Story 176: The Court of Ice Part 1: A Cold Sentence

A whole peaceful month had passed since the Crisis on Infinite Mobiuses had finally come to an end.

Sonic the Hedgehog and friends had been through the biggest adventure of their lives, an adventure that was bigger than anything they'd ever been through and certainly bigger than the entire world for this adventure had been to save the multi-verse. They'd finally found out what had caused the time rifts and in order to save the multi-verse, Sonic and his friends and enemies and even Mobians from other Mobiuses had joined forces to eliminate the cause of the crisis. It had been a tough battle but they had succeeded at last and their attempts had been wonderfully rewarded with a month of peace and tranquillity. It made Sonic feel good to spend his days not worrying about the time rifts anymore. At long last, Mobius could return to normal although the events of the crisis would always remain with him. It was an experience he and his friends would never forget and depending on the person, it was something they'd never forget in a good way or a bad way. Sonic would always see it as the day he accomplished the most amazing thing ever, save the entire multi-verse. Nothing he would do now would ever top this accomplishment. Truly there was nothing more amazing then saving not just one world but infinite amounts of other worlds too.

But as we all know, all good things must come to an end for the month of peace was about to end. Over in the frigid habitat of White Acropolis, Blizzard the Ice Witch was preparing to conduct a spell, the same spell she had tried twice already to conduct.* A spell that would make her an army of Ice Demons, just the thing she'd need to take over New Mobotropolis and refurbish the corrupt and vile Kingdom of Acorn. The kingdom had ruined her life and Blizzard was determined to fix the damage done to her by wiping out the Kingdom of Acorn. Only with the kingdom's disappearance would she ever be able to be at peace. Before the crisis, Blizzard had come close to conducting the spell only to be interrupted at the last minute. After her unfortunate encounter with Silver and Blaze, she had planned on how to get the last ingredient she needed for the spell, a piece of an elemental Mobian but then the Crisis on Infinite Mobiuses had stricken. She had been caught up in a time rift and dumped onto another world. To her misfortune, it was a world of fire with the sole occupants being the fire cat race (Blaze would have loved that world no doubt.)The resulting experience had ended with her getting multiple burns that took weeks to recover. Blizzard had spent most of the month of peace recuperating from the world of fire she had been taken to and now she'd finally recovered, she could get her spell ready. While on the world of fire, she had managed to amputate a fire cat at the wrist and had taken the severed hand back to Mobius Prime once Malacos had begun opening up portals to guide any lost residents back to their proper worlds. To prevent the hand from rotting, Blizzard had frozen it and kept it preserved so that it would still be fresh to use once she'd recovered. Blizzard stretched as much as she could and she sighed contently.

"Aaaah…it's good to be better." she purred to herself "As horrible as that experience was, it shan't haunt me anymore. In a way, I'll have to thank whoever made that weird streak of light for taking me to that world they called "Mobius Pyro". I got just what I needed there, a piece of an elemental Mobian…"

Her voice trailed off as her eyes swept over to the frozen hand that had been waiting patiently to be used as Blizzard recovered from her injuries. Blizzard tapped the ice that imprisoned the hand and it cracked to pieces. Blizzard picked up the hand, which was ice cold due to being preserved in ice for so long, and she cackled delightedly.

"I just got lucky when I managed to amputate that stupid fire cat." she crooned "Thank goodness that portal that took me back home opened up just shortly after I'd cut off the cat's hand. It would have been so much nice if it had been Blaze's hand I'd taken but it's better than nothing at least. Now, since nobody will see me coming, I can finally formulate my Court of Ice and I will sentence all my enemies to immediate death with it. Sally Acorn, you will be sorry your father decided to take away everything that was precious to me…"

Blizzard would never be able to forget the terrible revelation that she had found in King Max's journal when she had been snooping around Castle Acorn looking for Sally last month. She had found out that King Max had been responsible for the death of her cult, a death that she had effected her in terrible ways. King Max had single-handedly transformed Blizzard into a monster when he had committed his heinous crime and Blizzard was determined to eliminate anyone affiliated with him so she could make him pay for it. And that day would be today as Blizzard strolled up to the ice cauldron and unloaded the ingredients she needed for the spell. A pound of crushed ice, a pound of crushed ice, a pile of fresh snow, a drop of mildew, a hair of fox, a leaf of any kind of plant, a hedgehog's quill and finally, a piece of an elemental Mobian. It's a good thing Blizzard stock piled on ingredients otherwise she'd constantly be needing to hunt for them. She dropped the fire cat's hand in last and watched gleefully as it disappeared into the liquid like a stock cube in boiling water. The ice cauldron began to glow a sinister, icy blue aura that somehow managed to make the already freezing cold lair that Blizzard occupied look even colder. Blizzard closed her eyes and held her hands out as the cauldron glowed and the liquid inside began to bubble. She then began the incantation that would formulate the spell and rise up her army of ice creatures. This time though, there would be no interruptions.

Powers of Ice, so strong and cold. I call upon thee, you have been told.

Powers of Ice, so beautiful and fair. I call upon thee, to give thy enemies a scare.

I need an army, an army so great. I need an army to destroy those I hate.

An army of ice creatures, one full of might. An army of ice creatures, one that can truly fight.

Hear my pleas, I call for an army of ice! Hear my pleas, an army that will deliver the final slice.

Army of Ice, I need thee now! Arise from they depths and heed my vow!

She thrust her arms up above her head as the cauldron glowed brighter and brighter and threw a huge beam of light up from within its depths. The light chased away the darkness of the cave, bathing Blizzard in a glorious light that was truly spectacular to watch. Blizzard cackled manically as the spell began to work. The light was soon replaced by a huge arm reaching out of the cauldron. The arm was made of solid ice and have enormous sharp icicles for digits. The wrist section was covered in sharp icicles that protruded forward from either side of its hand. The arm pulled on the side of the cauldron and pulled up the body it was joined to from within the cauldron. Then the entire body emerged from the cauldron, dripping wet from the liquid it had formed from. This was the first of many ice creatures that Blizzard had created with her spell. The creature was truly amazing looking, made entirely of solid ice and laden with sharp icicles protruding from its arms, head and back. It had large jaws with icicles for teeth and three ominous glowing eyes that seemed to spell danger for anybody who looked at it. It stood at a staggering six feet, much taller than the average Mobian and it looked like it had great power behind it. This ice creature was not the only one though, many more ice creatures began to form out of the cauldron and they joined the first one. Twenty ice creatures in total formed from the cauldron but Blizzard didn't mind, twenty was all she would need. This army would be more than enough to take down the Royal Fighters and if it wasn't, she'd just summon more and rebuild the army. As long as the cauldron remained untouched, the Ice Creatures could keep forming from it upon Blizzard's command. Blizzard shrieked with delighted laughter at the sight of her beautiful ice army. If there was such a thing as the most beautiful thing in the world, to Blizzard this was it. Her spell had worked and her plans could commence.

"Oh ho, ho, ho, ho, ho yes! It worked! Now nothing can stop me from getting my much deserved revenge!" cackled Blizzard "Oh Sally Acorn, I hope you have a grave prepared for all of your pathetic Royal Fighters for your funerals will be coming today!"

She stood before the ice army and loudly announced to them in the manner of a high authority figure.

"My beautiful Court of Ice! You have one simple task to complete!" she barked "My vile enemies, the Royal Fighters, reside in the Kingdom of Acorn which is located in New Mobotropolis! It is a stain upon my honour that is to be wiped clean and you will have the honour of completing that task! Follow me my Court of Ice and I shall lead you to the enemy's location! Once we destroy the Royal Fighters, we will formulate a new kingdom, the Kingdom of Ice! It'll be a kingdom of honour and tranquillity and will be an improvement over the curse that is the Kingdom of Acorn. Onwards my court and let us claim what is rightfully ours!"

The ice creatures made loud, screeching roars of approval as if cheering for their master. Delighted, Blizzard led the Court of Ice out of her cave and began to make the long trek to New Mobotropolis, a city that had caused her too much strife for far too long. But as she began walking, she gripped her head as if in sudden pain and her eyes closed tightly shut. She gritted her teeth and hissed as if something was hammering inside her head. She could hear a whisper of some kind, a ghostly sort of whisper. And the sinister thing was, that whisper seemed to sound familiar to her. Familiar…in a way she never thought it would feel.

Don't do this my love…you're better than this…

"What in the…Iceberg?!" she gasped suddenly, the Court of Ice staring at her as if she was mad "No…it cannot be you! You're dead!"

Indeed I am honey…but thanks to your new spell, I am back…as a ghost from your past. the whisper hissed in her head And I am disappointed to see what my beautiful wife has become in my absence. You're nothing but a monster now…this isn't the woman I fell for. Please my darling Blizzard, don't do this. You're not a monster, I know you're not.

"No…this is a trick! I'm hallucinating!" shrieked Blizzard, gripping her head furiously "I can't be hearing your voice in my head Iceberg, I just can't! I must be going mad! Well I'm not going to be mad any longer!"

She fell to her knees and she started throwing snow onto her head as if trying to ease the pain in her skull that was burning through her brain. As she did that, the whispers seemed to stop and the pain seemed to ease away. Blizzard shook the snow off her head and she slowly picked herself up, panting furiously. The court just looked confused. Was this seriously their master? A delusional old witch like her? They had served much better Ice Mobians before and it ashamed them to think Blizzard was going to lead them. Blizzard didn't seem to notice the court's reactions as her breathing slowed down.

"Phew…that's better." said Blizzard softly "I must have…imagined that voice. Might have been a side effect from the spell maybe. Hopefully it won't happen again."

She turned around to face the obfuscated Court of Ice, the ice creatures still staring at her as if she was fit for the asylum. She glowered at their gobsmacked faces.

"What are you all looking at?! MARCH ON ALL OF YOU!" she barked furiously.

The Court of Ice regained itself and they along with Blizzard continued to march on through the snow. In a matter of time, they would arrive at New Mobotropolis and the massacre could begin. Blizzard could hardly wait to see what the Kingdom of Ice would look like once she took the city over and remade it into her own image…

"Just a little tinkering here and…we're finished." said Tails the twin-tailed fox, wiping sweat off his head as he tightened one more bolt and put the spanner down "OK, let's see if this works."

The month that had passed after the Crisis on Infinite Mobiuses had been a relaxing, tranquil month for the Royal Fighters doing nothing but relaxing and living their daily lives as they would do normally on normal days like this. Being as peace is hard to come by these days, Sonic and friends made the most of this one month the best they possibly could. And Tails had been making the most of the month by doing what he did best, building new devices and tinkering with machinery. As odd as it sounded, this was Tails's idea of rest and relaxation. Given his genius level intellect, Tails was always at peace as far as machines and technology was concerned. Tails had been working all month on some new facilities that would benefit Nicole the Lynx greatly. During the Crisis on Infinite Mobiuses, Nicole had been kidnapped and had her mind transferred into a handheld computer pad, her primary function to be a servant to the next person who purchased her. In an attempt to save her, Sally and Mobius 3000's native hero Shard the Metal Sonic had failed to stop the process but they had managed to save her from losing her personality so in a way, Nicole wasn't truly gone. Her lifeless body had been buried around the back of Castle Acorn just next to Sally's parents graves while her mind lived on in the handheld computer. To give her more freedom, Tails had decided to make something for her. It wasn't fair for Nicole to be trapped inside a computer while she was home in New Mobotropolis, she deserved much more freedom than that. So Tails had installed some holographic projectors all around New Mobotropolis. He had installed them all over the ring wall that surrounded the city, on every wall of Castle Acorn and on every house that housed any of the Mobotropolis Royal Fighters. Sonic in particular had insisted his house have a holographic projector fitted on it so Nicole could materialize near it or in it whenever she wished. Tails of course had been all too happy to fit one onto his own house. After the projectors had been set up, Tails had spend the last two weeks of the month building a power generator for the holographic projectors. The generator was large and had hundreds of wires snaking out of it. The generator was located in Royal HQ's laboratory, a good place to put it indeed. He had just discovered that he needed a credible power source for the generator so he had gone out to the Lake of Rings and installed it into the generator. The ring's power was more than enough to power the generator and the power would be feed through on a continuous loop that would bring power to the generator and back to the ring so the ring would never run out. Even more ingenious was that the loop ran at twice the speed of sound so the generator would have time to receive and give power before the ring could lose any. It truly was a magnificent piece of science and in Tails's eyes, a work of scientific art. Just now he had been making some last minute adjustments that would make Nicole's life seem more like her old one. Now he'd finished he was ready to give it a try. Standing up from the generator, he turned to the anxiously waiting Sally Acorn who was standing by with Nicole in her hand, the hologram that represented her sharing her nervous expression.

"OK Miss Sally it should be ready for activation now." said Tails proudly "Nicole, prepare to leave your handheld and walk freely among us again!"

"Let's hope this works." said Nicole, crossing her fingers.

Tails crossed his fingers in return and he pulled the switch on the generator. The generator buzzed into life, the power ring residing inside it glowing a great, fluorescent golden colour that was so bright even the generator couldn't hide the shine completely. The generator shuddered slightly as it worked but then it stood still and hummed rhythmically as its circuitry worked and flowed as it should do. Tails grinned from ear to ear as he watched his precious machine work. Now came the next part, seeing if the holographic projectors worked as they should do. Nicole uploaded herself into the projectors and just as hoped, a hologram of herself emitted from nowhere and materialized into view just beside Sally. It was the same height and width as Nicole. It almost felt like for a minute that Nicole had truly come back in all her glory. Nicole gasped in delight at this and was amazed to see how well the machine was working.

"Oh my goodness, it works!" cried Nicole "I'm not just confined to the computer anymore! I can be anywhere in the city I want to be!"

"Indeed Nicole." said Tails "And here's the best part."

He talked up to Nicole and he took her hand into his own. Nicole gasped. Her hand didn't phase through Tails's own. In fact, she couldn't even get it out of his grip! She actually felt Tails's fingers curl over her own and his thumb lightly stroke her knuckles! Sally looked dumbfounded and decided to try this herself. She put her hand on Nicole's shoulder. To her utter amazement, her shoulder felt solid and real, even to the point of her fur feeling like actual fur. Tails smiled at their reactions. He loved surprising people, especially his friends. And of course, he liked surprising them in a good way. Sally took her hand from Nicole and gasped, unable to speak for a minute.

"You…you're…you're REAL?!" she blustered "Tails…how did…you do that?!"

"That's easy." said Tails "I installed a thermo-molecular matrix engine into the generator. The matrix's meritorious engineering allows a holographic projection to form solid shapes and even simulate real things such as fur, fluids and even a heartbeat for realism purposes. Put it simply, Nicole's hologram is the closest thing to organic she's going to get after the unfortunate loss of her old body. Luckily though she will be immune to any form of physical pain for if anybody throws a punch at her for example, the projectors will pick up the attempted assault and Nicole will unconsciously switch from solid to holographic, making any attempts to hurt her quite impossible. And because her hologram's capable of solid structure, she'll still be able to fight if anyone attacks us. I'm sorry to say that your handheld can't handle the same kind of matrix, it's much to compact for one to fit so New Mobotropolis is all the freedom you'll get." he said, looking a bit sad that he couldn't give Nicole anymore freedom than this.

"Tails, it's lovely." said Nicole, hugging Tails gleefully "Thank you so much. I still feel kinda trapped since I'm confined to my handheld once I'm outside of NewMobotropolis…but if there's any place I wouldn't mind being trapped in, it's here. At least I can feel Mobian again."

"At least indeed." said Tails "And you know your handheld form? I bet it'll be useful for research, translation and hacking purposes so even without a solid form for you to have outside of NewMobotropolis, you'll be quite useful on a mission I reckon."

"I'm sure of that indeed." said Nicole "The handheld allows me to think faster than humanly possible and I can process information much faster than before too. As is though…it still kinda makes me feel more like a tool than a Mobian."

Her face fell as she said that. Now was a good time to wonder if her solid form could emit tears like her old body for she certainly felt like crying now.

"I felt so happy and free when I was organic…now I'm a computer I just feel trapped. Your invention makes me feel less so Tails…but all you've done pretty much is expand my cage to make it roomier." she said sadly "And despite how realistic my hologram now feels, it still doesn't feel the same. What I wouldn't give to have my body back again!"

Nicole put her head into her hands and wept into them. The matrix engine was truly good at its job as far as realistic holograms go for Nicole actually emitted actual tears from her eyes. Tears that felt real to her that is. Sally put her arms around Nicole and she warmly embraced her heartbroken friend. Tails felt kind of crushed to see Nicole so upset. He'd worked so hard to try and make her happier and yet she still mourned her old body and wanted it back desperately. He could hardly help but feel sorry for the lynx. What had she done to deserve all this misery all of the sudden? Life certainly seemed unfair at times didn't it?

"Oh Nicole, please don't cry." said Sally softly "Tails didn't go through all this to see you upset. He was only trying to make you happy again."

"I know, I'm sorry Sally!" wailed Nicole loudly "But I just won't ever get used to this life! I want to be normal, not just a measly programme trapped in a handheld computer! Nothing you do will ever make it better for me!"

She looked at Tails, the fox looking even more hurt as he heard her wail.

"I mean no disrespect at all Tails, I'm glad you've made the city more accessible for me." said Nicole between snivels "I'm really sorry if I'm upsetting you but I can't help it. You have no idea what it feels like to be trapped as I am now."

"Given how often we've all been captured and restrained, I know exactly how you feel." said Tails gently.

"Maybe so but this is nothing compared to being tied down or locked in a cage." sobbed Nicole "This is a permanent cage for me that no key will unlock. Like it or not I'll have to get used to it…but it doesn't mean I'll like it. Please Sally, I need to disappear for a while." the digital tears streamed even harder down her face.

"Sure Nicole, whatever you need right now." said Sally softly, stroking Nicole's back to try and comfort her "Take all the time you need, we won't make you come out if you don't want to."

Nicole nodded sadly and then her body disappeared into a bunch of pixels, leaving no trace of her existence behind. That was one benefit of Nicole being a digital avatar, if she didn't want to be seen she could disappear at will so nobody would have to listen to her wail and she could have her own privacy. She could quite literally wail in private. Sally and Tails watched Nicole disappear, wondering how long she'd be gone for. They looked at each other sadly.

"Oh Tails, what are we going to do?" asked Sally worriedly "I so want my best friend to be happy again. Seeing Nicole sad makes me feel sad. And given how unaccustomed she is to this new life, I doubt she's ever going to be happy again."

"I don't know what we're going to do your majesty." said Tails sadly "I tried all I can but Nicole still feels "trapped" despite this. I don't know what else I can do. That seems to be her main problem, she feels shut in pretty much. She feels like a rat in a cage desperately biting away at the bars for freedom."

"I know." said Sally glumly "What can we do to make her feel less contained and more free?"

"I don't know…I just don't know…" said Tails, hugging Sally in the hope it'll be of some consort and comfort to her.

Sally hugged Tails back. If she ever had kids, she would know what the feeling of hugging one would feel like.

"It's all my fault that Nicole is suffering this torment." Sally whined, tears coming to her own eyes "If only I hadn't gotten knocked out by Mordred back on Mobius 3000, I could have saved her, I could have prevented this! But I didn't. Nicole's in misery…and it's all my fault."

"No it isn't." said Tails "It's not your fault at all. You tried all you could to save Nicole. It was just unfortunate that you didn't succeed. If you hadn't tried at all it would have been your fault but you did try and that's the main thing. I kinda felt the same way when I watched my alternate counterpart on Mobius Beta get killed in front of my eyes…" he cringed as the gruesome image came to his head again "I feel like it was my fault that he died for I didn't really try to help him. I just stood and watched. You at least tried to save Nicole, I didn't try to save Miles. Now his death haunts my nightmares whenever I have one…"

He could feel himself on the verge of tears. Just as they began brimming, Sally wiped them away with her thumbs like a loving mother comforting her child.

"There, there Tails." said Sally gently "Don't blame yourself for what happened when you and Cosmo ended up on Mobius Beta. I'm sure you did all you could and you didn't mean for your Mobius Beta counterpart to die. Don't act like it was your fault, I'm sure Miles wouldn't want you to think that about his death."

"I'm sure he wouldn't." said Tails, resting his head on Sally's shoulder and holding back the tears that were itching to fall "Thank you Sally."

"Anytime dear." said Sally warmly.

This rather sweet moment was cut short for Sonic burst into the lab and as he ran into it, he accidentally bumped into the counter, grimacing as pain flared up his knee for a minute and as he pumped into the counter, a hi-tech drill wobbled precariously near the edge. It then fell off the counter and broke into a million pieces. Tails instantly flipped in fury out of Sally's arms and he pointed sharply at Sonic.

"Sonic! I needed that!" he whined.

"Sorry Tails, I should have been a bit slower." said Sonic, picking up the broken drill and placing it back onto the counter "So, how's it going? Your new invention finished at all?"

"It is and it works most beautifully." said Tails, his expression changing so fast it was like the drill had never been broken all of the sudden "Although Nicole still kinda feels sad about being a computer programme. I'm trying to work out how to make her feel more free now…"

"That's too bad." said Sonic "I'm sure you tried all you can buddy. And I'm sure Nicole appreciates your efforts to make her life easier."

"She does." said Tails "That's the best news I can give though."

"Yeah." said Sonic "I'm sure we'll sort something out for Nicole some day."

He then turned to Sally and smiled at her.

"And how's my beautiful queen this morning?" he purred, wrapping his arms around her waist and pulling her close.

"She's perfectly well thank you." Sally purred back, a slight chuckle added to her words "And how's my handsome hedgehog this morning?"

"He's perfectly well thank you." said Sonic, kissing Sally on the forehead "I just thought I'd see how things are going that's all."

"I see. Anything to report?" asked Sally curiously.

"Not so far. Everything's pretty easy-going just like the past month has been." said Sonic brightly "Hopefully we'll get another month of peace. I'm growing to like kicking back and relaxing right now."

"It's only a matter of time until Eggman shows up again." muttered Tails "He's just waiting for the right moment to strike I bet. We should strike first before he gets a chance to."

"Maybe so." said Sonic "Say Sally, do you think a little mission to strike against Eggman would be a good idea?"

"Certainly." said Sally "We'll gather the whole team together and plan a heist on his base. We know where he is thanks to Nicole** so we'll be able to find him and stop him dead in his tracks. He maybe in a life-support mech now but that won't stop us from taking him down."

"My thoughts exactly." said Sonic brightly.

They would soon have something other than Eggman to worry about though for Cosmo the Seedrian suddenly burst into the lab, looking very frightened as if the Day of Reckoning had finally arrived (it pretty much came close a month ago). Tails ran over to his girlfriend and he embraced her, hoping to calm her down a bit.

"Whoa love, settle down, what is it my flower?" he asked.

"You have to come outside now!" shrieked Cosmo, clutching Tails by the shoulders and shaking him furiously "Blizzard is coming towards the city and she's got an army of ice creatures with her! We must stop her before she can harm anybody! NOW!"

Sonic, Tails and Sally looked horrified to hear this. It was as if a zombie had dug up their graves and devoured their remains right then and there. Sonic put his hands on Sally's shoulders in case she needed the comfort.

"No…Blizzard's coming towards us?!" shrieked Sally "Oh god, please, anyone but her!"

"And things were going so well too." muttered Sonic grimly "Well she's not getting in the city!"

"Agreed on that." said Tails "Hey Nicole! Can you hear me? We need the shields raising please!" he called out loud.

Nicole, despite not being visible right now, did hear what Tails had said and she got to it immediately. She had to admit one good thing about her being a computer. She no longer needed the bead in her hair to activate the shields, she could just activate them with just a thought thanks to the access to all the facilities of NewMobotropolis she had been granted when Tails had been giving her the upgrades. The generator hummed as Nicole rose the shields to the city. The Court of Ice would not be able to get into the city while they were up but Sonic doubted Blizzard would let that slow her down. They had to get outside and drive away the threat before Blizzard could try anything crazy or even dangerous. Nicole's holographic form materialized in front of the Mobians.

"The shields are up." Nicole happily informed them "I'll stay visible so I can keep an eye on the populace and maybe even protect the city if somehow Blizzard manages to get in. Round up the others and drive away Blizzard's forces now!"

"You don't need to ask us twice." said Sally coldly "Blizzard's going to be sorry she ever decided to set foot here again."

"Whoa Sal, since when did you become so hateful towards her?" asked Sonic curiously "I thought she was Amy's enemy, not yours."

"She keeps trying to take over my kingdom, of course she's my enemy!" snapped Sally "And I'm not going to let her freeze my kingdom and make it her own! Come on team, let's take her down!"

Sally stormed out of the lab and headed on out of Royal HQ with Sonic, Tails and Cosmo following her. Sonic had to admit, Sally did have a point on why she seemed so keen on getting rid of Blizzard but he had a feeling that Sally's grudge expanded a bit further than that. Maybe there was more to this than he knew about. He shook off the nagging feeling as he followed the queen out of Royal HQ and towards the city gates. Sally called to the other members of the Mobotropolis Royal Fighters as she ran by them. Amy Rose, Cream the Rabbit, Wilson the Dog, Mandy Mouse, Sora Prower, Ruben the Water Panther, Geoffrey St. John, Bunnie Rabbot and Team Chaotix all joined Sonic, Tails, Sally and Cosmo as they walked through the city gates and stood defensively in front of the city wall, waiting for Blizzard to come. Amy in particular seemed very determined to give the Ice Witch a beating after what she'd done to her in the past. Her determination was the only one that exceeded Sally's and that was only by a little bit. As for Sally, she thought back to the day Blizzard had found out a dark secret about her father. In a way, she blamed King Max for the fact they were once again fighting against Blizzard. But what King Max did didn't justify Blizzard's actions at all. It was still evil of her and she wasn't going to let Blizzard win. Especially since she was working so hard on keeping the Acorn name clean and untainted. Blizzard was going to be arrested at last and she would pay for her crimes regardless of how wronged she had been in the past. Sally deployed her arm blades and took up a defensive stance as the Court of Ice marched towards New Mobotropolis. The Royal Fighters could only stare at the marvellous looking army of Ice Creatures that approached the city like a bunch of soldiers returning to their ranks. They looked sinister and very powerful that much was certain. They wouldn't be a match for them though, the Royal Fighters would defeat them. The Court of Ice stopped marching and Blizzard stood forward like a queen who's been invited to stay at another kingdom. She pointed a sharp finger at the Royal Fighters and her face curled into a sinister grin that made Sally's fur stand up.

"Royal Fighters, I have finally managed to conduct the spell that I've been trying so hard to conduct in the past." she barked "I come to you with my glorious Ice Amy, the Court of Ice! This army is invincible and any attempts to defeat them are futile. They cannot die, they are immortal so all you'll be doing is wasting your efforts. Surrender now and let the court deliver your sentence or you can die needlessly and I really am not in the mood for mindless bloodshed right now! The choice is yours!"

"Big words freak." muttered Amy "But so empty on the threats. Let's bash her head in!" she cried, brandishing her Piko-Piko hammer threateningly.

"Sonic, you and the others take down this "Court of Ice"." ordered Sally "Amy and I will take on Blizzard. Both of us have scores to settle with her."

"Whoa, two girls who have the hots for me are teaming up to fight an evil ice with…am I the only one who's interested in watching that?" chuckled Sonic, finding the whole idea very humorous.

Sally rolled her eyes. Sonic was the man for her that's for sure but at times, his humour could be very inappropriate and very corny. Hopefully he'd be a bit more serious once he spent more time with her. Blizzard just laughed at the fact the Royal Fighters were choosing to fight instead of surrender. A decision they would be regretting very soon.

"Fine then, if you want to sacrifice your lives so needlessly then so be it." she sneered "Don't say I didn't warn you. Court of Ice, ATTACK!" she roared at the top of her voice.

The Court of Ice sprang into action at such an alarming speed, Sonic was almost impressed. The ice creatures all thundered towards the Royal Fighters with their huge icy hands poised and ready to swat at the heroes. Sonic ducked as a huge icy hand swept through the air that his head had just occupied a moment ago and he rolled away from the ice creature. He spin-dashed it in the shoulder but to his surprise, the creature withstood the blow and shrugged off his spin-dash as if it was nothing. Sonic frowned at the ice creature. It wasn't going to be as simple as just spin-dashing it to pieces unlike all of Eggman's robots. He would have to try something else for the ice creature was clearly tougher than it looked. Sonic leaped up above the ice creature's head and he stomp-kicked it directly on top of its cranium, sending the creature hurling forward onto its face. Despite the power of the stomp-kick, the ice creature didn't seem fazed in the slightest. It still looked about ready to pulverize Sonic. The ice-creature picked itself up and as Sonic spin-dashed towards it, it held its hands up and seized Sonic like a basketball. He rose Sonic up into the air and then slammed him down onto the ground as if he was some disgusting bug that needed to be squashed. Sonic groaned as he was slammed into the ground and the ice creature rose its hand, ready for another strike. Just as it was about to bring its hand down on Sonic, Wilson threw his spinning blade at the creature's arm and the blade sliced it clean off. The creature growled in rage as its severed limb fell to the ground forlornly but it wasn't down for the count by any means. The ice creature simply regenerated its missing arm! A huge icicle extended out from the creature's shoulder and then slowly, steadily, formed an arm as it grew. It was almost like it had never lost it. Wilson could hardly believe his eyes.

"No way! They can regenerate lost limbs?!" he gasped.

"Oh god, it's The Eraser all over again!" muttered Mandy "Oh well, I bet my new knuckle attachments will finish those things off!"

She ran towards the ice creature, roaring like a Viking and she drew her arm back. The ice creature watched as Mandy ran up to it and threw a punch at the creature's abdomen. The punch was powerful enough to throw the creature off its feet thanks to her new knuckle attachments courtesy of Tails but to Mandy's utter amazement, the punch didn't even crack the creature! It had survived the punch as if it was nothing! The ice creature even emphasized this by picking itself up as if nothing had happened! Mandy looked just as gobsmacked as her husband did.

"No…way!" Mandy spat the words out in a hoarse gasp "It…survived the punch?! But I'm strong enough to punch through flippin' rocks with these new attachments! How can a creature of ice withstand it?!"

"You forget." said Tails, flying beside Mandy "They're magically made by an Ice Witch, of course they'll not shatter so easily. We've got to think of another way to stop them."

"We'd best do it quick." said Mandy grimly "Before those freaks try to storm the city."

Tails nodded agreeably. He knew that the city's shields would withstand the Court of Ice but he knew Blizzard wouldn't let a measly force field stop her. Also, they could easily dig their way underground and get into the city that way, the Court certainly looked capable of digging so despite the city being shielded, it wasn't completely protected from the Court of Ice. They would have to stop them now before they broke into the city. Tails, Wilson and Mandy charged towards the ice creature that had been fighting them. Mandy threw a terrific uppercut to the face on the creature, Wilson severed its arms and Tails stomp-kicked it just as its arms were growing back. The creature fell onto its back but just as its arms finished growing back, it picked itself up and swiped at the Mobians, missing them by centimetres.

Cream, Cosmo and Team Chaotix were teaming up to fight another ice creature. Cream and Cosmo both threw their disc weapons at the ice creature, hitting it in the eyes. The ice creature bellowed in pain as the discs slammed into its eyes. Now it was distract by the pain in its eyes, Vector lumbered clumsily forward and he clasped both fists together. He swung them directly into the creature's abdomen, making the upper-body of the creature lean forward as it was slammed. Vector then grabbed it in a headlock, making sure he didn't jab himself on the creature's head spikes as his arms tightly constricted the creature's neck. The ice creature turned its head slightly, jabbing Vector in the cheek with its head spikes. Vector yelped in pain but he held on tight. He then let go of the creature and uppercut it in the face. Espio and Charmy both kicked it in the chest but the creature took the blow and sent the chameleon and bee diving for cover as shards of ice spat out of its mouth like razor sharp drops of saliva. Vector ran towards the ice creature but the creature grabbed him by the arms and hoisted him up to its eyeline. It slammed its head into Vector's mouth, making the crocodile cry out from the impact and then the creature threw Vector into the air. Charmy flew up and caught Vector's hand. He lowered him to the ground and scowled at the creature.

"Aww...they're no fun. They're too mean and brutal!" he moaned.

"Blizzard sure knows how to make an army!" grunted Vector, rubbing his sore head "They're pretty tough!"

"Just a pity they're not on our side." grumbled Espio "They could be very useful on for the Royal Fighters."

"Well Espio, they're against us so we'll have to stop them anyway we can." said Cosmo glumly "Although it looks easier said than done I'm afraid..."

Team Chaotix nodded agreeably as the ice creature prepared to attack them again.

Another ice creature was fighting Bunnie, Geoffrey, Ruben and Sora. Sora threw a stun bomb into the creature's eyes to distract it while Bunnie lay the smack down on the creature with her robotic arm. She roundhouse punched it in the face and then deployed her arm cannon and blasted the creature in the torso. The creature was brought down onto the ground and Geoffrey fired a ring of stun-darts around the creature, knowing they wouldn't be sharp enough to actually embed themselves IN to the creature itself. The creature stood up and was suddenly bombarded by a ring of explosions as the darts went off. The explosions seemed to have cracked the creature but all of that was moot for the ice creature simply repaired the damages. Geoffrey and Bunnie were well shocked to see this but before they could express their surprise, the creature swatted them both away with a powerful arm. It then turned to Sora and opened its mouth. Showers of sharp icicles rained out of the creature's mouth and soared towards Sora. The vixen dodged the attack by rolling out of the way. She whipped an orb off her belt and fired it. It was her grappling hook orb and the hook wrapped itself around the creature, pressing its arms tightly against its sides. Now the creature was subdued, Ruben blasted it off its feet with a jet of water. Big mistake for the creature ended up freezing the water that trickled down its body, adding a bit more to its size and making it a little stronger. It seemed extra ice increased an ice creature's strength. The creature threw icicles at Ruben, the water panther barely dodging the blows as the icicles threatened to rip him apart. Sora yanked him down onto the grass to get him out of the way of the killer ice shower. The ice creature's mouth curled into what almost looked like a smirk as it saw Sora and Ruben diving for cover. It raised its arms and then slammed them onto the ground, the force kicking up soil and grass as it ripped its way across the land and hit Ruben and Sora, sending them both flying into the air as if a catapult had been activated. Bunnie flew up and caught the two children before they could have a nasty impact with the ground.

"Whew! Caught ya! You two OK?" she asked.

"My everything hurts." moaned Ruben.

"Those creatures are tough! And they just heal their injuries like The Eraser does!" exclaimed Sora "How can we stop those things?!"

"Maybe Sally-girl can convince Blizzard to tell us that..." said Bunnie, looking over to Sally and Amy.

The two girls were up against Blizzard, the Ice Witch looking eerily cool and confident as if she knew she was in control of the battle. Sally ran towards Blizzard with her energy blades flashing but the Ice Witch whipped her wand out and blew Sally off her feet with a magical force that felt like being punched very hard. Amy jumped into the air, hammer raised and ready to pile-dive Blizzard into submission but Blizzard smacked her down onto the ground with her wand's power. Amy winced in pain, not sure what had hit her as she hit the ground. Sally picked herself up and she ran towards Blizzard. Blizzard aimed her wand at her but Sally rolled out of the way as the wand's attack blasted towards her. Using her blades, Sally carved up a bit of soil and she threw it at Blizzard. Blizzard blasted the soil chunk to bits with her wand but that just left her wide open for Sally. Sally sliced her wand to pieces and then aimed a killer strike to the head with her other blade. Blizzard blocked the blow with an icicle that extended out of her hand. She summoned an icicle from her other hand and held Sally's other blade at bay. The queen pushed hard on her blades, willing them to slice through Blizzard's icicles. Unfortunately, that wouldn't be the case for Blizzard's weapons had increased in strength, a positive side effect from the ice creatures spell. Anyone using the spell would have stronger ice weapons as a result so Sally couldn't cut through her icicles, even if her blades could cut through almost anything. Sally grunted as she pushed on Blizzard's arms, her teeth clenched so hard she swore she could feel them cracking.

"Please Blizzard, stop this senseless fight!" pleaded Sally "Getting revenge on what happened to your cult will not make anything better for you! You'll only feel worse!"

The child is right you know darling. Please stop your desires for vengeance and let us rest in peace. Iceberg's voice whispered in Blizzard's head We want to rest with the knowledge that the Blizzard we knew and loved is still on the side of good...

"Shut up Iceberg!" snarled Blizzard, out loud by mistake.

"Who's Iceberg?" asked Sally "Your deceased husband? If so then what would HE think if he saw you like this? Do you think HE would be proud of what you've become Blizzard? Do you?!"

"SILENCE!" screamed Blizzard "Iceberg, along with my children and the rest of my cult were heartlessly slaughtered by YOUR father! Their deaths were undeserved and they deserve justice for what your filthy kingdom did to them!"

"This isn't justice, it's revenge!" snapped Sally "The two are NOT the same thing and never will be!"

"Don't you DARE preach to me you little brat!" snarled Blizzard "You are in NO position to preach to me about morality given what your father did! In fact, you're just like him! Stubborn, moronic and blind to the facts along with a poor sense of morality! Killing you will be like killing him at the same time!"

"I maybe like my father in some ways..." grunted Sally "...but I would never kill over a conclusion like he did. My sense of morality is much better than his. And I can also do what my dad never could, defend my city from villains like you!"

She then swung her leg directly up into Blizzard's gut, the Ice Witch gasping and spitting out drops of saliva as Sally's knee sharply connected with her stomach. Blizzard doubled over, clutching her stomach in pain. Sally sheathed her blades and she spun around on the ball of her foot, driving her other foot into Blizzard's face as hard as she could. What made the blow worse was the heel of Sally's boot being the part of her foot that struck her. Blizzard was thrown onto her side, a nasty bruise splotched on her cheek from the blow, and she clutched her face in pain. Just as she stood up, Amy ran in and hammered Blizzard into the air with her Piko-Piko hammer. Blizzard cried out loudly as she hurled into the air. One of the ice creatures, who was fighting off Team Chaotix, spun around and caught Blizzard in its arms before she could impact on the ground. Blizzard leaped out of its arms and she scowled tensely.

"Enough of this foolishness!" she growled "I will not be sullied at this stage of my plans! Court of Ice, UNLEASH THE FREEZING WINDS!"

The Court of Ice all obeyed Blizzard's orders. All twenty ice creatures opened their mouths and blew out a gust of icy cold winds that drifted all around the battlefield. To the heroes, it looked like ice blue mist was emitting from their throats and coating the arena with fog. But the freezing winds, which was the strongest attack of the Court of Ice, was not just a mere fog. The moment the mist drifted all over the heroes, they froze instantly. Twenty breaths of cold wind was more than enough to freeze everybody. Sally was horrified to see ice forming all around her beloved Royal Fighters. She soon got the shock of her life when she saw that she was freezing up too. Ice formed around her feet and worked her way up her body until she was completely frozen. The pose she had been frozen in made her look like she was calling for help. The mists died away as the Court of Ice completely froze the Royal Fighters. Blizzard cackled with maniacal glee as she saw that she had won the battle, just as she knew she would.

"YEEEESSS! YEEEEEEEESSSSSS! I WON! AH, HA, HA, HA, HA, HA, HA!" she shrieked delightedly "The Royal Fighters have been defeated! Bound in ice and helpless to stop me! Now nobody will prevent me from taking over the city!"

Blizzard! I'm ashamed of you! the cold, stern voice of Iceberg was as sharp as an icicle and Blizzard even felt like his words were sharp enough to cut her as the pain in her head appeared again This isn't you dear! How could you do something so evil?!

"Don't be ungrateful Icerberg! I did all this for you!" snapped Blizzard, clutching her head "You were killed for no reason, I'm avenging your death my darling husband! You'll thank me later!"

Revenge won't solve anything sweetheart. said Iceberg coldly And who said we wanted revenge for our untimely deaths? Ice Mobians welcome their deaths regardless of the reason. It's what made us such a civilized, honourable race and you Blizzard, are a disgrace to us all! This was not the woman I married. You're not my wife anymore, you're a monster! A MONSTER!

Blizzard's eyes streamed with tears and she fell to her knees in agony, clutching her head furiously as if trying to flatten it and ease the pain.

"NO, NOOOOOOO! I AM NOT A MONSTER ICEBERG! I AM NOT A MONSTER!" she roared at the top of her husky voice.

The Court of Ice stared at her again, obfuscated by Blizzard's delusional breakdown. What the hell was up with her?! This was NOT the person they would be happy to serve at all. They would happily double-cross Blizzard once the time was right. Blizzard picked herself up and she eased the pain in her head. Her eyes were still streaming with tears. She didn't want to wipe them away.

"I'll show you'll appreciate what I've done for you...I'll SHOW YOU!" she barked "Court of Ice, let's freeze this pathetic kingdom and form the Kingdom of Ice!"

She and the Court of Ice marched towards New Mobotropolis, Nicole watching them approach from atop the wall in worry. Her friends had been frozen in ice and she'd be unable to stop them given she's now a computer programme. What could she do to save the city...?


*She's tried already in two Tales from Mobius arcs. Arc 21 and Arc 22 to be precise

** See Sonic the Hedgehog: Tales from Mobius Arc 17: Divide and Conquer: The Home Front

Well this isn't good...the Royal Fighters are frozen and Blizzard's victorious. But for how long? And is the Court of Ice all that loyal to her? Find out next time as the Court of Ice comes to a chilling conclusion...