Their hideout is in a SEWER?

Darkness surrounded the baffled Sonic and Tatl; only the torches dotting the walls and the fairy girl's light kept them from having to wander in complete darkness. Only the sounds of rushing water and ticking acquainted them. They stood on a stone balcony, overlooking an abyssal sea of darkness as far as the eye can see. To their right, a brick path, barely lit by torches and interrupted by gaps into the grimy water below, stretched on into eternity. To their left, a simple torch, flickering a bright red light in the pitch-black room. A long river flowed through right in front, black as the room around them. The air carried a slight chill, a huge contrast from the moderately warm air outside.

"Okay, what the heck?" Sonic said, backing away from the nearby torch and the walls. "I know us boys like to mess with dirty stuff at times, but this is ridiculous!"

"I know!" Tatl replied, clamping her nose shut with her left hand, while balancing her book with her right. It was now that Sonic was glad that he didn't have a nose as a Deku.

"Are you sure that this is the only other way to the observatory?" Sonic asked, peering into the black water. Not a single sign of life was present in the briny canal.

"Yes, this is the only way!" Tatl said, gasping. "This path is, like, decades old!"

"Don't the town guards even know about this? I mean, with a pretty blatant hole in their defense like this, I'm surprised the town isn't up to their armpits in beasties!"

"Nope," Tatl said, "but then again, besides the Bombers, only me, Tael, the Skull Kid and Shikashi know about this particular passageway."

"Alright, then, which way do we go?"

Balancing the book on her right hand again, she pointed forward to the stone pathway. "That's the way to the observatory," she shouted, and she started to flutter down into the darkness. "Let's go! Time's a wastin'!"

Sonic sighed reluctantly. "Right."

Walking up to the dark river, Sonic looked forward. The way to the rest of the pathway was segmented into several small "islands" with the gaps filled by the poisonous-looking water that flowed through. Tatl floated over the islands like they were nothing to her, carefully balancing the book in her hands. One of the gaps of water were right in front of him. Peering to his left, he saw that the river flowed in from a huge grating just a stone's throw away from him.

"Well," Sonic muttered, gulping. "Guess there's only one way to do this..."

Stepping as far back as he could, he readied himself: standing in place, legs splayed. He balled his fists, eying the nearest "island". "Ready..."

"Hurry up already, Dek!" echoed Tatl's voice.

Growling to himself, Sonic yelled, "GO!" And with that, he took off into a sprint. Though not nearly as fast as his normal form, he made it back to the river in seconds. Just as he reached the very edge of the stone balcony, he closed his eyes, crouched forward and leapt as high as he could towards the near island. He felt the wind rushing through his hollow thorns as he soared over the stagnant canal water. After soaring through the air for a few seconds, he landed feet-first on a hard structure with a loud thud.

Opening his eyes, he looked back and gasped. In just a single bound, he had not only cleared the river, he also made it over the "islands", landing on the stone pathway leading to the observatory.

"Wow, Dek..." Sonic looked forward and saw Tatl, mouth agape with a slight smile. "That was awesome! How did you do that?"

Sonic shrugged, grinning sheepishly. "I leaped?"

Tatl smirked. "Hm, if this is how you're like as a Deku Scrub, then I'm just dyin' to see how you are in your regular form! I just might actually give you that... reward, after all..." She gave him a little wink.

"Oh, cool, but let's wait until we get that Skull Kid before we discuss that, hm?"

"Lead the way, Dek..." she said with a giggle.

"Gladly," Sonic replied, and he started to march on down the pathway, Tatl fluttering close behind. He grinned to himself; even in his Deku form, he could still pull off awesome stunts. He was on top of the world; not even the gritty and drab atmosphere of the hideout dampened his glee.

As seconds turned to minutes, however, the high started to slowly wear off. The longer he looked around, trying to find something interesting to look at, the more bored he felt. The dirt-brown, muddy stone passage stretching on into the abyss, the dawdling river of stagnant water off to the side, all barely lit by small torches lining the walls. Only the hummingbird-like flapping from Tatl's wings kept the travel from being a completely silent monotony.

How long is this gonna go on? Sonic thought, trudging along in the utter monotony of the sewers.

Minutes stretched into hours. Throughout the whole trip down the seemingly-endless tunnel, Sonic kept to himself, glancing the unchanging looks of the area. Looking back, he saw Tatl fluttering close behind, reading the book while using her strange glow as a reading light. After a while, a growing sense of dread started to dwell inside Sonic. Looking up to the ceiling, he could help but sigh.

Really starting to miss sunlight right about now...

Just as he started to yawn from the utter boredom, a loud chattering sound suddenly rang out from above.

"Huh?" He came to a halt, looking around for the source of the noise.

"What's up, Dek?" Tatl said, hovering to his side.

"Hey, you heard that sound?" Sonic replied, head flitting to and fro.

"Um... what sound?" Tatl asked, looking around herself. "Can you describe it?"

"It was a strange, chattering sound… kinda like someone rustling their hands in a bundle of sticks. "

"Bundles of-?" Tatl gasped. "Oh, no..."

"What, what's wrong?" Sonic asked, and Tatl held a hand to his mouth.

"Look, Dek, we have to get to the observatory fast!" Tatl replied sternly. "We might've just landed ourselves in a whole mess of trouble now!"

"Well, what are we waiting for?" Sonic said, and started to sprint. "Let's get moving!"

Tatl started to flutter speedily beside him. "Right behind ya!"

As they ran, the strange chittering sound grew louder, echoing throughout the dark hallway. His heart pulsed a mile a minute as he sped along. Surprisingly, even Tatl looked scared, muttering something quietly as she clutched the book close to her chest. As seconds became minutes, the chittering, once barely louder than the cracking of the torches, was now loudly echoing all around him. His vision started to go foggy, his heart pumping as fast as he could run.

After a few more minutes of running, he started to see a stone wall slowly come into view. A huge metal grating was off to the side, rising from deep below the river. A bright red light emanated far off to the right of the wall.

"We're almost there, Dek!" Tatl shouted, panting deeply. "We just have to get over the-!"

Suddenly, a huge black shadow jumped down from the ceiling, uttering an unearthly chittering howl. Screaming as loudly as their bodies could allow, Sonic and Tatl both leapt back, landing butt-first on the cold, dirty stone ground.

"What the heck is that?" Sonic screamed, clutching tightly on his wooden chest.

He breathed in loud, audible gasps as the shadowy creature slowly came into view. It was a spider; a spider whose size could rival even the largest thoroughbreds. It had beady, little red eyes that almost seemed to glow in the darkness of the sewer. Its eight spindly legs, as black as night, were covered in sharp spine-like hairs. Greenish venom dripped from its fangs, splashing down hard on the stone floor. What gave Sonic the most pause was its abdomen: it had a bony, stark-white shell that looked like a melted human skull. The "eyeholes" of the skull seemed to emanate a red light, almost as if it was an extra set of eyes for the arachnid.

"It's a Skulltula..." Tatl muttered, jittering in place and clutching the book.

"A what?" Sonic yelled, eying the scared fairy girl.

Using her arm as a balance, she flipped open the massive book. Flipping through the page as frantically as she could, she finally came to a stop and yelled, "This!"

Looking at the page, he gasped. A photograph of a massive arachnid graced the page, looming over a helpless girl, followed by columns of characters that he couldn't quite read.

"These spiders are really dangerous, Dek!" Tatl said, closing the book with a loud clap. "If we don't kill this thing off fast, it's gonna kill and eat US!"

"Okay... ?" Sonic muttered. If he had teeth right now, they would be chattering like a jackhammer. "How do we kill this thing? It's as big as a horse!"

"W-well," Tatl stuttered, the skulltula creeping closer to her, "it has that hard skull shell on its abdomen, so you can't just strike it there, I guess..."

"So, how DO you kill it?" Sonic screamed, backing away from the leering skulltula.

"Its underbelly..." Tatl yelled, clutching her book tight, "We gotta flip this thing over and attack its underbelly! It's the only soft part of its body!"

"Got it! You take the back; I got the front!" Sonic yelled, and he dashed over to the skulltula. Diving at the screeching arachnid, he grabbed it by its fangs.

"Gotcha!" Sonic yelled, grabbing the bony fangs as tight as his little Deku hands could allow him. Green venom started to seep into his hands, coating his bracelets in a snot-like gunk. He eyed the goop nervously, while thanking himself for letting Lady Venus heal him up; otherwise, he would've been in a far more grave situation than he was already in.

"Hey, Dek!" echoed Tatl's voice from behind the hulking spider. "I got this thing by its web-spitty bits! Now, on the count of three, we flip this oversized pest over into the water! Ready?"

Getting a tight hold on the skulltula, Sonic yelled, "Yeah, let's go!"

"One... "

"Two... "


And, with one mighty, almost-synchronized shove, Sonic, along with the help of Tatl, forced the skulltula to flip right into the brackish sewer water below. To his, and presumably Tatl's surprise, the arachnid was much lighter than it appeared, flipping over as if it was a simple playing card. Landing in the water with a loud splash, it thrashed about in the stagnant sewer water, sending its legs spiralling around it.

"LET'S GET IT!" Tatl screamed, and she, without a second glance, tossed her book aside and hopped on top of the skulltula's underbelly. Reaching into her hip pouch, she, to Sonic's surprise, pulled out her knife and started to smash at its legs.

"Banzai!" Sonic shouted, and he leapt down on the arachnid's abdomen. They both went to work on the vulnerable spider, slashing away and stomping at its soft innards. Globs of a clearish liquid came pouring out of the wounded skulltula, spilling into the sewer water like a burst dam. As Sonic stomped at the unprotected undersides, the translucent liquid splashed against the stone walls, giving them a sticky appearance. The stick-like legs each fell straight into the water with every crack from Tatl's slingshot. After a few seconds of the no-holds-barred beatdown, the arachnid, now emptied of its entrails, stopped moving. The skulltula was no more.

Climbing back onto the relatively dry ground of the stone pathway, Sonic and Tatl were sprawled on their back floor, panting deeply. They were both covered in the skulltula's remains, especially Sonic, who was covered head-to-toe in its entrails. Looking over to the dead arachnid, even while being dead exhausted, Sonic smiled like an idiot. It was the first bit of action he got since the Dark Gaia incident...and it felt good!

"Well, Dek," Tatl said, rolling to her side while breathing in deeply, "we're soakin' wet, we're completely covered in skulltula guts, we reek like crazy..."

"But, we're alive..." Sonic said happily.

Tatl gave a thumbs-up, replying, "Hell yeah..."

After a few minutes of gasping and breathing, Sonic finally got back on his toes, brushing off the gunky remnants of the skulltula. "Alright," Sonic said, "let's go find that Skull Kid."

Picking up her book from the floor, Tatl replied, "Yeah, let's."

"Oh, by the way: how did you get that knife back?"

Tatl grinned. "Simple: I went back to the Fairy Fountain while you were still searching for those Bomber dweebs."

"Ah, of course."

And with that, they made their way to the stone wall. Taking a hard left, they walked down the short hallway into a massive, sprawling room. It was considerably more well-lit, making the walls finally fully visible to them. They were made of brown bricks covered in green moss. The room itself was barren with only a few broken pots and a ladder leading to a huge entrance directly on the other side of the room.

"Alright, Tatl," Sonic said, walking towards the ladder. "You wanna go first?"

"Oh, so you wanna see the goods already, huh?" Tatl replied with a smirk. "Ha, like I'm really that stupid! You go first. Besides, I can fly, remember?"

"Fine, fine..." Sonic said, and he grabbed the ladder. Slowly, he started to climb the ladder. As he made it, he heard a loud whistle ring out from behind him.

"What the?"

Sonic looked back and saw Tatl, coolly whistling to herself while cradling her book. She looked to the walls, while carrying a vague smirk on her face.

"Okay..." Sonic thought, raising an eyebrow. "Let's go, Tatl."

"Okay, Dek..." Tatl replied with a slight giggle, to Sonic's bemusement.

They made their way down the tunnel. Without a single torch lighting the way, only Tatl's light kept things from being complete darkness. The tunnel seemed to stretch for miles, with no end in immediate sight. After a few minutes of silent walking, keeping mostly to themselves, a bright light started to come into view.

"Hey, is that it?" Sonic asked, pointing towards the light.

"Yes!" Tatl yelled, and she started to flutter faster. "Let's go!"

"Got it!" Sonic started to run faster and faster, arms firmly locked to his sides. In just a few seconds, the light soon developed into a sprawling room; a most interesting room, as Sonic found out when he came to a halt right in its center.

"What the...?"

Pages upon pages of paper were strewn across the wooden floor of the room. Like the rest of the hideout, the walls were lined with gray bricks, each as drab and lifeless as the last. Stacks of wooden boxes, jars and pots lined the walls across the room, balancing an empty metal cage on top of them. As Sonic looked on, he grunted to himself.

How much more of this dull stuff do I have to take?

Looking over to his right, Sonic squeaked. What he saw was the most beautiful set of stairs he had ever seen. Erected high into the ceiling, each individual step was polished to the point where, even from where he stood, he could make out his face as if he was staring into a mirror. Each painted in a brilliant color, the step alternated between all the colors of the rainbow. Each step shimmered in a sea of sparkles. It was as if it came straight from the Radiant Emerald dimension. Looking over the rest of the junk-filled room, Sonic could've help but be baffled. As beautiful as it looked, the stairs stuck out from the rest of the room like a sore thumb.

"Ah..." Tatl sighed. "We're finally here, Dek!"

"Looks nice..."

Looking around the room once more, a loud squawk suddenly rang out from behind. Off to the side, just under the rainbow stairs, Sonic spotted a white feathered chicken pecking around in a slightly rusted cage. It squawked wildly as it spotted the little Deku Scrub, backing away from him as much as it could.

"Hey, why is there a chicken in that cage?" Sonic said, walking up to the cage.

"A chicken?" Fluttering up to the cage, Tatl reached inside and petted the chicken. To Sonic's surprise, the squawking immediately stopped. The bird uttered a soft cooing sound and gently pecked at her hand. "I don't know what you'd call this bird back in your world, but here, this is called a cucco. You can get some eggs from 'em, you can make a decent meal out of 'em when they can't lay anymore. You know, the usual stuff. Just don't try to attack these little guys, though."

Sonic folded his arms. "What happens if you do?"

"Well… if you keep hitting them, they'll call out to other cuccos in the area to come and mess you up real bad. Why, I remember that one time a fairy friend of mine tried to kick one out of a Town Gate and well… let's just say that she's lucky that she's a healing fairy, if you catch my drift."

"... Huh."

"Hello?" a voice sounded out from above. It sounded deep, yet somewhat creaky in pitch. "Who's down there?"

Putting a hand to her mouth, she yelled, "It's just me, Professor! I have to ask ya somethin'!"

"Oh, is that you, Tatl?" the voice said, lightening up a bit. Whoever the voice belonged to, he clearly knew Tatl. "Oh, good! Please, do come up, dear child."

"That's Professor Shikashi?" Sonic said, pointing at the entrance to the higher floor.

"Yep," she replied, and started to flutter towards the steps. "Let's go."

Walking close behind Tatl, he made his way up the shimmering stairs. To his surprise, despite how shiny and polished they appeared to be, the steps weren't the least bit slippery to walk on. As he hobbled his way to the top, the banister, with an appearance just as vibrant as the steps, shifted through all the colors of the rainbow. As he came to the top, Sonic gave a loud gasp.

"Wow..." he thought, eying the new room.

A far cry from the significantly messier and grungy basement below, the observation deck was a vibrant kaleidoscope of colors. The ceiling of the dome-like room that hung above him had a starry display, showcasing a vast array of constellations, some of which looked familiar to him. The room itself was completely covered in a pastel pinkish-purple hue, giving the displays a psychedelic appearance to them, as if they were ripped straight from the Special Zone. The walls each had a three-dimensional cube design, as vivid in colors as the rest of the room. Even the door looked cosmic with its solar system-like designs etched and painted onto it.

Situating right in the center of the ceiling was a telescope easily as big as the ones he had seen on Earth. Coated in a shiny purplish hue, it had two huge gears on its sides, moving autonomously as it moved along the starry ceiling. Standing right below it was a tall elderly man. Cloaked in a shimmering blue robe, the man had long gray hair, flowing past his shoulders. He was hunched over, gazing into the eyepiece of the telescope with his arms firmly held behind his back. He made little mumbles to himself, moving the telescope to and fro.

"Hey, Professor!" Tatl yelled, flying over to the blue-robed man. "We're here!"

"Hrrm?" Looking up from the eyepiece, the man looked Tatl over. "Tatl, is that you?"

"Yes, Professor, this is me!" Tatl said, giggling. "How are you this fine day, sir?"

"Oh, I'm quite fine, Miss Beryllia, thanks," the man replied, smiling before looking over at Sonic. "Who's your friend over there?"

"Oh, him?" Tatl pointed over to Sonic, saying "Well, his name is Dek, and I found him while I was in town. He needs some help with something, sir."

"Ah, is that it?" The man held out a hand and waved it. "Do come over here, lad."

With a shrug, Sonic walked over to the elderly man. As he moved, an unnerving feeling settled in his body upon seeing the man's face. With a long gray mustache and a bright pink nose, he bore a vague resemblance to a certain someone Sonic knew and tolerated, at best.

"Hey, excuse me," Sonic said, stopping in front of the old man, "but are you really Professor Shikashi?"

"Well, now, you certainly are a lot more well-behaved than the other children I've seen lately." the man said, leaning down at Sonic while chuckling. "Yes, I'm Shikashi, Professor of Astronomy to be exact. Tell me, lad, are you a new member of the Bombers?"

"Well, er-"

"Yes," Tatl interrupted. "He just became a new member a couple hours ago, in fact."

"Interesting..." Shikashi raised a hand to his chin, stroking his beard. "Found by Tatl out of the blue and made a member of the Bombers within a span of a couple hours?"

Sonic gulped. Did Shikashi really catch on to him not being a member that quickly?

"Well," Shikashi said, "I guess they must've finally got rid of that Skull Kid then."

"Oh!" Sonic shouted, mentally sighing in relief; his cover wasn't blown after all. "That's exactly what I've came here for! Have you seen him?"

"Indeed, I have!" Shikashi shouteded, taking Sonic by surprise. "That little troublemaker came here just a half-hour ago. He demanded that I give him my Moon's Tear and when I refused, he threatened to damage my instruments. As you can plainly see in the basement, he's already done a decent job at that!"

"Have you seen where he went off to?" Tatl asked.

"Yes; in fact, right now, he's prancing about on top of the clock tower! Gaze into my telescope, and see if I'm wrong!"

With a nod, Sonic hobbled over to the telescope, hopping onto the podium. Lowering it down to his eye-level, he gazed into the eyepiece and gasped.

"It's him!"

"Wait, what?" Tatl said, leaning in from the side and gasping herself. "What's he doing all the way up there?"

Sonic only shrugged in response. Prancing about on top of a massive gray structure, just as Shikashi said, was the masked Skull Kid. He juggled the Mystic Melody and the bag in his hands as if it was a simple ball. In the glow of the mid-morning sun, the mask he wore appeared much less menacing than in the Subterranean Forest. After gallivanting about for a few seconds, he suddenly came to a halt, his back turned towards Sonic.


Sonic twisted a dial next to the eyepiece, zooming in on the abruptly still imp. Zooming in as close as he could, he watched the imp, wary of any sudden movements. As he gazed upon the enigmatic imp, he abruptly did an about-face, giving the hedgehog-turned-imp an eyeful of the mask that sent chills down his spine. The pinprick pupils of its "eyes" gazed into his pupiless eyes, emanating an orange glow that managed to stand out even when the imp is directly in a sunbeam. Just as he started to look away from the manic eyes, a voice abruptly rang out from around him:


"Whoa!" Sonic gasped, leaping back off the podium with such force that he fell back into the wall. He clutched his chest, breathing in short, rapid gasps. Just what was that voice, and where did it came from? How did it know his name?

"Dek!" Tatl yelled, dashing over to the fallen deku scrub. "Are you okay? What happened?"

"I... I heard a voice," Sonic replied, getting to his feet. "It sounded kinda like the Skull Kid, but... did you hear it?"

Tatl shook her head. "I didn't hear any voices! You sure you're not hearing things?"

Sonic grimaced. "Well, whatever that voice came from, it knew my name..."

Tatl backed up from him, a worried look on her face. "Okay, you're seriously starting to creep me out, Dek. Are you sure that you-?"

Suddenly, a loud explosion rocked the observatory. The walls shook violently from the abrupt, cacophonic bang; with how the dome was designed, the noise gave a loud echo, amplifying it tremendously. Tatl shrieked, immediately ducking for cover. Shikashi was knocked clean off his feet from the massive shockwaves. Sonic curled up, trying to hold his ground the best his diminutive body could handle. Thoughts raced through his mind. Just what made that explosion? Did that voice he heard had something to do with it? The more he thought about it, the sicker he felt. Was the Skull Kid, not content with merely turning him into something significantly weaker, now actively out to kill him?

After a few seconds, the explosion finally subsided. Looking up from his knees, he breathed a sigh of relief. Despite the quakes that rocked the place, the observatory held firm, with not a single crack in sight. Looking around, he saw Tatl and Shikashi lifting themselves back up to the observation platform. Aside from a couple bumps and bruises, they, too, didn't appear to be worse for wear.

"Just what the heck was that all about?" Tatl yelled, eying the walls.

"Indeed," Shikashi replied weakly, getting to his feet. "Did that troublemaker have something to do with this?"

"Tatl," Sonic said, dashing for the door, "go help Shikashi. I'll check outside!"

With a nod of confirmation from her, he leaped up and twisted the doorknob. Now free, he kicked it wide open and leaped out into the yard. He looked around, wary that whatever made the explosion could still be around to finish the job. The yard of the observatory was guarded by a steel gate, stretching all around the building. Its bars were so massive and spaced so closely to each other that he could barely see past them. As he looked around, he heard a sizzling sound to his left. Peering leftwards, he squinted.

"What's this?"

Smoking in the middle of a small crater just a couple feet from the entrance was a large stone. Crystalline in appearance, it was shaped like a oversized tear. It emanated a bright cyan light, giving the crater it was in a bluish tint. As he walked up to the crater, a sense of nostalgia washed over him. What was the strange stone, and why did it look so familiar to him?

Reaching into the crater, he picked up the tear-shaped stone. Despite the puffs of smoke drifting off from it, it was cool to the touch. As he gaze upon its luminescent visage, the thought struck him.

It looks like a Chaos Emerald...

Carrying it in his hands, he walked back into the observatory. Tatl tended to Shikashi, wrapping his arm up in a bandage. It appeared that the old man had more injuries that he thought.

Tatl looked over to Sonic and said, "Hey, what'd you got there, Dek?"

Sonic shrugged. "I found this in a crater just in front of the door. I think this made that explosion!"

Shikashi hummed. "Lad, can I see that stone?"

Sonic nodded, and walked over to Tatl and Shikashi, holding out the stone. Looking down at the rock, Shikashi nodded.

"Ah, this is just a Moon's Tear," he said.

"A what?" Sonic asked, eyebrow raised.

Lifting the cyan stone from Sonic's hands, he replied, "This is one of the lunar rocks that have been blazing from the surface of the moon lately. They fall from what looks to be the moon's eye, so I call them Moon's Tears. They are rare stones, valued by many in town."

"Yeah, Dek," Tatl said, nodding in agreement. "Lady Vee has one, too."

"I see..." Sonic muttered, before snapping his fingers. "Hey, now that you've reminded me, I have to ask you something about the moon."

"And what's that, lad?" Shikashi asked.

"Well, I'm new in town, but, uh, haven't you noticed that the moon is rather...big in the sky?"

Shikashi's face abruptly turned grim. "Aye, lad, I have. To me, it seems as if the moon is being pulled in by something and is gradually drawing closer."

Sonic couldn't decide whether to breath a sigh of relief or to be scared out of his wits. On the one hand, it's comforting to know that at least other person was aware of the moon's close proximity to the planet. On the other hand, there's the possibility that the moon might actually be falling onto the planet.

Tatl scoffed. "Sorry, Professor, but you honestly expect me to believe that the freakin' moon is gonna fall? Oh, puh-leaze! The moon's all the way out in space, for goodness sakes!"

Shikashi sighed. "Aye, I, too, hope that I'm just thinking too hard over this. Unfortunately, the research I've conducted over the past two months is showing that it might not be the case." Walking over to the telescope, he continued, "My calculations suggests that, at the rate it's moving, the moon will most likely impact Termina in just under sixty-four hours..."

This sent chills down Sonic's spine. Looking up to the ceiling, he grimaced. Now he had to hurry up and get his Mystic Melody back from that imp! Looking over at Tatl, even she appeared to be a bit shaken by the news.

"Anyway," Shikashi said, walking back over to the deku and fairy. "since that imp made off with my Moon's Tear, would it be alright if I have this one?"

"Oh, sure, sir," Sonic said with a nod. "I didn't really want it, anyway."

"Ah, thank you, lad." Shikashi stroked his chin, saying, "Though, there's still something that bugs me: just how did that troublemaker manage to get on top of the clock tower? The entrance to the clock tower only open once a year."

"Well, it's not like he can fly, or anything," Tatl added, "he's no fairy, after all."


"Well, anyway, we gotta go, Professor." Looking over at Sonic, she said, "Alright, Dek, so we know where the Skull Kid is. Let's go search around the Clock Tower. Maybe we'll learn something!"

"Yeah," Sonic said, and he walked over to the stairs.

"Alright, Professor," Tatl said, waving to the elderly man, "I'll see ya later!"

"Okay," Shikashi replied, waving back. "Good luck with your search, and be wary of those skulltulas!"

Author's Note: And with that, Chapter Eight is done!

Oy, I'm sorry for the slight delay; man, I'm just having the worst of luck lately! See, just a couple days after I uploaded Chapter 7, my laptop's hard drive up and died on me! Man, if it wasn't for my saving the story files on a flash drive, I would've really been screwed! I intended to upload this chapter last Friday, but it took me until just yesterday to purchase a new hard drive. Everything's all settled now; let's just hope that this one isn't defective!

Anyway, how is the story so far? Did you find this chapter enjoyable? Boring? If you have any questions or problems with this story, post your concerns as a review or send me a private message. Any constructive feedback is, and will always be, much appreciated.