Rooftops and Alleyways.

Alerak ran through the streets of the city. He didn’t have to worry about running into others, as the streets were almost completely desolate. Here and there a person may be running into a home or office, but none of them took notice of him. But he kept his eyes open for any sign of Deathblade, or an EST officer. Unfortunately, he ran into the former first.

“Hey, you there, stop!” the officer said, running over to Alerak. Alerak stopped, sighed, and turned to face the older echidna standing next to him. “You mind explaining what you‘re doing running around with all this artillery? Or where you got them?”

Alerak quickly explained everything. “My name is Alerak. I‘ve helped the EST out in the past with my tech as well as helping during that small scale Robotnik attack as well as when the Dark Legion tried to kidnap the visiting Princess recently. Just check with the Constable, he‘ll know me.”

“Well, we‘ll just see about the, won‘t we?” the officer said, obviously annoyed at Alerak’s hasty response. He pulled out a walkie-talkie and dialed in Remington’s frequency. “Yes Constable, I‘ve got a kid here that‘s loaded with high powered plasma weaponry, looks like Legion tech, and he says he knows you. His name? I believe he said it was Alerak sir.” There was a pause. “Yes, of course sir,” the officer removed his hand from the talk button. “The Constable wants to know if you know anything about that attacker.”

“Okay, his name is Deathblade and don‘t worry I‘ve got everything under control. Tell him to tell all the officers that if they see him to try and bring him in peacefully. And to tell me. He knows how to reach me.”

“Very well then, proceed with whatever you have planned. I‘ll relay your info to the Constable. Good luck.” Alerak nodded to the officer before taking off again. He ran down the street a short distance before turning quickly into an alleyway. He spotted a fire escape ladder, and pulled it down, climbing up to series of ladders and platforms to the roof.

As he reached the roof of the apartment building, he pulled out his sub-machine gun, holding it at the ready. The news footage had shown Deathblade jumping to a rooftop, so that was likely where he was. Alerak just hoped he didn’t run into any more delays. Unfortunately, yet again, this wish did not come true, as a red figure began to come gliding towards the roof, landing just in front of Alerak. He looked at the new echidna standing before him, stopping at the white crescent on his chest. “So, you‘re the Guardian Knuckles I presume?”

* * * * *

Ekajra was rapidly pacing back and forth in the blackness, talking to himself. “Okay, so let‘s rundown what we know of the situation. Deathblade has taken over my body, is likely rampaging the city right now. I‘m currently somehow trapped in my own mind, which makes no sense whatsoever. And it‘s really flippin’ dark in here.” Ekajra stopped pacing. He looked up at the “ceiling” and shouted, “Seriously, can we get some better lighting in here?!” Suddenly the whole area around him lit up and he was now in a giant white space. “Huh, all right then… thanks.”

He continued to pace, looking around his new surroundings. As far as he could tell the room never ending. Which was very encouraging, cause at least it meant his mind was large. Or at least, this giant prison space. “Hmm, wonder if this is what that place the Legion was stuck in for a while was like.”

“I‘m not sure if I can answer that question, but how about some company?” Deathblade said as he materialized in front of Ekajra, bowing dramatically.

“Well, not from you! Give me back my body!” Ekajra yelled as Deathblade stood up.

“Oh, but, I‘m afraid I can‘t do that. I‘ve barely even begun my plans. So just kick back and relax. Like I said, you have no chance of defeating me, especially in here.”

“You confident of that? I mean, you haven‘t even given me a fighting chance,” Ekajra said.

“And you‘ll never get one,” Deathblade said, suddenly disappearing. He reappeared behind Ekajra, and leaned in, whispering in his ear. “I‘ve already explained, I control everything in here.” He warped back to being in front of Ekajra. “So why even bother?”

“This is my mind too you know! I‘ll find a way to beat you!” Ekajra replied, taking a fighting stance. He smiled as he taunted Deathblade with a “Bring it!” hand gesture.

Deathblade laughed. He shimmered for a moment, and a what looked like a faded ghost version of him floated up above him and disappeared. “Very well then. Let the fun begin.”

* * * * *

Knuckles looked at Alerak intently. “Yeah, I am. And I want an explanation for what‘s going on. And I‘m pretty sure you know,” the Guardian said.

“Agh, alright, but I really need to make this quick,” Alerak said in an annoyed tone. Knuckles looked at him fiercely. “But, I guess I can explain it better for you.” He then went on to explain everything starting from when they’d first met Deathblade all the way up their present predicament.

“Hmm, so Ekajra is currently under the control of this Deathblade armor, which is basically nanites that can form into just about any form on his body. And now he‘s going on a giant rampage for a number of reasons. Anything else?”

“Yeah, I want to try and bring him in safely. The armor was designed to protect the user, but based on what happened to Akaja with Deathblade in its unstable form then it causes more damage to the body than help.”

“Hmm, knowing the Dark Legion, that seems likely. Alright, I‘ll make sure to tell the Chaotix what you told me. We‘ll keep our eyes open.” Knuckles then ran to the edge of the building and jumped off, catching the right air current and gliding off towards another part of the city. Alerak ran to the other side of the roof and jumped, barely making it over the chasm between buildings. The next building was lower however, and he rolled forward as he landed to break his fall. He crouched behind a ventilation pipe and pulled out a pair of binoculars. He scanned the skyline, searching for any sign of his target. He spotted a small cloud of smoke rising a short distance away. A silver streak flashed past it. “Got ya,” Alerak said, putting the binoculars away. He quickly stood up and ran to the side of the building. He jumped down, grabbing a gutter pipe to slow himself down. He stopped a few feet above the ground and pushed off the wall, hitting the ground running.

The buildings in this part of the town were tightly packed together, with narrow alleys in between them. Alerak knew this wasn’t the best place to try and take down Deathblade. But he hoped that most citizens had gotten inside by now. And his latest creation was certainly going to be of help. That and his improved gun. He turned a corner into a street just as his metallic prey was landing down and about to jump to the next roof. “Deathblade!” Alerak yelled, skidding sideways to a stop, raising his gun.

Deathblade froze mid-jump and turned his head to look at Alerak. His maniacal smirk became visible as his face mask slid away. He turned fully and slowly walked over to Alerak. “Ahh, you must the host‘s little friend. Alerak, right?”

“Yeah, that‘s me. What have you done to Ekajra?”

“Oh don‘t worry, he‘s perfectly safe, right here.” He gestured to himself with a flourish of his hand. “Though he‘s having a bit of trouble here,” he said, tapping his head with a laugh. “But how can I help you? I wouldn‘t want to neglect my future slaves during my rise to power.”

“Like I‘m gonna let that happen!” Alerak yelled. “Just give Ekajra back, never come back, and I won‘t have to destroy you.”

“Honestly, you echidnas are just so foolish. You really think you can beat me? I‘ve already explained to your friend that he can‘t beat me, and I doubt you‘ll be able to do any better. And even if you somehow manage to beat me like last time, I‘ll just keep coming back. Really your only option is to kill your friend here.”

“If it comes to that, then so be it. Ekajra and I are bound to be separated eventually. I‘d rather not have him being a mad killing machine when that happens,” Alerak said with the same mischievous smirk that was more often Ekajra’s.

Deathblade sighed. “Very well, I‘ll just have to destroy you as well. If you‘ll have the sportsmanship to give me time to prepare…” Deathblade quickly began changing, extending out shoulder spikes, blades from his knees and elbows, back spikes and elongating his dreads into blades of their own. His mouth guard slid back over his already metallic muzzle. “Shall we begin?

“With pleasure,” Alerak said aiming his gun. Deathblade stepped back into a fighting stance, extending his claws. Alerak brought one hand off his gun and extended his arm towards Deathblade, palm spread upward. He quickly pulled his fingers back twice in the customary “Bring it!” motion. Deathblade dashed forward, holding his fingers together so the claws came to a point. Alerak grabbed his gun with both hands and pulled the trigger.

————————————————————————————————————

Previous Chapter.

Index.

Next Chapter.

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