Chapter 23: Looking in the Wrong Place
"Oh, Sonic! Isn't this fabulous?" Amy swooned as they walked down the road.
Over time, Sonic felt that the next of their missions should be devoted to searching for the Chaos Emeralds. Time was growing short for them as Metal Sonic grew closer to his reawakening. Sonic, however, did not know the first place to look, so they had to search anywhere they can. Their next mission administered by Tsunade was to investigate a Carnival that had set up in a local border down the road. Amy, Naruto and Team 8 couldn't run as fast as Sonic, so he had to deal with walking, since the entirety was a team effort.
"Don't get your bow tied in a knot, Amy." Sonic groaned. "We're on a mission, you know."
"Yes, Sonic, but we're on a mission to a Carnival," Amy smartly replied, "and Lady Tsunade even said to 'have fun' while we were there."
"She has a point, Sonic." Naruto chuckled. "Just let loose a little."
"Letting loose is what I normally do best." Sonic replied. "But not when our biggest enemy could rise up and take over at any time!"
"You're just being a drama queen." Kiba chided. "If he does come out, then we'll be prepared for it." Akamaru barked in agreement.
"But the point of us all being prepared is to be so with all seven Chaos Emeralds in hand." Shino lectured. "If we don't make haste, we won't be prepared."
"But still, even heroes need a break." Kiba laughed.
"I wouldn't exactly call you a hero, Kiba." Hinata giggled.
"Just whose side are you on, anyway?"
"Well, nonetheless," Naruto agreed, "I agree with Sonic and Shino. It's best we don't stand around while that guy could come back fairly soon. I say we should all hoof it until we get there."
"Yes," Hinata smiled. "Let's."
On that, Sonic scooped Amy into his arms and began to move at his usual favorite pace. Naruto, Hinata and Shino followed after. Kiba stood there, dumbfounded.
"How's that fair?" He moaned. "Just a minute ago, he said to let loose, too. Man, I really hate bum deals, don't you Akamaru... Akamaru?" His jaw dropped when he saw Akamaru running at the same pace following after the group. He ducked his head over and finally gave up. He followed after, picked up Akamaru and continued on.
"Wow…" Amy awed as she saw the massive sign mounted up to represent the Carnival. She looked up and read the sign overhead. "KAMIKI FESTIVAL: Good times ahead." She squeaked in excitement. "Ooohh, this is gonna be so much fun! I can already picture what it's gonna be like!"
"We're here to investigate, remember?" Sonic groaned. "But still, that sign does look tantalizing."
"Well, no other way but in, right?" Naruto grinned. "Let's go!"
As they walked toward the entrance, the man at the Ticket Booth popped up to his post and gave an absolutely intimidating joyous greeting.
"Well, hello there!" He said. "Welcome to Kamiki Festival, where the fun just doesn't stop! How can I help you?"
"We're Terrorists here to bomb your setup here." Sonic sarcastically answered. "What does it look like we're here for? We're gonna enjoy the fair!"
"Well, aren't you quite the comedian." He guffawed. "Well, you've got an interesting little costume there. But for a few minors like you, that'll be a Thousand Ryo each!"
"Great…" Sonic mumbled. "Well, get your wallets, guys."
"Oh. My. God. Sonic." Amy stared at the other sign that was just at the side of the Ticket salesman. "Is that sign true? Do cute couples really get in free?"
"Why yesss!" He replied with enthusiasm. "That's one of our biggest specials of this fun little park! Are you a cute couple?"
"Why yes, it just so happens that we are!" Amy happily replied. Sonic retorted with a quick "What?!"
"Oh that's just great! You two can come right in! Oh, and here's a Complimentary Stamp so you can come back in!" Without permission, he placed an ink stamp on the backs of Sonic and Amy's hands. "Well, let's go in, hubby!" Amy swooned. Sonic groaned and sulked as they walked through.
"And as for the rest of you…" He readied, but Naruto quickly interrupted with "Actually, she and I are a cute couple as well!" Kiba and Shino looked in astonishment, well, Shino didn't look different, and Hinata turned red as a cherry blossom at that comment.
"Well, what a co-inky-dink!" He replied. "You two can go on in as well." He stamped their hands as well, and they walked in, Naruto sighing in relief so he didn't have to pay, and Hinata, still blushing, held onto him very tightly.
"Now, to make up for lost cause…" the man said, "That'll be 6,000 Ryo!"
"WHAT?!?" Kiba blurted as Akamaru growled. "That's not fair!!!"
"You know what else isn't fair? Having to wear a bigass smile so long that it eventually sticks to you. Now pay up! Time is money, and I don't get it for having conversation!" This irritated Kiba, but not nearly as much as getting left in the dust by Naruto. As he and Shino got stamps on their hands and Akamaru on his forehead, he swore his revenge."
As they walked in, the man typed into a Computer Monitor and giggled very suspiciously.
"Oh, this is SOOOOO wonderful, Sonic!" Amy cheered, still clutching Sonic as he bore an 'I want to kill myself' expression on his face. "Just you and me, enjoying the fair together as one of the cutest couples of all time! Doesn't that make you oh-so happy?" She ignored the "ugh" Sonic gave in response. "Oh, what should we do first? There's a Roller Coaster, we can ride the bumper cars, or there's my personal favorite: The Tunnel of Love!"
Sonic glanced over at the throwing dart mini-game close by and thought that if he maybe stepped forward in front of the balloons, maybe the sharp end of the darts could kill him. Then, something specific about the game caught his eye. One of the prizes, in fact.
"You know what would make this moment even better?" Amy daydreamed.
"A Chaos Emerald!" Sonic shouted, ignoring her.
"Yes, that would make it better, but I was talking about winning a prize to commemorate this occasion."
"Oh, the world's gonna be happy to have this prize." Sonic stated, finally catching Amy's attention. There was a Chaos Emerald placed upon the prize stand of the dart game. The yellow one, to be specific. "We just gotta win this, and then there'll be only one more to find."
"Sonic!" Amy moaned. "We were having a sweet and romantic moment! Why can't you focus on something other than our mission for just one second?"
"Oh, how fabulous!" Remarked a familiar annoying guy. "You have your sights set on this little baby, don't you?"
Sonic was completely dumbfounded to see this guy again. "How'd you change from the Ticket booth to here so fast?"
"I work plenty of shifts! It's a real drag, but it puts bread on the table."
"Great." Sonic chided. "Now set me up. I'm gonna win the crap out of this game." Sonic placed some Ryo on the man's hand and he traded that for five darts. Sonic took a good look at the five balloons he was set to pop, took steady aim. He tossed the darts with a quick flick of the wrist one by one, not even a second apart. One curved to the left, another to the right. Before even ten seconds passed, Sonic had only hit one balloon.
"WHAT?" He barked deliriously. "How could that be?"
"You rush everything, Sonic." Amy crossed, placing Ryo onto the table and getting five darts just like Sonic. She took a steady flick of her wrist, two seconds apart this time. Much to Sonic's chagrin, all five balloons were gone.
"OUR GRAND PUH-RIZE WINNER!!" The man cheered. "Here is your prize, you cute little thing!" He handed her the Chaos Emerald and she started walking off.
"Amy, that was fabulous!" Sonic complimented. "I'll take the Chaos Emerald, so let's go back to the village, now."
"I dunno…" Amy pondered. "I think I like the Emerald, so I wanna keep it."
Sonic tilted his head over in unpleasant awe. "Well, at least let's go back to the village. Metal Sonic won't wait forever, you know."
"I'm not leaving yet." She snubbed. "I'm keeping the Emerald, so what I say goes, got it?"
"C'mon, Amy. Don't be stubborn, now." he argued. "We're talking about the fate of the world here."
"The fate of the world can wait…until you lean not to rush your situations."
"The fate of the world will DIE if I don't."
"Well, that's not my problem. You're always so relaxed when you run. Why can't you relax and enjoy the fair?"
"Because I know what's at stake, here!"
"Well, this Emerald isn't going anywhere until you have fun with me. Got it?"
Sonic was about to fight it further, but grumbled as her decision stood firm. With much displeasure, he grabbed Amy's hand and started walking. "Now, let's go ride that Roller coaster." She said happily.
"This is unfortunate…" The booth man said, typing into the computer some more.
Naruto and Hinata were having a much smoother time at the fair. Naruto enjoyed the sights while he could. In fact, he didn't tell her about the family that he had with her in the future. I mean, who would want to hear what's in store for them, lickety-split. He may even have tried not to think about it… or just forgot. All he thought about was what he was supposed to: the mission to investigate unusual goings-on in this place.
"That guy who gave us these tickets gives me the creeps." Naruto groaned mildly.
"Yes…" Hinata squeaked, "He was rather intimidating…"
"Well, it seems like Sonic and Amy got the Chaos Emerald." Naruto shrugged, "But still, something about this place doesn't seem right."
"I-I have a suggestion…" She whispered, earning Naruto's attention, "Maybe if we go on the rides …together… we could look around for anything suspicious in the park…"
"Hey, yeah! That's a good idea!" Naruto brightened. "Thanks, Hinata! Let's go!" he confidently said as he pat Hinata on the shoulder, causing her to smile and blush only slightly before following after. They were seemingly unaware that they were being followed by their own two teammates.
"That Naruto really screwed the pooch by leaving us in the dirt like that." growled Kiba, still sore about the Ticket booth event. Akamaru barked in agreement.
"It's only 6,000 Ryo, Kiba." Shino sighed. "It's easily re-obtainable."
"Oh, I'm not worried about that anymore." Kiba chuckled. "He just completely shut us out like that, and I swear I'm gonna get him back!"
"Well, at the very least, don't forget about the mission." He replied sternly.
"I know." Kiba nodded. "After all, our team with Kurenai-Sensei does specialize in tracking. If anything is up, we've got mine and Akamaru's noses and your bugs." Kiba looked out at Naruto and Hinata heading for the Spinning Tea Cup ride and said, "C'mon you two. Let's go get back at Naruto!"
Sonic and Amy rode on the Water Log ride to partake in their "fun" time. Sonic looked out to the distance to find anything suspicious happening. It was their mission, after all. With no luck, Sonic shivered as he was intensely splashed by the flowing water the log cart pushed against. Amy cheered.
Naruto and Hinata investigated the Haunted House, sitting tightly in their cart. Naruto gasped and screamed at the sight of many Paper Mache Bats and, mechanical vampires, cardboard witches and even bed sheet ghosts, while Hinata scoured the area with Byakugan. Naruto held tightly onto Hinata with his eyes closed, causing her to blush intensely before passing out, yet again. Kiba, Akamaru and Shino followed close behind in the following cart, not even slightly scared, but tracking around just the same.
Sonic and Amy sat tightly as the roller coaster slowly was pulled along the chain moving up the track. Naruto and Team 8 sat there as well, all of which looked around to see if anything that would benefit their mission could help them. Sadly, no such luck came their way. As the coaster began rushing down, they all began to scream (with the exception of Shino). As they continuously looped and spun, they cheered along with it. Akamaru could only watch from the close-by bench tethered by a leash as there was a strict "No Pets on the Ride" policy that Kiba was forced to follow.
"Oh, would you look at that." A feminine voice nearby said. "Yes, someone seems to have left a cute little puppy over here." Another identical one agreed. The two mysterious figures in trench coats giggled in unison before walking over to him.
"Hello, little puppy." One of the two said, earning his attention. The other proceeded to pat him on the head, which cheered him up a little, until he took a few sniffs before growling angrily at the two. He was about to bark at them, but one of the two chopped him on the scruff of his neck, knocking him out cold.
"Well, that was fun." Sonic breathed heavily. Amy was enlightened to hear that, closing her eyes and smiling while giggling in response.
Naruto, who was rather dizzy from the experience, chuckled as he said, "I agree… That was pretty fun." Hinata giggled as she held him on her shoulder.
"Well now, Back to the mission." Shino silently idled. "Yea, I figured as much from the guy who made no reaction to the ride." Kiba scoffed, jokingly. "C'mon, Akamaru." He looked over to see he was no longer on the park bench that was present. He looked around furiously. "Akamaru?" No answer. "Akamaru!"
"What's wrong?" Amy asked, as he got everyone's attention.
"Akamaru's gone!" He worried, holding the empty leash.
"Well, he couldn't have run off." Naruto said, regaining enough consciousness to stand. "You two are the best of friends."
"You don't think anybody could've stolen him, do ya?" Sonic asked suspiciously.
Hinata closed her eyes and set on her "Byakugan!" to begin looking around. Everyone in the park seemed to have a decent amount of energy. Not a great amount of Chakra. Who would want to steal Akamaru? She continued to look around until she saw chakra running as if like a fire. She looked in for a closer look to see two figures with chakra running intensely. One of them seemed to be holding something as the other typed in a code on a computer terminal. Hinata took a closer look before seeing… a dog, sleeping in their arms.
"Over there!" Hinata said as she pointed in the direction of a Circus Tent, which, as gaudy and noticeable as it was, it was a classified area. Kiba sniffed out in their direction to see that the dog they carried was… "AKAMARU!" He shouted seeing his best friend in the clutches of some stranger.
"They have massive levels of Chakra." Hinata confirmed. One of them finally removed their hat to take a retinal scan on the computer. The other removed theirs as well. Sonic would recognize those pretty faces and opposite black-haired ponytails anywhere.
"ETA?! THETA?!" They all shouted in unison (except Shino).
"So, Eggman's involved in this theme park, huh?" Sonic said as he clenched his fist.
"He's got some nerve stealing Akamaru like that!" Amy huffed.
"How do you think he escaped prison like that?" Naruto openly wondered.
"That doesn't matter, now!" Kiba shouted. "I'm comin', boy!"
"C'mon, everyone!" Sonic said, picking up his feet. "Let's go crack that Eggman wide open!" On that mark, the team headed for the big top.
"I'm rather disappointed in you, Cheeky." Dr. Eggman scolded. "I gave you a strict order not to give the Chaos Emerald away as a prize to anybody!"
"I'm sorry, doctor." The Ticket voucher moaned, "I just didn't expect that pink hedgehog girl to be so good with a backhand, plus it's kind of hard not to be happy when exaggerated joy was the programming you gave me…"
"But ya still screwed up, pal!" Bokkun yelled directly into his face. "You're in no position to try and excuse yourself!"
"Just be lucky that the Doctor is a very forgiving fellow." Bocoe scolded.
"That's right!" Decoe agreed. "Or your job will end quickly and surely."
"You dingbots!" Eggman shouted, "I'm supposed to be the one giving the lecture here!"
"In any case," Eta began, "we were able to escape from prison quite nicely."
"We were sure lucky," Theta continued, "that those guards in the prison were unbelievably flirty."
"But that doesn't matter."
"Because we've got their dog."
In unison: "And they'll be more than willing to trade for his safety."
"Indeed they will be, girls." Eggman agreed. "I just hope they're willing to pay the price for… defiance." He smirked as he glanced over to a dark cage, where two glowing red eyes lit up and deep growling sounded.
As Sonic tore down the front flap to the big top with his "Spin Dash" and positioned himself as everyone followed behind.
"You're much earlier than I expected." Spoke the voice they wanted to hear, coming from a private box seat high behind the bleachers.
"Well, Eggman," Amy scoffed, "It's not very hard to find a Circus tent in the middle of a carnival. Oh, and not the best idea, making it 'classified.'"
"Where's Akamaru?" Kiba asked very sternly.
"Well, you sure are impatient." Eggman frowned. He snapped his fingers, signaling Eta and Theta to enter the room, holding Akamaru in the one place Kiba would never want to put him.
"Is… Is he in a CAGE?!" He snarled. As Eggman chuckled sinisterly, that really pushed Kiba's buttons, as he took no hesitation to form his hands together for "Tunneling Fang!" Leaping out and drilling intensely to the bleachers.
"I wouldn't have tried that if I were you." Eggman scoffed, as he pulled out a small cylindrical remote and pressing the red button on top of it. Suddenly, Kiba was overcome by an intense electrical shock enveloping his body. So strong, in fact, that it pushed him back out to his allies.
"Are you okay, Kiba?" Hinata worried, kneeling over to him.
"Yea." He nodded. "I'm fine." He rubbed his head as he looked at his hand, where the stamp placed on it had stopped glowing.
"Remember those stamps that Cheeky gave you?" He persuaded. "If you try anything hasty, it will give you a powerful electrical shock of 200 volts. All it takes is the simple press of a button." He grinned as he showed off his remote.
"You really do have a bad naming sense, y'know that?" Naruto chided.
"Insulting me isn't a good idea, either." He prepared to press it again.
"Wait!" Amy called. "What will it take to free Akamaru? Just tell us and we might agree."
"Simple. Just trade me the Chaos Emerald in your possession and I'll give him to you."
Sonic glanced at Amy feeling unsure. He needed the Chaos Emerald to save the world, but no one could take a hostage situation sitting down.
"Before we do," Sonic interrupted, "I have just one question." Eggman listened intently.
"You want to beat Metal Sonic just as much as us, right? Why are you still trying to fight us for the Emeralds?"
"Well," Eggman pondered, "Because I know something that could be very crucial to your mission."
"What is it?" Sonic demanded to know.
"First, the Emerald."
Amy walked over to the bleachers and held the Emerald up to Eta, who walked over with Akamaru in possession to make the trade. Amy handed the gem, Eta handed the dog. They walked away to their corresponding sides. Amy opened the cage and Akamaru happily leapt to his master, who was licking him, joyfully.
"Akamaru…" Kiba said with relief.
"Now," Sonic continued, "What exactly do you know?"
"Well," Eggman started, but then proceeded to pull a lever at his side, raising a cage gate on the other side of the tent. Out from it leapt a gigantic mechanical monstrosity: A robotic dog with armor plating around several limbs and an armored mask protecting its face, save for its red eyes. Upon the top of its head was a glowing antenna that jolted downward slightly. It had glowing railing running down its spine and tail.
"If you can beat my pet," He grinned, "I might just tell you." He and his robot minions laughed with glee as another box seat opened as if to act as an announcer's table.
"Goooooooood Evening, Everybody!" cheered the obnoxious ticket booth guy. "This is your host, E-56 Cheeky, here! And let's get ready as our mechanical canine friend gets ready to have a hefty lunch!"
"That guy's really beginning to piss me off…" Kiba and Naruto growled.
"Get ready, guys!" Sonic said, as he prepped for battle. "Here it comes."
The beast scuffed its hind legs as it sniffed out its prey, and then began to charge out at them. They split up into the same groups of two they started with, causing it to stop directly in its tracks and try to decide who to hunt first. It looked around to sniff before Sonic charged at his face with a fast "Homing Attack", knocking its face down and pushing it back slightly. It roared out to the annoying blue rat and attempted to chomp down on it, unaware that he was just moving too fast around him, leaping and kicking its legs all the while.
While it was distracted, Amy took this opportunity to hammer it in the armored face while it wasn't looking. It was able to dent him slightly, but it didn't phase the monster himself. He prepared to bite at Amy, but luckily, Sonic rushed in and scooped her up before it could.
Angered that its lunch got away, the beast prepared to chase again, but it felt a tingling moving up its spine as Naruto grinded on the railing, leaping to the antenna, attempting to grab hold, but before it could, it looked up, knocking Naruto in the air and then chomped down on him, sinking its teeth in very deeply. "POOF!" A cloud of smoke appeared in its stead, for it was only a Shadow Clone. Angry and confused, Naruto charged out, this time with a "Rasengan" in hand. The orb of chakra pressed deeply onto the helmet, only proceeding to dent it further and even crack it slightly. It picked its paw up to its face and scraped Naruto away.
It prepared to charge again to see if this, too, was a fake, but before he could bite, he felt hard pressing on its legs. Its joints, to be exact, as Hinata was pounding on them using "Gentle Fist" intending to dismember the dog by its legs. He tried to scrape her away or step on her, but she was able to flexibly dodge the attacks with ease, pressing even further along the way. It eventually managed to get one shot in, kicking her away into the air, but Naruto saw and used "Shadow Clone Jutsu!" to dash out and rescue her.
He leapt off the wall and caught her, landing in front of the beast in a somersault motion. "Are you okay?" Naruto asked, earning a happy nod in reply.
"Doctor, this is bad…" Cheeky groaned, "They're dispatching your loyal pet…!"
"Don't worry." He grinned, holding the shock remote. "If things get really bad, I'll give them the signal."
The dog struggled to walk over to the pests, the joint pressuring taking effect, but before he could attack further, it felt several tingling feelings taking up its legs again. Only this time, it came in much smaller varieties. Several bugs were trying to gnaw at the legs, thanks to Shino's "Great Swarm Jutsu." Having the natural instincts installed, it tried to scratch them off using its hind legs, but with little prevail. The bugs flew off its legs and began to envelop its helmet, finishing off what Naruto and Amy started.
It shook its head furiously, trying to shake off the bugs, but unfortunately for it, two Kibas were heading towards it in a drilling fashion, the bugs clearing out of the way of "Fang over Fang!" As the two drilled onto its face, they finally found success, as the armor fell clean off. As the two leapt off, Sonic leapt in for one final blow. He spun intensely for a "Spin Dash" as he pressed continuously on the beast's head, causing it to eventually pulsate with electricity and explode. Sonic skidded on the other side of where the robot dog used to be and held a thumbs up to Eggman.
"The game's up, Eggman!" He confidently shouted.
"Not yet, it isn't!" He shouted as he pressed the button, yet again. This time, the stamps began to glow on everyone's hands and Akamaru's head, and they were all overcome with electricity. "Sonic!" Amy groaned, trying to move, but with no success. Unfortunately, Sonic could barely move himself.
Naruto, also struggling, took note of the sprinklers dangling from the ceiling of the tent. Smoke was emanating from the robot's remains, yet the sprinklers weren't activating. Naruto reached into his pouch and pulled out a kunai knife and struggled to move his arm, but slowly and surely, he managed to toss it with ease, cutting one of the sprinklers, causing it and the rest to activate.
As the water sprinkled down, suddenly the shocks began to simmer down and the ink from the stamps began to wash away. They all breathed heavily and took in the great help they just got.
"I've never been so happy to have water around…" Sonic sighed.
"The ink from the stamps washes away?!" Eggman growled.
"The convenience store was out of Sharpie." Eta shrugged.
"All we could get was Roseart…" Theta gigged nervously.
"We're sorry…" They both bowed.
"Rrgh… No harm done…" He admitted.
"You may have won this time, Sonic!" Eggman shouted from his Egg Mobile. "But at least I've got a beautiful consolation prize!" The car flew away as he held the Chaos Emerald in hand.
"Dammit…" Sonic groaned.
"Oh, c'mon, you guys…" Cheeky whined, trying to save himself from the group of angry Leaf defenders standing over him. "…I was only following my orders from the Doctor, you understand, right?"
"No." Naruto angered, cracking his knuckles.
The wimpy robot turned around before turning back with a single difference. "You wouldn't hurt a guy with glasses, would you?"
"No, of course not." Kiba nodded before kicking in the face, smashing his teeth and instantly shutting him down. "Sniveling robots are different, however."
"Well, this is just great." Sonic groaned. "Eggman got away."
"We should go back and report to Lady Tsunade." Shino suggested.
"We don't have time to waste, Shino!" Sonic pleaded.
"No, but we do have time to plan. You see, I sent one of my bugs to perch upon Dr. Eggman's car while he wasn't looking. Once Tsunade knows the situation at hand, we'll take another chance to pursue him again."
"Well, that's good." Sonic sighed in relief. "I guess that fight did do a number on us. At least I had fun along the way."
"Oh, Sonic." Amy smiled happily.
"Well, let's get going, guys." Naruto nodded, turning around only to receive the dismembered head of Cheeky thrown directly into his face. Hinata gasped in reaction to this as Kiba, counting his recollected Ryo (with interest) said, "By the way, Naruto… We're even." Akamaru happily barked in agreement.