Heroes of Arcadia - A Hero's Virtue
by Anthony Bault

Legal:
Mario, Link, and all related characters are (c) Nintendo
Megaman and all related characters are (c) Capcom
Sonic and all related characters are (c) Sega, DIC, and Archie Comics
Title names based on Ultima game series which is (c) Origin

The following characters are (c) their respective fanfic authors:
Bookshire Draftwood, Packbell, Elrond and Sarah Prower: David Pistone AKA Serinthia Draftwood
Nina: Holly-B Kraft
Lt. Sergio "T-Bone" Hernandez and Major Frank Sharpe: T-Bone
David Kintobor and Chuckles Echidna: David Gonterman
Lutherain: Emily S. Smith
Gamemaster Anthony Bault, Pierre Flattail, Thaddeus Underwood, Mary Rose: Anthony Bault

Above characters used without permission but are merely being used for fun and not for profit. (Rough translation *groveling* PLEASE don't sue!) This fanfic may be distributed unaltered but may not be distributed for profit.

Author's forward:

Never expected such a positive response from my first fic! Even those who had no knowledge of the video games or of the other authors' characters got into the story! Sure surprised the heck out of me! I even received praise from a true fan-fiction celebrity, Dr. Thinker, as well as the Zelda section's most prolific writer, Chica! I was even shocked to find myself on several authors' favorites lists! To be honest, I thought I'd be flamed to the point of meltdown...

Anyway...this next fic is a series of five separate, yet connected stories which will help explain things that will happen in future stories. Also...I seemed to make the same mistake in my first fic that a lot of self-insertion fic writers made. I made my character so he could do no wrong, DESPITE his doubts. So...let's put him in a series of adventures where he must prove his worth as a hero by facing his worst enemy...himself! You'll see what I mean...

NOTE: You will need to read my first fic, Heroes of Arcadia - The Gamemaster's Legacy, before reading this. This isn't a true sequel to my first fic, just some background material for future fics to come....

(P.S. That sound you hear is the fourth wall completely shattering!)

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Chapter 1 - Honor and Honesty

"It happened again, Princess!"

Mario and Luigi were running up to the palace of Mobotropolis with a hoverchair bound Anthony Bault in tow. He appeared to be sobbing in the hoverchair he was in, but these were tears of joy prompted into existence by the empathic sensations of the Mobians: intense feelings of admiration, respect, and immense gratitude that literally beat down on him.

Princesses Zelda and Sally met the plumbers midway as they led Anthony to them. The four of them then brought Anthony to his room in the palace, where he began to calm down and wipe away his tears.

"Thanks guys," Anthony said, addressing the plumbers. "I HATE when that happens..."

"Well maybe you should listen to us when we tell you to stay inside," Zelda said, reproaching Anthony. "This is the third time you've been overwhelmed by sensing the emotions of the people out there, and this only your second day in Mobius!"

"Hey! Excuuuuuuse me, Princess!" Anthony said, mocking the cartoon version of Link. "You know as well as I do I can't stay in the palace all day! I'd probably go nuts from castle fever!"

"Don't a you mean, 'cabin fever'?" Luigi asked.

"Does this place LOOK like a cabin?" Anthony shot back. "Besides, I was also trying something that would prevent me from breaking down like that. I was trying a version of my 'Psi Barrier' power, a power that could block other psionics, to try to block out the sensations from the people. Unfortunately emotions are too fluid to be blocked like psionics..."

"Then you should listen to us and stay inside," Sally said. "You won't be able to recover and function as the Gamemaster if you keep exerting yourself."

"Alright," Anthony reluctantly said. "But if I start saying 'Redrum' or write 'All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy' on the walls, don't say I didn't warn you!"

"Actually..." Sally said, taking a thoughtful glance. "We have something in one of our castle wings you might use to keep yourself busy..."

Anthony raised an eyebrow at that statement. "What exactly?"

"Follow me..."

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Sally led Anthony to a wing of the castle that also had a entrance to the public. Inside, Anthony jaw dropped at what he saw...

The room was set up like an huge arcade. Every video game system ever developed on his world of Earth was present, as well as a large selection of games for each. There also appeared to be a smaller room off to the side that had a name plate at the top which said "The Master's Domain".

"What...the...HELL?!?" Anthony said. "How...did..."

"A little gift from the people of Earth to Arcadia," Sally explained. "We set up this room as a rec room for the work crews and the children to entertain themselves in. That smaller room with the name plate is for you. It contains one of each system for your private use, including your own systems your parents brought from Earth and your collection of games plus the remaining systems you haven't gotten yet. By the way...what's the deal with all the role playing games you own?"

"Personal preference," Anthony said. "As I grew up, so did my taste in games, opting for strategy instead of action. I still like a good console game though..."

"That's good to hear, since Sonic would probably be upset if you no longer played his games! Well...I'll leave you to try out this new wing."

Anthony smiled as she said that, and rifled through the Dreamcast games to find what he was looking for...

"Awesome...they actually did send an advance copy of 'Record of Lodoss War'!"

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That night, things were more peaceful as everyone went to sleep. Well, as almost everyone went to sleep...

Anthony was feeling more of the effects of being super empathic, a side effect of the Final Power which he hoped was temporary. As he tried to sleep, he sensed the feelings and emotions of the people that were inside the castle, from the feelings of relief and happiness coming from the Acorns to the restless fear coming from the room of Julian Kintobor and Reginald Snout, the two formally known as Robotnik and Snivley before Anthony's psychic surgery.

"This is nuts!" Anthony thought as he tossed and turned, trying to block out the empathic signals. "I can't sleep with all these emotions floating around! It's like when one of my old dorm neighbors at college played the stereo too loud at night!"

Anthony was desperate for a solution, and used his powers to try to create a way to block out the sensations. Eventually, his mind created a power he called "Emote Barrier", which blocked out the emotional sensations.

"OK, now we're talking," Anthony thought to himself. "Now...how can I keep this power going while I sleep? I can't do both..." He then turned toward where he kept his armor and the Descendancy Medallion. "I wonder..."

He walked over to his armor and concentrated on having the medallion, and the Descendancy Powers within it, maintain the power. It worked as Anthony hoped, and created a nullifying field which covered the whole room. Anthony then returned to his bed and went into a deep and peaceful sleep.

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Anthony woke up the next morning, not to his own body telling him to, but to the sounds of a familiar military trumpet song...

Anthony turned towards where the noise was coming from, and saw T-Bone standing over his bed with a tape recorder and giggling slightly. Anthony responded by hitting the recorder with a cryokinetic bolt and turning it into a block of ice.

"Hey! Watch it!" T-Bone responded. "You nearly froze my arms off doing..."

"T-Bone," Anthony said, still a little groggy, "if you EVER wake me up to Reveille again, you'd better just be thankful freezing off your arms is all I'll do! GOT IT?!?"

T-Bone looked with fear at the irate human, knowing what Anthony's powers were capable of. "Er...yessir! Sorry about that, Anth, but Princess Sally was afraid you'd had a relapse, seeing how it's nearly nine and all."

Anthony sighed. "No, the empathic sensations from everyone inside this castle were keeping me awake. I actually did manage to create a power that can block them though."

"That's great! Now you can go outside without the feelings of the Mobians reducing you to a blubbering fool!"

"Right..." Anthony said. "Well, I'd best get moving. I'll see you later, T-Bone."

Anthony started to get dressed after T-Bone left and then decided to remove the Descendancy Medallion from his armor so he could maintain the Emote Barrier. He then walked over to his hoverchair, his required transportation until he fully recovered, and noticed a piece of paper in the seat. Anthony opened it and read the words "Scott Summers and Jean Grey were looking for you" on it.

"Grrr...T-BONE!!!!"

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Anthony floated on his hoverchair to the dining room of the castle and found Princesses Zelda, Sally, Peach, and Sonia talking to a beaver on the other end of the table. There seemed to be an air of excitement as they spoke, which was only broken when Sally noticed Anthony enter.

"Anthony, you're finally up!" Sally exclaimed. "T-Bone told us what happened, and it sounds like you found a solution to your super empathy."

"Yep...that's why I'm carrying the Descendancy Medallion. It's energy is maintaining the Emote Barrier power. Now...what's going on here, and who's that on the end of the table?"

"Oh, this is Pierre Flattail," Sonia said, making the introductions. "He's one of Mobius's finest artists and the man we commissioned to take care of a couple monuments."

"Oui," Pierre said in an accent that could've rivaled Antoine's. "Zese will be my finest creations."

"Cool," Anthony said. "What monuments are you going to make?"

"Well...Knothole is going to be made a national landmark and zemetary for those who died in ze occupation of Mobius. I will erect a monument for those who died, with ze names of all buried zere."

"Ah...just like Arlington National Cemetery and the Vietnam Memorial in my country," Anthony mused. "What's the other monument?"

"You vill like zis one the most, Monsieur Bault," Pierre said with increased excitement. "A statue of ze Gamemaster of Arcadia to be placed in Mobotropolis's main square as a reminder of the man who was key to Mobius's freedom."

Anthony just stared at Pierre after hearing that. "Wait...that sounds like you're not talking about a statue of Sir Eric..."

"You're correct, Anthony," Peach said. "We're building a statue of you! Isn't that great?!?"

"Oh...GEEZ!" Anthony said. "Look...I appreciate the gesture, but in my world you don't build a statue to someone until they DIE! Last time I checked, I survived the Final Power..."

"But...Anthony," Sally said, "all of Mobius owes you so much for bringing all the worlds of Arcadia together to help us end the struggle. This is our way of saying thanks..."

"Ladies...Pierre," Anthony said, somewhat subdued, "I'm not being ungrateful or anything, but...all I did was provide my service in your battle. I don't deserve any special treatment or tributes because I'm the Gamemaster or because my actions were key to the battle. Please...just focus on the Knothole monument and forget about any statue to me, alright?"

Anthony left the dining area to play some games in the Master's Domain. The princesses and Pierre were left wondering why Anthony didn't want recognition, and discussed creating the monument anyway.

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That night, after a day of receiving verbal thanks from every Mobian that saw him, including receiving a kiss from Tails's friend Nina, a skunk child who was recently deroboticized, Anthony succumbed to a nightmare as he slept.

He was surrounded by grateful Mobians thanking him for his help, but he was trying to look for his friends. Anthony found Megaman over to one side and walked up to him, but he disappeared as Anthony walked up to him. The same thing happened when he walked up to Sonic, then Mario, then Link, then Luigi, then Tails, and finally Amy.

Anthony woke up in a cold sweat after that last disappearance. He deactivated the Emote Barrier and allowed the emotions of all in the castle to reassure him they didn't disappear. Breathing a sigh of relief, he reactivated the barrier and lay back down to sleep. But before going to sleep, a question entered his mind...

"What did that dream mean?"

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Anthony awoke the next morning with several questions going through his mind. The monument...what did he do to deserve this? He knew Mobius wanted to honor him, but immortalize him? Even if they thought he deserved it, HE didn't think he deserved it.

And what about that dream he received immediately after hearing of the monument...why were his friends disappearing? And why were they disappearing when he walked up to them? Was he responsible for them disappearing? That was TOO terrible to think...

Anthony met up with Amy, Nina, and Wendy O. Koopa as they were playing outside. They ran up to him.

"Hi, Anthony!" Wendy said. "King Dad told me how you're getting a statue! That's awesome!"

"Well he deserves it, Wendy," Nina said. "I mean...he did bring Arcadia together to save Mobius and I'd still be a robot if wasn't for Dr. Light's treatment!"

"Girls..." Anthony said, trying to calm them down. "I appreciate the accolades, but you're making me sound like the second coming. I don't deserve a statue, at least not until I die, which is considered proper where I come from."

"Anthony..." Amy said. "Mobius just wants to show you how much they appreciate what you've done and to create something that will inspire people for years to come. Why don't you want it?"

"It's...I don't know Ames... Call it psionic instinct, but it just seems wrong."

"Well maybe you'll change your mind once you see it," Wendy said. "Pierre is working on it now near the worksite and it's looking good!"

Anthony's hoverchair floated towards where they pointed and he watched as stone chips were flying at a fast pace. The statue was halfway completed because of the high tech method used to speed up the carving. Pierre saw Anthony approach and stopped.

"Ah, Monsieur Bault!" Pierre said. "Come to zee my work nes't pas?"

Anthony looked at the statue. His face showed the look of determination he had just before he released the Final Power, and seemed to be looking towards the sky as if it was seeing Packbell's warship.

"Nice!" Anthony said. "So...how is the Knothole monument coming?"

"It iz finished. It vill be placed in Knothole during an especial ceremony, which the king iz setting up ze date for."

"Wait...if it's finished, why not have it tomorrow?"

"Well...we wanted to show your ztatue at the same time, as a way to relieve the zorrow of the loss of so many..."

"I...see..." Anthony said, seemingly distracted. "Well, I won't keep you from your work. Carry on."

Anthony floated away as Pierre continued carving. He decided to go to the Master's Domain to think...mostly about what's happening...

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That evening a figure could be seen creeping near Pierre's worksite. It crept up to Anthony's statue and looked at it with great interest. Suddenly, it swung something at the statue, causing a large part of it to break away and fall to the ground as rubble. This continued until the statue was reduced to a pile of rocks on the ground. The figure, seemingly proud of its accomplishments, then walked stealthily away...

A few minutes later, Pierre, hearing the noise, went to investigate his work area. Minutes later nearly all of Mobotropolis heard him scream...

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"Anthony! Anthony, wake up!"

Anthony got up slowly and turned toward the voice, seeing the face of Amy Rose. "Ames, do you mind? I was trying to sleep in..."

"Anthony, you have to come! It's terrible! Someone destroyed your statue!"

"WHAT?!?" Anthony jumped up upon hearing that. "I'll be down right away, just let me get dressed!" Amy rushed out of his room while Anthony hurriedly dressed and then jumped into his hoverchair.

He arrived at Pierre's worksite and saw a crowd gather around what appeared to be a pile of stone rubble. Pierre himself was off to the side ranting and raving and throwing out several curses in French. Antoine was covering his ears because of what was being said.

"When did this happen?" Anthony said as he approached Sally.

"Last night it seems," Sally said as Protoman was trying to calm Pierre down. Sally then got more upset. "I just don't understand it. Why would someone do something like this?"

"I know Sal, it's weird," Sonic said, then turned towards Anthony. "I can't believe someone hates you Anth, especially after all you've done!"

"You're telling me?" Anthony said. "I'm still getting cheers from the Mobians every time I come out. This makes no sense..."

Pierre finally calmed down and started to talk. "Zis iz ze OUTRAGE! My work...destroyed! It was to be my mazterpieze!!"

"Can it a be rebuilt?" Mario asked.

"Yez, but that iz not ze point! Ze point iz zomeone destroyed zis statue...a statue of ze GAMEMASTER! Eet iz unfathomable why zey would do zat!"

"Pierre, calm yourself," Anthony said, trying to defuse the situation. "We can post guards if you'd like to restart. Don't worry, we'll find the guy!"

"Make sure you give heem ze worst punishment possible, nes't pas!"

The group dispersed and Sally went to find some guards for the worksite, recruiting Geoffrey and Antoine to pick out the best guards they could. Anthony floated up to Sally to talk. "Sally, when are you going to unveil the Knothole monument."

"We're not...at least not until yours is completed."

"But Sal, don't you think that's a bit disrespectful? I mean, those buried in Knothole DID give their lives for Mobius..."

"I know...but that monument will be a reminder to Mobius of those they have lost because of the coup and who will never return. We hoped your statue would inspire hope to relieve them of that sorrow."

"I see..." Anthony said, then started to float away. One thought penetrated his mind, however...

"Inspire them...or make them forget?"

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Anthony was in his room looking towards the worksite where Pierre restarted his work on Anthony's statue. As he pondered the events of late, he heard a knock on his door and floated over on his hoverchair. He saw Mario, Sonic, Link, and Megaman waiting for him.

"Anthony," Link started, "mind if we come in?"

"Not at all," Anthony said, making room for them to enter. "So, why the visit guys?"

"We were wondering how you were feeling after hearing your statue was destroyed," Megaman said. "You didn't seem particularly disturbed by it."

"That..." Mario continued, "plussa the fact we heard from Amy that you didn't a think your statue was a good thing."

"Oh that..." Anthony said. "Well...for an explanation for that, I have to ask one thing. Sonic, do you feel...robbed at all?"

"Huh?" Sonic said, confused. "What are you talking about, Anth?"

"Well, before I came here and helped Mobius you were, undeniably, 'the man'...er, 'the hedgehog'."

"Too true, too true..." Sonic said, ego in full view.

"After the events of the Battle of Mobius I began noticing something. Every time I floated out on my hoverchair I heard several loud cheers from the general populace. However...I didn't hear the same cheers for Sonic or any of the other Freedom Fighters. I'm...afraid they're giving me all the credit..."

"Oh come ON, Anth!" Sonic said. "Nothing's going to take away from our deeds of the last ten years! Besides...Mobius didn't truly become free until you brought Arcadia back together to help. You deserve the recognition!"

"I don't know..."

"Not this again..." Link said, shaking his head. "By Nayru's grace, I've NEVER seen someone with so much doubt!"

"It's not doubt, Link. Not once am I doubting that I made a significant contribution to Mobius's freedom and helped its people. But, do I really deserve all the credit? This was a team effort, after all. It wasn't one man from Earth that won the war, but hundreds of individuals from all five worlds that won the war. I don't deserve, and shouldn't deserve all the credit. That's why I don't think the statue's good thing, because it's creating that very impression!"

"Anthony...the statue's not just for giving you recognition," Megaman said. "It's to inspire people and generations to come..."

"Yeah," Mario continued. "Don't think of it as justa thanks to you. It has a different purpose than that."

"Alright," Anthony said. "I guess I can live with that..."

"Good," Sonic said. "C'mon, let's all get some chili dogs!"

"Not ones a you made Sonic!" Mario piped up.

"I'm with that!" Anthony said. "Those chili dogs you made last time kept me on the toilet for an hour stretch!"

"THERE'S an image that'll stick!" Link said, wincing.

The group walked out to grab some grub, all but Sonic laughing. Sonic, however, was mumbling something under his breath.

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That night the vandal struck again. This time the guards posted were ineffective, falling asleep as the vandal used some type of strange power on them. He walked up to the unfinished statue and looked at it, giving a look of disdain at the work done. He then lifted the same item used to destroy the last statue and reduced the statue to rubble again. He then left the area quietly, happy with what was done.

Once again, Pierre's scream could be heard all over Mobotropolis...

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The next morning a crowd gathered around the worksite again. This time, Pierre was weeping instead of cursing. The cursing was being handled by Antoine and Geoffrey as they chewed out the guards for failing in their duty. As Anthony floated up on his hoverchair, he was met by Sally.

"The vandal struck again..." Sally said.

"So I see..." Anthony said. "Did the guards see anything?"

"No...not even before they fell asleep..."

"Fell asleep?" Anthony said. "Who trained them...Geof...?"

"Don't even THINK of saying my name, bloke!" Geoffrey said. "Looks like there may be magic involved. The guards said the vandal used some weird power on them to make them fall asleep."

Anthony sighed. "That could take a while to check out. Nearly all of Gardenia and Hylas and some of Mobius knows magic."

"I know..." Geoffrey said, then turning towards Sally. "We've already started on the investigations, your highness. Princess Toadstool is using her Descendancy Powers to check the area. We'll let you know."

Sally nodded and watched as Geoffrey talked to Antoine. She then walked up to Pierre to comfort him. Anthony also floated up to Pierre and caught the last part of what she was telling him.

"...just restart the statue, Pierre. We will find who did this."

Anthony then spoke up. "Sally, this is getting ridiculous. Maybe this statue isn't worth it. Look...I know you guys want to honor me, but this is taking too much time what with all these vandal attacks. We still have the Knothole monument..."

"I know, Anthony, but this is supposed to be a time of rejoicing. With the feelings of sadness that may come from..."

"I keep HEARING that, Sal, but frankly I think people need to be reminded and get the grief out of their system. Otherwise, they'll probably fall into a deeper depression later on..."

"Anthony, what is your problem?" Sally asked. "I thought you'd want the recognition! Why...?"

"I just hate being the center of attention, Sal. That and there's something else..."

"What?" Sally asked, confused by Anthony's attitude.

Anthony gave her a sideways glance and started floating away. "I'm surprised you don't know. Just think about it, Sal."

Sally could only just stare as Anthony floated away. She then pondered a new way to protect the worksite...

"Well, no magic was used," Peach said to Sally as she deactivated her Descendancy Powers after checking the worksite. "Whatever was used must've been technology based." Suddenly Peach received a realization. "Sally, I think I know, but...it can't be..."

"What?"

"I have an idea how I can be sure. We'll set a trap tonight after Pierre finishes his next startup. Just one thing..."

"What's that?"

"Don't tell Anthony..."

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That night, the partially finished statue was once again locked up, and once again the vandal appeared. What surprised him was the lack of guards this time. Instead, he saw a note on the statue begging the vandal not to destroy the statue. The vandal just crumpled it up and threw it aside, then raised the same item used to destroy the last two statues.

"GET HIM!"

Suddenly the vandal was jumped by Mario, Luigi, Link, Megaman, Protoman, and Sonic. As the vandal struggled, he lifted a hand and pointed towards the statue, causing a large blast to emanate from it and reduce the statue to rubble. Nearly every hero was in shock, because they recognized the power...

"It...can't be..." Sonic said. "Protoman, give us a light!"

Protoman shone a light on the face of the vandal, and the face they saw made them gasp in absolute horror...

The face was that of Anthony Bault.

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Later that night, the six heroes, plus Princesses Zelda, Peach, Sally, and Sonia, as well as Bass, King Acorn, and Prince Elias were gathered in a small conference room in the castle, gazing at the human who was looking back at them with a steadfast and unfearing gaze.

Peach shook her head in disbelief. She had a feeling Anthony was responsible, realizing the power that put the guards to sleep might have been psionics, but this was one time she hoped she was wrong.

Nearly everyone was silent for a while, until Anthony spoke up. "I suppose I'd better explain myself..."

"Yes, you'd better..." Sally said, then letting her anger rise further. "Great Destiny, WHY?!? This statue was going to help inspire future generations! It was made as a thanks to you!!! Why the HELL did you want it destroyed?!?"

"Because I didn't think it was good for Mobius, or Arcadia for that matter!"

"Didn't think it was good?" Zelda said, angry herself. "Didn't think it was GOOD?!? Did you even think at ALL?!? This was our gift to you! I've never seen such lack of gratitude before!"

"Yeah!" Sonic said, then turning away from Anthony. "I thought we were your friends Anth! I thought we meant something to you! I thought..."

Suddenly, in an explosion of temper, Anthony spoke up. "I do!!! I did that for all of you!!! You mentioned someone did that because they hated me! Well that person IS me!!!"

All present were in shock at Anthony's outburst. Then Anthony calmed down and explained.

"I'm sorry, but it was necessary. You see...I didn't want to see the real heroes of Mobius be forgotten because of me..."

"Forgotten?" Sonia said. "How, and who are you talking about?"

"See what I mean?" Anthony said. "I mean those that are buried in Knothole. Before I destroyed my statue the first time, I had a dream where the people of Mobius were cheering for me, and that all of you were disappearing as I tried to walk up to you." Anthony looked down before continuing. "I realized the real significance of that dream. You weren't just disappearing, you were being forgotten, and I was the reason..."

"Anthony," King Acorn said. "Surely you can't mean that your statue would cause people to forget their sacrifice. I mean...we are building a monument to them as well..."

"In Knothole," Anthony explained, "a place away from the city where few people will probably visit now. My statue was going to be placed in the main square, where several people will see it on a regular basis." Anthony paused a bit, then continued. "As for forgetting, it's already happening. Many of the people working out there have family and friends that are buried in Knothole, and yet they act like their acts didn't matter and that they didn't exist every time I go by on my hoverchair. I even let my Emote Barrier power lapse at times and didn't sense any type of grief or remembrance."

The group realized what Anthony was saying, and began feeling down for yelling at him. Anthony then had a final thing to say. "I am not going to apologize for what I did, and I will do it again if my statue is rebuilt. I cannot in good conscience let their sacrifice go unnoticed and forgotten, the very thing Knuckles was afraid of have happen to him. It you're going to hate me for doing this, then hate me. I can handle it because I already hate myself for allowing this to get this far. Besides, I did what I thought was right...and you're just going to have to accept that."

"Anthony..." Sally started to say.

"Please just...leave me alone now."

Anthony left the room with everyone else there just staring at him. He returned to his room in the palace and plopped down on the bed, mind reeling from his confession, and feel asleep as soon as he climbed under the covers. Sally came in an hour later and checked on him, and noticed his face was wet, as if he was crying in his sleep. Sally's heart nearly broke from seeing that...

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The next morning, Anthony got up slowly from his bed, almost not wanting to get up because he didn't want to face people after last night. He got dressed and got in his hoverchair and floated towards the dining area.

It was empty when he arrived, with the exception of a coffee pot with several cups near it. Anthony filled one of the cups and positioned himself near an area of the room near a window. He sipped his coffee slowly as he was deep in thought, wondering what he could do now that he had destroyed the trust of those he just made friends with. He even considered relinquishing the Gamemaster title and returning to Earth. His thoughts were interrupted as he felt a light kiss on his cheek. He turned towards the source to find Amy Rose standing there.

"You looked like you needed a friend," Amy said, looking in the sad hazel eyes of Anthony. "Sally...told us what happened..."

Anthony looked down in shame, not sure what to say to explain his actions, especially to the one who looked up to him the most. Luckily, Amy spoke first...

"Anthony...despite what you did, we are all still your friends. We still look up to you for what you did for Arcadia."

"How can you say that, Ames?" Anthony said. "I practically stabbed by friends in the back when they were trying to honor me! How can you say you are all still my friends because of that?"

"Because...it's true," a voice said from behind the two of them. Anthony turned around to see Princess Sally walk in to join them. She looked as if she had been crying herself. "We were all talking after you had left and realized...you were right. We have been forgetting about those we lost, those we cared so much about, and realized we would insult their memory by honoring you the way we have been. I guess...we wanted to use you as a way to forget our terrible past." She then knelt down to look Anthony straight in the eye. "Anthony...can you forgive us for yelling at you like we did?"

Anthony smiled, feeling a lot better knowing he didn't lose their respect. "Only if you can forgive me for not telling you sooner. I should've told you how I felt at the beginning, maybe then I wouldn't have caused so much hurt. This is one of the things I hate about my position...you try to do the right thing, but your own feelings still exist about what you think is the right thing, and that can cause problems..."

Sally got up and kissed Anthony on the forehead. "Don't worry about it. We know what a sensitive man you can be, Anthony. Amy here knows that more than anyone. Pierre's even forgiven you for what happened and has decided not to rebuild your statue, as you requested."

"Good," Anthony said, breathing a sigh of relief. "Does this mean the other monument will be revealed soon?"

"Yes, in fact today has been made a day off for all the workers and there will be a special ceremony in Knothole at noon. We all want you to be there since I think you will want to hear the speech prepared."

Anthony nodded and made his way towards the room's exit. "In that case, ladies, there's something I must do first..."

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At noon, a bell tolled coming from the direction of Knothole. Several people from the five worlds walked slowly towards the former base with a somber look on their faces. Many of the Mobians were wearing bakhats, a traditional mourning cloth. Those from the other worlds were wearing black sashes around their arms.

Anthony followed the crowd on his hoverchair, keeping a respectful distance away because he didn't want to be noticed by the Mobians. He had activated his Descendancy Powers so he could wear his armor, his version of military dress, because he knew Antoine, Geoffrey, T-Bone, Sharpe, and others would be wearing their uniforms. The only thing different was the black sash he wore on his left arm on top of the armor.

As soon as everyone had arrived at Knothole, King Acorn walked up to a podium that was set up, and began to address the crowd...

"Ladies and gentlemen, we are gathered here today to honor the men, women, and children buried here. For the last ten years, these brave people gave their lives in the occupation so that the rest of us may live, and today we now honor their memories with the raising of this monument."

Acorn motioned towards where several Mobians were unveiling a large wall like monument from under a tarp. On it were the names of hundreds of people, but two names stood out to Anthony's eyes: "Alicia Acorn" and "Muttski", two who died from robotization.

King Acorn continued. "Let this monument be a timeless reminder of those who valiantly gave their lives to protect us, as well as those loved ones we have lost to robotization. May we keep them in our hearts and never forget them, for to be forgotten is worse than death."

Anthony was startled by that last statement. He recognized it as Freya's quote from Final Fantasy IX, and realized just how appropriate it was for this event, especially after what he had told Sally and the rest. He noticed Knuckles was present, and was particularly moved by that statement.

"Major..." King Acorn said, looking towards a group near his podium.

Anthony looked towards the group and saw Major Sharpe giving orders to seven individuals. Specifically...Toad, Protoman, Geoffrey, T-Bone, David, a Zoran soldier he didn't recognize...and even Julian Kintobor. They were holding what appeared to be standard laser rifles. As they stood at attention, Sharpe nodded towards where Antoine was holding a trumpet, and Antoine began to play Taps on it. As he played, the seven rifle holders did a standard 21-gun salute by firing three times into the air as per Sharpe's command.

The entire crowd was moved to tears as the ceremony commenced, remembering who they had lost. Anthony was also moved just from the beauty of the ceremony. As the ceremony came to a close, many people walked up to the wall, placing bouquets of flowers near where their loved one's names were. Sonic even put a small bone with a black ribbon on it near Muttski's name.

When the crowd left, Anthony floated up towards the wall himself, stopping a few feet before reaching. He then stood up and walked towards the wall, carrying a bouquet of flowers that had flowers from each of the five worlds. He then placed it near the middle of the wall, apart from any other bouquets so it wouldn't get mixed in and lost.

"A fitting tribute to the true heroes of Arcadia," Anthony said softly as he placed the bouquet. "If it weren't for you, there wouldn't have been a Mobius to save. I only hope my being here won't cause people to forget you like they almost did..."

Anthony then climbed back in his hoverchair and floated back towards Mobotropolis, gladdened in the fact that he prevented...what in his mind would have been the greatest tragedy that would have befallen Mobius...