Shadow and the Huntress of G.U.N.
In Station Square, there is a cute little building painted blue and orange, with little bushes and small garden area. This is Chao Kindergarten, and a very special event was about to happen today, when one ultimate life form meets another.....
"Everybody ready?" Professor Chao called out to the class. The little assortment of Chao looked up at him, blinking. Nurse Chao looked around and scratched his head.
"Uh, Principal Chao, I think we're forgetting someone." he told the bearded little professor. Prof. Chao looked around again. The class had twelve little Chao in it. There were four neutral Chao, four Hero Chao, and four Dark Chao, also known as Angel Chao and Demon Chao. Ms. Chao, the teacher, stood in the back of the kindergarten building, watching them.
"Let's see. You're here. I'm here. Ms. Chao is here. All the Chao children are here. Nope, we're ready to go to the zoo!" Prof. Chao declared. Nurse Chao sighed and pointed up at the attic door. Prof. Chao looked up and thought hard, then brightened. "Oh, yes! I almost forgot about the teacher's aide!"
"Yes, the teacher's aide. The one who's taking the kids to the zoo for their field trip. Remember?" Nurse Chao remarked. The principal looked blank. "Never mind."
"Ms. Chao! Wake up the teacher's aide!" Professor Chao declared, pointing one little finger up into the air. Ms. Chao rolled her eyes and pumped her wings, flying up to the attic door. She grabbed the string and pulled down. The door pulled down into a staircase and she climbed up the steps.
"Wake up the teacher's aide. Wake up the teacher's aide." Ms. Chao grumbled as she made it into the attic and walked over to a bed in one corner of the attic, which was decorated to resemble a bedroom. There was a small television, small refrigerator, cupboard, dresser, table and chairs, a mirror, and a small linen closet.
"I always have to wake up the teacher's aide. How can he be a teacher's aide? He doesn't have the qualifications!" Ms. Chao grumbled as she pulled on the sky blue blanket to climb up onto the bed. "But he's good with kids and he can chase them down, so I guess that amounts to something." she amended and began to poke at the large mound under the blanket. "Wake up! We have the field trip to go to! You have to take the Chao children to the zoo." Ms. Chao called out and poked harder. The mound shifted and groaned.
"Mmmurkle murtle grrr." the mound replied sleepily. Ms. Chao poked harder, then stepped carefully to the bedside table. The clock was jammed again, no wonder he didn't wake up.
"Wake up, Shadow!" Ms. Chao yelled and slammed her fists onto the clock. The numbers flipped over to the correct time and the alarm blared. Shadow the Hedgehog bolted up and shrieked.
"I'm up! I'm up! What's going on?! Are we under attack?!" he cried and blinked drowsily. "Stupid clock." he grumbled and turned to bang the snooze button. "I'll get it fixed. Promise." he added and pulled the covers back over his head.
"Shadow! Get up! You have to go on the field trip! It's today! You overslept again!" Ms. Chao scolded loudly. The covers shifted around and the black hedgehog sat up again.
"Today?!" he asked and jumped out of bed, "Why didn't you say so earlier?!" He grabbed his sneakers, pulled them on, ran to the closet, threw a pale blue duffel bag out, then ran to the mirror and cleaned himself up a bit.
"Don't forget to pack the supplies!" the teacher exclaimed, crawling out from under the blankets. Shadow pulled on his gloves, frowned momentarily at the torn cuff on one of them, then grabbed the Flame Ring and put it on before running back to the closet.
"Okay! Checklist!" he called back.
"Chao seeds!" Ms. Chao shouted. Shadow threw out a package of seeds. They landed in the bag on the floor behind him.
"Check!" he confirmed.
"Water can!" A pink watering can with a white daisy on it flew out and landed in the bag.
"Snack mix!" A box of crackers and pretzels joined the can.
"Blanket!" A bundle of yellow was thrown in.
"Chew toys!" A package of rubber bones and a squeeze toy newspaper were next.
"First aid kit!" A white box sailed out into the bag.
"Ow! Threw it with my bad arm! I'm okay! Check!" Shadow called back after crying sharply in pain.
"Be careful! Okay! Chaos Emerald!" Ms Chao called out the last item. Shadow ran out of the closet and dove under his bed.
"It's in here! Hold on! Almost got it! Found it!" Shadow replied and scooted out backwards, dragging a yellow gem along with him. He shoved it into the pack and zipped it closed. "Chaos Emerald, check! Ready to go!" Shadow declared and hoisted the bag's strap onto his shoulder. The Chao teacher nodded and flew up to hover next to him.
"Now, remember to have Nurse Chao check your left arm before you go out." she reminded him, "How does it feel?" Shadow moved the arm a little and studied the bandages wrapping it.
"It doesn't hurt as much. And my leg is almost back at full strength." he replied, "I told you I would be fine."
"You were not fine when we found you on the Emerald Coast, bruised and battered and with a broken leg and mangled arm." Ms. Chao scolded, "You were delirious with fever, babbling some girl's name over and over again. Thank goodness we got you to the hospital quick."
"Yeah, and after I got my sanity back I joined the kindergarten to repay your kindness and find a way to get some kind of life going." Shadow finished, "I know, I know. But I'm immortal. Prof. Gerald Robotnik said so. So let's get this field trip over with! Where's Omochao?"
"Where else? Under all this stuff in your closet! You almost stepped on my tail!" Omochao, the mechanical Chao, lectured as he flew out and hovered next to the black hedgehog.
"Sorry. Okay, let's go!" Shadow declared and headed downstairs to meet with the group of Chao kids and get the trip to the zoo underway.
The Chao cheered joyfully as Shadow appeared and stood among the group. Professor Chao dug around in the piggy bank and brought out a wad of money. He counted it out, then handed it to Shadow.
"This is the field trip budget, enough for lunch for the Chao children and yourself. Here are the tickets to get into the zoo, and the paper and crayons, and the sticker sheets and the grade-book." he told Shadow, loading his arms with papers and stuffing the money and tickets into his only free hand. Shadow wobbled out the door.
"Thanks a lot, Professor Chao. See... you... later!" he gasped out, walking around to keep the stack of papers from falling over. "Come on, kids! Follow your buddy! Follow me!" The Chao grouped behind him and followed him down the path of the schoolhouse to the zoo in Station Square. Omochao gave him directions as he walked.
The zoo was on one of its busy days as Shadow passed out sheets of paper and boxes of crayons to the children. He hesitated with the Demon Chao, then gave them the crayons.
"Okay. Your assignment for this field trip is to draw three different animals. You will be in four groups of three Chao, one neutral, one Hero and one Dark. Stay in this area and when you've drawn an animal, come back to me." the black hedgehog told them, "Okay?"
"Chao!" the kids laughed and scampered away to draw. Shadow sat on a bench and watched the kids, packing the extra boxes and paper into the bag.
"Are you sure that was a good idea, Shadow? Letting them run loose like that?" Omochao asked worriedly. Shadow leaned back and relaxed.
"It'll be fine. They all have a Hero Chao to deal with the Demons." he replied and studied the glove with the torn cuff, "You know, I really have to go buy another pair of gloves." he added.
"That's what you said last month! And the same with your clock! You don't have the money for it, Shadow! You're flat broke!" Omochao wailed, "All the stuff in your room is either what the school gave you or what you found in dumpsters!"
"You're that worried about the Chao, you keep an eye on them. I am starving." Shadow sighed and listened to his stomach growl in annoyance.
"That's because you also haven't eaten in three days! That box of snack mix is all you have left and you're giving it to the Chao!" the mechanical creature yelled, then he sighed. "Prof. Chao gave you some money for lunch. Buy some food and I'll keep an eye on the kids until you get back." Omochao added in a gentler tone.
"Whatever." Shadow grumbled irritably, having heard the lecture on his money troubles before. He got up, hefting the bag onto his shoulder again. Taking one more look around at the kids, Shadow nodded and walked off in the direction of the food court. Omochao flew up and coasted around overhead in his new guard duty as the Chao went on scribbling down pictures of zebras and giraffes. The Demon Chao started out following rules, then they all grinned at each other and turned prankish, bolting from their groups and scurrying away, laughing. Omochao yelped and chased after one, saw another zip in a different direction, followed that, saw another race off, and spun in the air, dizzy. The Hero Chao looked around in surprise and began wailing for someone to stop the Dark Chao.
"I knew it! I knew this would happen! Shadow! Shadow! Help! The Dark Chao are on the rampage! Shadow!" Omochao shouted and raced off to find him.