The laser blast rocked the entire city. The small building that was the target fell to the ground as its occupants ran for their lives. All around Echidnaopolis, large tanks rolled across the land, surrounding the city. Small hover craft floated in between them. The tanks launched a few more rounds into the air, merely to send the citizens into even more of a frenzy. The robed soldiers of the Dark Legion lined in formation beside the tanks, armed and ready. The Echidna Security Team was already springing into action. Constable Remington burst from the E.S.T. office barking orders. “Squad A, start directing people to the bunkers. The enemy hasn’t begun to enter the city. Squads B, C, and D set up a circumference around the city. Don’t fire until they do. Those tanks were just sending a warning.” Remington paused and looked to where the Legion had formed a wall of troops. “If I know the Dark Legion, they’ve got something bigger planned and just wanted our attention.”
* * * * *
“So, what do you think they want?” Alerak asked as him and Ekajra ran towards the center of town.
“Not sure. Probably not me, unless I’m important enough for tanks,” Ekajra replied. “They’re probably just trying to take over the city.”
“That would be correct!” a familiar voice yelled. Ekajra and Alerak turned to see a streak of black and yellow cutting through the air. Ekajra jumped to the side as Kage’s plasma sword sliced into the ground. Alerak shot at him, but Kage deflected the bullet. “And I’ve got orders to take car of you traitors. You in particular, “Dark Guardian”.”
“Well, that’s a term I haven’t heard in a while,” Ekajra said, unhooking his chain. “Don’t tell me you’ve got orders from the Grandmaster himself?”
“As a matter of fact, yes,” Kage said. “But unfortunately he wants you alive. So I’d prefer you don’t resist too much.”
“Heh. Alerak, go on ahead. I’ll catch up after I take care of this loser.”
“Alright, good luck Ekajra,” Alerak said as he turned back towards downtown. Kage also turned and stepped towards Alerak, but Ekajra threw out his chain and caught Kage’s ankle, pulling him to the ground.
Ekajra pulled back his chain and spun it around his hand. “Hey, aren’t you supposed to be fighting me?” Ekajra said. As Kage stood up, Ekajra held his hand forward, giving the customary “Bring it!” hand signal. And as expected, Kage complied. Ekajra slid right as Kage swung his sword, then jumped back to dodge his claws. “Two weapons doesn’t exactly seem fair. Let me even this up a bit.” Ekajra whipped his chain forward, wrapping it around the handle of Kage’s sword. He flicked it back and caught the sword. “You shouldn’t be so tough without this.”
“Not quite. I’ve gotten some new features just in case of moments like this,” Kage said. Ekajra then noticed the other chain attached to the sword, which lead back to Kage. With incredible speed, Kage pulled the chain back in, the sword and Ekajra coming with it. Ekajra tried to keep his feet on the ground, but he lost his balance and fell right into Kage’s fist, with an extra greeting from his foot. Ekajra fell to the ground and scrambled backwards as Kage pounced on him. Ekajra swung his leg up and hit Kage in the muzzle, dazing him and giving Ekajra time to get to his feet. Ekajra drew his knife and charged Kage. He blocked Ekajra’s attack with his claws and slashed horizontally with his sword. Ekajra twisted around Kage and elbowed him in the back. Unfortunately he’d forgotten about Kage’s armor. Ekajra jumped away, holding his right arm as it spasmed.
“Gah, funny bone!” he yelled, hopping around in place. He started shaking his arm, running around to avoid Kage’s attacks. Eventually the feeling returned to his arm, and Ekajra blocked Kage’s strike. Before he could bring his sword down, Ekajra hit Kage with a knee to the gut, quickly followed by a fist to the face. Kage stumbled back, and Ekajra quickly delivered a series of quick slashes across him before being stopped by his sword. Ekajra jumped to the left, then stepped to the right, ducking under Kage’s wide slash. Ekajra swung his leg out, tripping Kage, then backhanded him from behind. He used his left arm this time.
* * * * *
Alerak ran through the streets towards E.S.T. headquarters. Everywhere soldiers were directing the people towards underground safe houses and setting up barricades. More than one of which got in his way.
“Sir, I can’t let you through. Please proceed to the bunkers,” an E.S.T. soldier said as Alerak dashed towards the barrier.
“Sorry, but I have to talk with the Constable,” Alerak said. He slid under the simple police barrier and kept running. He soon reached the headquarters, where Knuckles and the Chaotix had already gathered.
“Hey Alerak, glad you finally made it. Where’s Ekajra?” Mighty asked as Alerak approached the group.
“He’s fighting off Shadow Claw. You know, the Legionnaire they keep sending after him.”
“So those hoods are already attacking?” Vector asked.
“No, I think he was sent alone. He said he was ordered, but he could just be acting on his own.”
“Well, the other troops haven’t made any movement, so I think it’s best we stay put until they move. We’re still not sure what their motives are behind this attack,” Remington said.
“Though it’s pretty obvious,” Knuckles finished. “They’re probably trying to take the city again. It’s only a matter of time until Dimitri or Kragok show up with the usual bad guy threats.”
* * * * *
Kage spun around, slashing upward. Ekajra jumped back, weaving side to side as Kage kept up his rapid assault. Ekajra was bending his body around Kage’s attacks, and eventually gravity caught up to him and he lost his balance. He began to fall backwards, but flipped around and rolled sideways. When Kage swung downward, Ekajra grabed his arm. He flipped Kage onto his back, then sprang to his feet and put some distance between them. Ekajra turned to face Kage as he slowly stood up. Kage began to toss his sword up in the air and catch it again, and suddenly he threw it straight at Ekajra. He dodged to the side, and the sword became embedded in a tree. “So much for your sword, Kage!”
Kage didn’t reply. He just twisted his left hand in the air, grabbing onto something, then jerked his arm back, returning the sword to his grasp. That’s when Ekajra remembered the chain. He charged Kage as the cyborg got into a defensive stance. Ekajra made a motion to slash with his knife, then quickly stepped right and punched Kage in the gut. Ekajra withdrew his knife and began to pummel Kage with rapid punches. Slowly he moved one arm towards Kage’s sword. He tried to grab it, but Kage managed to throw him off. Ekajra threw his chain at Kage, who blocked it with his claws. The chain wrapped around his hand, and he gripped it, pulling Ekajra towards him. Ekajra resisted, and Kage was slowly dragging him towards him. Soon, Kage simply threw his sword at Ekajra again. Just like Ekajra hoped he would.
Ekajra jumped left. The sudden loss of weight caused Kage to lose his balance, but Ekajra continued to fly forward. He turned in the air and raised his blade, waiting for the right moment. Sure enough, Kage’s sword soon began to drift downward in its flight path and embed itself in the ground. Before Kage could pull back Ekajra swung down, slashing the chain. Unfortunately, a second later Ekajra’s face got acquainted with Kage’s fist. He promptly reported to the ground. He quickly sat up, but ducked back again as Kage leapt over him, headed for his sword. “Oh no you don’t!” Ekajra said, turning over and reaching for Kage. He caught his ankle and he fell to the ground. Ekajra pounced forward and swung at Kage, who blocked with his claws. Kage pushed Ekajra off and continued to move towards his sword. However Ekajra got to his feet faster and grabbed the sword, flinging it into the woods. Some branches were cut down before the sword deactivated itself.
Staying low, Kage charged Ekajra. He slashed upward with his claws, but Ekajra spun around and blocked it. Kage stood up and pushed against Ekajra, who was equally trying to throw his opponent off balance. And when strength won’t work, there’s always taunting. “So, Kage, if you guys are trying to take the city, where’s the Grandmaster and his big conquering speech?” Kage didn’t reply, but he didn’t need to. Just then, over the city, a whirlpool seemed to be forming. It slowly grew larger, until a swirling vortex had formed in the sky above Angel Island. Then, something began to emerge from it. A tip of silver, quickly followed by the rest of large airship. Another followed, and each moved off to the side. Then another ship emerged, massive and definitely foreboding. Turrets gleamed all over it, and it looked like it could hold both of the other airships… and then some! Ekajra and Kage, and everyone in the city, turned to look to the giant ship as a voice began to come from it.
“Citizens of Echidnaopolis, and everyone else on this floating rock, I bid you good morning. It is I, Dimitri, Grandmaster of the Dark Legion,” the voice said. “As you can see, your city is surrounded by my soldiers, and I doubt you have the firepower to stop us. So I ask you to surrender peacefully. Or else, as much as it pains me, I’ll be forced to destroy you. You have an hour to make your decision. I hope it’s the right one.”