready to go, she was going to keep her focus on Mrs. Blaze and Sonic for the rest of the day. She figured she might see them do something again if she just stayed focused. But as she got ready to turn and look back out the window, the front door buzzed.

No one said anything as Tails came out of the kitchen and answered the door. Tails lifted his goggles and spoke with a smile "Hey guys!"

"Greetings Tails." Blaze was heard as she and Marine stepped into the house.

Blaze and Marine wore similar type clothing. They both wore dresses with spiky frills on their arms and on the lower half of their dresses. Marine's dress was orange and Blaze's was a dark purple, and they also wore black crooked witches hats. They still wore some of their usual clothing too, and Marine spoke with an excited expression "Are you guys ready to plunder treats!"

"Mhmhmm." Vanilla nodded silently as she paused painting Sonic.

"I might pig out." Tails said with a smile.

Sonic nodded and looked to Blaze with a smile "Hey Blaze? Look out!"

Sonic then tossed an object at Blaze to which she curiously caught. Everyone looked confused as she opened her palm and Blaze flinched with widened eyes, and she gasped briefly as she set her hand a fire. Everyone was slightly shocked except Sonic as he grinned. This was before she realized that it was just a toy plastic spider that Sonic had tossed her.

Blaze blinked her eyes and stopped her flames as Marine and Tails looked to see the half melted toy in her hand. Sonic burst into laughter while Blaze glared playfully at him remaining silent. Tails and Marine also laughed seeing Sonic's prank to scare Blaze. Vanilla giggled softly into her hand, and Cheese looked on curiously, but Cream immediately became suspicious seeing them interact. And she frowned slightly as she watched them…

And just then Amy came out of the garage with a big smile "Hey, it looks like everyone is here!"

Then Sonic spoke "Hey Amy, I got you a treat!"

Amy's smile instantly brightened "Really!"

Sonic nodded with a grin as he tossed it to her "Here! Catch!"

Though the others were aware of what was about to happen as Amy caught it. And as she opened her palm, she screamed in terror dropping the toy spider and jumping two feet away. Everyone laughed as Amy glared at Sonic balling her fist at her sides "That was a trick!"

Sonic nodded as his laughter died down "Yeah. But I didn't only target you, Tails got one too."

Everyone looked at Tails and he shrugged confusedly at Sonic "No I didn't…"

But as quickly as he said that he noticed there was something on his head. And so did everyone else, and they couldn't believe they just became aware of the object on his head. Everyone looked at him as a shocked expression came over his face, and he touched the top of his head feeling what felt like a spider…

Tails yelped and he shook the toy spider off his head, and the laughter started again. Blaze's stoical expression had returned as she spoke "How did he do that?"

Tails still looked spooked, but he smiled while shrugging. Sonic continued to grin as Amy pointed at him with a flirty smile "Don't you worry, I got something else in store for you."

"You're on!" Sonic countered but looked slightly nervous about her advances.

By this point though Cream was ready to go because her suspicions were in overdrive. She got up from her seat by the window as Marine ran over to Sonic with a curious expression "What in the heck are ya Sonic!"

Sonic got up from his seat as Vanilla put her brush down, and he howled "Awhooo!" Sonic grinned at her "I'm a werewolf! Well more like a…Werehog…I guess…"

"A huh?" Marine waved her arms up and down.

"It's a monster from folklore Marine, I'll tell you the story around campfire." Amy said with a smile.

"I am looking forward to hearing tales from your world." Blaze spoke stoically.

Cream though moved pass her mother, Sonic, and the others to the cracked front door while everyone was talking. Cheese followed her with his mouth full of cupcake. And Cream announced her departure "I'm gonna go get some fresh air."

As she opened the door her mother smiled at her as she spoke "Don't be gone too long dear. Don't forget we are going to collect treats and watch the costume contest later on."

Cream nodded as she headed out the door "I will mother."

Cheese followed Cream out into the cool air, and she closed the door, and everyone inside went back to talking. However, Cream remained suspicious as she looked at Mrs. Blaze while the door was closing. Cream's frown returned, and she held a suspicious expression on her face as she ran down the hill. Cheese was confused by her behavior but followed her closely as they headed to the Chaotix detective agency.

Cream also began to wonder what she got out of doing what she was doing. But at the same time she was not thinking much of the consequences. She just wanted to know, and that was all that was on her mind. She wasn't even thinking of what might happen if she did find out…


A few minutes later…

Cream and Cheese arrived at the Chaotix detective agency! Erhm…shack…and Cream promptly knocked on the screen door. A few moments later, the Chaotix opened the white door but jumped back in fear when they saw them. Cream and Cheese were confused by their behavior, but Cream lowered her black hood as they peeked around the door frame.

"Hey guys, we're here." Cream said with a curious expression.

"Choa!" Cheese exclaimed.

Vector was quick to open the screen door, and a big grin came over his face "…Yeah…we knew it was you all along…"

Espio crossed his arms and looked away with a serious expression "As did I."

Charmy smiled sheepishly "Me too!"

Cream and Cheese raised a single eyebrow donning skeptical expressions. But Cream frowned as she was ready to get down to business. The Chaotix stepped outside and closed the doors behind themselves as Cream told them their first objective "They are at Tails's and Sonic's house, everyone is getting ready to leave out soon."

Espio nodded silently with a serious face, Charmy did so as well, but Vector held his grin giving her a thumbs up "Don't you worry, we'll get to the bottom of this."

It was at this point Cream noticed that they did not have a costume or anything of the sort. And that's when Espio suddenly produced three sets of plastic white mask with an elastic tied to them. They all began to walk away from their detective agency and towards the path that led up and down the hill of the village. They stopped at the path, and Espio handed Charmy and Vector their mask. Besides the other villagers walking pass them, Rouge was sitting on top of a house a short distance away.

They didn't notice as she flew down while they were talking. And then the Chaotix put on the strange white mask with only eyeholes and chiseled faces. Cream and Cheese chuckled weakly as Vector nodded his head "We're on the case!"

"Let's keep in contact through the night!" Charmy said in a bright tone.

"Hmph!" Espio exclaimed holding his hands up in the ninjutsu hand gesture RAM.

"I guess I'll see you guys in a minute." Cream said with a smile.

"Choa! Choa!" Cheese said happily.

Then the Chaotix turned and ran up the hill towards Sonic's and Tails's house. Espio was the fastest, and he avoided Charmy bumping into Vector and them bickering yet again. Cream was about to head back to her house for a moment because she wanted to look at the plans she had made. But as she turned to go down the hill, she finally noticed Rouge a short distance away. Rouge had her back planted up against the side wall of someone's home, her arms were crossed and one foot was also propped against the wall, and she looked around nonchalantly.

Cream paused and so did Cheese, and she looked curiously at Rouge. She looked to be minding her own business, and she did that a lot. Cheese looked at Cream confusedly as she stopped, and Cream thought it over in her mind. From what she knew about Rouge…

Cream then looked to Cheese holding her curious expression "Hold on Cheese…"

Cheese nodded silently staying in place as Cream walked over to Rouge; she wondered if Rouge could help her. And Rouge continued to look around nonchalantly with a blank expression as Cream approached her. Rouge wore her normal attire, only she wore little red devil horns on her head, red eyeliner, and red lipstick. Though when she got closer Rouge noticed, and a sly smirk came over her face, staying just like she was with her back planted against the wall.

Cream looked timid, but she held an innocent look as she spoke "…H..hello Mrs. Rouge…"

Rouge chuckled "Hello darling…"

Cream cleared her throat as she looked a little less timid "…I was wondering…if it was possible…that you could do me a favor…"

Now Rouge wasn't in the habit of doing favors for free, but because of other factors she listened. Rouge remained quiet holding her sly smirk and Cream took it as queue to speak again "…You're up at night late sometimes…aren't you?"

And Rouge nodded "I'm nocturnal occasionally. I'm up late all the time though."

Cream still looked a little nervous, but she looked innocently at Rouge "...Well I was wondering if you're up, if you see anything strange could you tell me?"

At this, Rouge removed herself from the wall and donned a mischievous look "Is that all? Sure thing sweety, if I see anything I'll let you know. By the way, I don't think that red-eyed monster will show up either."

And Cream smiled at Rouge accepting "Oh wow! Thanks a lot Mrs. Rouge!"

Rouge then bent over placing her hands on her knees as she came down closer to her level "I'll do it just this once."

Rouge said as she stood back up and Cream nodded happily as she turned around in the opposite direction "Thanks again Mrs. Rouge, I'll see you later."

Rouge nodded as her smirk returned, and she watched Cream and Cheese go back down the hill. Rouge rubbed her chin as she wondered how long the girl had been working with the Chaotix. She didn't know just before now, until she saw Cream talking with the Chaotix as they walked together. With her heightened hearing, she heard just whispers of them talking about Blaze and other things concerning. They knew Cream was already watching Blaze, so she knew for sure now, and now she also had the girl under her impressions…

The child had no idea. And she had to talk with Blaze before the evening was over. Rouge then twisted her hands together and smiled. She had already met with Blaze earlier this morning, and she had delivered the nine hundred carrot pink diamond to her. She had brought a jeweler's loupe and inspected it with her this morning, but she did not expect any fakes from the likes of Blaze. And she had delivered being from Royalty and all. The gem was exquisite and she actually couldn't decide if she was gonna sell or keep this one.

Rouge tapped her chin a few more times before she smirked and took off into the air. She might have a few more tricks up her sleeves now that she had new information…


A few hours later…

The festivities of the Spooky Festival had long since started, and the whole village was a bustle. There was live music, people handing out assorted food and candy treats, people scaring others with their outfits, and much laughter and merriment. It was getting close to evening now though, and even though it remained dreary and cool out the party did not stop. Cream and Cheese stayed close to Vanilla most of the evening even though they did stray every now and then like right now. Vanilla was busy talking to another female villager, and she saw Cream wander off. So she went back to talking and Cream and Cheese waded through the crowds of people on the cool grass as she searched for the Chaotix yet again.

She held a determined expression and so did Cheese because she was certain she had saw Mrs. Blaze and Sonic being close again. But the strange thing was no one seemed to notice still. She was sure people having fun distracted others from seeing it though. Cream moved pass a few tall people as she stepped out of a crowd out into the open. Cheese and she looked around seeing an adult chase a few children with a scary looking getup, some people receiving treats, and some people admiring the decorations on everyone's houses.

With a frown Cream looked around for the Chaotix. Cheese looked as well. They had run into the Chaotix a few times, and they reported as of so far, they hadn't seen anything strange with Blaze or Sonic. In fact, they hadn't seen them together once so far. So they went back to stalking them and an hour or so had passed, and Cream wanted an update on their progress.

But she was broken from her thoughts as Cheese tugged on her black robes. Cream looked curiously at him, and Cheese pointed to her right "Choa! Choa! Choa!"

Cream looked confused only for a moment as she turned to her right and saw Blaze and Sonic near a small group of people. Only they were mostly alone and talking to each other. Creams eyes widened and she nodded at Cheese "Good work Cheese, let's see what they're up to."

"Choa!" Cheese said as they ducked back into the crowds.

They hastily made their way through the crowds towards Blaze and Sonic, using the crowds of people as concealment. They could still see them talking as they neared closer through the crowds, and when they got near they stopped just some feet away behind a few people. She wanted to sneak and get a listen in, but suddenly Marine came running up to them and interrupted them.

Cream looked irritated but Blaze and Sonic did not look deterred by her interruption at all. And Marine wasn't leaving as they talked to her. Cream waited for a few moments but the trio then walked off to someplace else. Cream growled in annoyance, and Cheese and she backed off for the time being. Unfortunately, it went on like this for the rest of the evening.

And every time she thought she was getting close she was wrong every time. Another time she saw Sonic and Blaze go alone into an open business building that made tools and other engineering things. Cheese and she followed, and the place was mostly empty other than a few people. And she thought she had them that time. But when she entered completely she found Blaze and Sonic interacting with Rouge. And the third time, she saw Blaze see Sonic through the crowds, and she followed her. But not moments after following her, she just disappeared, and Cheese and she found her a little later elsewhere in the village with Tails and Amy.

And before she knew it, the hours flew by, and it was getting dark out. Torches were lit around the village as it got dark and things were dying down a little as the costume contest went on. Everyone had gathered up after collecting treats for most of the day, and Vanilla and the guys were watching the costume contest. Meanwhile nearby, Cream and Cheese had wandered off a little again but were still nearby.

They had found the Chaotix again, and they reported to her what they had seen so far; which unfortunately was not much. They talked about their investigation techniques and what they had done to track Sonic and Blaze. They found that they only saw Blaze and Sonic alone once, and the rest of the times they were with someone else. And the one time they were alone it was only for a brief second.

They split up a few times but every time, even when split up, Blaze and Sonic were not doing anything out of the ordinary. That or they were not even in the same vicinity of one another. They gathered information about what they did see, and after thorough investigation of the notes they wrote, through their detective prowess and techniques, they had come up with a few theories.

And Cream held an upset expression, because what they told her was the exact opposite of what she saw, and it was terribly frustrating. So for the moment Cream sat on a box with Cheese, and she sat next to Espio and Charmy who were also sitting on boxes next to her as they listened to Vector read off his theories on a notepad. The laughing and cheering was drowned out as they sat in the back of the crowds on the boxes on the side of someone's house.

Vector had produced a set of spectacles, and he paced back and forth in front of them "As I see it my dear fellows…uhh and ma'am. We are down to these last two brilliant theories!"

Vector exclaimed as he pointed into the air in a dramatic fashion, and Cream leaned over to Espio confusedly "Why is he talking like that?"

Espio shrugged as Vector continued "Theory one is of time travel! You know just like those manga books!"

Charmy frowned at him "Those are just comic books you know, they're not real."

"Well that's one explanation of why we didn't see them together. Theory two is a little more complicated…" Vector spoke with a grin.

"How could this be complicated at all?" Cream questioned looking slightly exasperated.

Vector turned his back to them "Well you see…it goes like this!" he turned back around donning a serious expression and ripping off his spectacles "They might really be up to something, but today they just weren't hanging so tight. So we didn't see any strange behavior because they didn't know they were up to something."

Vector crossed his arms and closed his eyes with a triumphed grin, but Charmy questioned him as Espio, Cream, Cheese, and himself looked confused "So you're saying they were just out enjoying the festival?"

Vector nodded his head with his eyes still closed "Exactly! They were both independently enjoying the festival."

"So you're saying that there is nothing suspicious going on?" Espio said with a serious expression.

And Cream cut in frowning "I guess that's possible…"

Vector then shrugged shaking his head "Just because there isn't any proof doesn't mean proof doesn't exist…or is it the other way around…"

Charmy smacked his head, and Espio closed his eyes and shook his head as Vector rubbed his chin confusedly. However, Cream had told them what she had saw, and though Vector had a point, there was a nagging feeling in the back of her mind. It was possible that nothing was going on, and she was just jumping to conclusions. Even so, she also had a stubborn adamant belief, and she refused to let it go. She knew she had saw something…she just knew…

But even as much as Cream disagreed, they were partially right. Cheese and she didn't even find anything, so Cream sighed in defeat, and she looked disappointed and her head dipped as she spoke "Well, I guess that's it for tonight…"

Then suddenly a high-pitched scream was heard to everyone's left. Cream and Cheese looked frightened, and the Chaotix looked surprised. The entirety of the crowd looked to their left as well and it became suddenly silent as a female's voice was heard yelling "The red-eyed monster is here!"

No one knew how to react, and everyone froze for a moment. And as everyone looked down the way, they saw a pair of red eyes, and they saw a young female running towards the crowd. But she wasn't scared, in fact, her smile gave it away that it was a prank. And just behind her a few people carried a long papier-mâché dragon, and the head of the mask had two lit up red eyes. The Dragon head had a mean looking face and the people carrying it ran up onto the stage, and the costume contest continued.

Everyone looked relieved, and laughter roared up as everyone enjoyed the prank, though some of the laughter was a nervous laughter.

Vector and Charmy wiped their foreheads, and Espio closed his eyes looking serious again. But back to the matter at hand, the Chaotix remained hopeful though and Vector gave her a thumbs up "Don't worry little girl, we still got a few aces up our sleeves."

Cheese looked saddened because Cream was, but as she lifted her head she and Cheese looked curiously at Vector, but Vector looked to Espio. Cream and Cheese blinked their eyes, and Espio held a smirk as he opened his eyes "I will use my stealth. It is unlikely that they would be out at night, but it never hurts to check."

"That's right; Espio will use his stealth abilities to go undercover tonight. If there's anyone out tonight they won't see him coming." Vector said while nodding his head.

Creams eyes widened in surprise "Wow! You can really cloak?"

Espio nodded silently and even Cheese smiled "Choa!"

"I'm sure we'll have something to report back to you tomorrow morning!" Charmy said with a big smile.

Then the crowd in front of them grew louder as the costume contest came to an end. It seemed they had announced a winner and that meant that this day of the Spooky Festival was over with. Cream was still a little disappointed, but she was a little more hopeful now. Because now she had two people looking out this night, and she was sure one of them would see something. Cream and Cheese thanked the Chaotix and went to find the others before she headed off to bed.

And she wasn't sure if everyone else was, but she was still crept out by that prank with the red-eyed monster. Some people did look a bit unnerved from what she saw when everyone headed home for the evening, though nothing else monster related happened. The Chaotix went back to the agency to plan, but little did Cream know, that tonight her two informants might clash…


Later on that night…

It was dark out and most of the lights in many homes around the village were on. The night sky was fully clouded, and no moonlight got through. It was sort of windy out tonight as well. The only light there was, was from the homes of the villagers. There were barely any people out….except Rouge that is…

Rouge sat on the roof of someone's home, one of her favorite spots to observe at night. She always chose houses higher up on the hill so she got a better view of everything. A height advantage always let you make the first move. With a small smile on her face and her legs crossed, she was staying up a little later than usual to see if she caught anyone sneaking around. She did more so tonight because of her job for Blaze; otherwise she would just be observing anyone out at night.

She did park little closer to Blaze's and Marine's indoor dock. She turned her head with a smirk looking down towards the beach at their dock. She had chosen the last and highest house on the hill; coincidentally it was also the closest house to Blaze's dock. The lights were on in both their rooms, but with a knowing smirk, she knew Blaze was gone and had used the Sol Emeralds to give her some play time with Sonic.

Rouge then leaned her arms back and yawned; she had been sitting up here for close to two hours, and not much of anything but a few villagers were out and about. The festivities had long since died down, and she was getting a little bored. She was about to pack it in and call it a night, but across the way, in the darkened forest, pass the homes of the villagers, another person was sneaking about.

Espio had just uncloaked and peeked his head out from behind a tree. It was quiet all around him other than the chirping of bugs and the cool night breeze. Espio's eyes darted around, and he took in his surroundings. He was almost there…

He was just a few houses away from Sonic's and Tails's home. Once he made it pass there he just had to make it to the surrounding houses and observe Sonic's house and Blaze's indoor dock for a while. As he snuck from the Chaotix HQ he hadn't seen much of anybody, so he guessed that the coast was still clear as he had not seen anyone else but a few villagers.

However, he paused as he heard some noise from a nearby house, and he ducked back behind a tree. A woman came out from her house and took some clothes off a clothes line. There was light coming out from her front door, and it spilled outside catching the attention of Rouge up above and across the way.

Rouge had a blank expression as she glanced over towards the woman's open door. She stared there for a moment but as the woman walked back into her home, she noticed something else in the backdrop.

As the woman's door closed, she caught sight of Espio peeking his head out from behind a tree. At this, Rouge donned a devious smile as she sat fully up speaking curiously to herself "Hmmmm, what's this?"

Then quickly she hopped back to the adjacent roof to conceal herself and peeked her head above the threshold of the roof. She guessed Cream really had the Chaotix busy. Rouge observed him as he looked around from below. She had to be careful, she couldn't let him see her as they might think she was working against Cream, and they might also think she was working for Blaze. Which she was, but it was better if they did not know that…

Rouge held a smirk as she watched Espio, and she wondered what he was up to when he suddenly cloaked and disappeared. Rouge raised an eyebrow as she looked for him down below for a minute or two when she spotted him un cloaking on the back side of Sonic's and Tails's home. As he peeked his head out again Rouge blinked her eyes in slight surprise, but a sly smirk came over her face again as she understood what he was doing.

He was patrolling Blaze's house, and though she was not home that could still be a problem. Like if he saw she was not home they could still come to some conclusions. So Rouge got an idea, and a wicked grin came over her face as she took off and flew into the darkened skies. She needed to lure him away from Blaze's home, and once she pulled him far enough into the forest she would disappear with no trace…

She would have a little fun with him, and he'd be none the wiser. She was gonna sleep well tonight…

So Rouge flew right over to Sonic's and Tails's house roof and landed carefully as to not make a sound. She didn't and she tip toed to the other side of the roof, catching Espio peeking from the side of the garage hanger down towards Blaze's home yet again. She leaned over carefully as she looked down at him, and he did not notice her. She smirked as she deliberately made a sound, tapping her steel boots against the roof and began flying in the opposite direction towards the forest.

Espio flinched in surprise as he looked up above himself and cloaked. He heard the tapping a few more times as the sound led him back the way he came to the other end of Sonic's house. When he reached the back end of the house, he darted his eyes and remained still looking for the source of the sound. But his eyes caught sight of something in the distance. He stared directly at the forest seeing the upper half of a single tree shaking and swaying in a strange manner. The tree was moving much more in the wind than the other trees around it.

And Espio's expression became more serious as he looked around, before he dashed off in the direction of the forest and the tree. While in said tree, Rouge landed on a branch moving up and down to get the branch to move and get Espio's attention. She smirked as she looked through the leaves and branches on the tree, but she didn't see anything in the field from Sonic's house to the forest. But she knew she got his attention, as soon she heard his footsteps rapidly approaching.

Rouge then lightly pushed down on the branch, and it propelled her up enough to where she could take off in flight again. She flew in the opposite direction down the hill away from Sonic's and Blaze's houses, leading him farther away out into the forest, away from all of the village. Unfortunately, Espio was well concealed, and he was nearly invisible to the naked eye. The only few ways to break his camouflage was to distract him enough to break his focus. Or get something to touch him, as even a bright enough light would reveal him transparently. And this was bad for her as she could not see him, but he could possibly see her. But because of her heightened hearing, she could hear his every move, and it let her always stay one step ahead of him. And because she could hear so well it didn't matter that he was invisible. Even if she couldn't see him, she always knew where he was.

But as Rouge flew and hopped on the higher parts of the trees, she could hear him getting closer, and she had to get some space between them. She grinned; he was quite skilled. He was probably the most skilled of the Chaotix, albeit a little clumsy sometimes. But as Rouge flew and hopped on the higher parts of the trees, she could hear him getting even closer. It was nearly pitch black dark in the forest; it would be completely if the night skies hadn't broken up a bit. Every now and then, the clouds would reveal the half-moon of the night to shine some light.

Rouge hopped to another tree when she stopped because she didn't hear any movement. Her brows knotted, and an upset expression came over her face as this was getting serious. She had to keep a few steps ahead of him, as if she failed to position herself in any way she could reveal herself. She was currently standing on one of the highest branches on this tree she stood atop, and she was so high up she was nearly at the thresholds of the tops of all the trees. She looked around in the partial darkness below, but she saw nothing. She heard nothing as well and knew he was looking…

The winds were starting to get heavier too, and then suddenly she heard him sprint again. She moved immediately when she heard him, but as she took off in flight, she heard him land and jump onto a tree. She herself didn't fly farther ahead; she instead flew directly up and above all the trees. Her upset expression remained as she flew high, and dived down again. She flew just above the tops of the trees, moving her arms in front of her as she skimmed over the tops of the trees fall colored leaves. Much of the leaves were weak, and they began falling as she dived back down into the forest.

She needed to lose him now, and it looked to be the right opportunity as she landed. They had gotten a good distance away from the village, and she felt comfortable with the distance. Rouge landed on a large tree this time and she was still high up, but the tree was thick enough to where she could press her back up against it and conceal her entire body. Because just as she landed a large wind gust blew through the forest, making all the trees billow, making the forest ground debris get pushed across the ground, but most importantly, all the leaves she had made fall in her wake were blowing everywhere making it even harder to see in the partial darkness.

But Rouges eyes widened, and she lost her upset expression as her heightened hearing heard Espio trying to shake the leaves off himself. And Rouge quickly peeked her head from behind the large tree, because with her heightened hearing it pinpointed exactly where he was at. She moved to her right, and she looked around for just a second down below, because she knew where he was at when she heard him. Then she spotted him. His camouflage was disrupted as leaves flew in his face and with that brief glimpse of him she donned a devious smirk.

That was her queue to leave, and she did as she took off into flight as the wind still blew large gust of winds. She flew directly upwards again, flying above the tops of the trees in the direction of the faint light that was the village. But as she flew along she noticed something else below down in the forest. She caught sight of it out of the corner of her eye, and she stopped midflight and hovered flapping her wings.

She donned an upset expression, because if she wasn't mistaken, she thought she just saw something red moving through the forest. It was moving fast too so she scanned the area below and listened…

And she heard the faint sound of something that sounded heavy-footed…

She heard the sound again and caught sight of the red color moving swiftly away from the direction of the village. So she dived again trying to catch up with…it…but couldn't make out what it was in the darkness as she flew over the trees. As she got closer her heightened hearing let her get a better sound profile, and whatever it was sounded like it was suddenly moving faster. And it was as the sound of it got farther away, and she caught a glimpse of red again. But as she tried flying faster to keep up she found she couldn't, and it was fast getting away. And it did unfortunately as another large gust of wind caused her a bit of turbulence, and she had to pull back to recover. By the time she did she hovered in the air as the wind died down but the red thing was gone…

Rouge stared in the direction the thing had gone with a deep frown and an uneasy feeling in her gut. She hadn't encountered any sound like that in this area that she could ever remember, and she knew it was something no one might have encountered yet. In her book that made it a threat.

She quickly dismissed the thought of it being that made up monster from all the rumors lately. There were no such things as monsters, she knew from experience. She had traveled on the bad side of life and seen it all. She'd seen worse from other people so monsters didn't scare her much.

But as Rouge hovered, she wondered…what if it was…

Rouge felt a slight chill, one of the first in a while as she turned and looked back in the direction of the faint light of the village. She was starting to creep herself out, and she stopped her mind from imagining. Because whatever you could imagine was always scarier than what it actually was.

So Rouge kept her frown as she flew back into the direction of the village to get some sleep. She was sure she had lost Espio, but she felt like holding something or someone…


Concurrently…

Across the water from the village at a cluster of islands, Blaze and Sonic had been getting some alone time in. Blaze left the lights on in her room, told Marine, told Rouge, and used the Sol Emeralds to teleport into Sonic's to pick him up. Then she chose a random cluster of islands to focus on from his bedroom window, and they had been gone for about two hours. They had left a little while after the festivities had died down and when most people were going to bed. They were going for a nightly walk a great distance away obviously, as they both suspected that Cream might do something to catch them. Which Blaze informed Sonic she had, and he was aware now as she that the Chaotix were secretly working for Cream.

She told Sonic she saw them talking, but he still did not know that Rouge knew, and Rouge had come and found her before the Spooky Festival started to inform her of the new development. And Marine did not know about Rouge knowing either conversely, and that Rouge had informed her of the Chaotix. It was all rather confusing sometimes. Because Sonic didn't know about Rouge, but she knew about them. And Marine knew about Sonic but not about Rouge because if she told Marine, it would spread the knowledge of her union even further.

If the time came she might tell Marine, but for now keeping everyone's reaction genuine was important. This far out the clouds were broken up a bit and there was some light from the half-moon reflected onto the water sloshing up onto the beach. Blaze held a stoic expression, and she held the sack of Sol Emeralds in one of her hands as she walked. Sonic walked next to her with an equally neutral face, but they did not hold hands. Instead tonight, they were just talking about current events.

They left footprints in the white sand as they walked down the shoreline, and the tropical forest up and down the beach was dark and creepy, but this small island was deserted. Marine and she had sailed here some months ago and explored surrounding land masses.

So other than the creepy atmosphere of the night they felt no fear as they remained in the present and in each other's company. Blaze held a stoical expression looking straight ahead as they walked at a slow pace "Would you like my hair a different style?"

Sonic kept his neutral expression nodding "I like it already, but I liked that style you showed me too." he stumbled over a stone in the sand, and Blaze giggled softly as he looked slightly upset, but he regained his balance still looking ahead "I wonder if you changed it though would anyone, you know, question it."

Blaze nodded "Maybe you're right; if not anyone else my parents would certainly make issue of it."

"For sure." Sonic nodded placing his hands behind his head "So what's going on at home?"

Blaze scratched her cheek as they walked, water rushed up onto the beach while she paused. She kept her stoical expression because she needed to think "…Eggman Nega is up to something again I believe…"

Blaze and Sonic then spotted a fallen palm tree, and they briefly looked at each other knowing what one another was thinking. They walked over to it and sat down. The fallen tree lurched down as they sat, and Blaze let the sack of Sol Emeralds fall to the sand.

Blaze continued, and they both looked out onto the water "…Even when I returned the other day, I have seen reports that he has multiple ties with technological crime dealers in Arch City. I helped a few Mercenaries stop one of these rings when I was home the other day. If my instinct and experience serve me correct, I think I should be a little wary. Have you had any troubles from Eggman Sonic?"

Sonic shook his head "Not so much, but I think Eggman might be up to something too."

Blaze glanced over at him ready to question him more but saw him shiver a little. It was still cool out, and she donned a gentle smirk as she scooted over to him. Sonic looked curiously at her, and she wrapped her arm around his waist "You should have worn your scarf Sonic…"

Sonic then grinned looking down at her "I got you don't I?"

And Blaze felt appreciated by his small comments, and her self-esteem improved little by little. She looked back onto the ocean; she heated her body up to warm Sonic "What do you think Eggman has planned?"

Sonic looked out onto the water again too "Well I've been seeing more of his bots around that new emerging city, and smashing them too. But I've seen more of his bots around that city lately, and when I see more of Eggman's bots there's usually more of Eggman."

"More of him than he already is?" Blaze joked.

Sonic chuckled "I guess it doesn't get any bigger than that. I probably should keep an eye out around that direction from now on though."

"It seems both of our cities need some assistance." Blaze said as she felt Sonic wrap his arm around her neck.

"Did your parents ever get that political thing done?" Sonic questioned her.

Blaze thought for a moment before she remembered "Oh yes. My parents did defeat that ruling about more stipulations for me returning, because I have been showing up to the city more lately. Though…" she paused.

And Sonic sort of physically nudged her, and she frowned a bit as she continued "Speaking of issues in my homeland, other than the ongoing issue with my parents and Arch City, I must admit…I have been feeling shame within me as of late…I feel guilt for being so deceitful about…us…sometimes…"

And before he could speak she cut him off speaking somewhat awkwardly "…I…love you…" and he nodded as she continued "It is not about us….I want to be with you, if possible, indefinitely…but this is more so about what we have to do. I think about where we are going sometimes. Keeping up this charade…we cannot express ourselves openly…"

Sonic nodded "What are you feeling bad about exactly?"

And she cut straight to the point "I feel guilt about being deceitful to Tiara…and Amy…I'm sure we can both agree that if they found out it would hurt them…."

She continued as Sonic remained quiet "I have taken you without them knowing…and that is dishonorable…"

But Sonic eased her pain rubbing her shoulder "You have to take care of yourself first, otherwise you're no good to help anyone else. You marked me…and I was fair game…so no harm no foul…"

And when he put it that way, she saw she needed to be reminded of self-care. She guessed being somewhat dependent with him she had begun caring much more about outside herself than within. And if he was the thing that brought her the inner peace she needed, then there was nothing wrong, as she needed to fulfill her needs first to do anything else. When she was alone in the past, she used to do that more…

And Blaze closed her eyes as she snuggled up against him. She remained silent, and he guessed she got the point. And as Blaze sat with him, she felt that surreal feeling yet again, that strange unfamiliar feeling about how weird it still felt to be cared for, to touch, and be caressed by another. Because their relationship was still young, but at times it felt as they'd progressed to the point where everything in their relationship felt natural. And for her to be so unfettered made her feel uncharacteristic of herself as she had been so… rigid …her whole life…

But she was starting to see more and more that, that had happened because she had continued to change in this love and partnership….

Then Blaze opened her eyes as they looked out onto the water. The clouds covered the moon again, and it made it nearly pitch black out. Blaze released Sonic for a few moments and pulled a few branches off the fallen palm tree they were sitting on, and threw the branches on the sand in front of them. She conjured fire and shot a stream at the branches and lit them a flame. Then she sat back down and cuddled up next to Sonic again.

The fire provided decent light as Sonic spoke while they looked out onto the water "I'll keep up this charade forever unless something causes us to part, and if anything ever caused a disagreement between us. Well if you're too far gone, then I'd move on, and tell you I enjoyed the time we shared. I will do everything I can…" Sonic paused sounding awkward too now "…to be with you…as long as possible…."

Blaze's heart fluttered and Sonic's did too for the words that were coming out of his mouth. As he hated sappy stuff but at the same time enjoyed it.

It remained silent for a moment as they quietly looked out onto the water. Blaze held a stoic expression and he held a blank one. Then Blaze commented on his sweet words, speaking jokingly "You do realize that your comments make me want to stay with you forever. Right?"

Sonic laughed and she giggled as they held one another tighter. But she wondered did he know how much his non control was attractive…

As it made her feel free while in the confines of partnership. Because when you got closer to another, you became one and sacrificed something than when you were single. You gave some of your time to be with another. But as he let her be free, she tried her best to do the same for him. And they laughed, staying in a good mood as they sat together. Because they knew they had to get home soon, but this alone time was much-needed…


The next day…

Morning had come and gone pretty quickly as everyone got ready for the final day of the Spooky Festival . The weather remained cool and dreary with white skies. After Blaze and Marine awoke they met up with everyone at Tails's and Sonic's house again with some surprising news. It was probably the first time ever Knuckles was coming down from Angel Island to hang out with them. The energy field machine had worked successfully with the Master Emerald. Tails had flown to Angel Island two days ago and installed the machine around the alter of the Master Emerald. Though Knuckles had a little trouble getting it to work at first, he had successfully controlled the energy of the Master Emerald to produce the shield. He was also able to power it up and down.

He had been testing it the last two days, and he had traveled far away from it and back to it with no troubles. So now that he was comfortable enough he was actually leaving the island for a short period of time to test it out again. He said he would stop by to see the festivities.

Amy chided Sonic though to not mess with Knuckles to much as everyone was aware of how naive he was. Living on that island alone for so long without much social interaction caused him to be a bit naive to social cues, and ignorant to how people were sometimes.

But today was a little different for the guys and the festivities. Everyone had brought their own ingredients to Tails's and Sonic's house and for the majority of the early morning until noon they prepared treats to pass out.

Rouge had even joined them and heard the news about Knuckles coming down, and she took the news gleefully. Though Creams suspicions were revved up again when in the middle of preparing treats Blaze and Rouge stepped outside for a moment to talk. And while outside Rouge told Blaze what Cream, and the Chaotix had did last night while she was gone and what she'd done to stop Espio.

Though she did leave out the detail of the strange red lights and sounds she heard. She dismissed it for the time being as her mind playing tricks on her, but she knew if she heard it again she would definitely investigate.

So once they were done cooking their treats, Blaze pulled Sonic to the side for a moment and told him to watch Cream and the Chaotix, because they might be trying to watch them again. Rouge disappeared shortly after they were done. And then they all went out at noon and set up a few tables and passed out tricks and treats. Well mostly Sonic as he scared villagers with his scary plastic toys. While the guys were passing out treats mostly at the tables, and as the day went on and treats and scary pranks were going on around the village, until evening, as it got darker, Blaze, began helping villager's light candles in their pumpkins with her fire.

It was a strange request, but Blaze obliged as many people were enamored by her abilities in this world, and many people came to the tables with their pumpkins hoping she would light them. As well as retrieving treats and maybe a trick from Sonic.

Cream on the other hand, became increasingly irritated as the day went on. Cheese was a little confused by her behavior because after Cream had met with the Chaotix a little earlier, she became a little more disillusioned.

As they did have news to report that Espio had run into someone last night, but Espio could not identify the person. So they were still unsure. So all throughout the day Cream stayed around Mrs. Blaze and Sonic at their tables with the guys. And when Blaze got up from her seat, she followed her, and the Chaotix tailed Sonic. But when she followed Blaze similar things happened just like the previous day.

One time she followed Blaze, and she did nothing and nothing happened. Another time Blaze stopped and turned around asking her to help her with a task. And she complied hoping she would see that behavior from her as she did a few days ago. But Blaze acted normal…

She guessed it was a side of Blaze that no one had apparently seen…

And the final time this day she tried to tail Blaze, Espio was camouflaged, and he followed from a distance. But he was de-cloaked as a villager bumped into him spilling their food on him. And Creams frustration was higher today because the day had went faster than the previous day.

Because as it got dark out and most of the treats were passed out, and torches were lit around the village, a big meal was prepared for everyone to enjoy. It wasn't exactly a feast, but a large enough meal to pass around to everyone. And after everyone was full, a very large campfire was set up near the darkened forest trees for atmosphere, because every year someone told scary stories around the campfire.

It was late by the time the campfire was set up, but many people were staying up later than usual tonight. All the guys were near the campfire, and a large majority of villagers were to. Blaze, Sonic, Tails, Amy, Marine, Vanilla, Cream and Cheese, the Chaotix, and Rouge were all present. And since Blaze was around the villagers cheered her on to light the campfire because they knew of her abilities. Because they usually lit the fire manually in the past, but even the guys agreed, and she gave in to their demands.

And Blaze stepped up to the surrounding stones and the wood in the middle of the circle. She pulled down on her crooked witch hat and raised her hands in the air in a dramatic fashion. It looked as if she was really casting a witches spell. With a stoic expression, she conjured flames in her hands and on her feet, and her flames danced around her. And she moved her hands around in a random fashion as everyone cheered her on, then she pointed and shot her flames at the wood in the center.

And in a loud WOOSH she set the camp fire a burning. Everyone began to clap at the display then began to find seats around the campfire. And the guys began to wonder where Knuckles was and wondered if he had forgotten. But soon the stories where begining to get told around the campfire by the dark and creepy atmosphere of the woods.

Though there were many people who were still walking around the village and indulging in the evening, a large section of the village did come and sit by the campfire. The guys sat closest to the fire as a villager spoke with a megaphone walking around the circle of the fire. The speaker's story wasn't very scary though.

In a line around the fire Espio, Charmy, and Vector sat next to each other. To Vectors right was Vanilla, to her right and all the way down was Cream and Cheese, Tails, Marine, Amy, Blaze, Sonic, and Rouge. Rouge was sitting next to a villager. All their backs faced the darkened forest and most who sat in this position were a little crept out.

Although no one except Cheese seemed to notice Cream's sour mood, and she held a pout on her face as everyone listened to mostly mediocre stories. This went on for a while as people started getting somewhat bored, that was until Sonic got up.

There were some sporadic half-hearted claps, but when Sonic took the megaphone most began to pay attention again. Most notably Blaze, and her stoic expression and her eyes suddenly gave him her full attention. And Cream and Cheese noticed this but no one else seemed to. And they both glanced her way while everyone looked at Sonic, even the Chaotix were looking at Sonic. And Cream squinted her eyes looking suspiciously at her yet again, because just a minute ago Mrs. Blaze was looking at the dirt and looked uninterested in what was going on.

However, Sonic grabbed everyone's attention as he silently walked around the entirety of the fire with a grin. He stopped in front of the guys and held the megaphone up, speaking in a smooth creepy voice "Alright ghost and ghouls! Tonight I have a tale for you that comes from the urban legends from around the land! And this tale is called: The Phantom Bully

And everyone around the fire began to perk up at Sonic's enthusiasm; even Cream was sort of interested now. And Sonic continued as he held up the megaphone…


In a town far away from here, there was a thriving community in a city. And there lived a boy named Timmy. Timmy wasn't the biggest of fellows, and he got bullied a lot. But one day after school he got pressured into going into an old abandoned school at night just on the outskirts of the community. The building sat in the woods, and people were having said to seen strange things around the building at night if they should ever pass it. Some say they even saw figures standing in the broken windows at times.

But Timmy gave into peer pressure and decided he would go with the other five children who were pressuring him. And also maybe to impress the girls who overheard what they were doing…

(The people around the camp fire laughed)

So that night Timmy snuck out of his house and met with one of them to travel to the old school building. The old building was clichéd and decrepit with all the fixings. It was a two story building with broken windows, boarded-up windows, and doors missing. Timmy was starting to get skeptical though as the other child told him they were all waiting for them inside.

There were street lights a short distance away that provided a bit of light into the building. The inside had a damp smell and opened rusted lockers hung from their hinges above the dirty floors. Much of the schools furniture and supplies were still present though. Desk and chairs were falling apart and chalkboards still hung from the walls.

Timmy got a bad feeling though as he walked down the darkened hallways from the light of outside though. They walked up a flight of stairs to the second floor. All the rooms were darkened and down the hall it was pitch black…

But the other child called out for the other children as they turned and walked into a classroom. The classroom's broken windows were fully open and got some light from outside. But as Timmy walked into the room, four figures dressed in white sheets popped out from behind desk and other furniture in the class.

This scared Timmy as the other child was not behind him anymore. Timmy looked fearful, but the other children revealed themselves. Timmy was still scared but also embarrassed. They laughed and mocked him, and Timmy held his head low. But suddenly, they heard the fifth child in the hallway scream and the sound of something being bitten into as a large CRUNCH was heard.

They all paused as they heard the sound of something being dragged. And one of the children ran into the hallway pass Timmy to see what'd happened. Then a few moments later that child screamed but nothing else was heard…

(and the people around the campfire looked curiously at Sonic as he continued)

This terrified the other children as they ran for the door. Timmy was the first one out, and he saw it…

It was like a dark fuzzy cloud…its large intangible fur looked like a large wolf with red eyes and sharp teeth…

But when it saw Timmy and began to move it made no sound…the only sound was the sound of the building eerily creaking in the nights wind…

One of the children had been dragged down the hall, and their blood was all over the floor! WoooOOoo… (Sonic exclaimed making the villagers laugh again)

The other child was standing but facing away from them and made no movement…

So Timmy was the first to bolt towards the stairs as did the four other children as they ran behind him. They had no time to look at it but it caught up with them quick as they made it to the first floor. Before they could make it to the exit, they spotted someone else in the hall.

It terrified the children even more as the shadow figure down the hall looked just like one of the children. They briefly stopped to look at their friend, and their hearts beat faster as the child who looked like the apparition stared at it…

All their eyes were wide now…

This didn't make any sense! What was happening!

But they couldn't make it to the exit at the end of the hall because the wolf like creature was behind them. Two of the children ducked into a class and Timmy, and the other child followed suit. But the shadowy figure down the hall began walking towards them, and it followed Timmy and the child who it looked like.

The other two children had gotten cornered in another classroom though, and the phantom had seemed to get them. As they began screaming and it sent chills down their spines as they could tell they were being eaten or something. There was much ruckus heard as their screaming continued…and continued…

(By this point, some people were snuggling together around the campfire was suspenseful looks)

But the class Timmy and the other child had run into was a dead end, and the shadowy figure who looked like the child stepped into the room with a blank expression remaining silent. Timmy and the other child did spot a hole in the wall though, and they quickly climbed through it as the shadowy figure tried to grab the child it looked like.

It just barely missed as they got ready to run out of the class. They could still hear the other children writhing and screaming in pain. But they noticed this class was right next to the outside, so they could jump through the window. But before they could they suddenly heard a large thumping down the hall which they knew was the wolf phantom. But now it was making sound!

Timmy and the other child hid behind desk with their hearts pounding as the phantom's large thuds came into the class. It saw Timmy, and he froze in fear as it stepped towards him, but the other child tried to run for the window as it got closer to Timmy. Unfortunately, the phantom turned and attacked the child with a scream that sounded like an adult female.

And Timmy ran out of the class still hearing the other children down the hall screaming, and the child behind him in the class scream. Tears ran down his face in fear as he headed down the hall. But the Phantom was following him, and its thuds became louder and faster.

But Timmy was able to make it through the exit into the dim street lights on the road ahead. But as he looked back while he ran he could still hear the thumps of the phantom, but it was not visible. And now there was another shadowy figure standing at the entrance of the abandoned school who looked just like him! And it held a blank face as well…

Timmy was almost out of breath as he ran to the street lights, but he could hear it getting closer! (Boo! Sonic exclaimed and everyone playfully told him to continue)

And as Timmy reached the street he could hear the creature on his hills, but he bumped into a woman. The woman was shocked as Timmy looked behind himself, the sound had stopped, and he and the woman saw the shadowy figure still standing at the school door's entrance. The woman was crept out as well and offered to escort him home.

Timmy made it home, but he told everyone he could about what happened. And once it was found the five other children were missing they searched for them in the abandoned school.

They found their bodies…and they were all dead…

One child was maimed and the rest had no physical injuries…but they were not breathing…

There was no evidence…

No fingerprints…

And nothing in the school…

And when they questioned Timmy…he told them whatever happened he couldn't explain…and maybe they should finally tear the school down…

And before the school was demolished, some people reported seeing shadowy figures standing around the school at night. And sometimes the faint scream of children…


As Sonic lowered the megaphone it remained quiet for a moment, then everyone began clapping. Sonic grinned as he bowed but Cream still held her pout as she crossed her arms. And Rouge commented with a sly look "Well that certainly was gruesome…I like it…"

Blaze and Amy nodded agreeing with Rouge, but Amy looked at Sonic curiously as everyone continued to clap "Did you write that Sonic?"

"Yeah, but it feels kind of clichéd. I need to work on it." Sonic grinned at her.

Vanilla looked at Cream with a gentle smile "What did you think dear?"

Cream still held a pouty face though the others weren't sure why she looked so upset "I'm not scared."

And Sonic rubbed the back of his head as the villagers cheered for him to tell another story. Sonic responded to Cream first "It was creepy though."

As Sonic cleared his throat and stretched Rouge paused and her ears twitched. Her teeth gritted instantly donning an upset expression, and she sweated a bit as she just heard something…

The guys noticed her change in behavior and looked at her curiously, but this time she blinked her eyes, and her eyes became wide for a moment. But she kept her upset expression as she heard the noise again, and she was sure it was the same noise she had heard last night…

Then as suddenly as she heard it, it stopped. Rouge held gritted teeth, balled her fist, and stood up as the others looked confusedly at her. Sonic looked semiserious too as he lowered his megaphone and asked everyone to be quiet for a moment. Tails, Marine, Amy, and Blaze also became serious as they let Rouge listen.

But suddenly right behind the guys, and some villagers, in the darkened forest, two red eyes lit up…

And Sonic who was facing the forest donned a serious look and put the megaphone on the ground. And everyone around the campfire turned to look. They couldn't see the form of whatever it was because it was shrouded in the darkness of the forest still.

And in a comedic fashion, a villager spoke to it "Hey! Who are you? You gotta sit down before you tell a story!"

And then the thing lifted its arm in the darkness and swung at a nearby tree. Its attack was surprisingly loud as it hit the tree splitting it. And the tree cracked and leaned forward before it fell right into the side of someone's house causing some damage. It was then everyone knew it was not a joke, and the villagers jumped up and scrambled away. There was much commotion and yelling as terrified villagers fled. Cream and Cheese were the slowest to react, and froze in their spots seeing that the red-eyed monster was real. Their eyes were wide, and their jaws were slack as Vanilla pulled both of them up and began running.

And Amy, Blaze, Tails, Rouge, Sonic, Marine and the Chaotix got into fighting stances donning serious expressions. The creature slowly emerged from the darkness, and its footsteps were heavy as it plodded across the ground.

And it stepped out into the open, and everyone looked shocked to see it revealed by the campfire. It was a Metal Sonic. Most did not recognize it, but Sonic did and his eyes widened for a second when he did.

He gritted his teeth as he planted his foot into the dirt "….It's you…"

Everyone glanced at Sonic, and Tails's eyes lit up as something clicked in his mind "Sonic? Is this the Metal Sonic you were talking about?" Tails looked back at the machine "I've never seen this one before…."

"Yeah…this is the one I fought on the Death Egg the first-time…" Sonic said as the bot looked to be analyzing them "He's the Silver Metal Sonic…" and then the bot began to move getting ready to attack "Careful guys, he's a little heavier than the others. He can shoot spikes too…"

"Right..." Amy said unevenly.

Then Silver Sonic emitted a robotic noise as it activated its boosters and charged at them. Everyone dodged as Silver Sonic barreled through the fire destroying the campfire. It made flaming logs fly everywhere as people ran away. Amy grabbed her Piko Hammer laying by a nearby house; Tails took to the air; Blaze threw fire at it; Sonic spin dashed at it; Rouge took flight as well and attempted to get behind it.; and the Chaotix attempted to attack it as well.

Marine jumped out of the way as Silver Sonic suddenly tried to grab her. Marine ran a good distance back with wide eyes "I think the bloke is trying to kidnap me!"

Amy hit it with her Piko Hammer, and it pushed her away. Tails then spin dashed out of the air and hit it on its head, but as he tried to bounce away it knocked him into the air and onto the ground. Rouge then spoke aloud "Maybe the rumors were true…"

Espio snuck up behind it and jumped kicked it, but it only knocked him away. Vector caught him and Sonic spoke "Then that means we gotta take this guy down tonight…"

Then Blaze rushed at it covering herself with flames, and her charge hit it making it flinch. However, it back handed her making her fly and hit the side of a house knocking her hat off. Marine ran over to her while the guys noticed Blaze's fire had done some damage to it, and it was sparking a bit.

Then Sonic winked at Amy and Tails. They nodded with serous faces and ran at Silver Sonic all at once. Sonic faked him out and Tails hit him from the back, and Amy hit him from the side, then Sonic spin dashed him, and all their attacks were making dents in its hull. Then Rouge, Espio, Vector, and Charmy joined in. However, this time Silver Sonic was able to knock them all back, sending them flying in every direction….


While this was happening another individual who was late for the party finally showed up. Gliding through the air and getting ready to touch down, Knuckles held a semi-serious expression as he glided through the air nearing the beach side village.

He was still a bit nervous about leaving the Master Emerald alone, but for two days he had left and returned with no incident. He was late for the festivities because he had to chase off some treasure hunters.

As he neared closer to the ground, he saw many people running, which he thought was a little strange. So he dived to go a little faster. Once he was close enough, he landed near a few houses in the middle of the village. At this point, he was frowning a bit because there were scream's and people running around in fear. And as he tried to ask the villagers why everything seemed to be chaotic they ran pass him.

However, once he saw they were all running in a general direction from down the hill, he figured that's where he should look...


And a little ways down the hill Sonic was just knocked onto the ground again and he slid face first into the dirt. And the night seemed to become legitimately creepy as Silver Sonic began focusing on trying to capture someone. And though the guys had been mostly successful at stopping it, it suddenly began going after Cream…

And from what they all could figure, it was because she was the smallest and most defenseless person nearby. So Silver Sonic began moving the fight into the village as it followed Vanilla, Cream and Cheese. Amy and Vector charged at Silver Sonic as it went for Vanilla, Cream and Cheese. Blaze was helping Sonic up and Tails, Espio, and Charmy were getting up off the ground.

Silver Sonic unfortunately got to them first and knocked Vanilla and Cheese out of the way. Cream yelped and backed up in fear, but Vector grabbed its arms holding it still for a second while Amy whaled on it. But Silver Sonic quickly spun Vector around and threw him into Amy knocking them both down.

And Silver Sonic turned its red eyes on Cream as she looked around for help, and whimpered as it reached to grab her. But she was snatched off the ground by Rouge who sneakily avoided Silver Sonic.

She held an upset expression with Cream in her arms as she flew back up higher in the air. Silver Sonic's red eyes followed her and Rouge was almost out of his reach when he suddenly curled into a ball and shot a small brigade of spikes at her!

Rouge growled as she suddenly lost altitude to dodge the spikes, but Silver Sonic then began to spin and he hopped into the air knocking Rouge and Cream down. Rouge and Cream grunted as they hit the ground. And Silver Sonic uncurled and began walking towards Cream again. However, Sonic and Blaze were back on their feet, and Blaze had conjured a large ball of fire and lunged it at the bot.

It connected making it flinch yet again. It turned to see where the attack had come from, but only just saw as Sonic helped lunge Blaze into the air, and she did a spinning fire kick making Silver Sonic stumble a few feet back. Sonic also attacked with a spin dash and hit it. It tried to attack Sonic but Blaze conjured fire in her hands and made fire erupt across the ground to separate them.

It was enough of a distraction as they both noticed their new visitor. Blaze and Sonic kept their serious expressions as Knuckles stopped some feet away. Sonic greeted him "Hey, good timing Knuckles. You think you could give us a hand?"

Knuckles blinked his eyes then gritted his teeth with a frown. He raised his fist as Silver Sonic stepped through Blaze's fire "What is going on? I thought this was supposed to be a holiday or something."

"It is certainly something. It seems Eggman has rebuilt a robot to cause trouble." Blaze said as her flames grew a darker red.

The others had recovered and were off the ground now too. But it was obvious that Silver Sonic was at least damaged as he was sparking and smoking now. Silver Sonic didn't care anymore that the others were nearby now though, and he went for Cream on the ground anyway. Rouge shook her head as she finally got off the ground, and Cream crawled backwards away from Silver Sonic. Sonic and Blaze were closest, and they dashed after him. But Silver Sonic's metal quills opened and fired more spikes with its back turned. Blaze and Sonic's eyes widened as they grabbed one another and dragged each other to the ground. The others behind them did the same.

But Silver Sonic was right next to Cream and didn't care that Knuckles was charging him. He swung at Knuckles while going for Cream, but he underestimated him as he easily dodged his swipe. He ducked and with his fist up he landed three good blows, one to his side, one on his stomach, and finally an uppercut, all making damage to his haul and the final blow made Silver Sonic fall to one knee.

It almost looked to be over as Knuckles brought his fist down to finish him, but Silver Sonic knocked him back as well and quickly picked up Cream. Cream squealed and cried in fear as Silver Sonic turned to face them all. Everyone was up off the ground now and advancing towards him.

But Silver Sonic activated his boosters and in moments he blasted off flying off back in the direction from which he came. Cream screamed as they flew away into the darkened forest, and the guys growled as they needed to follow them. But they quickly took in their surroundings only seeing a few villagers nearby, and they were not hurt.

But they all quickly ran over to Vanilla and Cheese who were still on the ground. Marine and Charmy were kneeling next to her. Vector looked angry as they surrounded her "Are you ok?"

Vanilla looked saddened and she held Cheese on her lap "I'm ok, but that monster just took my baby."

Charmy looked at Espio and Vector with a serious look "We should help out around here while they're gone."

They both nodded and Blaze held a frown as she spoke "Marine you're with me, let's go."

Marine nodded with a serious face "Let's do this!"

So with Marine secure on her back, Blaze, Sonic, Knuckles, Amy, Tails, and Rouge dashed into the forest after Silver Sonic and Cream. The few remaining villagers and the Chaotix all watched them go with an unnerving feeling. Because even if the red-eyed monster was one of Eggman's creations, it still left them wondering what purposes it was for. And their imagination didn't need to be running to know that it was probably something bad…


A little while later…

The guys had caught up and chased Silver Sonic through the forest, and Cream making a lot of noise helped them keep up. They followed them out of the forest, out onto the open grassy plains, and tracked Silver Sonic going into the side of a hill. They all stood atop a hill watching this in the distance, and the new emerging city was even visible in the distance. The lights from the city were the only visible thing in the distance. And this must have been the reason Sonic and others had been seeing bots around the new emerging city. There was a base nearby!

So they all dashed down the hill and towards the direction of where they saw Silver Sonic go. When they reached the hill they saw them go, they only saw a grassy hill. But Rouge could hear a faint noise, and Knuckles felt the grass beneath was unusually rigid.

So Blaze frowned as she conjured fire in her hands and blasted the side of the hill with large streams of fire. And she burned the grass away to reveal two large metal doors, and she may have even melted and weakened it a bit.

That's when Knuckles, Sonic, Amy and Tails attacked the weakened metal and soon they burst through. They wasted no time because they wanted to get to Cream as fast as possible. Knuckles widened the doors enough for everyone to get through, and they all held upset expressions at what the inside held.

It was like a small laboratory. With metal walls and floors, it was well illuminated and there was a large computer console next to a glass capsule. The capsule was most likely to fix Silver Sonic. But at the back of the small area there were three people and Silver Sonic. Two people they didn't recognize and they were strapped with wires all over their bodies and they hung from the wall. They also looked to be unconscious and very young looking. Their arms and legs were constrained, and so was Cream next to them.

Cream held a shocked expression as Silver Sonic just finished putting her on the wall and turned to look at them. Because next to all three of them were unfinished robots, and the two people next to Cream, their wires went straight into the machine. Silver Sonic was still sparking and smoking, but charged them. And everyone went on the offensive as this fight was escalating so fast.

It looked like Eggman was still trying to figure out how to put people in his machines to power them…

Marine and Tails ran to the left up a ramp to the large computer console, Amy, Knuckles, Blaze and Sonic went directly at Silver Sonic to finish him off, and Rouge flew over above to the people and Cream trapped on the wall.

Rouge began unhooking the two other people while Cream held wide eyes in anticipation waiting for Rouge to get to her.

On the computer Marine was figuring out how to shut the place down, and Tails was trying to figure out how to release the restraints. Marine commented with a frown as they heard the fighting going on behind them "This computer is unlocked, I should be able to find something…"

Tails nodded in response with his own frown "Knowing Eggman, I wouldn't be surprised if…"

But as Tails hit enter on the keyboard they could hear the constraints unlock, but also the screen in front of them turned black and red, and the red image was a picture of Eggman's grinning face. His signature logo they'd come to know over the years. And Tails and Marine looked shocked as the lights began to flare on and off, and a loud alarmed started. Then a countdown timer on the screen popped up and read sixty seconds….and began counting down…

Tails and Marine blinked their eyes looking at one another then back at the screen. Tails spoke sounding slightly exasperated "I wouldn't be surprised if Eggman had this place rigged to blow…"

"They don't leave no evidence do they…" Marine said in a surprised tone.

And hurriedly they both ran to the back of the area to help the kidnapped people and Rouge. Meanwhile the others were beating Silver Sonic, Sonic and Knuckles team work, it was not ready for, because Sonic's speed made it hard to predict, and when Sonic distracted it Knuckles was able to beat its head in.

Blaze and Amy were also doing major damage, as Blaze threw large searing fire and flames at Silver Sonic, it weakened its hull and when Amy hit it with her Piko Hammer she was crippling it.

But the loud blaring alarms and lights flashing was an indicator that made them move faster. As they had heard the it's going to blow noise before. And Silver Sonic was almost defeated as Knuckles delivered and uppercut knocking it onto the ground. And just behind them all in the back area of the room Rouge, Tails, and Marine just released the people from their restraints.

But Silver Sonic curled into a ball and fired his spikes at Tails, Marine and Rouge. Rouge had just lowered Cream onto the floor but she saved Cream yet again. She yanked Cream by her arm and pulled her up into the air avoiding the spikes. The spikes completely missed Tails and Marine as they helped the kidnapped people.

But that was Silver Sonic's last mistake as Knuckles landed the final blow. As Silver Sonic uncurled Knuckles threw a fast punch right into its jaw disjointing its head. But Silver Sonic began to explode and the guys quickly made their way to the exit. Knuckles helped Marine and a kidnapped person picking them both up and running towards the exit. Sonic helped Tails carry the other.

Rouge carried Cream in the air, and Blaze and Amy dashed for the exit as well. They all burst through the exit threshold around the same time, and the timer just hit zero as they made it outside. But they kept moving because the secret hill base exploded!

The explosion was loud, large, and the entire hill was completely destroyed once the explosion subsided. With frowns on all their faces a distance away, they watched the plumes of smoke and fire. And they all wondered if they were thinking similar things. That, that had ramped up very quickly, and it was a fitting end to the Spooky Festival . Especially now that the red eyed monster was confirmed real, and it had been defeated. It was sure to squash all the rumors and give relief to those who worried about it.

Though Eggman might have been aware tonight, his sick experiments made him the real monster. And unlike the red eyed monster, they were not afraid of him…


A little while later…

It was much late into the night, and most usually did not stay up this late in the village. But because of the scare of the red-eyed monster, many people stayed up longer. Everyone was relieved when Sonic and company returned, and even more relieved when they told them they had taken down the Metal Sonic.

So what the red-eyed monster really was, and other questions were not answered in full detail yet. But relief had been washed over the beach side village, because for the time being, people were still spooked. Many villagers were going around the village seeing what had been damaged, and the guys were taking it easy around another campfire lit by Blaze.

The two other kidnapped people were taken into the medical building in the village for the night. And for the most part, they were not severely harmed; they were undernourished though.

The guys were just getting finished up being bandaged by the villagers as they sat around the newly made campfire. This new campfire had logs they sat on around the circle. They all had various types of bandages on different parts of them. Vanilla held a smile as she held Cream. Cream's eyes were closed as she held her mother and Cheese happily flew around the two.

Amy and Marine were talking to Sonic and Knuckles, and Amy spoke of how heroic Sonic was in her usual flirtatious manner. This made Marine and Knuckles laugh while Sonic donned a sheepish demeanor. The Chaotix sat not far from Cream, Cheese, and Vanilla, and Vector bragged about how he grabbed the Metal Sonic. Espio and Charmy chided him saying it was dangerous, but at the same time praising him with smiles on all their faces.

Rouge sat on a barrel by the side of a house not far from the campfire, and she had an arm in a sling around her neck. She had a sly smirk on her face as she watched everyone talk, but she glanced to her right when she saw Blaze approach her. She had bandages wrapped around her waist and one of her legs.

Blaze had a stoic expression as she walked around from the side of the house and stopped in front of Rouge. She briefly glanced back at everyone before she looked back at Rouge. And Rouge spoke first "They still watching?"

Blaze nodded "Yes, I believe they hoped to catch us with our guards down."

But then Rouge looked confusedly at Blaze and her expression "What?"

Blaze raised an eyebrow with a curious look, but she remained silent as she looked at her. And Rouge wondered what she was doing until she suddenly realized why she was looking at her like that.

And Blaze spoke keeping her curious look "That was…unexpected of you…"

Rouge grinned closing her eyes, and she shrugged "The world is grey…"

And as Rouge opened her eyes donning a smirk again, Blaze kept her curious look. As it was obvious she was a bit confused about Rouge and her usual selfish nature. Rouge could tell she was surprised by her honest behavior tonight. She had really gone out of her way to save Cream…

She usually did not save others…

But then Blaze smiled as just like the world being grey, she saw Rouge was too now. Because just like the world there were always four sides to every story, and everything was nuanced. Rouge was all those terrible thing she had thought of before. She had greed and no morals…but at the same time she did have virtue and respect…

She had both simultaneously…

She also had a good side…

And Blaze continued to smile as it was just as likely that she had helped just to continue and throw off Cream and the Chaotix…

Rouge then winked at her and cocked her head towards the campfire. Blaze donned a stoic expression as she continued to look at Rouge, and Rouge spoke with her sly smirk "The detectives are looking at us. Let's say we join them…"

Blaze nodded with a small smile, and they both walked over to the campfire and sat with the others. And Blaze sat next to Sonic; Marine sat to Sonic's left. Rouge though, sneakily made her way over to Knuckles and leaned up against him.

Knuckles was of course startled and spoke with an embarrassed expression "Rouge! Erhm…"

There were snickers as Rouge fluttered her eyelashes at him and fiddled with his dreadlocks "You sure did show up in the nick of time…I got you something for your troubles…"

That's when Knuckles noticed and looked down at his lap to see a big black spider of some sort on his lap. Knuckles yelped as he fell back off the log he was sitting on and landed on his back. The little toy plastic spider rolled down and landed on his head, and Knuckles blinked his eyes still looking embarrassed "What just happened?"

Rouge giggled, placing a hand over her mouth, and Charmy flew over to him with a smile "She pranked you good!"

But Knuckles still looked confused "But she…the spider…"

And everyone laughed as Knuckles got his first dose of social interaction in a while. He was still a bit naïve and Rouge made sure to exploit it to get a scare out of him. And everyone began to laugh at Knuckles predicament as Rouge continued to mess with him. But while everyone was smiling and laughing, Cream held a halfhearted smile as the night had been terrifying for her. However, she donned a curious look as she ever so slowly guided her vision to look over at Blaze and Sonic …

They were sitting next to each other, and they were laughing…

And though she still thought there was something going on, her beliefs had been shaken tonight. And she finally turned her attention away from them despite them sitting very close to one another, and she snuggled with her mother. Vanilla patted her head as everyone enjoyed the end to the Spooky Festival . Cream felt like she was back to square one…and now she was sure that she was unsure about Blaze and Sonic…


Two days later…

The Spooky Festival had ended two days ago and things were getting back to normal. The weather was a little different today, and the sky had cleared up with blue skies and wispy clouds. It was still plenty cool out, but it was around evening today, and the bright golden red colors of the evening sky made the dark contrast of the previous fall days a much more comfortable setting. The beach side village was relieved to find out more details about the 'Red-Eyed Monster'. Which they found out to be another one of Eggman's creations, and most were already used to Eggman terrorizing with his bots. And it was just another one of Eggman's plots.

The two kidnapped people recovered and were well. However, it was also discovered with the help of the Chaotix no less, that the two kidnapped people were indeed the rumored kidnapped people from the new emerging city. And because of this, they had sort of solved a mystery because they recognized the people from a newsletter from the city.

So they offered to, and escorted them back to the new emerging city a day ago. Last everyone heard they were being rewarded for solving another mystery. The news of the red-eyed monster also being Eggman's doing also spread into the city with the help of the Chaotix; they had not returned yet. With Blaze's help, Knuckles returned to Angel Island the previous day and the Master Emerald was still safe. So Knuckles was considering exploring farther away around Mobius. It was something he always wanted to do and couldn't before now.

He also said he might visit more often now that he was certain he could leave Angel Island and the Master Emerald safe. He also jokingly added that they might need his help when he comes around, and everyone figured socializing was already catching on for him after and since Sonic continued to mess with him.

Marine and Tails had recovered some materials from the secret hill base the previous day, but a lot of the debris was missing, which they figured was salvaged by Eggman. Though they did get to study a bit of Eggman's tech and learn what he used.

And the village had only sustained minor damage from the attack from Silver Sonic. Though some houses were being repaired today in the area it attacked. Cream and Cheese were in that area now helping the guys and villagers repair the homes that were damaged.

Cheese had a happy expression as he followed Cream around, and Cream held a blank expression as she carried a small stack of cut wood planks from the carpenters. She wore her scarf today, and Cheese even wore a small one knitted by her mother. Mostly everyone in the village was bundled up in some way today. She walked at a normal pace through the busy village lost in thought about how everything had gone down. Things were pretty much back to normal again and for the most part she stopped looking at Mrs. Blaze and Sonic…

She didn't catch them doing anything too strange…even now…

When she did look at them now she had seemed to lose her interest, especially since she could not prove anything. And as she walked she looked up seeing Rouge fly in the opposite direction of her. Rouge held a sly smirk as she flew away and Cream sighed. She caught Rouge alone the other day, and she reported to her she saw nothing strange, which disappointed her a little.

And everyone pretty much had seemed to forget that she had even suggested what she had suggested. And she didn't bring it up anymore because no one believed her anyway…

Cream adjusted the slightly heavy wood planks in her arms as she walked. And at this point she wasn't really sure anymore either…

Ever since that Metal Sonic attacked she began doubting herself, because for the most part, she had been wrong about Blaze and Sonic…

She really hadn't seen them doing anything overtly strange, and now she was wondering if the subtle things she saw were just her imagination…

Speaking of which, she had spoken with the Chaotix before they left. After much investigation, they had concluded that as far as they could see, they had not observed any strange behavior between Blaze and Sonic. And even with all of them observing for two days they had saw nothing. Because of this, the case was unresolved, and they refunded her, her money. Though everyone had heard they got a handsome reward for the kidnapped people.

Cream held a blank expression as she walked along through the village. Cheese happily followed her, but she did feel a little disappointed. And it wasn't as if she was trying to out Mrs. Blaze, she knew that would cause trouble. She wasn't planning on telling anyone if she did find something. She would have kept the information to herself…she was just curious is all…

But the Chaotix failed to solve the case, she got her money back, and no one believed her…

So as it stood, there was nothing proven…

But Cream and Cheese finally reached the place where they were supposed to take the wood planks though. There were a lot more people in this area, the place where Silver Sonic had attacked. There were many villagers who built stuff helping to repair the houses that had been damaged, but a few of the guys were here as well.

But then a builder walked near her and asked her to take the wood to a pile. She pointed over to a pile of supplies, and Cream and Cheese nodded walking over to it as the builder walked away. At this point, Cheese seemed to be distracted by something looking in the opposite direction. But as Cream put the wood down she glanced over to the side of a home seeing her friends helping rebuild it.

Tails, Sonic, Marine, and Blaze were working with some villagers who were replacing the siding of a home. However, Cream's eyes widened again, and her jaw became slack as she could see them clearly. She was not far away from them, but they did not notice her. They were all wearing scarfs, and Blaze and Sonic were holding a piece of wood up as Marine hammered it, and Tails stood behind the three reading a blue sheet of paper.

And Cream focused on them again…looking as Blaze smiled at Sonic…and he smiled back at her…

Seeing how subtly…intimate they seemed to interact…but no one around seemed to notice…

Because they didn't break eye contact…and Blaze had that fond look on her face yet again…

And that expression of fondness is what confused Cream as she donned a curious look…

Because she could still see how more intimate they acted in subtle ways…

And she curiously looked at them…wondering…if her eyes were deceiving her…

And now it had become something she couldn't not notice...


A week later…

It was still fall in Sonic's world and still plenty cool out after the Spooky Festival. However, today was partly cloudy and somewhat warm. It was also a rare occasion for Blaze and Sonic. Their excuses matched, and they were able to go out in daylight and not be suspected. Sonic said he was going one direction like he usually did every day, and she said she was going to another place to explore alone for the day. But secretly, they met up and had been exploring and spending time together.

The sun and blue skies were beautiful as they ran across steep sided canyons. Sonic grinned at her and she smiled back at him as they slowed to a stop near the edge of one of the canyon walls. Blaze looked a bit hesitant though as she donned a stoic expression, and she peered slightly over the edge before quickly walking away from the drop.

She walked over near Sonic and said nothing. Sonic put his fist on his hips and Blaze kept her stoic expression as they both looked around to see where they were. There was still much canyon and land as far as they could see and plenty more enjoying of the day to do.

They stared out into the distance in the silence, listening to the wind blow. Blaze's clothes and hair billowed in the wind, and Sonic's quills were pushed around by the wind. They had already talked about things…

After the Spooky Festival was over things had seemed to settle down again. Cream was not watching them as much anymore, Rouge confirmed Cream had been fooled, no one suspected them still, and the other issues of life still hung over their heads.

But Blaze wasn't planning on visiting her homeland for a few weeks anyway, so they would not have to hear anything from her parents until then…

Their partnership was going fine, and their trust remained strong…

And since everything had been resolved Blaze was ready for more…intimate matters…

And she turned to him with her stoic face, and he continued smiling, but he reached out and grabbed her hand. And for a brief moment, Blaze had to catch herself and stop from retracting her hand. She flinched a bit…

Because despite getting closer in her relationship, there were still times where she pushed others away…

It was an instinct reflex…

She never let anyone get close to her in the past…

She would most certainly never let a male touch her…hold her…

But she relaxed...

And Blaze kept her stoic expression as she spoke "Sonic…why did you let me come to you..." her hand remained limp, and he continued smiling "…you are such a free spirit…I could never imagine you being tied down…"

And though Blaze held a stoical expression, inside, she could feel her introversion and awkward shyness right now. Sometimes she would just feel this way and knew it to just be a part of her nature. She had just slipped back into her old ways for a moment…

But Sonic remained silent and he smiled as he slowly moved closer to her. And Blaze blinked her eyes as her hand remained limp in his. And he stood in front of her with his head facing pass her shoulder, and hers his, until they could not see each other's faces. And Blaze remained still with slightly widened eyes not moving, and he made no movement for a second. Then he slowly used his other hand and wrapped it around her back, pulling her into a hug…in which she made no movement…

But then a gentle smile came over Blaze's face as she suddenly gripped his hand and squeezed him back. She snuggled up against him "…You keep me burning…"

And Sonic laughed at her statement "That was cheesy!"

And Blaze smirked as she closed her eyes while they held one another "You are starting to rub off on me…"

But she meant it…and sure he did as well…

And they stood out in the beautiful fall day as the sun cascaded across the rock plains, and the clouds moved above. They probably still had many things to face in life, but for now they had taken another issue with Cream out of their way. And she thought back, thinking of how it all started between them. And even though she never really told him what was going on before they got together, she knew he was sensitive to her feelings. And she sought him out…to be close to…because she trusted him….


End