He'd always been on the outs, but…
We feared this time…
He wanted out.
Their closeness sickened him. Sickened him to the core of his beating black heart. And it was only getting worse.
With each passing day, Scourge grew more and more insane. And Marce, well…she got more…attached to him.
The former king, mutation, alter ego, whatever you wished to call him, now had a home in the (in anyone else's eyes) rundown version of Castle Acorn in this alternate world.
The old castle belonged to its three members. Miles, or the Anti-Tails, was very evil, very sick, very twisted. And, in this way, he was also very brilliant. His mind was haunted by brilliant plots of murder, recipes for poisons and how to put his victim at ease while he drank, blueprints for instruments of torture, and other such evil and diabolical things. Never had he loved, never had the notion that he had friends crossed his mind. He was quiet, secretive, and kept to himself. If his plans went into action, if he was the leader of a mission, he was as smooth and calm about it as an engorged snake. His eyes enticed like a hungry cobra's, his soul was a pulsating vat of darkness, and his mind was that of a most brilliant, insane, and haunted man, though he was still quite young. One could say he was a master of war.
Then, there was the polar opposite. The only one who had stood at peace against King Scourge's recently ended reign. At times, the others thought he didn't belong here, and Miles had tried and failed to entice him to leave. He could (and would, without complaint or pain) take and endure Miles' poisons, attempts at murder, instruments of torture…he was built as Sonic was built to take any and all abuse with a calm demeanor. The only difference between him and Blue was that he almost never spoke. He was Anti-Knuckles, but he had many names. Many of them were curses, yelled out at him by Miles, mostly, who found his peaceful resistance to torture irritating, but the others were actual names. Among the most popular was Mix, and he seemed content with this. When you called him by this name, he would look up at you with piercing eyes the color of diluted ivory. Unlike his passionate counterpart, he was refreshingly cold and dark. Often, the ruby echidna would sit alone, meditating. Perhaps mourning the lost of his precious Sunken Isle.
The last was most disliked. Only emotionless Mix could stand to be in the room with him for an extended period of time. And this was why. Scourge the Hedgehog, former king by his own announcing, had once been the leader of the Anti-Freedom Fighters until he suffered a horrid concussion and began a slow decent into insanity, kind of like what happened to the current Doctor Robotnik in the Prime world. This breed of insanity was quite different from the other sorts of insanity found on the Anti-Planet, and also dangerous, not at all in the refreshing or enticing way, either. Scourge's reign ended, of course, because Miles had given him medicine to calm him. Eventually, however, Scourge realized what he was taking was a form of light poison to restrict his thoughts of madness, so he stopped taking it. The medicine, however, had done enough work that the madness was slowed, and Scourge did not bother the group. He spent his days and nights in his attic room, scheming. Something uncommon for him. Quite out of character. Scourge was a coward, a bully. And, he would take the easy, wide path if he could get there on foot. And he would. And he did.
There was also one last resident, though she hated to be there. Anti-Amy, or Rosy the Rascal, as she was better known as. Rosy was adequately caged like a zoo animal on the first floor close to the great dining hall. She liked to sing, and was quite the watch dog. She was also crazy. But, like Scourge had been for a time, she was lightly poisoned by Tails and was too stupid to realize this. So, she took her poisoned cake and drink and ate it, day in and day out. The pulsating black collar around her feminine neck kept her from drawing and using her deadly green hammers. They could, after all, give nasty concussions. Since Rosy was quite the character also, her hammers could act individually like a pack of wild dogs. And this made her dangerous without her understanding why. So caged she was and collared she stayed, singing like a caged bird to announce anything from the hour to dinnertime. She was not on a schedule, and could do this randomly.
One night three years ago, Miles was awaken from his sleep in the storage room on the second floor to hear Rosy chanting, screeching...what counted as singing for her:
"Little girl in the fields, picking the buds off the reeds. Little girl, sing to me, your words are poison, death to me. Let me come closer dear, let me read your palm, sincere. Watch as I doth cut the lines with my needle clear! Watch, as the blood runs from the veins, black as beetle's beer!"
Miles sat up, his dull china blue eyes searching the dark room. A figure turned on the light. Miles squinted in the sudden brightness to see who it was…only to find the mute echidna. "Cerberus, Mix!" Miles exclaimed in his sweet, blood-coated voice that made flowers freeze solid and baby birds die in their eggs. "What could she mean?"
Mix sighed, looking promptly at the floor and removing his dark green newsboys cap. He raised one mitted fist and extended a single finger towards the window. Miles stood, putting on his dark red cloak with black designs on it around his shoulders and pulling his boots on over his socked feet. He then walked to the window.
In the light of the pale, sick-looking moon, the grasses mixed with flowers below looked a sick robin's egg blue. In amongst the waving, swaying grasses, there stood a figure dressed all in white. Its clothing billowed, so Miles pondered it being just an illusion or ghost. One saw many of these in this parallel world, and they would not harm you if you did not wish them harm, but…
Rosy had been taught to be an alarm, and though she was random with alarms…could one so crazy that she finds familiars in commonplace objects be frightened by a common specter?
As if sensing Miles' unease, Mix put a heavy mitt on his young friend's shoulder. (But, were they friends, really?) Miles nodded and looked up into the echidna's diluted, emotionless eyes as hard and unreadable as bone. "I need a better look." He turned sharply on his heel and raced down the stairs.
Mix took one more look out the window before following slowly, matching each of Miles' footfalls exactly.
Miles reached the ground floor, only to find Scourge out of bed. The scarred green hedgehog was standing at the window, staring out at the figure. Rosy was fidgeting in her cage, biting her nails beneath her white leather gloves and quite ruining them, too. She was yipping like a frightened puppy, and something told Miles this was no ordinary visitor.
"Hello, Miles." Scourge was smiling. Miles could tell, even though all he could see was the hedgehog's stunning quills. "Quite the visitor we've got tonight. Beautiful. Delicious. Enticing. Dangerous." He smacked his lips.
"How did you know?" Miles asked, not daring to invade Scourge's space.
"Mix came, and woke me. Much in the same manner as he woke you. The boy never sleeps." Scourge turned slowly. "Come, Mix. It's all right." He beckoned with a single gloved finger. Mix ran forward and sat beside Scourge. The green hedgehog began to pet him, like a dog. Mix closed his eyes and leaned against the green legs. Scourge turned back to the window. "Amazing what living alone and killing at a young age can do to a young girl."
"A girl?" Miles' voice reached a new high pitch. His tone was one of fear, something it did not hold often. Mix stood quickly and clung to Scourge, resting his head upon his shoulder. His head turned and his eyes buried into Miles' soul.
"A little girl!" Rosy shrieked, her eyes growing wide and her quills fluffing up. "Her saliva is poison! When she plucks a flower, it will die the second it leaves the earth! Even the evilest spiders and snakes flee her! Thssst! Thssst!" The pink hedgehog rammed against the side of the cage, making her ears bleed. "Thsssssssssssssss-t." She hissed like a retarded snake.
"Rosy, stop that." Miles commanded. Rosy stopped with one last defiant "thsst" and sat heavily on the metal floor of her cage, licking her arms like an unsettled cat. The fox stared at Scourge's back. "Scourge…do you know her? What do you mean?"
"Come and see." Scourge pushed Mix off of him, watched the echidna stumble into a nearby pillar, and moved away from the window. "Go on." He hissed, suddenly very close to Miles' ear. "Are you afraid I'm contagious?" His voice was knowing, and that in itself was a bitter poison.
Miles shook his head and strolled to the window. When he looked out, he didn't see a ghost or a specter, as he had suspected it was.
Scourge and Rosy were right: It was a little girl. She looked like a rabbit—no, she was a rabbit! The wind blew and uncovered two long ears settled against her back. Her fur was a pale orange, and some spots were a rusty iron color. She had a small smile on her face, and her brown eyes were fierce and held much fire. Miles could sense them, though she was thirty, forty feet from the window. And she stood straight and tall like an unmoving statue. She didn't even blink.
And then, she moved.
Her eyes closed and she opened her mouth, putting both hands over her heart. Rosy began to scream and thrash about wildly, crying out nonsense.
"Aye my atta, no te se mei, legomena and dromena sei lu. Mein entu wren tui. Aye my atta, no te se mei, legomena and dromena sei lu! Mein entu wren tu!" Rosy shouted. "Mein Liviniannaii estu klien entu.iii"
"What in the gods is she saying?!" Miles snapped, covering his ears with his fists.
"Incantation." Mix said simply.
"What?" Scourge wondered.
"In. Can. Tay. Shun." Mix replied. "Incantation."
"No, it's not." Miles uncovered his ears. "It's a spell." He watched the little girl close her mouth. As soon as she did so, Rosy stopped freaking out like a trapped animal.
"I like her." Scourge insisted hungrily, his alive blue eyes gleaming with unseen dastardly intentions. "She made Rosy tremble." He licked his lips, cutting his tongue on his sharp teeth.
"And that should make you intensely nervous, Scourge." Miles pointed out. "Rosy is the strongest among us."
"Rosy smash!" Rosy giggled.
Scourge rolled his eyes. "I hate it when you're right, you know that, you little creep?"
Miles chuckled as he went to help Mix up, extending his hand to the sitting echidna. "Wouldn't have it any other way, 'big brother'." He said it sarcastically, but he hid a yawn as he turned and walked off back to bed.
Scourge watched him go, and glared through the bone-eyed Mix. "What are you staring at, you one-word mute?" He growled. "Go!"
Mix turned around and ran up the stairs, never once missing Miles' footsteps as he went.
Scourge walked over to Rosy's cage. "Heyy there, Rosy." He leaned up against the bars, trying his best to sound enticing.
"Hiii Scourgey." Rosy blinked, trying her best to flirt.
"Can you tell me," he looked up slowly into her eyes, "what exactly she said?"
"Noooo," Rosy turned away from him. "It was scaaaryy."
"C'mon, Rosy." Scourge slipped his hand between the bars and touched her cheek. "Please? For me?"
Rosy growled and snapped at his hand, clamping down on his wrist, drawing blood.
"Ow!" Scourge snarled, baring his teeth and pulling his hand back with rapid reflexes only he and one other possessed. "That hurt!"
Rosy laughed maniacally. "I know it did, you cutie!" She winked. "I won't tell you what Liviniannaiv told me." She turned with a puppy dog lip and wide, wet eyes. "I suggest you stay away from that girl…for your own good." She sat down in the far corner and put her head in her lap. "Good night, Scourgey."
Scourge took one look up the wooden stairs. The lights were off, except for the candle that forever burned in Mix's room. He looked at Rosy, sound asleep in her cage. Her green tutu moved as she breathed, washing over her thighs like ocean water.
The green hedgehog smirked and tugged on his leather jacket. Then, he pushed open the heavy castle door and went outside.
The little girl, it seemed, was waiting for him. She was singing to herself and laughing as she pulled apart the pale white petals of a flower. She seemed to be wearing a sheet: the dress she wore engulfed her tiny body, blowing about her legs and bare feet. A headless ragdoll rested at her feet, but she took it into her arms now, cradling it against her chest as he came near.
"Hello." Scourge said.
"Hello." The little girl sang in a voice that held mischief coated with a sugery-sweet tone. "My name is Marcev."
"My name is Scourge." Scourge replied, bending to her level. "Would you like to come inside with me?"
"Yes." Marce answered, putting her little hand in his palm. "Lead the way." She looked up into his eyes and smiled sweetly. Those same eyes glowed dimly with the fires of another world.
Scourge led her upstairs to his attic room and told her his story. Marce stayed silent, and did not allow anyone to hear her story be told.
Over time, Marce acquired new clothes. A leather shirt that covered the upper part of her chest and was solid there, but was strips of fabric all the way down from there. It was sleeveless. Her shorts were inky black and paired with fishnet tights and deep blue high-heeled boots. She dyed a tuft of her hair deep pink and tied her ears in a ponytail. She was much loved, as she was great company.
At any given moment, she could become quiet and spacey like Mix, or rueful, twisted, and evil like Miles. She showed traits of her own, as well. She was a master huntress and could kill in a single shot. She did not like flowers, and would go around with a scissors every morning to snip them off their stems. She kept to herself, mostly, and talked to Rosy a lot. The two became close and shared stories and other such girly things.
But, there was no one Marce loved better than the fallen villain. She would often be up and down from the attic tower, running errands tirelessly for Scourge. At night, she slept in his room, in his bed, while he sat up and paced. Some nights, you could hear them giggling together over something diabolical, and Miles began to grow wary of the little girl.
At one point, when she was eleven, he drew her aside. "Marce." He smiled the sweetest and most diabolical smile he could muster. "Would you come with me for a moment, please."
Marce fingered her choker necklace and played with her leather fingerless gloves. Finally, after what seemed like ages, she answered: "All right." Her voice was very much like a little girl's, but she had never really been innocent, as little girls are.
They walked into the decrepit dining hall and sat down at the table. Miles called a little dark blue-skinned boy with blood red fairy wings, a curved ponytail at the top of his head (his hair was pale white), and black shorts to serve them tea and refreshments. "Thank you, Reeze." Miles shooed him as soon as the strange boy with empty eyes had brought the tea. "You may go now."
Reeze made a strange noise that sounded like an attempt at English and left.
"Now, Marce, dear." Miles began, stirring his tea with the end of a biscotti. "You know we only want what's best for you."
Marce nibbled on her biscotti. "Why do you keep Rosy in a cage?" She kicked her boots against the leg of the table closest to her. "It doesn't seem fair. She's such a nice girl." Marce, like the others, viewed Rosy as a life form more inferior than herself, though it seemed she had an utmost respect for Rosy, which the others refused to possess. "And Scourge dislikes her." She smiled a bit.
Miles didn't know if the girl was playing with him (putting on a mask, as she was bound to do), or if the preteen hated Scourge as much as the rest of them. Though, he doubted she disliked him…one couldn't quite be sure with Marce. He bit his biscotti and put it down on the cracked saucer. "Marce, I don't want to discuss Rosy. I want to discuss you and Scourge." He paused, crossing one leg over the other. Marce was studying him carefully, as one would a complicated math problem. Her guard was fully up, he noticed. "Marce, you and Scourge…"
"I love Scourge." Marce answered plainly, defensively. "I loved him, like I loved my fathervi, and I dislike such talkings about him that don't do him justice."
"You don't know Scourge properly." Miles argued calmly. "You don't know what he's done."
"I know indeed!" Marce answered stiffly, crossing her arms over her chest. "And I love him all the same."
Everything was quiet for a moment. Miles drank his tea and Marce breathed heavily.
"You think you know everything, you foolish girl?" Miles asked her, his voice angry.
"I do know everything. Scourge is my brother, my darkness, and I will protect and love him forever." Marce was quite calm, and she drank her tea from her cup and looked at him again.
"Scourge won't tell you the things he isn't proud of." Miles began again. "Scourge is becoming dangerous, is going insane! Help us get rid of him, for your own sake!"
"Get rid of him?!" Marce screamed, standing up in a hurry and flinging her cup down. It shattered on the floor at her feet. "Get rid of him?! Like a blemish on your ugly, stinking face?!"
"Yes." Miles responded. "Or, we'll get rid of you both."
"Do it, then!" Marce cried. "I dare you! Do it! Do it now!"
"No one wants to get rid of you, sweet demon." Miles soothed. "Everyone here loves you. Rosy, especially. She's finally found a friend…"
"If I stay, then Scourge stays." Marce responded sassily. "End of story."
"Fine, then, you insolent child!" Miles spun his twin tails and flew across the table at her. Marce screamed and tried to run, but Miles had her by the wrist. "Look at me, you little shit! Look at me! You tender bitch, look at me!" growled the fox.
"No, no!" Marce sobbed bitterly.
"You and Scourge are to go! You've got no home here any longer!" Miles snapped.
"Yes! I don't care where on this damned planet you go, but it won't be here! Mark me! Mark me!" Miles tugged at her wrists until her tear-streaked face was upon him again. "Scourge is a danger to us all, and as his accomplice, so are you, Marce!"
"Fine, then!" snarled Marce, pulling away. "Scourge and I will go. And we'll be happy."
"Fine!" Miles snapped.
"Fine!" Marce snapped back. "Thanks for nothing, bastard!" And away she went, up the attic stairs like a dark flash of childishness.
"That was cruel." Mix appeared from the shadows quietly.
"She's a child. Children belong on one side or the other. They can't waiver on the borderline forever." Miles answered him.
"Aren't you sad to lose her? She's such a diabolical girl. I fancy you and her got along well."
"Yes." Miles sniffled. He hadn't cried since he was a baby. And he was ashamed of these tears. "Yes, god-dammit! But, she chose Scourge! And we can't keep him here like an insane asylum!"
Mix nodded. "I'll miss the child." He said.
"Yes." Miles responded. "I will, too."
The two stormed down the attic steps without a word and slammed the door. Rosy whimpered softly and Miles and Mix watched side by side from the widow, two solitary shadows, as Marce and Scourge walked off through the long grasses…
And were never seen or heard from again.
Until, that is, She came.
i "By the killings I have seen, things that are said and things that are done. If you let me enter, poison engulfs thy beds"
ii A "spirit" or "familiar" name Marce came up with herself (pertaining to herself). In other words, she believes it is her "familiar name" in her "other" life. Rosy can "see" familiars because she is crazy, and therefore is haunted by "Livinianna", meaning "blood, rain, spirit", which is the Trinity of the "other" world.
iii "I am Blood, Rain, Spirit and I cry when I enter." (Marce, in other words, is proclaiming herself the deity or "master" of all things in the "other" world.)
iv Now, Rosy only knows Marce by her "deity name". Even afterward, she is afraid to call Marce by any other name. It is her connection to the "other world" that makes her fear Marce.
v Pronounced "Mark".
vi Just as Cream never knew her father, Marce never knew her mother.