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

For those of you who like the book cover the amazing artist I commissioned this picture from is an artist from deviantart; Pavagat. Heres a link; go to deviantart and paste this


Morning had arrived in Arch City, and the sun had made a quick impression over the citizens in the city as it rose. It had just begun peaking over the horizon when people in the city were disturbed from their sleep by the heat. At the castle, Blaze slowly opened her eyes and swallowed what little saliva there was in her dry mouth. Her windows were closed last night, and it made her room even hotter. She sat up in her bed and moved her thin purple sheets off herself as she smacked her lips. It was really hot today.

Blaze hopped out of her bed and went into her bathroom to clean herself up and get dressed. Because of her abilities, the heat did not bother her. She got a bit thirsty, but scorching heat did not bother her. She did look forward to seeing Sonic's reaction because she knew he might be unprepared for the sudden heat wave. So she carried on as she usually did with a stoic face, changing out of her night clothes, calm and collected as she readied herself for the day. When she finally opened her door and left her room Sonic, and Marine looked miserable as they came out of their respective rooms. Their feet trudged on the floor as they greeted her a good morning.

Sonic and Marine's tongues hung out and Sonic wiped his forehead with the Yellow Chaos emerald in his hand "When is the A/C coming back on?"

"Was it not on in your room while you slept?" Blaze asked curiously.

"Well yeah it was...but it's still so hot..." Sonic said miserably.

"Give me the emerald Sonic." Marine said holding out her hand, Sonic obeyed not even looking in her direction, and she put it in a new brown backpack she was wearing. Marine trailed off as she spoke "If we find anymore today…you know…"

Blaze was amused by the blank expressions on both of their faces, and she smirked as she turned to walk down the hallway "We will eat before we leave."

Sonic pointed accusingly at her before she could walk any farther "Hey, wait a minute. Why aren't you suffering too?"

Blaze kept her smile glancing back to the pair "By whatever do you mean Sonic?"

Sonic knew it was pretty obvious that she did not at all seem fazed by the sweltering heat. But the heat made it hard for him to be as coherent as he wanted to be "Well…" he said looking for the right words falling sideways to the nearest wall and fanning himself with his hand "Look at you! You don't look hot at all…"

"Yes." Blaze said simply with a smile still on her face.

"The heat doesn't affect Blaze Sonic..." Marine said looking annoyingly at Blaze, envious of her abilities over fire that let her avoid the heat.

Sonic removed himself from the wall "Oh no fair."

"Let's just go eat…" Marine said in a grumpy tone as sweat beads rolled down the side of her face.

Marine quietly moved pass Blaze and Sonic looked curious about Marine's new grumpiness. Blaze tried looking innocent "It's just the heat talking."

Sonic then shot a look of accusation at Blaze as they began walking down the hall. He fanned himself with his hand again "That's easy for you to say."

"Yes I know." Blaze said still smirking.

This made Sonic chuckle, unable to argue with her teasing, and Blaze, instead of becoming stoic, did to this time. This time she did not hold herself back as she had always done; only for him. She felt comfortable in her new found presence with him after their talk last night, and she even felt it to be a strange new feeling. To be able to let herself go with the flow…to let her feelings be free…

She had never really been his open with anyone, and it made her feel cautious about stepping so far outside her usual self. As they made their way down the scorching hallway and boarded the elevator to go down to the dining hall, Blaze looked at Sonic out of the corner of her eyes. She felt a sensation build up in her stomach, and she darted her eyes away from him, looking to the colored numbers of the elevator panel as they descended. Her face returned to her usual stoic expression, and she refocused her thoughts on the day ahead….

Breakfast was completed not twenty minutes later, and the trio had just finished eating. Sitting at a very long table, they sat at the end closest to the entrance. They were the only occupant's in the room other than the chefs. The room was lavish as everyplace in the castle. With red wallpaper and golden colored light fixtures hanging from the walls. The wooden table they sat at, the only table in this medium sized room, was dressed in a white laced table cloth that hung from every edge of the table. The table was also adorned with flowers in vases and bowls of plastic fruit. And of course, the A/C vents on the floor cooled the room down making Marine return to her normal self.

Marine sat at the very end and Sonic sat between her and Blaze. Marine stuffed the last bit of her food in front of her into her mouth and chewed vigorously with a pleased expression on her face. Sonic on the other hand was overwhelmed by the variety of drinks, sweet breads, and fruits laid out for them. Also the many different utensils placed in front of him, and he occasionally looked at Blaze and tried to copy her use of the right utensils.

He'd picked out a bit of food and ate an adequate amount while being picky with food he was unfamiliar with. Blaze sat with a napkin on her lap, eating her food one bite at a time with her usual stoic demeanor. She had remained quiet while they ate listening to small talk exchange by Marine and him. She knew Sonic had watched her as she used the proper eating utensils to eat her food. She placed a medium sized spoon down and picked up a small one. Again, it got Sonic's attention, and he glanced in her direction with a confused face looking back and forth between their utensils.

Her eyes looked in his direction, and he saw her stare but ignored her, looking more interested in trying to figure out what was the purpose of so many forks and spoons. Blaze smirked finding his attention to her and his curiosity to be endearing…

After she finished chewing her food she placed her spoon back in place with the other utensils. She then used the napkin on her lap to wipe her mouth, and she lightly patted her mouth. She lost her smirk and her stoic face returned as she stood from her seat. Marine sloppily wiped herself with her napkin and Sonic shrugged doing the same.

"Oi I'm stuffed!" Marine said with an energized tone as she hopped out of her seat.

"The food here is great!" Sonic said stretching as he stood up, and with a grin he followed Blaze out of the room "I wish Amy could cook like this."

Marine grabbed her backpack off her chair as the chef's came out of the flapping doors on the other side of the room to clean up after them. Blaze spoke as they walked out into the hallways "I will have a special meal prepared for our departure after we collect the Chaos Emeralds."

Marine shivered in delight as they passed more A/C vents "Heh heh, you ready for more action Sonic!"

Sonic smiled brightly giving her a thumbs up "Hey? Who you talking to?"

Marine elbowed Sonic in his side and they both giggled immaturely while Blaze was focused on finding the quickest route to the exit. She spoke distractedly "We are making good progress in our endeavors..."

She walked at a quickened pace and even Sonic and Marine noticed as they followed her. They made their way from the back areas of the castle until they reached the familiar long stretching main hallway that led outside. By this point Blaze's pace returned to normal and Sonic and Marine thought nothing of her quickened pace until they began passing the hallway where the offices were. Suddenly, an orange striped male cat stepped from the hallways in front of them.

Estaban! In his purple military clothing with badges and medallions on his chest. He grinned at the sight of the trio; his eyes widened in surprise.

Blaze flinched, taking a step back, she gritted her teeth, and a frown came upon her face as he spoke "Ah princess, I've been looking for you."

"Make it quick Estaban." Blaze said on her guard.

Sonic looked to Marine confused and Marine held the same look of confusion at Blaze's odd behavior. Estaban held a delightful smile "I am sure you know already but since you insist I must inform you that..." his words came out in slow motion to Blaze "Your parents want to see you."

Blaze's face was shocked, worriedly she glanced back at Sonic then back to Estaban at a loss for words; she looked to be thinking and Estaban took her silence as a queue to speak again "Yes, your parents have requested your presence immediately. They also want to meet your little blue hedgehog buddy."

Blaze's face became grumpy; she was afraid he would say that. She sighed closing her eyes, then she reopened them with a sharp glare "…Very well…I will go see them now…"

"Good day Princess, the King and Queen are waiting." Estaban bowed to them all and headed back down the hall he had come from with a face full of glee.

"What's the problem Blaze?" Marine asked her curiously.

But Blaze's silence was sharp as she did not respond to Marine, only moving and making a sharp left down a nearby hallway. Marine made a zipping motion with her hand over her mouth as they followed her, indicating to Sonic that he might want to be quiet too. Sonic nodded gratefully for the heads up, he could tell this was one of her moments where you didn't want to get on her bad side. So they moved deeper into the center of the castle, where more political and military things seemed to be happening. There were lots of cat employees here, and they had to move through a sea of people. Getting even more strange looks for Blaze since Sonic was present. After they got pass most of the bustle of all the offices in the area, there were many security guards at two large doors as they pressed straight forward. The large doors were opened immediately at the sight of the Princess and her strange guest. Blaze's face still wore a frown as they entered the throne room and in this small area her parents quickly noticed them in their chairs not far away.

The throne room resembled an office with the King and Queen, Blaze's mother and father, both sitting behind a huge desk. A wide long red carpet extended straight to their desk. Many people dressed in white collar clothing, which was still purple, busily moved around the room with papers and typing away at their computers; still mostly females. There were many other desk in the room to the left and right and computers. There were computers on every desk and even a line of four servers in the corner of the room.

Sonic finally getting a glimpse of her parents in full view noticed the striking similarities Blaze shared with them. Blaze looked just like her mother; her hair was in a ponytail. Her father was a serious looking man; his hair was slicked back. Her parents were dressed in similar purple attire as Blaze only their attire was more casual business. Both her parents wore red ties, light purple dress shirts and dark purple pants. They also were adorned with a red gem on their foreheads. Everyone in the room stopped and looked to the open doors. Blaze's mother and father looked away from their computers, leaning over in their chairs at the distraction of their opened doors.

Blaze's mother blinked in surprise seeing her daughter, but Blaze's father took notice not only of his daughter and Marine, but the strange blue hedgehog that was standing with them. Blaze remained quiet with a frown on her face, silently looking to her parents from the opened doors, and they stared right back at her.

The people working in the room froze in their spot seeing Princess Blaze in the vicinity. They noticed a hedgehog was with her too. Quickly, the employees looked in the direction of the King and Queens desk, and Blaze's father threw a hand into the air and snapped his finger. It echoed through the suddenly quiet room, and the employee's immediately dropped what they were doing and hurried out of the room. The trio remained in place as everyone shuffled pass them out of the room.

Once vacated the doors behind the trio shut and silence filled the room. Blaze's mother and father stood from their seats and walked to the front side of their desk. Blaze walked forward alone as Sonic wasn't sure what move to make. Marine then pulled him down and whispered into his ear that they should probably wait a moment and Sonic nodded in agreement to Marine's suggestion.

Her parent's mood seemed to lighten as Blaze's mother extended her arms for Blaze. There was a moment of slight hesitation that went unnoticed by her mother, Blaze felt self-conscious knowing that Sonic was watching her but her father silently took note of it, crossing his arms and glancing at the blue hedgehog she had brought with her.

Blaze hugged her mother, closing her eyes as she did "Hello mother."

"It's been a a while sweetie, your father and I have missed you greatly." Blaze's mother said in a tender tone.

Once she released her mother, she moved and hugged her father who hugged her back just the same "Father."

Her father patted her on the back "Have you been taking care of yourself?"

Blaze released her father and took a step back with a stoic face "Stagnation is prevalent."

Her father's face became serious again and Blaze's mothers face became full of worry. Her father questioned crossing his arms again "You've kept damage to a minimum. I've got reports that the Leopard Brothers ring was broken up. This is a matter of the Sol Emeralds I presume?"

"Not exactly…" Blaze said with uncertainty.

"Well you certainly have not come just for a resupply." Blaze's mother said knowing it had to do with her unusual visitor. She took a glance at Marine and the hedgehog, and she spoke knowing her daughter was leaving some information out "You haven't been home for quite some time Blaze, you've been on your island for a few years other than a short resupply trip."

"…" Blaze frowned and her father turned and pulled a piece of paper off his desk.

"You need to reconsider your suitors." her father said handing her the paper.

Embarrassment washed over her face hoping Sonic had not heard that as she skimmed through the list of names, which were of affluent males from affluent families in other nations. Her ears bent back and she frowned at her father. Blaze's mother spoke thoughtfully "A partnership would lessen political tensions and renege some actions of other nations because of the fighting over the Emeralds."

Blaze then smiled at her parents as she held the paper up and set fire to it. The paper burst into flames, and the ashes fell from her hand.

"Oh don't you worry; I've come prepared this time." Blaze's father smirked turning to pat a stack of papers on his desk, which were obviously more suitors list.

Blaze and her father glared at one another as Blaze walked pass him to the side of their desk and began burning the sheets of paper. She picked up another paper as her father watched her burn each sheet individually; her father watched her in amusement.

"We still have plenty of time dear; we'll get an answer out of you yet." Blaze's mother smiled giggling at her husband's interaction with their daughter. But Blaze's mother then looked sharply at her husband "Speaking of which darling, it seems you owe Blaze an apology."

Blaze's father was puzzled trying to look manly but shrinking under his wife's piercing stare "About what?"

Blaze's mother finally looked over to the doors where Sonic and Marine were "The hedgehog she spoke of is here."

Blaze's father turned to look as well then looked back to Blaze who was still burning his papers. He inched out a response with a serious but puzzled look "This…blue hedgehog is real…"

"His name is Sonic." Blaze nodded as more ashes fell from her hand onto their desk.

Blaze's father looked to his wife, and they both looked to their daughter as the revelation washed over them. Her father spoke slowly "…So you really have traveled to another world…"

"I would not have believed it myself." Blaze said just about done destroying her father's papers.

"…And the Sol Emeralds…you were in space and flying…." her father said disbelievingly.

Blaze's mother skepticism was present on her face as her brows wrinkled together in worry. But she completely believed her daughter now seeing this elusive hedgehog in person she had spoke of for years. Blaze's mother spoke curiously "So why is your little friend here?"

Blaze paused burning the last paper, and she glanced at her parents with a stoic expression "We are not completely sure yet, but his Emeralds are in danger right now." she then burned the last paper.

Blaze's parents were beyond confused, his Emeralds? The strange things that surrounded their daughter had always left them guessing but with the hedgehog here they no longer second guessed her. And her father spoke with a serious face "We have no authority over how you deal with the Emeralds, it's your decision on how you deal with these matters as you are the Guardian of the Sol Emeralds."

"Sonic must be very skilled to keep up with you." Blaze's mother said donning a smirk.

Blaze shook her head "Quite the contrary mother, Sonic has never treated me anything other than equal."

Her mother, her father, and herself looked towards the doors. Marine took the queue and she and Sonic walked over to them. Marine ran over to Blaze's mother and lunged onto her with a big hug "How's it going Mrs. V?"

Blaze's mother smiled at Marine's enthusiasm "Oh hello sweetie, I hope Blaze hasn't been too tough on you."

"I can complain." Marine joked getting a sharp look from Blaze; she would chastise Marine later since her mother was here. Marine grinned as she held onto Blaze's mother.

Sonic grinned as Blaze's father raised an eyebrow at him and held his hand out "It's a pleasure to meet you Sonic."

"Sup." Sonic said as he firmly gripped his hand.

Blaze's father was confused by his dialect and Blaze's mother released Marine and shook Sonic's hand. Blaze stood quietly by with a nervous tension in her stomach. Blaze's mother smiled "Blaze has spoken highly of you."

"It shows why Blaze is so tough." Sonic complimented her mother.

Blaze's mother giggled "Such the charmer."

Blaze's father looked intrigued by Sonic "So young man, are you a guardian as well?"

Blaze remained quiet with a stoic expression, but yet and still she felt a bad feeling in the pit of her stomach. Sonic thought for a moment then shook his head "No, not really."

"Blaze has mentioned that you are in possession of a set of your own Emeralds. Why is that?" Blaze's father said with a serious face.

Sonic shrugged mumbling out the phrase 'I don't know' "Ihmmh? We already got one Chaos Emerald." he grinned at Marine.

Marine smiled brightly as she tore off her backpack "To right, we'll find the rest in no time." she said as she pulled the Yellow Chaos Emerald from her backpack and tossed it to Blaze's father.

He caught it and saw that it was a different shape of the Sol Emeralds "Astonishing." he said impressed and he asked Sonic "So you are from another world?"

"Yeah, but I can't stay long. I gotta get home before our worlds start merging again." Sonic said with a grin.

It was at this point where Blaze's mother and father were lost again. Her father had so many questions he wanted to ask, about this different world and about all this Emerald business and this hedgehog; he'd never seen a blue hedgehog. More importantly he felt guilt wash over him as he thought of his past dismissal of his daughter's claims about going to another world. When she had told them the first time what had happened after those strange storms years ago they did not believe her. The military didn't believe her claims about the Emeralds and the second time she claimed she had run into this blue hedgehog they completely ignored it. Even though the strange storms had happened again too.

She could never provide any proof every time she spoke of the unreal things that happened while she protected the Sol Emeralds. With all the negativity thrown around at their daughter from all wakes of life because of all the damage caused by the Sol Emeralds, they focused more on keeping her safe from political dealings. And ignored anything out of the ordinary she had said. They knew the Emeralds possessed great power; it was obvious because of Nega's constant pursuit to take them. It was also just a well known fact, not excluding all the fighting over the Sol Emeralds throughout their history. It was pretty well established that the Sol Emeralds possessed great power. But as her father stood next to this blue hedgehog everything she had ever said had been confirmed.

It made him realize that more out of the ordinary things were happening with the Emeralds "..." her father remained silent.

"Are you married Sonic?" Blaze's mother asked curiously.

This finally broke Blaze from her silence as these were the types of words and discussions she was afraid that might happen with Sonic here with her. Her eyes widened in surprise and she moved back to the front side of the desk with her arms at her sides. She spoke under her breath "Mother!"

Blaze's mother donned an upset face "Watch your tone."

Though this did not stop her frown, Sonic was a bit caught off guard by the question but he grinned "Ah…no…hehe…I don't like to be tied down."

"I'm on the same page with him." Marine chimed in.

"Oh hush Marine dear, you'll be fixed up in no time as well." Blaze's mother patted her on the head.

Marine chuckled "Thank you Mrs. V."

Blaze's father was quick to jump in "There's nothing greater than commitment to the right woman."

Sonic looked flattered "Maybe in the future?"

"There you go, no need to hold yourself back from an opportunity. If you lived here I'd put you on my suitors list." Blaze's father said with a smile and in a hearty tone.

Blaze continued looking shocked with widened eyes, and her crinkled tail went rigid "Father!"

Her father smirked ignoring his daughter's pout "I apologize dear."

Blaze blinked in surprise as she opened her mouth to speak but shut it as her father continued "I don't know what is going on with these Emeralds but I leave that to you and your friends. After meeting Sonic today…I'm sorry I ever doubted you…I did not believe he was real…I did not believe what you were saying was real…"

"Even after you heard he was here?" Marine asked Blaze's father.

Blaze's father nodded "Even after I heard he was here, I did not expect you to walk into this room with…your blue friend here..."

"Non-taken." Sonic smirked.

Blaze's father laughed "He's got a sense of humor too."

"…I accept your apology father, but we must be taking our leave soon. We must get Sonic home immediately." Blaze said looking appreciative of her father's apology.

Blaze's father nodded with a serious face "Alright I'll let you kids go, take care of yourselves out there and Sonic?"

Sonic smiled and listened "Keep an eye on my daughter, from what she's told me you've had each others backs in your encounters. The dangers I heard you've faced…be careful..."

Blaze's cheeks slightly heated up in embarrassment, as she recalled how she told her parents how much help he'd been when they first met each other.

"I take help wherever I can get it." Sonic grinned.

"I would not have been able to make it without your help Sonic." she said keeping her eyes away from him. Turning and facing sideways as if she was ready to walk out of the room. She had told her parents the same after she first met Sonic so she knew they remembered.

Blaze's mother silently watched her daughter and had never seen her daughter act this way; she blinked in surprise, and she couldn't believe what she was seeing. She knew her offspring, and she knew her behavior. She knew instantly after her daughter's words and her odd behavior that…this hedgehog…Sonic…was something different to her.

In all the years she had watched her daughter grow one thing that had stayed consistent was her apathy. She never acted this way even when she met her suitors face to face, to be blunt; her daughter was cold as ice. Though her outburst were the same, they had never held the same emotion that she exuded now, which in the past were passive. But this new embarrassment she was suddenly showing…

She wanted to speak up and talk of the favor her daughter obviously had for the hedgehog but she could see she was looking very uncomfortable right now. So Blaze's mother smiled gently and decided to let her deal with it "I remember when you told us that dear but let us not hold you up any longer. Sonic's Emeralds are still out there and Nega is most definitely looking for them."

Blaze nodded gratefully with her stoic face, and the light red tint on her cheeks began fading "Then we will be on our way. I will talk with you later."

She briefly hugged her father and mother once more. Blaze's father gave the Yellow Chaos Emerald back to Marine, and she hugged him and the queen. She spoke with a silly grin as she placed her backpack back on and placed the Emerald in it "Set aside some spare time for me Mr. and Mrs. V."

Sonic shook Blaze's mothers hand and her fathers as her father spoke "If you're ever in the neighborhood Sonic, I've got a list of duchesses…"

Blaze's face briefly filled with irritation again speaking through gritted teeth "Father!"

Her father chuckled "We'll talk about it next time."

Sonic smiled sheepishly as he walked towards the exit "No prob, nice meeting you both."

"Goodbye dear, Marine, drop by anytime Sonic." Blaze's mother sad happily.

Blaze's stoic face remained as she waited until Sonic had walked pass her as if to make sure he was away from her parents, then she turned to walk out the door with Marine right behind her. Before they could open the doors Blaze's mother called out with her face full of worry again "Public opinion is still very low, try and keep the damage to a minimum."

"The politicians are watching." Blaze's father said; his face serious again.

The trio paused, and Sonic and Marine waited for Blaze's response. She thought momentarily before she spoke looking just as seriously back at her parents as they looked at her "…I will do my best."

Sonic and Marine smiled then Blaze quietly turned and opened the doors, and they were gone. The employees that had left the room quickly came rushing back in to resume their work. Blaze's mother and father looked at one another and without saying a word they knew what each other was thinking. Their daughter had finally taken a liking to someone, and though they were sure she was aware of it; she seemed to not acknowledge it. It amazed them how much she had changed and her little statement as she left confirmed what they thought was true; her statements used to be a lot more cynical than that.

As the bustle returned to the room her parents with smiles on their faces returned to their seats, the queen spoke thoughtfully as she typed into her computer "I wouldn't mind any hedgehog grandchildren."

"It'll be a miracle if we get any at all." the king responded with a chuckle.

So the King and Queen returned to their work, and their minds occasionally drifted back to their daughters new found favor. They both wondered if anything could ever come of it even if it was so painfully obvious to see.

Minutes later the trio finally made their way out of the castle and into the blistering heat of the day. They had moved to the lower area of downtown, led by the guiding force of the Yellow Chaos Emerald. Blaze had returned to her reserved self only occasionally teasing Marine and Sonic about being bothered by the heat. They both still were bothered by the high temperatures, but they kept moving to stay cool. Blaze carried Marine on her back while following Sonic in erratic directions through the downtown area. The air for Marine and Sonic felt good as they ran through the city. Sonic grinned holding the Chaos Emerald firmly in his hand as they ran through a busy crowded sidewalk.

"I feel it getting closer!" Sonic called back to Blaze and Marine with excitement in his voice.

"Hopefully it will be an easy catch!" Blaze kept pace with Sonic as she yelled to him, hoping that if it was on this side of town it wouldn't be too hard to retrieve.

Citizens in the streets who saw the Princess and Sonic were in awe and shock as they ran pass them. They knew the princess was special but seeing her use her abilities in person was a rare spectacle. The stares of the bystanders went unnoticed by the trio though as they were moving so fast they couldn't see them. Sonic stopped at a busy street corner and Blaze stopped right next to him as he looked around.

"What ya got?" Marine asked him with a curious look.

Sonic paused as he suddenly looked to a large oval-shaped building across the busy street. The people next to them gave them strange looks, and the single women gave Sonic other looks.

"There!" Sonic pointed to the oval-shaped building which was a peach color.

There were two types of glass doors, regular push and pull, and revolving doors which many people, mainly females, were coming in and out of. Blaze spoke as the traffic light turned red and people began crossing the street.

"It's in the mall." Blaze said curiously raising an eyebrow.

"This should be easy." Sonic said as he took off without warning.

It took Blaze by surprise as she narrowed her eyes looking slightly upset. She and Marine took off after him "Sonic wait!"

Sonic dashed across the street zooming pass shocked bystanders and through the revolving doors. Inside the mall his face was blasted by cool air from the A/C and he didn't pay attention to anyone around him as he felt the pulse of the Yellow Chaos Emerald in his hand. Three attractive looking female cats standing near the doors with shopping bags in their hands were startled by his sudden appearance and began whispering among themselves.

There were two floors, the one he was currently on, and a lower section of the mall with two escalator's leading down the opposites of each other. It was crowded, all the stores were catered to females, and he wondered if someone had picked it up as he ran down an escalator. A female's voice over the intercom droned on about deals happening around the mall with shopping music accompanying it as Sonic ran into the center of the bottom floor of the mall. There were lots of tables and chairs with females eating around him in what he figured was some sort of eating area. Sonic had a big grin on his face, hurriedly looking around as he felt the Emerald getting closer but he caught the sight of a female sitting just a few feet away from him staring.

Suddenly everything slowed down for him when he realized he was standing around nothing but females. His grin wiped off his face and he frowned slightly. He forgot that there were so many females and he was now standing in the middle of a mall full of them. Slowly he looked around and every single female in the mall was looking at him, even up from the second floor they looked down. A black and white colored female cat who was eating her food stopped chewing her food as she looked at him. Sonic gulped hoping to find the sight of a single male anywhere but there were none.

The woman on the intercom abruptly stopped talking too, along with the music, and it became quiet. Silence, and Sonic froze in place panicking. Then a chair scrubbing against the floor cut the silence as a female fixated on him stood from her seat and every female around began a slow advance. The females shot dirty looks at one another as they all began converging towards Sonic.

They didn't get far though as the push door at the entrance was kicked open. Marine ran in first sighing in delight from the A/C. Then Blaze calmly walked through the door. The females nearby stopped in their tracks at the sight of Princess Blaze. Blaze held a stoic face as she looked around for Sonic, her footsteps echoed through the quiet mall. She walked over to the balcony and spotted him below surrounded. Then she walked to the escalator's with Marine smiling brightly right behind her. All the females in the mall stayed silent as Blaze and Marine rode the escalator to the lower floor.

The females moved away from her as she walked towards Sonic, making a path for her as she walked forward. Blaze's hills clicked and clacked across the silent area and the last few females stepped out of Blaze's way as she finally reached Sonic. Blaze and Marine moved and stood next to Sonic and Blaze placed a hand on her hip. With her stoic expression she remained silent as she suddenly whipped her head in the direction of the surrounding females. Not needing to speak her silence made all the women back away, the sharp look in her eyes was enough to say 'back off'.

Marine smiled brightly as the females began to disperse, they did not want to tangle with the Princess and this male who was with her.

"Shoo shoo." Marine gestured with her hands at the disgruntled looking females who returned to what they were doing.

Sonic's tense body relaxed closing his eyes and sighing "Thanks a lot."

Blaze nodded as she watched the females go "You are welcome Sonic."

Then the shopping music came back on and the females on the top level seemed to go back to what they were doing. Sonic then spoke as he reopened his eyes with a grin "The Emerald is close by, lets go check upstairs first."

"Let us." Blaze said as she followed Sonic back up nearby escalators.

"No kidding, let's find this Emerald before Sonic gets accidentally married." Marine giggled.

Sonic looked bashful and Blaze smirked a bit. As they rode the elevator up to the main floor the lady on the intercom started speaking again as the shopping music restarted. Her microphone crackled briefly "…False alarm ladies, next week we'll be having…"

Sonic looked up perplexed, he figured it was just another strange custom here because again Marine and Blaze looked unfazed. So he decided to let it go because he felt uncomfortable by the females giving him the looks on the escalator going down next to them.

When they reached the top they stepped off and Sonic looked straight ahead at a Jewelry vendors stand. Marine spoke disbelievingly as her eyes widened "Naw...it couldn't be."

There was a line at the vendors stand and they couldn't see all the jewelry in the glass case, but as a customer finished her purchase she left the line and the trio got a brief glimpse of the Green Chaos Emerald sitting in the middle of the glass case.

They all looked at one another and smiled, getting this Emerald would be a cakewalk compared to the Leopard Brothers. They quickly took a spot in line and waited for their chance to get the Emerald and get out. People staring at Blaze still caught her attention every now and then but with these last few days spent with Sonic she was starting to care less and less.

The line moved quickly and in less than a minute it was there turn. Sonic bent down to confirm if it was the Green Chaos Emerald behind the glass. And it was no doubt as the Yellow Emerald in his hand began to glow and the Green Emerald did so too behind the glass. Blaze and Marine nodded in agreement as they, nearby people, and even the vendor saw the Emeralds glow brightly.

Sonic stood and handed the Yellow Chaos Emerald to Marine who placed it in her backpack. Blaze stood to his left and Marine stood to her left, and he pointed to the Green Emerald with a curious look "How much is that?"

The lioness looked skeptical, wondering why the Princess was at her stand. She smiled hoping she could skim some cash off the Princess and her guest, knowing the Royal Family was loaded. The vendor smirked "Three thousand Certs."

"What! Your outta your mind!" Marine said looking upset.

Blaze frowned glancing at Marine "It is alright Marine." she looked back at the vendor knowing it was a clear rip-off "Put it on my tab."

But the lioness was making it difficult "I'm only taking cash for that."

Sonic figured it was a lot of money by their reactions, and Blaze was now looking annoyed. Blaze's glare made the vendor look like reconsidering her outrageous demands, because Blaze was ready to use force and just take the Emerald. But before she could do anything a flash of orange rushed towards them and before they could react Sonic was violently pushed. He stumbled backwards away from a shocked Blaze and Marine and slid down the middle of the metallic casing of the escalators back down to the lower floor of the mall and landed on his back. The commotion got the attention of the females in the area again but they stayed still knowing the Princess was present.

"Tiara!" Blaze said with an upset face, and her teeth gritted; Marine took her guard as well.

Tiara grinned and her new sidekick Honey ran up beside her "Hey Princess!"

"Greetings to you as well Princess Blaze! Hello again Marine!" Honey said happily.

"What is the meaning of this!" Blaze said in an upset tone.

Tiara moved her hair out of her eyes keeping her grin; she had shopping bags in one of her hands "I was just minding my business when I heard some commotion a few minutes ago. Seemed like some poor single sap had come to the wrong place, I was going to get a glimpse of the show but I wasn't expecting the hedgehog. I knew you wouldn't be far behind…"

"…" momentarily quiet Blaze was angry that she had pushed Sonic like that "Then your business here is done, leave!"

Tiara caught sight of the vendor and the Chaos Emerald sitting behind the glass. Blaze's eyes widened slightly, and Tiara smiled as they locked eyes. Tiara's eyes also gazed at something else the vendor had. Tiara swiftly moved to the vendor and leaned over, grabbing a hold of the vendor's microphone.

"Hey! What are you doing!" the lioness said fearfully.

But Tiara ignored her and pressed a few buttons on the panel of the microphone. Then the mall music stopped playing temporarily, and Tiara's voice made a quick announcement. Her voice echoed through the entire mall, everyone in the mall including Sonic, Marine, Blaze, and Honey looked up and listened.

"Don't worry ladies, he's single. That is all." Tiara said as she let go of the microphone.

Down on the lower level Sonic was sweating as the females from all angles began converging on him again. But this time they did not hold back as they rushed at him, trying to tackle him and grab a hold of him. It would have been easy for him to escape if there weren't so many females, he didn't want to hurt them trying to get away so he just stayed out of their reach. Moving quickly he hopped over tables and pass pillars but in every direction he went there were more females. They came pouring out of the stores, the bathrooms, and coming down from the main floor. There was nowhere to run!

"Cut it out!" Sonic yelled but they most certainly ignored him.

Then he ran back over to the area with the tables and hopped up onto one. He grabbed a chair and tried to fend off the love crazed females. He held the chair up pushing it at them with a worried expression "Back I say! Back!"

But it was useless as they grabbed his chair away from him and tossed it away. They began grabbing at his ankles, and he jumped to another table, repeating this pattern hoping that Blaze had some sort of plan to get him out of this.

As Tiara turned back around she had a mischievous look on her face, and Blaze looked surprised and shocked with widened eyes. She didn't believe she actually just did that...

"Honey, be a dear and get that Emerald. I'm going to get my husband." Tiara said as she dropped her shopping bags.

Blaze looked seriously at Marine with an upset expression "Get the Chaos Emerald." she said as she turned back to Tiara and stared her down.

"Don't worry Blaze, I came prepared! I brought money too!" Marine said excitedly patting her backpack.

Blaze and Tiara's eyes locked again and at the same time they sprinted off to the lower section of the mall. Blaze was panicked. She had to get to Sonic first because Sonic didn't know that females here, and especially Tiara, didn't use any special tricks to get their men. They just manhandled you.

Honey called out to Tiara as, she, and Blaze had sprinted downstairs "Good-luck Tiara!" Honey said happily then tuned to the vendor "How much is that Green Emerald?"

Marine hurriedly tore her backpack off and pulled out a big wad of cash "Hey wait a minute! I got more than three thousand certs, just take it!" Marine yelled at the vendor.

The lioness smirked deviously again "Well…"

Honey's face then became slightly serious as she pulled out even more money from her shopping bags "This should be enough."

Marine was agape as she pulled out even more money "Five thousand certs!"

Honey frowned as she pulled out more money and spoke calmly to the vendor "Five thousand five hundred certs."

Marine and Honey locked eyes as they began bartering with each other, and the vendor stepped back and let them make their offers with a big smile.

Back down on the lower level Blaze and Tiara were doing their best to capture Sonic and with their speed they easily moved through the sea of women. Yet it still proved to be difficult to get at him as the females tore them away from their grips. Sonic was attempting to get back up the escalator, but as he landed on the middle portion females at the top were waiting and blocked his escape. Before he could start running again a hand grabbed his ankle and pulled him down. Sonic held his panicked expression as he looked back.

"Gotcha hedgehog!" Tiara said with a grin as women around her tried to stop her.

Sonic tried to crawl forward, but she grabbed a hold of his other ankle; Tiara groaned clenching her eyes slightly as she pulled him back "You're...not going…anywhere hedgehog…"

Then suddenly soaring through the air, Blaze landed in front of Sonic on the escalator and grabbed his wrist. Sonic held on tight as she pulled but the females behind Blaze started rushing down to intercept her. Tiara suddenly lost her grip as more females grabbed onto her.

"Let go of me!" Tiara yelled angrily at them, but she was pulled away and females scratched at Sonic's heels.

With Tiaras grip gone Blaze was almost able to help Sonic stand but the females behind her pulled her back, and she lost her grip with Sonic's hands "Unhand me!" Blaze said angrily as she began breaking away from them; the females behind her began rushing down the escalator to Sonic.

With Blaze's grip lost Sonic slid back down into the hands of greedy females "Oh noooooo!" he said as all types of hands grabbed onto him.

Blaze freed herself from the females and slid down the middle of the escalator and got a bit physical as she bumped into a few females knocking them down. She grabbed Sonic's arm and pulled him up but her hand was ripped from him yet again as she tried to run with him. She was yanked away by a few females and she and Sonic saw Tiara approach him, pushing through the crowd not just a few feet away. Sonic broke away from the grips of the females in just enough time as Tiara followed him. And she followed as he sprinted to the opposite side of the area.

Tiara was right on his tail laughing giddily "Get over here hedgehog!"

Blaze was released as the females followed the changing direction, and she sprinted right after Sonic...

At the vendors stand Tiara's new number two Honey was much more formidable than her past sidekicks. Marine was losing her bartering session with her as Honey smiled delightfully at her, continuing to pull more and more money out of her shopping bags. Marine looked worried as she pulled out her last bit of money and placed it atop the stand in a descending tone "Ten thousand Certs..."

The lioness practically had money signs in her eyes "I think we have a winner…unless you have any more to offer…" she looked to Honey.

Her smile never faltered "Well…" she teased as she reached into her bag again, watching Marine's fearful face "I don't know if I have…oh wait a minute…" Honey slammed two thousand more Certs on the vendors stand with a big smile "Twelve thousand Certs!"

"Sold!" the Lioness said as she reached down to grab the Emerald.

Marine's face was full of shock and worry as she quickly spilled her money back into her backpack and quickly pulled her backpack back on. Honey or the vendor didn't notice as she reached into the pouches on her belt buckle or the frown that had formed on her face. Just as the vendor reached to hand the Emerald to Honey, Marine snatched it out of her hand. The vendor was shocked and this finally upset Honey as her brows knotted together in irritation turning towards Marine "Enough fun and games, give me that!"

"Later suckers!" Marine said with a grin a as she raised her hand up in the air and threw down a whole batch of smoke pellets.

The area became engulfed in a thick cloud of smoke that made it hard to see and breathe. Though it did not stop Honey from thrashing around and trying to grab Marine, but she failed as she felt something trip her, and she fell face forward. Then Honey heard the vendor get hit with something, like the sound of something loudly smacking against a surface.

"Ouch!" the vendor exclaimed.

Then she heard Marine as she stood up and moved through the smoke "This isn't worth a thousand Certs lady!"

Honey quickly popped out of the smoke coughing and saw Marine running towards the exit waving her arms wildly in the air; she yelled over the balcony looking down as she ran "I got it Blaze! I got it!"

Honey took a step to run after her, but she had left her money with that greedy vendor. Her eyes widened briefly and the irritation washed away from her face. Honeys shoulders then slumped and her brows knotted in worry "Oh darn…" she said as she turned back around and ran back into the smoke to retrieve her money...

Meanwhile on the lower level Blaze was aware enough to see and hear Marine calling her from the top level. Blaze looked back to the smoke from where she was at, then to her. She had the Green Chaos Emerald! Blaze was shoved by a female and despite her annoyed face she pointed to the exit, and Marine got the message as she nodded and continued running. Blaze refocused and dashed towards the newest direction, Sonic had run back over near the escalators near the entrance. Tiara nearly grabbed Sonic again, and he stumbled over a chair. Three females lunged at him and Sonic got serious, quickly getting up from his spot and jumping into the air. Unfortunately, Tiara was to his left, and she had jumped into the air right after him. Sonic began trying to turn his direction to dodge her, but he was tackled in the air by a faster moving target...Blaze...

"Oof!" he cried out as she firmly gripped him over her shoulder in the air and out of Tiara's grasp.

Tiara looked on in shock as she missed him and Blaze carried Sonic over her shoulder; his face looked confused. Blaze landed on the moving stairs of the escalator and swiftly ran up it just as Marine reached the end, and before Marine could speak a word, Blaze snatched her up and carried her under armed with her other arm out of the revolving doors of the exit.

Tiara was infuriated as she hit the floor, angrily she dashed, weaving quickly through the females and up the escalator. She burst through the exit door and looked to her left and right as females began pouring out after her. Tiara growled as she looked around the outside with no sign of Sonic then she spotted an alleyway. Tiara jogged over to her right to an open alley way to see nothing, just a garbage bin and a wooden fence.

She groaned out loudly stamping a foot into the ground "Ughhhhh!"

Then Honey came running up to her almost out of breath with their shopping bags "Did you get him?"

Tiara's eye twitched, and she spoke through gritted teeth as her head slowly turned towards her, making Honey look apologetic "Tell me some good news…did you get the Emerald?"

"Well…" Honey smiled but she sweated shrugging sheepishly as she backed away from Tiara "…No...you were right…Marine is better than you led on…"

Tiara balled her fists at her side, and she exploded yelling at the top of her lungs "I know you can hear me hedgehog! You couldn't have got that far! You can't escape me! I will chase you down to the ends of Mobious if I have to! If you think your fast then you got another thing coming! I'll keep pace…"

Honey smiled, rubbing the back of her head as Tiara vented, females ran pass them still looking for the elusive male. And just pass the wooden fence in the alley, and around the corner of the back of the mall, Blaze, Marine, and Sonic who were walking stopped in their tracks as Tiara berated Sonic. They were surprised at how clear they could hear her and Sonic had a look of disbelief on his face, and an eyebrow raised in confusion. The trio looked at one another as she went on and Sonic looked to Blaze whispering with a confused expression "Is she talking to me?"

Blaze nodded with a stoic expression "I would believe so."

"I'm surprised." Marine whispered as she looked at Sonic with a curious look.

"By what? What she's saying?" Sonic whispered as he figured that would be obvious.

Blaze answered for Marine "No, not by that, that's normal. She really likes you."

Sonic slapped a hand over his mouth to silence his groan and Marine covered her mouth to suppress her giggle. Sonic picked up Marine and they stealthily made their way away from the mall with the Green Chaos Emerald secured. Although Blaze found Tiara liking Sonic almost akin to her own feelings for him. Because as Tiara freely expressed her feelings, she continued to keep her feelings about Sonic quiet. It was a problem within itself.

Back at the castle, in Blaze's room, Sonic plopped down on a couch in her room as a koala maid served them all drinks. Blaze's window was open and there was a breeze, but it was still hot. The A/C was off right now, and they did not know what times they came on. Marine sat on the edge of Blaze's bed sipping her drink. Blaze placed her drink on her dresser next to the Yellow and Green Chaos Emeralds not thirsty yet. Blaze stood by her door as the maid left, and she closed her door.

Sonic's fur had been ruffled up, and he took a quick swig of his sweet-flavored pink juice before he spoke with closed eyes "Ahhhh..." he expelled relishing his cool drink "Man that was crazy."

"It certainly escalated faster than I expected." Blaze said with her arms crossed and a stoic expression on her face.

Marine drank her entire drink and hopped off of Blaze's bed, but her grumpy expression had returned to her face because of the heat "Get up Sonic." she said pulling him by his hand and leading him over to Blaze's dresser. Sonic sat down in front of her huge mirror with his drink in his hand. Marine spoke in a less enthusiastic manner than her usual self again because of the heat "I'm going to fix you up; you look like a plum mess!"

"Ehhh…" Sonic mumbled with his eyes still closed.

Marine picked up a brush from Blaze's dresser and began combing Sonic's fur back to normal, and Blaze watched silently. Indifferent that Marine was using her personal brushes to comb Sonic, she would have not let anyone use them…but she did this time…

"They got you good too huh?" Marine said looking over the few minor cuts over his arms and legs.

Blaze was now interested as she moved away from her door, and her eyes glazed over him. She slightly raised an eyebrow "Go and get some bandages."

Marine handed her brush to her, and Blaze looked quizzically at her. Marine walked over to her backpack next to Blaze's bed on the floor and she rummaged through it "I got some in my backpack I think…"

Blaze was quiet as she looked back over at Sonic whose eyes were still closed "Oi you know what, I forgot to pack them, I must've left them in my room." Marine said wiping her forehead as she went and opened the door to the room. As soon as she hit the hallway she sounded a bit annoyed calling to a butler "Hey you! Can you get some fans down here pronto!"

Blaze looked at the comb in her hand and looked back at Sonic; his eyes were still closed. She was alone in her room with him again, and she looked at her stoic expression in the mirror as she stood behind him. She felt knots in her stomach, but slowly, she began softly brushing the back of his quills, and then his head, and she spoke as she combed him "Would you like anymore to drink Sonic?"

He paused before he spoke with his eyes closed; a smirk came over his face in the mirror "…I could go for another drink if you don't mind, I'd appreciate it."

Blaze looked at them both in the mirror, and a small smile came across her face as she continued brushing him. She didn't know exactly where it was coming from, she would not deny it was tied to her feelings, but she felt a sense of protection over him similar to her guard over Marine. She never imagined doing what she was currently doing, and it was the most comfortable feeling she had ever felt...

I went overboard again; I don't mean to write over 4000 words. The reason being is because when stuff gets this long I need a second opinion, there's a lot going on in this chapter. Although my main concern is still Blaze's interaction with Sonic and I thought there were some great moments in this chapter. I thought it was pretty good.