The next day dawned a dreary morning. Gray cloud covered the sky, and a steady rain was falling. Tails turned away from the window and sighed. “This definitely isn’t good flying weather.”
“Well, let’s check the news. Maybe it’ll clear up.” Sonic said, grabbing the TV remote and turning it on. He flipped to the local new channel.
“First, a special report.” The host said. “A young boy was attacked in his room last night. Fortunately, he sustained little injury and was able to chase his attacker off…”
“I don’t even know what it was really.” the screen had switched to the victim. “I was just listening to some music when this yellow thing just appeared. It was just floating there and then it started coming towards me. It tried to get away but it managed to get at me. I went for the window, and when I opened it the thing just disappeared.”
“You mentioned music, what were you listening to..?”
“Well that’s a dumb question.” Sonic mumbled.
“I think “Can You Feel the Sunshine” was playing when it appeared. Actually yeah, right when the song started…”
“Can You Fell the Sunshine…” Tails thought out loud.
“That anything important Tails? Like, this involving Eggman?”
“I think so. He mentioned that his attacker was yellow, and the song… I remember Tails Doll saying something similar to that when he first met me.”
“Eggman attacking people randomly? That doesn’t seem like his style, he’s usually more upfront.” Knuckles pointed out.
“Yeah, but think about it. Random attacks, bringing back these older robots, the fact that he thought to take advantage of the alien invasion, all of it seems just to well-planned for Eggman.”
“Yeah, now that you mention it, he wouldn’t be able to come up with something like this that quickly. I mean, the guys a genius, but he’s kind of an idiot at the same time.”
“Maybe it isn’t Eggman. When Tails Doll talked to me yesterday he said Eggman was the least of our worries. Do you think someone else is doing all this?”
“All the more reason to hurry and get the Master Emerald back. If this really isn’t Eggman, then we don’t know what they could be capable of with the Emerald shards!” Knuckles stood up quickly and walked to the door. He opened it, practically ripping it off its hinges. “Let’s go!”
* * * * *
“Curses! The sun is coming up! I didn’t get to properly feed last night. I must still not be at full power. And yet, how fortunate that that fool was playing my summoning song!” Tails Doll laughed as it slipped away into the darkness.
* * * * *
Shadow stood in the middle of a large jungle. But he wasn’t on Prison Island anymore. He walked along the metal platform and looked over at a large barrel like structure next to him. He laughed as he looked at the mustached face painted on it, before charging up a Chaos Spear, and sending it flying at the structure. It hit dead center on the middle of the face, exploding. “Now, time to get the new troops.” He said as he walked off into the fortress.
* * * * *
“Okay Knuckles, where to next?” Tails asked as he was performing the last checks on the Tornado. Knuckles once again focused his energy.
“Well, as far as I can tell there aren’t many left. There was plenty at the shrine still, and Metal-me could have quite a few. So, with the few that I can sense in the outlying area, that should be it.”
“Really? Well, that was quicker than I thought. Now we can get to the real action!” Sonic said, jumping up onto the Tornado.
“Yes, and I can get the rest of the shards back from that no good Metal Knuckles!” Sonic and Knuckles gave each other the “thumbs up” sign as Tails started up the Tornado, rolling his eyes.
“So, you said the rest were nearby. Which direction?”
“Off in those hills.” Knuckles pointed at some hills, although they could easily be called mountains, a few miles away from the town. Tails led the Tornado down the runway, and took off for the mountains.
* * * * *
“You are most likely some of the greatest of Dr. Robotnik’s creations. Though, of course, not as great as myself, but close. But now, you shall be my ultimate soldiers.” Shadow said, pacing in front of the new troops standing in front of him. “You will replace those foolish Egg Pawns, and be the ultimate army of the Android Empire. Let’s just hope the other subordinates can tell you apart from me.” Shadow laughed. “Now, you will be the personal guards of my new fortress. So, let’s get moving, shall we!” Shadow raised up his Chaos Emeralds, and the others he had retrieved after finding out how many troops there were, and began to warp the new army back to the Prison Island base.
* * * * *
“I don’t think I’m gonna be able to land!” Tails said as they came in on the mountains. “Knuckles, you’ll just have to jump off!”
“Got it! No problems with that plan!” He said, kneeling down as Tails brought the Tornado as close to the mountain as possible. Knuckles jumped off the Tornado, and after free falling for a few seconds, glided into the side of the mountain. He touched down on an outcropping, rolled for a bit, and then stood up, dusting himself off. “Alright, time to look for those Emerald Shards.” He shoved his fists into the mountainside and began to climb, sensing for the nearest shard.
* * * * *
“Target acquired.” Metal Knuckles said, reaching down to pull an emerald shard out of a clump of vines. “This jungle is getting tiresome. But fortunately…” he checked his scanner. “It would appear that I have obtained all the shards in this area.” Metal Knuckles put the shard in a container and then engaged his boosters, blasting his way out of the jungle. As he was clearing it he started to emit a beeping noise. “Incoming transmission.” He cocked his head to the side quickly. “Yes?”
“This is Madness contacting Guardian. Requesting status report on search for the shards.” Metal Sonic’s voice said.
“I have collected all the emeralds in this area, and can’t seem to detect any with in range of my scanners.”
“Good. Plushy believes that our originals have already obtained the rest of the shards. The Emperor wants you to head to the Lava Shelter base to await further orders.”
“10-4. Heading there now. Over and out.” Metal Knuckles cocked his head again before stopping abruptly and changing direction. “So, our originals have the rest of the shards. Then hopefully I will get the chance to fight them. But… what is with the codenames? They seem to serve no purpose. And why Madness?”
“I too, do not like the codenames… In particular, mine…”
“Tails Doll? Stop overriding my communications! If you want to talk to me, just do it the normal way. None of this random popping up in my CPU.”
“I would… but my power is so… weak… during the day… don’t you…”
“No, I don’t feel the sunshine. Robots can’t feel, no matter how well designed some of us our.” Metal Knuckles said with something akin to smugness in his voice.
* * * * *
“Aha, found one!” Knuckles said, looking down at the ground. Although faint, a raising of the ground where something had been buried was visible. And Knuckles could easily sense the emerald shard beneath him. “This will be a bit harder without the shovel claws, but it doesn’t seem that deep.” He raised one fist and slammed it into the ground, followed by the other, and he was quickly digging down into the ground.
After about 30 seconds he’d dug down to a small green shard, which he pulled out of the ground. He put it away with the others, and then ran off again. He jumped off the cliff he was currently on and glided around the mountains for a while. He eventually climbed up to a peak and looked around. He quickly spotted another shard floating around a lower peak. He glided over to it, and after circling for a while as he slowly descended, he managed to grab the shard.
“Now, it would seem there’s only one left. But where?” Knuckles began to search, wandering for what felt like hours, before he landed down on another cliff, tired and angry. “Where could that shard be?!” He yelled, pulling up a fist and punching the ground beneath him. He actually managed to make a dent, small at first. But not for long.
As Knuckles continued to talk to himself angrily, cracks began to come out from the holes made by his spurs. They started going deeper into the rock of the cliff, which wasn’t as thick as it seemed.
“… and this is always happening! Ever since I met Sonic, and aghh!” He punched the ground again, not even noticing the crack that was already there. And by now it was too late. The force of his punch cause the cliff to completely crack and Knuckles, caught off guard, wasn’t able to react as he felt himself falling along with the rock. As he fell he quickly fought to gain control, and managed to save himself from a much more serious injury. But it was still a bad fall. Him and the rocks from the cliff hit the valley below, and he was soon buried.
“Ahh, ow, dang. That really hurts. Gotta, get, up…” He struggled to get up out of the rubble, eventually making it out, fueled by his even stronger anger. “Well that was just stupid! Why did I do that? I mean, just randomly punching stuff when you’re me…” he grabbed one of the rocks from the pile and was about to throw it when he suddenly stopped. He slowly turned his head to look at the rock. The glowing rock. The green glowing rock. “Well look at that! How convenient, I actually got the other shard. Well, better get back to the Tornado.”
Knuckles managed to get up to the top of the mountain and signaled the Tornado, which was flying nearby.
“Dude, are you okay?” Sonic said, helping Knuckles on as they flew by.
“Yeah, I’m fine. Managed to get all the shards.”
“So, what do we do now?” Sonic turned to Tails.
“Well, I’d say the first place we look should be whatever base Eggman was using most recently. I think the nearest one was the Lava Shelter base.”
“Lava Shelter, eh? Alright, lets head there.” Tails punched some buttons on the Tornado’s console, and then turned to head for Eggman’s base.
* * * * *
“What is it, sir?” Metal Knuckles said, kneeling in front of a screen.
“Metal Sonic tells me you have gathered all the available emerald shards.” Shadow said from the screen.
“Good. Tails Doll has reported that the blue hedgehog and his friends are headed to your current location. Wait there for them. Get their shards, and return to the capital. Don’t fail me again.”
“I wouldn’t dream of it sir.” As the image faded from the screen, Metal Knuckles stood up. “So, you’re coming to me. Guess I’ll get to fight you sooner than I thought.”
* * * * *
“Metal Knuckles, I really don’t trust in him much.” Shadow said, leaning back in his throne.
“Well, he may have failed his first mission, but he was just activated.” Metal Sonic said, standing behind Shadow. “I know him well, and now that he should be at full operating ability, he will be much more difficult to defeat.”
“I hope you’re right about that.”
“I’m sure of it. And if I may say one more thing, sir?”
“What is it?”
“The cape definitely creates an air of supremacy. It makes you look like much more of an emperor.”
* * * * *
“Alright guys, we’re nearing the base.” Tails said, the large Eggman faced structure looming in the distance. “I’m gonna land down here.” Tails brought the Tornado down, and they all jumped out.
“Alright, let’s go!” Sonic said, dashing off, Knuckles and Tails following him.
* * * * *
“Metal Knuckles, sir!” An Egg Pawn said, running up to Metal Knuckles.
“What is it?”
“Intruders headed this way. 3 of them. Identified as Sonic the Hedgehog, Miles “Tails” Prower, and Knuckles the Echidna.”
“So they’re here. Engage them. Do what you want with the hedgehog and fox, but leave the echidna for me.”
“Yes sir.” The Egg Pawn ran off.
“This time original, you’re mine.” Metal Knuckles clenched his clawed hand into a fist.