Disclaimer - I do not own sonic or any other characters. They are property of SEGA and anything sonic the hedgehog affiliated with it.

I made a little character change; I felt two nameless characters wouldn't work in the long run. I'm sure most Sonic fans will recognize her.

After helping the police secure all the criminals from the Leopard Brothers Club, including the Leopard Brothers. Blaze, Sonic, and Marine returned to the Castle early in the twilight of the day. They passed by a panicked single male cat being followed by a few females as they walked through the Castle gates. The gates were shut behind them by guards as they walked onto the Castle grounds.

The climate in this region was warm all throughout the year and it's warm air seeped into the evening, leaving a comfortable mood around Arch City as the trio walked to the Castles two giant front doors. Some street lights cut on and the orange, red, and violet colors that had been produced by the sun setting made the city a beautiful portrait. Making the evening, of clubs and bars brim with life for the night. Light poles inside the Castle grounds also started to cut on. Green metal poles with round glass casings for the lights lit up and down the various paths. Some koalas were also out cutting the grass and tending to the other landscaping.

It was so nice some Castle employees sat in the grass enjoying the evening, eating and enjoying the warm weather; some cats and some koalas. Guards who stood at the main doors willfully ignored Princess Blaze and her guests as they walked into the Castles opened doors. Though the trio did not notice after having a successful run in getting a Chaos Emerald. They were all happy and chatted all the way back.

Sonic who firmly gripped the Yellow Chaos Emerald was actually more glad to get back to Blaze's home. The night life Marine and Blaze had explained to him on the way was scary enough. With such a beautiful night tonight, it scared him just to think of being out tonight with the females here. The females here would marry him! Blaze scared off any females that had approached them on the way back; a lot were even attractive too.

Blaze was quiet, and her face was stoical as Sonic and Marine discussed getting a warm meal. Big grins plastered onto their faces even as Marine teased Sonic about taking him out tonight. But at the entrance threshold, to the left, there was a clerk's office. The trio stopped walking when Sonic spotted Tiara and her cohorts in a small area with a few chairs and one lone yellow female cat alone on the side. There was one single female cat behind a window; the clerk; a yellow furred cat with black spots. His jaw temporarily dropped, and he looked to Blaze and Marine worried. But they were unfazed, which confused Sonic. They were even close enough to hear her conversation with the clerk and her cohorts.

Tiara grabbed the cash that the clerk handed to her, counted it, then gave a portion of it to her cohorts with a pleased expression "Here's your cut; it's been nice working with you two."

The one on the left smiled "I have some family problems in my home town I gotta take care of."

The one on the right responded "There's money to be made in Atlas city, I'll be headed there in the morning."

"Drop by and hit me up anytime girls, you know where to find me." Tiara said shaking their hands.

They shook her hand with some more small talk as Sonic, Blaze, and Marine observed. When they finished her cohorts walked pass as they exited the Castle. They made flirtatious gestures at Sonic, and Blaze and Marine shot them unflattering looks.

Blaze's stoical expression returned and spoke calmly as Tiara turned back to talk to the clerk at the window "Tiara is a mercenary."

Sonic looked confused at Marine and Blaze "But…"

Blaze continued to stare at Tiara as she cut Sonic off "Yes, she works here. She is employed by our Government and to a lesser extent the Royal Family. To curb some of the dangerous elements that have flowed into the city. Her father also works for the Government; he's a nice man. "

Sonic opened his mouth to speak but couldn't find words to express his confusion, and Marine chuckled with a smile "She's had those girls for a while; guess their contract was up or something."

"There is a whole organization of mercenary's for hire since the rise in crime. Due mostly to those who seek out the Sol Emeralds." Blaze stated as they all looked at Tiara.

Sonic looked to Blaze with a frown and got her attention. She raised an eyebrow in curiosity as her non surprise confused him "Why are so many criminal activity's coming here?"

This question made Blaze's lips curl down into a frown "….I can answer your questions now that we are back; later once we are settled?"

"Sure." Sonic said still looking slightly upset by her and Marine's reactions.

As Sonic asked Marine more about Tiara, Tiara turned away from the clerk's window with a curious expression as the clerk pointed to the lone yellow female cat sitting quietly on the side of the small area "That's her? She's kinda small isn't she?"

"She's got a five-star ranking." the clerk said popping bubble gum in her mouth.

This made Tiara smirk speaking in a hearty tone "Ok that's better. Hey you, get over here!"

The girl's ears shot up in excitement as she vacated her seat and walked over to Tiara. She extended her hand "I'm pleased to finally meet you Mrs. Boobowski."

Tiara gave her a critical look, suspiciously looking over her attire. Her fur was yellow, and her muzzle was white with white laces tied onto her ears. Black hair and a red hair band. Along with the rest of her stylish clothing, she wore a black and red dress with white triangular laces and matching red boots. With two small angel wings etched on the back of her outfit. Even her white gloves had red on the backside of them.

Her clothing made Tiara questionable as she raised an eyebrow in skepticism "What's your name?"

"My name is Honey!" she replied happily.

Tiara critically eyed her getup "Can you fight in that?"

Honey was not deterred by the questioning in her voice "Of course silly, how do you think I got five stars?"

Tiara grinned "I'll bite, I kinda like the getup…but I bet you don't like a knuckle sandwich!" Tiara said as she launched a fist at Honey.

Honey grabbed her fist and rolled out of the way of Tiara's incoming kick. Blaze, Marine, and Sonic watched as Honey was able to defend herself from Tiara well enough. Blocking her punches full on with her arms and even pushing her back. But Tiara stopped messing around and stopped her when she increased her speed. She sprinted behind Honey before she could even react and twisted her arm behind her back.

Honey panted smiling and speaking in a happy tone "Wow, so it's true. You really are fast!"

"You're good." Tiara let go of her and placed her hands on her hips "If you keep that up while we're out fighting, then I won't ever need a new partner."

Honey giggled "Flattery will get you everywhere Mrs. Boobowski. I guess that's a yes then?"

Tiara took notice of Blaze just outside the office and motioned for her to follow "Call me Tiara and yes, you're with me now."

Honey ran to her side with a big smile "Ok Tiara, what's our first order of business?"

Tiara and Honey stopped right in front of Marine, Blaze, and Sonic. Tiara grinned at Sonic "First I want you to meet my soon to be significant other."

Sonic had a look of caution and Blaze stayed stoical with a calm neutral demeanor. Honey grabbed Sonic's hand and shook it "Congratulations!" she said happily "I've never seen a hedgehog before!"

Sonic looked at Marine confused and Marine chuckled. But Blaze intervened by speaking up and getting her attention "He is not."

Honey looked over at Blaze. When she saw Blaze she looked awestruck with wide eyes "…" Honey looked to Tiara and spoke in a whisper "Is that Princess Blaze?"

Tiara nodded and Honey seemed more tentative as her smile faded and she looked back at Blaze "Princess, it is an honor to meet you."

"Charmed, I'm sure." Blaze responded with a stoical expression still on her face.

Blaze noticed Honey's shift in demeanor as she greeted Marine; sometimes people's reactions did get to her. Tiara then spoke to Sonic again with a big smile "I'm taking my new partner out tonight to show her around town. Maybe take down a few badies, you interested?"

Sonic sweated with a weak smile, placing a hand on the back of his head and politely declining "Oh no thanks, I think I'm gonna just stay in tonight."

Tiara only continued to grin flirtatiously at him with half lidded eyes, and a smooth voice "Another time then. Take care of that Emerald hedgehog." she said pointing to the Yellow Chaos Emerald in his hand "It's safer than you are." she purred and grinned at Sonic, and Blaze donned a sharp glare at Tiara "Come on Honey, everything's on me tonight!"

"Nice meeting you all!" Honey said as her happy tone returned.

Tiara blew a kiss at Sonic as she exited the Castle and Marine jumped in front of him and swiped her hand in the air blocking the invisible kiss. This action caused Blaze to let go of an uncontrollable snicker. Stifled, her eyes slightly widened as she looked at the confused faces of Sonic and Marine. They both wondered did they just see Blaze do what they thought she did...

Blaze's brows knotted together but she wasn't doing a very good job of hiding her smirk "It's just…the way you did it…it was humorous…"

Sonic and Marine looked at each other and blinked knowing what they saw. Blaze had a look of slight worry as her brows knotted together even more on her face, but the tension was quickly broken. Marine and Sonic did not voice what they had just seen because they felt it wasn't necessary. Blaze had just laughed...

Sonic snickered and began laughing slapping his knee with a gleeful face "…Hahahaha!"

Marine held onto her stomach "Hehehehe!"

Blaze's worry was replaced by relief as a small smile formed on her lips. She looked bashful for a moment before she returned to her stoic demeanor. She wasn't expecting to laugh, but Marine's and Sonic's antics had struck a chord with her this time. She donned a small smile again as they continued laughing. Then her eyes slowly drifted towards Sonic and focused on him, as they did often when in his presence. More than she was willing to admit, his contact was changing her, and her life…

Not long after the trio had ascended upwards to the upper levels of the Castle. Though Sonic insisted taking the stairs Blaze convinced him to ride the elevator with them. There was less security and more personal this high up. When they stepped off the elevator they were greeted by extravagantly designed stone hallways and rooms; just like the lower levels of the Castle. Along with a whole group of koala maids and butlers, they poured out of a few nearby rooms just as they stepped out of the elevator and followed them. As Sonic followed closely behind Blaze and Marine, he glanced into the rooms they passed. He couldn't imagine why they needed such big rooms and thought it was a waste of space.

The hallways were lined with windows every ten feet, silk red carpets and golden colored curtains hung from the sides of the windows. Some windows were open, and it was breezy up this high; the curtains billowed in the wind. They only turned a few corners before they stopped in a dead-end hallway, conveniently with three rooms; Sonic figured one of the rooms was his. To the left was a single door and to the right were two. The koalas moved pass them and into the rooms.

Blaze looked to Sonic and pointed to the single door "That is your room."

Marine quickly moved to the door farthest on the right side running into the room and tossing her backpack onto the floor "I'm gonna catch a quick nap."

Sonic and Blaze took a look inside, seeing the butlers and maids prep the room. Marine had taken off her shoes and jumped onto the very large bed with a canopy bouncing up and down with glee. The bed was dressed in dark-green colors, sheets and all. The rest of the room had chairs, a dresser with a huge mirror, and other miscellaneous items. There was a bathroom in the corner of the room and on the ceiling, an extravagant chandelier with four lights hung above.

Marine bounced a few more times and fell flat on her back with a big sigh "I love these sheets!"

"They're made of the finest silk's lady Marine." one butler said aloud.

"They feel great! Hey you, get me a snack." Marine pointed to a maid "And you, open that window. And you get me more pillows." Marine said with glee.

Blaze sighed with a light frown "Do not get too comfortable Marine, we will be eating dinner soon."

Marine rolled onto her stomach with a big grin and gave Blaze a thumbs up "Don't you worry Blaze, I got everything under control."

Sonic and Blaze moved away from the door only to hear Marine order the maids and butlers to do more nonsensical task. Sonic smiled "Classic Marine."

"She still has a few control issues, but they do not hinder her as much as they used to." Blaze said moving and grabbing a hold of the handle of her open door.

Sonic moved across the hall to his room and did the same as Blaze spoke again with her usual stoical expression "Take a moment to rest Sonic. We will eat soon."

"I'll take it easy." he said as Blaze nodded and promptly entered her room.

As he fully opened his door koalas came pouring out of his room, Marine's, and Blaze's rooms as well. They were down the hall and out of sight in a few moments. With Blaze's and Marine's doors now closed, he walked inside his own room. It was very similar to Marine's; she had three large windows in her room too. His bed sheets were green as well; so in complete silence he walked over to his bed and sat down. He took off a glove to feel the sheet's fabric, feeling they were just as nice as Marine described, but he was already bored. He laid on his bed, inspected the room, and opened a window to get a peek outside. They were really high up, and he could see the entire city. The colors in the sky were starting to mix together as well making the view even more beautiful. He even flicked the lights on his chandelier on and off a few times. But Sonic not able to sit still anymore, placed the Yellow Chaos emerald in a drawer, in a nightstand next to his bed. Then he made his walk back over to his door and out of his room.

He peeked outside into the hallway to find it empty; Blaze and Marine's doors were closed still. Slowly, he crept out of his room and down the hall to get a look around. Through the hallways, he encountered many koalas; they did not bother him. Besides all the fancy items around himself, he walked pass many items encased in glass. One being the Jeweled Scepter. It recalled many memories of the time Tails, and he spent in her world the second time they encountered Blaze. He remembered all the talk Blaze had mentioned about her homeland, about the artifacts tied to it, but she never went into detail about it. It was also the first time they had all met Marine.

He walked pass many other decorated items when he stopped at a portrait hanging on the wall that caught his eyes. He suppressed a chuckle seeing a picture of a younger Blaze but also two other figures standing with her. Which were unmistakably her parents. Her mother and father had a striking resemblance; similar clothing too. In the picture, they stood together in what seemed to be a dining room, her parents stood behind her and just like Blaze. They had stoical expressions, and Blaze's younger self held the stoic, calm, yet slightly serious expression that she usually held now. Thats what he knew her for. As Sonic observed the picture more he felt a tap on his leg.

He turned to see a butler bow to him "Princess Blaze has requested your presence."

Sonic nodded quietly with a curious look as the butler led him back to the hallway were there rooms resided. The butler knocked on her door, and she responded "Come in."

The butler walked away leaving a slightly bashful Sonic. He hesitated, standing still in front of her closed door for a moment. As far as he could tell, these were there rooms they stayed in when they came to the mainland; their personal space. But Blaze more so, this Castle was her house, her home. So this was her bedroom; there was no doubt. He sighed, shaking off the bit of tension and nervousness.

So Sonic grabbed a hold of her door knob; he trusted her enough to open her door and step inside. Even though after knowing her for quite some time, she still kept a personal distance. He didn't think she'd invite him into her personal space, despite their increased levels of trust over the years; Blaze could be a tough cookie sometimes.

Sonic stepped into her room and quickly noticed her room was much different than Marine's and his. Purple filled his eyes. Her bed was essentially purple; the canopy and sheets were; the frames were made of wood. Blaze quietly sat to his left, sitting on a stool in front of a huge mirror, which sat on a dresser with many drawers and accessories on it; Sonic could count twenty different combs alone. Other than the big red carpets that were on all of their floors, her curtains were purple. Her closet door was slightly open and she had many different fancy types of clothing inside, and there was also many similar looking purple like attires inside, like the clothing she usually wore. And unlike Marine's and his room of bare stone walls, Blaze had fine striped purple wallpaper on her walls. Even the ceiling had a type of purple wall paper.

Sonic was a bit caught off guard when he finally turned to look at Blaze; he raised an eyebrow in confusion. She was brushing her hair, and her hair was down….

He quickly noticed the red band that usually tied her hair up was now sitting on the dresser in front of her. Sonic felt awkward for a moment; he had never seen her outside her normal appearance. He was slightly surprised that she was ok with letting him see her as she currently was. He wondered if he'd mistakenly walked into her room when she suddenly looked towards him.

Her face stoic, she continued brushing her hair as she spoke "Please close the door Sonic." she said as she turned back to her mirror.

Sonic nodded and quietly closed the door behind himself; she certainly looked more comely with her hair down. Not that she didn't before, but it was just her current appearance was new to him. Sonic moved just a few feet behind her and stayed in place as he asked with a grin "You called?"

She could see him in the reflection of her mirror "Yes, I wanted to know if you were ready to talk now that we are settled for the most part?"

He thought that since she hadn't mentioned it that she wanted to converse at another time. Though he was fine with it "Sure, I'm curious about the crime here and…" he said with less enthusiasm "The women and maybe a few other things." he paused "Did you want to talk about anything in particular?"

Blaze placed her brush down grabbing a comb, and she frowned slightly. She combed as she spoke sounding a bit hesitant now to "Other than your questions. No, I thought we could just talk…"

Her new hesitance made Sonic see through her words. It was obvious she wanted to just converse as friends, as friends did sometimes. Other than his questions; which were just curiosity about her world. They didn't get the chance to get to know each other very well in their last two meetings. Both Eggman's kept them plenty busy. Sonic was bemused at how much Blaze had changed since last time they met. She was a lot friendlier, to him anyway as far as he could tell. When Tails and he came to her world last time Blaze was still a very distant person. She was still prompt and brief in her dealings like she was now, but before she'd kept others at an arms distance. She was definitely more cynical in the past.

Her wanting to talk was a radical change in behavior to him; he'd never expected that from her. And with the circumstances of their friendship; of them living in two different worlds. He realized they might not get this chance again if he should ever chance to drop by her world another time.

Sonic then decided he was acting coy; Blaze and him were cool. Though they had never conversed in this manner, they were also becoming stronger friends. So he reverted back from his sudden reservations about her to his normal demeanor. He smiled "Sure, I have to know about Marine. She's grown a lot hasn't she?"

A small smile came across Blaze's face as her hesitation washed away seeing Sonic's smile in the reflection of her mirror. Her voice returned to a normal tone "It would be obvious to anyone. She is not the same child whom you knew. She has become a young lady."

"Are you sure you never saw Marine around your island before we did?" Sonic asked curiously.

"I had never seen Marine on my island until Tails, and you showed up with her. I was looking for the Jeweled Scepter that day and had been away from my island frequently at the time." Blaze said placing her comb down and getting up from her stool; she'd left her hair down.

She walked pass Sonic and to her windows. She opened the middle windows, and a warm breeze came into the room. Sonic walked over next to her and got a glimpse of the city below. She had an even better view from her room. Her room and her windows were faced from the front of the Castle, so they got a great view of the entirety of the city. And because it was getting darker Sonic got to see a glimpse of the night life. The stone sills of the windows were wide enough for each of them to stand next to each other with room to spare.

Sonic rested his arms on the window sill and recalled her reaction to meeting Marine for the first time. In which she reduced to saying to Marine 'Who is this girl?' Sonic laughed and got a smirk from Blaze as she joined him, resting her arms on the window sill and looking out below as well "Marine wasn't a complete nuisance, but she was still one none the less. She helped us and detracted us on our last adventure. You remember?"

"You've basically been her mentor all these years; she's matured." Sonic glanced at her as he nodded then looked back out the window. He smirked; she looked much different with her hair down.

"She has her moments; I still must scold Marine from time to time. I had to if she was to live with me, many dangerous things happen around me and her hyper-activeness could have surely gotten her hurt in a dangerous situation. Though I think it has helped her in the long run, she has calmed down as she has become more knowledgeable. She gets the job done now." Blaze said keeping her focus out the window as she spoke.

They both stared at the city below and the beautiful colors in the sky. The sun was starting to get lower but it was still light out...

"What happened after we left? I'm guessing you took Marine in since she's still around." he joked while letting out a small chuckle.

Blaze tried to control her mouth from contorting into a smile "I had considered sending Marine to the mainland, but when I found out how old she was I decided to watch over her temporarily. Although by that point I had gotten to know her better and found out about her parents here in Arch City."

Sonic nodded as they both continued to look out the window. Blaze spoke moving her hair out of her eyes "I will admit I was a little more impatient than I am now, I did not want any distractions while I guarded the Sol Emeralds. Also, I had relied more on transportation from here. I'd spent quite some time with Marine before I couldn't decide whether to send her to the mainland. For one, she began learning to build ships. With aid from the Royal Family, supplies for my island, and supplies I requested for her, she learned a lot in a short time."

"So that ship you use now isn't the Ocean Tornado that Tails built? It looks a lot like it." Sonic asked her.

"Correct Sonic, the heavily armored ship we now use was built by Marine. I think she based a lot of her designs off of Tails." Blaze said readjusting her arms on the window sill.

"She told me she built that ship, I guess Marine forgot to mention that it wasn't the same ship." Sonic responded as a warm breeze blew through the window.

"She might have neglected to mention it, she gets excited when she tells people about her work. She still has her original S.S. Marine; she keeps the Jet Ski below deck." Blaze responded.

"She should be proud; it's a great accomplishment." Sonic said looking at street lights below come on.

"She was just a child; she is now a young adult." Blaze paused glancing at Sonic, and he glanced at her with a bemused expression.

Blaze blinked her eyes and then gave him a wise look "Under my supervision of course..."

Sonic chuckled and she continued with a temporary smirk as they both looked back out the window "But I couldn't decide whether to send Marine to the mainland. She had gotten older, and she would have been able to take care of herself along with her parents. As a child, I hadn't had any plans to make sure where she was living when I first met her." Blaze said as a frown formed on her lips.

"To just throw her out into the world." Sonic stated aloud.

"Yes." she responded as her usual stoical expression returned to her face "But that changed. I grew to enjoy her company. Taking note of you Sonic, I gave her a chance."

"You're welcome." Sonic smirked.

A weak smile formed on Blaze's lips for a few moments before her stoic face came back; they continued to stare out the window as she spoke "After she got older my mind had changed and any plans I had on sending her here were thorough. If I had, she would have been placed under the Royal Family with her parents and made sure she was ok."

Blaze paused for a moment as she continued "The S.S. Marine that we currently use only got better and better as she tweaked it over the years. It's even better than some military ships we have. She'd become a great asset to me as well as a good friend. After that I didn't need as much help with her eagerness. I didn't need the help of transport from the Royal Family anymore with the S.S. Marine around; even with the ships Tails built. All the ships that were stationed to come to my island when I needed them were instantly gone. I ordered all the military help that I received away. After that point Marine and I handled what we needed, supplies, repairs, etc. Dealing with military and big entities was a hassle and a headache I was glad to get rid of. We've sailed to many faraway places in her ship and come back without a scratch..."

Sonic wasn't convinced though "So what made you change your mind? What did Marine do to sway you?"

Blaze wanted to hold back, she never told anyone about her personal musings; her feelings. But in the midst of this conversation she spoke without thinking; on instinct the words flew out her mouth "….I knew what she would face if she had went on alone. I couldn't let her get hurt intentionally by my willful ignorance."

"Sounds like you just cared." Sonic snickered.

Blaze's face remained stoic as she stared out her window; they both did not look towards one another. He was right. Marine's innocence had got to her. But more to the point, she had just revealed deep personal feelings that she had never told anyone. She felt exposed and yet at the same time she felt as if some mental stress was released from her. It felt good...just letting her feelings go...

And what's more, her trust with Sonic made her feel safe to express herself without consequence, without the fear of judgment or getting hurt from information that was sensitive to her. Things she felt strongly about. She didn't have any friends, and she felt she knew him well enough to know he would not judge. He would only hearten her...as he always did...

There was a long pause but Blaze let herself go again "I did." she stated simply, keeping her eyes away from him as he stared out the window.

Sonic stretched his arms briefly "I'm sure she appreciates you more than you know."

"….." Blaze remained quiet.

"People here don't give her a hard time do they?" he asked placing his arms back on the window sill.

"They didn't at first, she was able to go into town and not get recognized. They know she's with me now…" Blaze said as a gust of wind hit them. The wind made her hair and clothing sway and Sonic's quills do the same.

Her statement bothered Sonic, and he frowned at her curiously "….Why do people act like they do towards you?"

Blazed paused again, knowing that this subject had never come up before only because they didn't have to come to the mainland. She never had to discuss her stigma because he didn't know; she never talked about it either. But first she wondered if he had noticed, and Blaze finally glanced his way again raising an eyebrow "You do know that other than Tiara, you, and myself. Everyone is normal?"

"I figured no one was making a big deal about it." Sonic shrugged his shoulders continuing to look out the window.

Blaze looked back out the window "Well that is another reason why they stare..."

Sonic treaded carefully "Not everyone can do stuff back home but I've run into quite a few characters. Is it really just us three?"

"Yes, in fact Sonic it does not happen often here. Of Tiara and I, we are the first in a few generations known to possess such abilities. It is recorded, and published when an individual is identified, and Tiara and I seem to fit the bill this time around. So it has been a long time since someone like me has been around….it's a rare occurrence…" Blaze said with a frown.

Now it was Sonic's turn to pause. Now that he thought about it, of people's strange reactions of them staring. He did with a new clarity because of this new information. It made him realize that everyone around them were just normal people. Nothing extra ordinary probably ever happened in their lives and for them to see someone like Blaze running around led to the classic reaction to something you didn't understand. Fear. They feared Blaze. They not only stared at Blaze because she had out of the ordinary abilities and she was the Princess and the Protector of the Sol Emeralds. But also because someone like Blaze was un-frequent in their history, a history with non-extraordinary things. The things that Blaze could do was not normal; him to now that he was here "Is that why you protect the Sol Emeralds?" Sonic asked her raising an eyebrow.

Blaze felt even more vulnerable as she delved more into her past with Sonic. A part of her wanted to stop. However, they kept going deeper, and she found she couldn't shut her mouth. Socialization, talking, it felt good no matter how much she denied it and she kept blabbing "Yes and no, as you might have guessed I was not always the Guardian of the Emeralds. The island where I stay is not the original home of the Sol Emeralds. They used to reside here on the mainland, and I had no part with them."

"The shrine was moved?" Sonic asked her curiously.

"It was moved when I became the new Guardian of the Emeralds." Blaze said as the wind blew her hair around.

"Were there others?" Sonic asked her as they stared out the window.

"There were ones like me that existed…yes. They did not guard the Emeralds like I do from what I know. From the history I know, they lived regular lives." Blaze said as she looked up into the twilight skies "Their hasn't been a Guardian of the Emeralds for quite sometime. Their have been quite a few throughout my history, and they were all normal. The last Guardian was appointed hundreds of years ago by another nation. But the Guardian, along with being normal, fell even with much political and military force behind herself. Those who sought the Sol Emeralds were persistent and there hasn't been one since me. The fighting over the Sol Emeralds always ripped those apart who were near them, so the nations, including my nation let them be for a time. "

Sonic was a bit skeptical though "So it wasn't a smooth progression was it?"

"No." Blaze stated.

Sonic frowned "Eggman Nega?"

"He is part of the reason that I protect the Emeralds. As a child I discovered my abilities early on, and it wasn't until I was exposed to others that I made my first mistakes. I went to a private school with other people and I was foolish enough to show them that I had my abilities. Needless to say, people's reactions were negative and mocking. My parents told me not to let anyone know; they knew of my abilities obviously. But I did, and I faced the consequences..." Blaze's tone shifted downwards, and her head dipped a bit.

Sonic felt empathetic towards her plight as he looked into the distance "And Tiara?"

Blaze frowned; she knew that was coming "People found out about her too; she was no less reproached. People mocked her as well, but she was never spiteful towards me as my fellow pupils were. Tiara's behavior has always been tongue-in-cheek with me."

"So they disliked her to a lesser extent?" Sonic asked questioningly.

"In a sense yes, I do take more heat than her. I always have." Blaze said with her frown as she lifted her head.

It was obvious that her being the Princess was cause of that and Sonic questioned her "How did your parents react?"

Blaze suddenly looked saddened "…When I got older I realized they weren't pleased…" Sonic frowned "Not only because what I was, but also because once the news spread about Tiara and I, I had to stay out of the public eye. I developed my fire and speed in private, and I spent the latter half of my teens alone."

"My parents had to deal with covering me up for a long time until the questions stopped. It didn't get more political for my parents until I was appointed the new protector of the Emeralds. As I became a young adult, in order to keep a low profile, I started working a quiet normal job in the Royal Family, communicating between the military and other nations. It seemed as if I was going to fall into step in political dealings, like most children in affluent families. My parents remained the same; upset. As did everyone who knew of me as if it was a quiet secret." Blaze said brushing her hair back with her hand.

"Something happened in between then?" Sonic asked curiously almost knowing the answer.

"Eggman Nega happened." Blaze responded and her stoical face returned and Sonic nodded as they both stared out the window.

With the sun still visible, generating red hues along the skyline Sonic could see the city from a different perspective from Blaze's room. All the slopes and hills the city were built on all the way down to the docks. Seeing all the houses and buildings as far as he could see. They could even smell the cooking of food from a nearby restaurant below.

Blaze continued looking up into the sky again "I didn't even know of the Emeralds at the time, it was something I had always heard in passing. But apparently the Emeralds were the cause of many deaths, fighting, and even wars. They slipped in and out of hands of criminals for as long as they had been discovered; something I was completely unaware of at the time. The shrine was a ways away from the city, and the fighting over them escalated so much that the military had to step in. The ruins and the shrine where the Emeralds resided had been pillaged many times over even after the Emeralds had been stolen long ago."

"They were just sitting out there?" Sonic asked her with a bit of surprise in his voice.

"Yes, as far as I know. No one knows their true origin, the ruins and the Emeralds have been around as far as our recorded history goes. It's impossible to know when they were first stolen or just sitting out in the jungles. But the fighting became deadly for the Emeralds on a new level. The military stepped in and collected them. They took the Emeralds back to their resting place, and the ruins became a military base. It didn't last long though." Blaze said as they both stared straight out the window observing the city below.

"Nega." Sonic finished.

Blaze nodded with a frown "Exactly. He rampaged through the military and took all seven. It didn't take him long after rampaging with all seven Emeralds in other nations to set his sights on Arch City."

"Are there any specific reasons he attacked here?" Sonic asked her.

"We are the top city in this area on Mobious." Blaze responded.

"Of course..." Sonic nodded with a light frown forming on his lips.

Blaze nodded running a hand through her hair again "I had only been on my job for a short time when Eggman Nega began attacking our city. Our military kept him at bay while the city tried to maintain its normal run of life. But it began hitting close to home as the casualties piled up. Soon citizens were getting hurt or dead on the streets as Eggman Nega advanced towards the city. When he disrupted the normal way of life I felt compelled...I couldn't stand by and watch anymore..."

"What were you wearing?" Sonic asked with a curious look, and Blaze looked fully towards him with a confused expression. Blinking her eyes as she raised an eyebrow.

Sonic snickered trying to control his grin. He smiled sheepishly at her as he shrugged "I don't know. I'm just imagining you wearing like secretary's clothing. Like a brown blouse, a white dress shirt, and glasses."

Blaze lost her confusion and donned a small smile at his random thoughts; he was so strange "…You're close..."

The sun was starting to pinch the horizon, and a shade of dark was starting to penetrate the night skies. Sonic smirked, and she continued, looking back out the window as her stoic expression returned "Nega was close to directly attacking the city when I stopped him. I remember testing out what I could do that day before I went after him in a remote area away from the city. Because I had never used my abilities like I had that day before then. Using my fire and speed and pushing myself like I never had. I was nervous too because I had never used my abilities other than developing them for control. Never fighting…I had never fought like I did that day…."

"Did you lay it on him?" Sonic asked her with enthusiasm.

"Better than you know." Blaze said as she tried to control her smile.

She got a chuckle from Sonic as she continued "His giant robot went straight for the Castle when he entered the city. He hadn't expected me though. He was extremely powerful with all seven Sol Emeralds powering his robot. But many of the joints of his robot were exposed. I damaged a few and melted some. I then crippled his robot by attacking it head on, my speed was enough to avoid getting hit and in his underestimation I brought him to the ground taking all seven Emeralds from him and de-powering his robot." Blaze said shifting her arms on the window sill.

"It was a short victory, for not a week later he came looking for the Emeralds again. I was getting more attention again after people saw me in action, and they had taken the Emeralds back to their shrine, but Nega was persistent. He constantly attacked the military base, the shrine of the Sol Emeralds. But the difference was I was there, and it became a regular occurrence that was new to everyone; even me. I was thwarting Nega from getting the Emeralds, stopping him at every turn and for a time he retreated and stopped. It was in this time other nations started recognizing me; my city included. And they concluded that I was the only thing standing in between Nega and him going on another rampage as he did in the past. And for the simple fact that I was stopping Nega I was made the new Guardian of the Sol emeralds. I was also appointed because of my abilities, for no one else could stand in his way but me; I had the power to prevent another massacre on that scale." Blaze said leaning forward slightly.

"You sprung into action." Sonic said thoughtfully.

Blaze nodded "I also had no choice. Nega would have destroyed everyone, and because of peoples treatment I was less enthusiastic about it. But I accomplished both task fortunately, of protecting the innocent and stopping Eggman Nega."

"What happened next?" Sonic stated thoughtfully knowing there was more.

"It got worse." Blaze said observing the first wave of night goers below "I couldn't protect the Emeralds at the shrine anymore. Nega went…"she looked for different words "..well nuts."

Sonic nodded and she continued "As the new Guardian I decided to bring them back to the city. I had them locked up but it only led to more problems; political problems. Since I could not protect the Emeralds at the shrine I was forced to deal with new problems of bringing the Sol Emeralds here."

Sonic remembered one of his questions today; one he'd asked at the entrance of the Castle. It was starting to come together as he spoke in an insightful tone nodding his head "The criminals."

The sun had set now, and they were left with a view of the city's night lights spread across as far as they could see. Their were four noticeably large buildings that stood out among the others. They all had protruding different colored lights at the top of these buildings, along with spotlights shooting into the air from a few areas this night which Sonic guessed where venues. Blaze held her stoic expression as she continued to speak "Nega caught on quick, and soon he came to Arch City looking for the Emeralds. We fought often and hard. It started going downhill quick as I fought Nega in the city..."

Blaze frowned pausing for a moment, and Sonic remained quiet with a somber look until she continued with a hint of sadness in her tone "I caused quite a bit of collateral damage when I fought Nega in the city. People didn't like this…my parents didn't…"

"You did your best." Sonic said with sympathy.

"Thank you Sonic." she glanced at him with a look of gratitude before her frown came back and she looked back out the window. His encouragement made her feel better making her enjoy their conversations more every time "Along with my mistakes, the criminal element that had fought over the Emeralds before the military stepped in resurfaced. They came. Placing themselves in nearby cities or even coming here. Gangs began infesting the city and the surrounding nations, but their target was not just the Emeralds, but also me. They came looking to harm me as well. Among other things, they engaged in other crimes while they were here. Looking to steal from the Royal Family and steal the Sol Emeralds because of me. I'd become, and still am the poster child for crime." Blaze spoke with a hint of frustration in her voice.

Sonic was at a loss for words, and she slightly glanced at him as she continued "Since I am also the Princess, the Guardian of the Emeralds, and labeled as a….freak…."

The wind blew her hair around as another warm breeze blew into the window. She remained silent for a moment before she spoke again "All these factors made, and still make me a high target for reward. Like if they kidnapped me etc. I've since then become the focus of attacks because of the labels placed on me by society from all sides. Till this day organized crime to get the Sol Emeralds continue. As crime organizations continued to enter the city, along with Nega, it turned into a war in the city. As it went on I tried to stay and fight but it was too much. People disliked me even more because of the new chaos in the city…it put a lot of stress on my parents…."

Sonic dared not ask how she got to her island. He didn't want to say anything about banishment especially if it had something to do with her parents. Again, he remained quiet and caught her quick glance and her frowning face. As she continued she averted her eyes back out the window "It was different that time though. Not only had I upset politicians of our nation, I had enraged others from other nations. My parents fought their accusations; they wanted action taken against me. I immediately began looking for solutions to get the Sol Emeralds away from the city but I had an epiphany that day after facing harsh criticism from people around me. I was…down…that day….lower than I can ever remember….."

"At the bottom…" he chimed in.

Blaze nodded "I looked for someplace to go, not only because of the problems in the city, but because I was tired of the way people treated me…" Sonic frowned as she continued "I was looking at a map, and a small cluster of islands had caught my eyes…."

Sonic cut in looking surprised as he glanced at her "You chose the island?"

Blaze nodded again holding her frown as she glanced at him "Yes…it was my choice for the island as a solution. The people already disliked me, so I chose isolation. It was better than being here…."

"How did it go?" Sonic asked her curiously as they both looked away from one another and back out the window.

"I moved right away after informing my parents. I heard ironically that the politicians had similar ideas for me. Though you know they were probably for reasons other than mine." Blaze said sarcastically.

"I'll bet." Sonic said agreeing with her.

"So with help from the Military and the Royal Family, I got the Sol Emerald ruins uprooted and moved to my island. I took the Emeralds with me, and I never looked back. Ever since moving to the island it has slowed the criminal activity to a crawl. The peace and quiet was a plus too. Nega comes to visit every now and then; it's become a regular routine over the years. Though it's become harder for him to attain the Sol Emeralds when they are so far away." Blaze stated as her stoical expression returned.

"So why do you have to go through a process when you come back?" Sonic asked in a curious tone.

"When I return I must inform the city because of the possibility that my presence will lead to chaos, and it always does. My parents and other leaders want to be aware when I re-enter the city so they know that something might be broken in my stay." Blaze stated unevenly.

He nodded thoughtfully as everything made more sense "Did they do anything while you were gone?"

"Yes, they enacted a few laws against me; one of them being that I must inform of my return. Because where I go the Sol Emeralds go…they have become part of me…of my fate…" she spoke in a dejected tone.

"To your credit…" Sonic said with a slightly serious face; Blaze looked to him curiously "You dealt with it as it came."

Blaze quickly dissected the meaning of his words. Essentially meaning that she dealt with her problems, in the time, at the moment, as best she could. His reassurance comforted her, letting her know that he respected her personal feelings. Things she felt strongly about "You lived in the moment." he finished compacting all of her struggles into one simple uplifting statement.

Blaze felt shock and awe at his kind words "….." quiet, she looked back out the window blinking her eyes briefly with her lips curled down into a frown. And there was a moment of silence between them. Those were types of words she never heard uttered in her direction.

After what she just unloaded she felt hesitant. She had just revealed a huge amount of her past to him. Realizing how far she had just went she felt as if she had made a mistake telling him, and instantly she felt fear and worry. She gauged his reaction, and her qualms in her mind were silenced as he said nothing. She was safe; it was Sonic.

She did not even speak with Marine like this. She couldn't imagine telling someone less trustworthy what she just told. She felt heat well up inside her stomach and then…she smiled...

She turned away from the window and walked over to the other side of the room to turn on the lights; also to hide her speechless expression. When she returned to the window sill, she made sure to stand slightly closer to Sonic. Her face became stoic, and she spoke in a low voice "…Your concern is appreciated Sonic…"

Blaze turned to look at him and they caught each others eyes. Blaze couldn't look away, and neither could Sonic. They stared at each other in silence. But quickly Blaze noticed he looked, if she wasn't mistaken, suddenly nervous. But he inched out a response with a half smile "…That ones on me."

Blaze nodded and looked back out the window feeling a bit upset about Sonic's reaction. She saw out the corner of her eye that he imperceptibly scooted away from her. She frowned; she knew her decorous nature could be off-putting sometimes. Though she knew he accepted her and did not judge her; which made her feel a little better. She looked for reasons why his composure was completely different all of a sudden. Why did he move away from her? She ran back in her mind and her thoughts stopped back at the alley. When he grabbed her shoulders to hide from Tiara; he hadn't acted any different before then. Then it became blatantly obvious; she could have smacked herself on the head.

He did not know her propriety when it came in regards to males. His reaction made more sense. He was abashed about having unintentional physical contact. Though she did not care if he did; she trusted him with her life. That's why he'd just made that distance between them. She hadn't meant for her reaction in the alley to come off in such an uneasy manner. She quickly understood that she never voiced her opinion about such things in their short times together. From when she went to his world and when he came to hers; they were much better friends this time.

In previous meetings, they were not, but they did steadily become better friends as they were now. He didn't know what she felt was acceptable male behavior; that if he'd acted improper towards her. She didn't really have any rules and was unconcerned by his insignificant act of grabbing her shoulders back in the alley. With him being the only male she would allow to get away with such things because of their friendship and trust; but also how she felt about their friendship. Honestly, she couldn't care less about people; she only cared about those close to her. She wanted to show him, let him know, that she knew his touch was unintentional. That she did not fault him for such an insignificant action; only him. That in their friendship, there were no boundaries.

And she did not even feel that was an overreach, she adored and trusted their friendship that much now. With those thoughts came doubt. As she felt heat rush to her cheeks again. Doubt as she darted her eyes away from him. Doubt that it wasn't only his friendship anymore that made her praise him...

Blaze then scooted closer to him again. Sonic looked cautious but Blaze looked him in the eyes. Her face was stoic, but her narrowed eyes showed him reassurance in the seriousness of her expression. The wind blew through her hair as they stared at one another and then Sonic began to smile feeling comfortable in her new close proximity. It seemed he knew why she had done it. This caused a small smile to appear on Blaze's face as well.

They both quietly looked back out the window for a moment, looking out to the city's night lights. As their conversation continued Blaze's tail wagged "So this female business is tied to all that?" Sonic asked her.

Blaze tried to control her smile from getting any bigger by continuing to look out the window "Directly in fact. Along with Nega's constant attacks, and crime increasing violence it's been on a downward spiral for a while. The male population has disproportionately been affected by it all."

Sonic chuckled "Every guy I've seen has been married, the guys will be back in no time."

They both let out small laughs "It has evened out lately; males still have catching up to do."

"So no hedgehogs? Really?" Sonic said smirking and glancing at her.

Blaze glanced at him with a smirk "Many species populate my world, I have only seen very few and personally I had never met any; most certainly not any blue ones."

"Well I guess I gotta take up the mantle." Sonic joked.

Blaze continued smirking "I suppose it's not all bad. The Emeralds have also led me places. They talk to me, us, as an invisible force. They led me to your world, as if to warn us of the danger that both Eggmans were perpetrating and to my world too."

"I wonder if that's all their good for." Sonic said with a grin.

"…I met a new friend." Blaze said moving her hair out of her eyes and removing her arms from the window sill "I learned much from just meeting you; I was not aware of the Emeralds power until then. I did not know I could…do that…"

Sonic removed his arms from the window sill pressing his fingers into his chest feeling around. His face was perplexed by the very nature of the Emeralds "Ehhh….I still want Tails to find out about that. I still find it weird that they kind of go inside of you."

Blaze giggled as he made a funny face and he spoke again. Sonic grinned "Hey Blaze?"

"Yes?" Blaze said still smiling.

"What happened to you?" he asked curiously.

At this question she was taken aback. She was quiet, and she blinked her eyes as her face became stoical trying to figure out what he meant exactly. He continued "It's just…your're much…." he paused "Nicer now…"

Blaze held back on her own sentiment, and she questioned as her brows narrowed slightly "Am I that much different? Was I not?"

"No." Sonic stated simply and truthfully losing his grin looking serious now.

Blaze tried to hold back her attitude on the subject. But she knew….not able to deny. That she was much harsher, and more defensive in her past behavior. She remembered when Tails and Sonic were last here. She was more withdrawn even as their friendship continued to grow. But after he left last time, something in her changed, and it was a certain something she was not willing to admit or talk about.

That his contact changed her…

That he moved her…

Blaze looked at him with her stoic face "My friends happened."

Sonic smiled then she did. Blaze walked back over to her dresser; Sonic followed "Would you crack that window Sonic?" she glanced at a digital clock on her dresser "Dinner should be ready soon."

"Say Blaze, what was Tiara doing when you became the defender?" Sonic said as he closed her windows.

Blaze was amused by his depiction of her and she continued smiling "She got involved shortly after I stopped Nega." Sonic had returned to stand by her dresser. Blaze picked up the red band that tied her hair and pushed a hand onto her head. She grabbed a hold of her hair and held it up as she placed the red band around her hair. It made a low snapping noise returning her to her normal look. She briefly fiddled with her hair, adjusting the red band and her hair in the mirror until she was satisfied. As her hair sat up in the air again she continued speaking "She began using her abilities publicly again and she went back to her arrogant behavior. Even though…"

But Blaze was cut off as she moved to her door and opened it. Marine, with her ear pressed up against the door came crashing onto her floor. Sonic and Blaze looked at each other confused. Then Blaze's face turned grumpy as Marine looked up at her from the floor with a sheepish grin.

"Before you ask, I just came out of my room. I swear!" Marine held a big smile.

Blaze's eyes squinted in skepticism but as she opened her mouth to speak and question how long she had been standing at her door, she looked to Sonic. And he shrugged, his smirk said 'let it slide'. So Blaze dropped it, though she donned an upset expression "...Very well, let us go eat." Blaze's stoical expression returned as she stepped over Marine and out her door "We need to be rested for tomorrow."

Sonic helped her up speaking in an excited tone; she extended her hand "Do the butlers have fruit punch?"

Once Marine was on her feet she spoke with excitement "Are you kidding, they got everything!"

"I sure do have a taste for it in this warm weather." Sonic said with a grin as he and Marine stepped out of Blaze's room.

With all three in the hallway, Blaze reached around the opening of her door and cut the lights switch off and closed her door. As they walked down the hallway to the dining area Blaze quietly listened to Sonic and Marine converse with each other over food, with her thoughts focused on the conversation she just had with Sonic. She held a stoic expression still fearing she had said too much. But once she begun talking she couldn't stop, as if all of it poured out of her; just as when she spoke to the doctor. As she spoke to Sonic mental stress, and strain began releasing from her pent-up emotions over the years. Unable to express herself in so long, she felt she just dropped a load on Sonic. She hadn't even asked a thing about him. One thing was for certain though.

She felt refreshed; rejuvenated. Blaze kept her eyes on him the whole way to the dining area. She was pleased that she was just able to share her private thoughts without scrutiny; something she never did. That talk felt really good, and knowing in good confidence that Sonic would keep it private, it was starting to get addicting. She still had thoughts that she still would not even entertain, but it was getting harder to ignore them.. .

Whew, its times like this chapter were I wish I still had a beta reader. I didn't want to chop up things I thought were important to the plot. So again sorry if it's a little long.