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

Nighttime had fallen sometime after the group came back from the outskirts of the city and returned to the Castle to drop off the second robot they found this day. Eggman Nega was fast at work, and they knew they all had to come up with a new course of action right away. The dark clouds that had rolled over the city a few hours earlier had not let them be either. They brought rain though it was not extreme. The rain had died down now, and it was only a drizzle illuminated by the yellow tinted lights on the green colored street lamps that ran across the city's sidewalks in this nighttime.

The streets were getting busy again as it was only a drizzle now, but the group's nerves were frazzled a bit with the discovery of Eggman Nega operating right under their noses. To shake off the tension and relax a bit they all left the Castle and went to a nearby bar, one of the businesses that sat just outside the Castle gates, amoung many other businesses that sat near the Castle. The five of them inhaled the fresh scent of rain in the air as they walked on the soaked ground through and out the courtyard, out the gates, and to their right to the local tavern.

Promptly named: The Tail

The letters of the bar sat just above the entrance dressed in teal neon lights as the group walked into the tavern. As they walked into the tavern, a nervous looking male cat dressed in a long brown trench coat walked hastily out of it followed by a well dressed female. A few eyes fell on them once they were all inside. The usual odd stares came from a few patrons, but the bartender and others were too busy focused on their drinks. All females too, dressed in nice attire but alone in their seats or at their tables more interested in the drink in front of them. There were a few seats empty at the bar so they took five empty seats.

Honey sat next to Marine, who sat next to Blaze, who sat next to Sonic, who sat next to Tiara. Tiara had been on a roll being in such close proximity to Sonic these last few hours. Asking him questions and in general just teasing and flirting with him. On his end Sonic did his best to be courteous, but it only seemed to make her more aggressive. Blaze watched her and stepped in when she needed to every step of the way, though Tiara made sure she had a seat next to Sonic while they were in this tavern. Honey and Marine were exchanging things about their mentors while Blaze did her best to block Sonic from Tiara. The bartender, a yellow black spotted female cat dressed in nice black dress attire approached them.

She cleaned a shot glass with a rag as she raised an eyebrow "…Princess Blaze…how may I serve you tonight?"

This got everyone's attention and Blaze thought for a moment before she responded with a light frown "Three tonic's with piqmei."

"Oh I can't wait, their so yummy!" Marine said grinning.

The bartender then looked at Tiara "What would you like Mrs. Boobowski?"

"I'll have a cherry coke." Tiara said immediately turning her attention back to Sonic.

Sonic looked sheepish while Tiara sized him up and Blaze frowned as she sat next to him. The bartender looked down to Honey "And you miss?"

"I'll have some water." Honey smiled.

The bartender nodded and went to prepare their drinks while Marine looked curious "You sure you don't want to treat yourself?"

Honey shook her head giggling "I'm gonna keep my figure."

Marine and Honey then went into another conversation while Sonic felt like he was trapped between a rock in a hard place. Blaze spoke with a certain sternness in her voice as she watched Tiara "I thought Sonic might want to try the tonic while we had the time, The Tail has made it a delicacy around Arch City and other neighboring cities. The drinks are non-alcoholic of course."

Tiara smirked, and Sonic's whole body was tense. He spoke timidly looking to Blaze "You don't drink do you Blaze?"

"No, during holidays if I'm in the city I might have a glass of red wine, but its alcoholic contents are very little. I do not drink otherwise." Blaze said crossing her legs.

"How about you Tiara?" Sonic turned to his other side to look at her.

"No, I drank one glass of beer a long time ago but I haven't drank any alcohol since." Tiara grinned at him.

Sonic nodded and she seemed to soak in any attention he gave her, donning a silly grin on her face and when Sonic glanced over at Blaze she gave him a wise look. She didn't look to happy as she narrowed her eyes. Sonic sighed closing his eyes, he couldn't win today.

"I'm guessing you don't drink do you Sonic?" Tiara said with a big grin resting her elbow on the counter in front of them.

Sonic rubbed the back of his head chuckling "I'm clean."

Blaze made sure Tiara could see her frown as they waited for their drinks. It wasn't long either before the bartender returned and handed Tiara her Cherry Coke and Honey her water. The drinks Blaze had ordered were prepared right in front of them. First, the bartender filled the three glasses with seltzer water then reached under the counter in front of them and grabbed three red ridged but round looking berries. Then she punched a hole in them with their straws and dropped them into their glasses. The juice from the berry began to turn the seltzer from clear to red as its juices flowed out. Then the bartender turned around and opened a refrigerated cabinet and scooped out of a round container, three scoops of vanilla ice cream and plopped them into their drinks. The ice cream floated on top, and their drinks had turned completely red and the bartender stuck three different colored straws in their drinks.

"Put it on my tab." Blaze said as the bartender put her things away.

After she handed them their drink's Marine pulled off her backpack and placed it on the back of her chair, handing a wad of certs to the bartender grinning "Here's a little something for your trouble."

The bartender didn't look as judging anymore; she smirked at them all counting her money "Generous tonight are we? Don't hesitate if you want anything else."

The bartender walked pass Marine and Honey who were talking up a storm, pass Blaze who stirred her drink looking over at Tiara and Sonic with a frown. All the while Sonic looked curiously at his foreign drink and Tiara sipped on her drink looking at Sonic as the bartender walked pass them all.

Sonic picked up his drink and brought it closer to his face, staring curiously at the red fruit at the bottom of his cup "What kind of fruit is that?"

Blaze removed her straw from her mouth to speak with a stoic expression "It is a piqmei, a berry with a sweet but sour taste. Its juice is what makes the drink what it is."

Sonic was about to place his mouth on his straw when Blaze interrupted him before sipping on her drink again "I would suggest you stir first."

Sonic nodded and stirred his drink a bit while Tiara removed her straw from her lips; half of her drink was finished and Tiara spoke with a somber face "So Princess, what exactly is going on?"

Blaze had only finished a small portion of her drink, and Sonic wasn't sure but as he glanced at Blaze, she looked hesitant. Though Blaze spoke with her brows knotted in a serious expression and closed eyes "We are collecting Sonic's Emerald's, you know he's not from here."

Tiara grinned resting her head on her hand "I didn't know the latter."

"I know…" Blaze said frowning again.

Sonic finally sipped on his drink, and he quickly removed his straw from his mouth "Wow this is tasty!" Blaze gave him a brief smile while he started sucking his drink down as he listened to Tiara go back and forth with her.

"Sonic's and our worlds are merging because the Emeralds are pulling towards one another. The power of our Emeralds together could destroy both of our worlds. Sonic and his Emeralds must return home to stabilize this. He and his Emeralds do not belong here." Blaze said sipping on her drink again.

Tiara thought for a moment "Okay, I've seen some of that crazy stuff with the Sol Emeralds so I believe you. But why did the Emeralds drag him here if they don't belong here? Nega must be nearby, right?"

Tiara briefly sipped her drink while Blaze spoke with a serious look "I have no doubt, as for the Emeralds. They are what they are. It is their natural state to do what they do. We can only follow the flow..."

"Well wait, that means theirs more robots running around the city looking for the Emeralds as we speak." Honey said turning down to Blaze's general direction looking slightly worried.

"Unfortunately..." Blaze said in a muffled tone as she sipped on her drink; her drink was almost finished.

Tiara looked serious for a moment "If this is anything like last time Nega is getting ready to attack the city."

Blaze finished her drink and placed it on the counter frowning "Since he has not done so already he may be trying to collect as many Emeralds as he can before he does."

"We got four….we have to find the rest…tomorrow..." Marine said as she slurped loudly on her drink.

"You might be right Blaze; Eggman would have attacked already. It looks like Nega likes to plan more." Sonic spoke briefly as he began sipping on his drink again which was half done now.

"What are we going to do?" Honey said in a disappointed voice and a frown on her face.

"Its simple mate…" Marine slurped loudly on her drink, and everyone looked down to her with an annoyed face but Marine didn't seem to notice. She smacked her lips with a pleased face "Boy this is tasty…" Marine gave them her attention again finally looking away from her drink "We can smoke him out! We'll get the rest of the Emeralds tomorrow, and Nega is sure to come out of hiding for whatever he's planning." Marine said taking her straw out of her drink and just guzzling the rest.

Honey smiled again as she watched Marine's horrible table manners. Blaze nodded with a frown as she watched Tiara scoot her chair close to Sonic "That is an excellent idea Marine, when he sees we've collected them I do not think he will wait anymore."

But Tiara did look a bit upset. She questioned Sonic removing her arm from the counter and sitting straight up "So…you can't stay here?"

Sonic had just finished his drink and placed it on the counter; he shook his head with a weak smile "This is the first time I've seen Blaze in years. I gotta get home."

"Will you tell us when you leave?" Honey asked Sonic with a big smile.

"Sure, I'll let you know." Sonic said smiling back.

Tiara looked a bit confused as she finished her drink and spoke, this time though she looked directly at Blaze with an upset face. She blinked her eyes as a sudden realization had finally hit her. Blaze noticed and she showed an equally upset face, and Sonic who sat in the middle of this tension wanted to get up and run.

"Wait a second…why didn't you say anything?" Tiara asked Blaze with a serious face as her brows knotted together.

Though Blaze had told her in the past about Sonic, Tiara just realized that she had never once mentioned that he was someone like them. Even after she found out about him on her own, her awareness on the subject had just clicked in her mind when Sonic said he had to return to his home. Hearing it from him really dashed her hopes. Though she was upset about him leaving, she was also upset about Blaze's deceitfulness.

"About what…" Blaze said with a bit of hesitance still looking her in the eyes.

Tiara stood from her seat looking more upset, getting attention from people in the tavern as she asked her again "What do you mean what? Why didn't you tell me about him!"

Sonic, Marine, and Honey were speechless as Blaze calmly stood from her seat with a frown "We have bigger problems Tiara, if you want to help us feel free to do so. We have to find the rest of the Emeralds tomorrow."

Tiara pointed accusingly at her "You're not going to wiggle out of this one princess. Tell me something."

Blaze kept her cool though she held a frown "I do not have time for this." she looked behind herself "Sonic, Marine, we are leaving." she said in a stern tone and looked back to Tiara.

Sonic and Marine got up from their seats quietly following Blaze's order; now didn't seem to be a time to disagree with her; her tone sounded final. They quietly did so, and Marine grabbed her backpack and whispered to Honey "I'll talk to you later…"

Honey nodded with a worried face and waved at Sonic and Marine as they scurried out of the tavern. Tiara had balled her fist at this point and the bartender who saw the commotion was too afraid to interfere with the Guardian of the Sol Emeralds and Tiara. The patrons of the bar looked at them waiting for something to happen but Blaze spoke once more "We are retiring, goodnight Tiara."

Blaze briefly stared her down for a few moments with narrowed eyes before she turned on her hills and walked out of the tavern. Leaving Tiara standing in her spot as the patrons turned away and the bartender looked relieved. Honey then got up from her seat and Tiara's look of anger faded as her fist un-balled.

"We should go home too…" Honey said but really came out more as a suggestion.

Tiara's eyes were closed, and she turned to the bar away from Honey. Honey inched out still with a look of worry on her face "Boss…"

Tiara opened her eyes with a frown and looked to the bartender who was looking nervous again "Give me a shot…"

"Boss!" Honey said with fear slapping her hands over her mouth.

But Tiara ignored her as the bartender quickly prepared her drink. She felt a part of her life just came crashing down on her again...

Blaze had a frown on her face as she stepped out of the tavern, and Sonic and Marine had looks of confusion on their faces as she approached them. She stopped right in front of them and Sonic scratched his head asking the obvious question "What was that about?"

Marine's eyes were wide "What was that noise she was talking about Blaze?"

Blaze took in a deep breath with her brows wrinkled in frustration, and she huffed as she began walking pass the two "Nothing terribly important…just some history…."

Sonic and Marine followed, and both could see Blaze was visibly upset. She held a deep frown, and they knew she was not telling them something that was going on between her and Tiara. They stepped through a puddle as the guards opened the Castle gates for them again, and they walked back into the courtyard.

Everyone was quiet and even Marine's exuberance was silenced as this was the first time she had seen something like this from Blaze. A secret…

And Marine knew everything about her seeing as she lived with her. Sonic on the other hand, knew this might not be the time to engage Blaze. Just in his short time back he could see her temper was still present, and anytime she was upset was probably not a good idea to bother her. But he could see the turmoil written all over her face as they walked back towards the Castle. In the night's darkness her face, barely illuminated by the light poles on the Castle grounds showed trouble. Sonic questioned her with a frown "Are you ok Blaze?"

Blaze's face was stoic when she glanced at him, but she felt comfort from his words of concern inside. She spoke in a normal tone but still sounded a bit frustrated "Our time at the Tail has raised tensions…I believe a little time to unwind is all that's needed..." she said looking ahead again.

Sonic simply nodded as they were already at the Castle's doors, the guards began opening them for the Princess and her guests. Blaze remained quiet; she just wanted to get inside and conceal her conversation with Tiara before anything else got out. But unfortunately that wasn't happening as the trio heard some yelling going on behind them. They all turned to see what was going on.

At first, they could only hear it as they looked towards the Castle gates "We should just go home…you don't have to do this…." a sympathetic voice said as they could all make out to be Honey.

Blaze's brows furrowed instantly, and a deep frown formed on her face as she waited for Tiara to come into sight followed by a worried Honey trying to slow her. Tiara had a frown on her face as she spotted Blaze through the gates "Open up." she spoke to the guards.

"Don't do this Boss! Whatever's going on can be solved another way!" Honey said in an upset tone with a frown on her face. She grabbed a hold of one of Tiara's hands but Tiara ignored her while she tried to pull her away. She only stared straight ahead at Blaze as the gates opened.

Marine and Sonic looked at one another wondering how to engage the situation while Blaze looked down the courtyard. The rain was starting to come back to top it all off; another drizzle started to come down and sprinkle the already wet ground again.

Once the gates were fully open Tiara walked through softly shrugging Honey off as she continued to try and deter her. As Tiara walked down the yellow brick ground of the courtyard, Blaze glanced behind herself at the two with a frown upon her face. She threw her hand down in a sweeping gesture "I will handle this."

Marine nodded with a determined face, and Sonic kept his frown "Alright Blaze..."

She looked at them both briefly for a moment longer giving them both a look of assurance as she turned away from them, and walked back down the courtyard away from the Castle doors to confront Tiara.

By this point, Honey saw that she wasn't stopping Tiara, and she stood in place near the Castle gates as they closed behind her with a face full of distress as Tiara advanced. She held her hands close to her mouth hoping things would not progress into violence.

They both stopped just a few feet away from each other and looked each other in the eyes with frowns on their faces; the little droplets of rain were starting to become bigger. Tiara moved her hair out of her eyes and pointed accusingly at Blaze once again "Not tonight Princess, I'm not leaving until you tell me why you didn't tell me about Sonic!"

Tiara lowered her hand and Blaze paused before she spoke, but if she wasn't mistaken Tiara looked a little tipsy. Blaze spoke with irritation "Tell you what? I've told you about Sonic, what else do you want to know?"

This made Tiara's frown deepen and she sighed "Look...don't play stupid with me Blaze…."

Blaze looked surprised as her eyes widened slightly, and Tiara kept her serious look. They both felt the recoil from her harsh tone and language but even more so Blaze was surprised that she called her by her name. It was obvious Tiara was frustrated that Blaze was denying the obvious questions between them.

The rain became heavier and Tiara looked angry now, Blaze kept her upset face while Tiara spoke in a bitter tone as rain droplets ran down their faces. Tiara spoke calmly "Have you marked him?"

On queue a bolt of lightning flashed through the sky, and shortly after the boom of thunder, along with a brief look of surprise on Blaze's face "…." Blaze was quiet, and she bared her sharp gritted teeth with a growl on her face.

"Answer me!" Tiara raised her voice, but Blaze remained silent at a loss for words and Tiara spoke again "Is that why you hid his abilities?" Tiara said in another accusing tone taking a step forward. Tiara forcefully questioned her still looking angry "Why did you hide his abilities?"

Blaze's eyes were still slightly wide as she was speechless at the moment. She darted her eyes away from Tiara for a moment trying to think before looking back at her continuing to growl, but Blaze remained quiet almost knowing Tiara's next words.

Tiara shook her head in disgust "Why did you hide that he was like us…"

Her hair now down, drenched by the rain, Blaze could not say it wasn't important because it was a very important detail that Sonic was like them. Blaze knew she, and Tiara were the only ones with abilities in her world obviously. So her neglecting to mention Sonic was like them was an obvious lie. Blaze frowned at Tiara, but she couldn't open her mouth.

Tiara balled her fist and her teeth gritted as she shouted at Blaze "All that time you hid it…" Tiara said with a growl "Just admit it! You marked him!"

Blaze continued to growl, and she hesitated placing a foot back. This was way too close to home for her comfort…Tiara was partially right….

She had marked him…

For years she had told Tiara only half about Sonic when she spoke of him. She didn't tell Tiara about his abilities or that he was a male like them. On occasion, they did converse and whenever the subject of romance came up they both had nothing to share, because they both had never been involved. Only that if it were to happen only a male on their level could stand by them. It usually developed into a conversation about an ideal male to which Blaze was less invested in because she was not looking, and Tiara more so describing to her what her husband would be like.

Someone who was like them, though they were just fantasies at the time and something they figured would never come to fruition. Tiara was upset about Sonic because she had lied about a male who was like them. Something so rare in their world…something so rare to both of them…especially since Sonic was a male…

She had hid details about Sonic for a long time, and in a way she was keeping him away from her and all other females. Like if Sonic was hers…

She knew this could happen when she brought him here for the first time. After all the times she had discussed Sonic with her she knew Tiara was building something in her head but Blaze never thought she would need to bring Sonic here.

Blaze and Tiara began to circle each other, and Blaze's mind raced thinking of how to get out of this situation. She had marked him after their second meeting, when he came to her world in their adventure collecting the Jeweled Scepter and thwarting both Eggmans plots. She had been steadily changing after returning from his world, but she grew to appreciate him more in their second meeting. She used to be so distant from everyone and just looking back after interacting with Sonic she saw how much she had grown as an individual in the span of a few years. It changed her perspective to see people like her in his world. Trying to do everything on her own, she'd learn to rely on others after meeting him. Part of the reason why she marked him was because he was like them. Her marking was not like most standard ones; she obviously had not chased Sonic and married him. She had marked him...but in a different way…

And though it was not necessarily romantic…

She wanted to keep him to herself; he was her only other true friend other than Marine. She didn't want to share him. She liked that she could confide in him, though she really didn't in the past, just having a true friend like him was enough for her in the past. In this third encounter with him all the above was true except her own feelings had changed in ways she didn't fully understand. She liked the respite of her loneliness when he was around, that's what she liked the most and the reason she had marked him last time around. She wanted that to herself…

And with this issue finally coming at her and facing her, for the first time she admitted to herself...

She did feel strongly for him…

"Sonic cannot stay, he must go home." Blaze said in a serious tone.

"I'll duel you for him, no contest?" Tiara questioned her still looking upset.

Blaze was starting to show frustration on her face again; Tiara didn't fully understand. Sonic not going home also interfered with her duties as the Guardian of the Sol Emeralds. He had to go. Plus she just challenged her to a no-contest duel, a duel in which if she lost she would be honor bound to give something up, in this case Sonic. Though Blaze did not go by an honor code which she was sure Tiara knew. Blaze raised her voice "Absolutely not, you do not understand how high the stakes are!"

Tiara huffed and stopped circling, placing a foot firmly into the ground and taking a fighting stance "Then how bout I just take him from you."

Blaze stopped walking and her lips stayed curled down into a frown as she raised her arms into a fighting stance. She couldn't let that happen, and she would not let it happen to Sonic "I can't let you do that."

"Then I'll do like you…use force!" Tiara said as she charged at Blaze.

Sonic, Marine, and Honey looked on in distress as Blaze and Tiara went at it. The guards were shocked as well getting a front row seat to the spectacle, as they knew them, they were the two most powerful people around, and they were fighting. Tiara's years of fighting expertise and her speed were equally matched by Blaze's equal amount of experience as the Guardian of the Sol Emeralds. Tiara's punches were dodged by Blaze, who countered by deflecting her fist in another direction with her hands. She did not want to use her fire on Tiara; she didn't want it to get any more violent than it already was. Tiara growled as she suddenly latched onto one of Blaze's arms, holding her in a firm grip.

Blaze was quick to try and break away, but Tiara spun her and tossed her through the air and onto the ground. Blaze slid across the wet ground landing near a finely trimmed bush as Tiara dashed towards her. Marine looked hesitant to move, but she stayed in place, and Sonic noticed Marine's subtle gesture as he was just as cautious as her.

Blaze looked up from the ground with an angry face as Tiara ran at her with her fist raised. Blaze quickly raised both of her hands and produced a large flash of fire that made Tiara recoil long enough for Blaze to rise to her feet again. It was only enough to stop Tiara for a few seconds as Blaze jumped out of the way of a kick. Blaze landed back in the center of the yellow bricked ground as Tiara punched at her again.

Tiara punched a few more times at Blaze, and she successfully dodged, equally throwing back her own punches. Blaze landed two jabs on Tiaras side, but Tiara tried to grapple her this time. She used her speed and grabbed a hold of Blaze's wrists. Her grip was strong and Blaze could not move again but immediately after doing so Blaze momentarily set fire to her hands.

Tiara instinctively released her feeling the burn of her flames and before she could react, Blaze shoved her. Tiara fell face first to the ground after tripping from Blaze's shove. Tiara tried to push herself up but was pushed back down by Blaze's foot on her back. Blaze's hill was pressed firmly so she could not get up and Tiara spoke angrily "Let me up, so I can fight you!"

"Enough!" Blaze raised her voice yet again with an angered expression; her flames still burned in her hands "What do you hope to accomplish from this? I know you're more level headed than this."

Tiara was quiet this time looking back at the ground as she continued to try and get up "Whatever you think is going on between Sonic and me is a vague notion." Blaze paused as Tiara seemed to be thinking, even though it was a generality that was true. Blaze continued saying the last part with an air of sadness "Sonic is my friend, and I will miss him…but he will be departing soon…"

At this, Tiara glanced back at Blaze and looked back at the ground and closed her eyes. Tiara quit struggling and lowered herself to the ground. After a few moments, Blaze removed her foot from her back and the flames in her hands dissipated. There was a minute of tension as Marine, Sonic, and Honey watched from both sides. The rain continued to pour down, and Blaze and Tiara remained still where they were. Blaze looked down at Tiara on the ground half expecting her to spring back up like her usual sneaky self. But instead Tiara slowly removed herself from the ground with a deep frown as she fully stood. She wiped some of the water off her face and stared Blaze in the eyes.

Blaze did the same and Tiara looked down speaking in a downtrodden tone "…Is there anything for us…." .

Blaze knew she referred to love, but that was not a subject she was well versed in, and it was also a question which had no straight-up answer. Blaze glanced back at Sonic and Marine "There is no definite answer to that question. I have no specific plans on the matter still. We are alone; I am alone. So make use of your friends."

Tiara's frown lessened with her words "You and sonic…" she paused and Blaze's pulse quickened as she looked back at her "You're friends…." Blaze's heart beat fast fearing certain words "You claiming a friend…" Tiara shook her head with a grin forming on her face, and Blaze looked on with a stoical expression, though her brows wrinkled together in slight nervousness as Tiara finished "You're not the same person that you are today…"

Blaze wiped her already down and wet hair back. Her face still stoic, she responded with slight hesitance somewhat relived that her marking Sonic was still fully concealed "…It's not what it used to be..."

"Still though…Sonic is a male…" Tiara said looking suspicious "You changed a lot with him around..."

Blaze contested her claim though smirking a bit "You'd be correct."

Tiara then smiled though she still looked disappointed that Sonic was leaving, and it crushed any chance she had at love. That and she felt Blaze was still withholding information. She sort of felt she was holding her back from getting Sonic for her own reasons. She didn't fully believe Blaze and still think she marked him, but if she knew the Princess when she was serious about something she meant it. Now that the battlefield looked calm Honey ran over to them with wide eyes and questioned them both "What's going on? Is it over?"

Blaze watched as Tiara gave Honey a sympathetic look and gently patted her head "Its good…"

Blaze crossed her arms as her usual stoical expression returned "Have you eaten Tiara?"

Tiara and Honey looked at Blaze, and Tiara responded "I'll stay here tonight."

Honey's look of worry turned into excitement "We get to stay in the Castle for the night?"

"Let us eat; we will be very busy tomorrow." Blaze said as she turned around to walk back to the Castle.

"This is delightful!" Honey said with a big smile as they followed.

"You might be spending many days at the Castle in your line of work." Blaze said aloud.

Honey looked to Tiara, and she shrugged nodding her head "No biggy."

"But this is the Royal Castle, it is a great honor Princess." Honey stated matter of fact.

Blaze assured Honey about how much more time she would be spending at the Castle, much more than she knew and sometimes required by her job. When they reached the Castle doors Sonic and Marine looked curious and relieved. Sonic grinned giving Blaze a silent nod and Blaze smirked at his gesture.

Marine ran up to Blaze as she stepped out of the rain grabbing a hold of Blaze's arms and inspecting them "Are you ok Blaze? Did ya bruise anything?"

Blaze smiled a bit "We are fine Marine."

"Good then!" Marine said with a big smile running into the Castle "Let's go get some butlers to serve us stuff!"

Sonic chuckled and Blaze shook her head; she looked to Tiara and Honey "Do not mind her, she will overstep her authority occasionally."

"I would have a hard time controlling myself to if…" Tiara was cut short as they all walked pass the Castle doors. They all were stared at by many koala maids and butlers standing on the sides of the doors, and they all looked surprised when they walked through. The group began to wonder if they had been watching the fight, and they could tell they did by the look of embarrassment on their faces. So one maid quickly made her way over to the Princess and bowed.

"…I…hpmh..." she cleared her throat, and the maid shot a glare at the rest of the maids and butlers "I see you have brought guest tonight Princess Blaze. How may we serve you?"

They all ran from their hiding space by the doors and gathered around them. Blaze smirked "That is a nice cover." and the maids and butlers looked worried, but Blaze sighed as she started walking down the hall "But I am tired today. We will require a small meal."

Sonic, Marine, Tiara, and Honey followed and the maids and butlers followed after them. Sonic was quick to compliment Blaze on the way she fought, and she stayed stoic but accepted all his praise none the less. Honey and Marine were already back to talking but Tiara seemed to hold back a little, not by much, but she let Sonic and Blaze talk. Although Blaze wasn't sure if she was observing them which she probably was. Even so, as they headed to the dining hall, Blaze was glad she was successful at hiding that she had marked Sonic. Everyone was oblivious; Sonic was oblivious to it as well it seemed…

Her feelings for him were safely hidden for now, but she could see after her spat with Tiara that she had changed in ways she could not hide. The way Tiara saw through her, that with Sonic with her, she was different. She was and there was no denying it now. Her mark on Sonic meant many different things in her life. Her life was not what it was before, and Blaze couldn't believe that after all the things that had happened in her life that she wasn't ashamed to be the person who she was today.

The next morning at the Royal Castle was a bit hectic to say the least. The group had awoken to white and grey cloudy skies and it had cooled down significantly. Tiara was back to her old self pretty quick and needless to say Blaze had to keep an eye on her again. Although it seemed Tiara did not overstep her bounds with him this time around; most likely due to her knowing he was leaving. Right now they were in the upper wings of the Castle; The Labs. Where the greatest scientific minds worked for the Government and the Royal Family. Designing and inventing new technology, also having to combat Dr. Eggman Nega with their intellect.

The head scientist was Tiara's father in fact; Gazebo Boobowski. He was a heavy set man with orange fur just like his daughter; he was also bald and had a large brown but graying beard. In this particular lab in the Castle her father and many other scientists, all cats, and still mostly female, wore white lab coats and yellow gloves. Most scientists were busy doing something, but Tiara was overly eager to introduce Sonic to her father. It went over better than when Sonic was introduced to Blaze's parents, and Tiara joked about an exaggerated friendship she had with Sonic and was happy when her father mentioned marriage.

Tiara did pull back again to tell her father the truth about exactly what was going on with Sonic and Eggman Nega being back. After their introduction with Blaze's watchful eyes over it, and Marine's constant snickering, the whole group saw that the scientists were busy working away at the robot bodies they had brought in. They were laid out on operating tables, and the scientists were carefully inspecting them and taking them apart as to get a clue to Nega's whereabouts. They were in a hurry so there was a small area in the lab that was prepared with a few comfy chairs and a small wooden table, and they were served a small breakfast.

A television was also placed for them at the will of the Government's investigation unit. They always collaborated with Blaze anytime the Sol Emerald's were lost to help her get them back, and get her leads, and they had one this morning. So all but Tiara sat in the circle around the television watching the news the investigation unit found that might be of interest to the Princess.

Tiara was just behind them conversing with her father while they ate fruit and delectable breads. Marine spoke with a smile and with food in her mouth to Sonic "I've worked…on Nega's robots in the past…well the wreckage anyway…"

Blaze sat with her legs crossed, but she looked slightly annoyed sipping on a cup, on a saucer with a red liquid in it "Chew your food Marine."

"Sorry." Marine said with a big grin, Honey giggled next to her as she continued "Yeah, I can dismantle a lot of his junk and even reverse it for my own use. I need to work on my computer skills though…"

Sonic bit into a purple looking fruit looking curious "What about other stuff?"

Marine gave him a smug look "I can fix anything mechanical mate."

Sonic held his hands up in defense chuckling "Excuse me."

"That's right mister." Marine said pointing at him.

Honey was enjoying the banter between Sonic and Marine, but something on the TV caught her eyes as she nibbled on her bread. She curiously questioned aloud "What's going on today?"

Blaze shifted her attention away from Sonic and focused on the television. There were helicopters, and lots of banter going on, on this news station the Investigation Unit had suggested for her. The camera on the TV currently showed a stadium dome and lots of security around it and people entering it. There were two separate entrances, one for citizens and one for the select few.

Blaze lowered her saucer and cup to her lap "There is a summit happening today. Many leaders from other cities and nations are visiting for a meeting. It is not such a serious meeting as it is open to the public; my parents left for it early this morning." Blaze said as she sipped on her drink again.

Not long after Blaze's statement the camera on the TV switched to a news woman getting everyone's attention. The news woman was a gray female cat, and she wore a brown blouse and brown shirt. She stood just outside the stadium with people flowing in and out of it behind her "The Guardian of the Sol Emeralds, Princess Blaze is back in town, and it seems she has a strange looking guest with her. She has been seen around town these last few days along with her guest and it is leaving many to wonder why the Princess is back. We will be taking a poll on how much property damage may be caused in her stay, more on this at eleven."

Tiara walked back over and took her empty seat next to Honey and Marine, and picked up her food and began eating. She was ready to speak and see if they had found anything out when the news camera switched to another female reporter who looked a bit cautious as a lumbering figure stood next to her. A female cat who looked taller than an average female had teal colored fur. She was buff, and she wore tight blue jeans, a black leather pouch around her waist, and a black sleeveless shirt with a smug grin on her face. Blaze and Tiara were quickly more interested.

The news reporter, a spotted black and white female cat looked nervous as she straightened up for the camera "Cathy, we're here on the scene of Cohosh Stadium were a political summit is being held today with leaders from around Mobius. We are here with an individual who claims she has shocking info that will change the perception of Arch City and maybe even Mobius."

The news reporter then held her mic up for the buff female, and the camera panned up to her face. The female grabbed a hold of the mic and the reporters hand as she pulled the mic up to her mouth. She had a mischievous look on her face as she looked into the camera. She briefly paused grinning even more "The Princess and Tiara aren't the only ones …"

Blaze, Sonic, Marine, Tiara and Honey's eyes were all focused at the TV screen as they anticipated what would come out of the woman's mouth next. Blaze and Tiara in particular were more interested than the others. Blaze sipped on her drink as her eyes narrowed, and Tiara the same chewing on her food as they watched. Back on the TV screen the buff woman spoke in a smug tone "…I do too…"

The news reporter looked shocked and so did the group. Sonic coughed a bit on his food and Marine and Honey looked bewildered. Blaze quickly donned a frown as she lowered her cup and saucer away from her mouth, and Tiara held a similar upset expression. She stopped chewing on her food and Blaze and she looked at one another knowing exactly what each other were thinking. What that female had just claimed was impossible, they were the only two recorded gifted individuals in recent recorded history.

Other than Sonic it was common knowledge about the gifted individuals, as Blaze had even explained to Sonic about the history of it and why people treated her the way they did. Other than Tiara and herself there had been no other identified gifted individuals of this time period. And for this female to claim what she had on television was a bold claim. On the TV screen the female released the mic and reporter, and the reporter held her mic up again "Are you saying you are gifted as well miss?"

"That's right! They are not the only ones, I have abilities too!" the woman said with a big grin.

"But there are only two; do you know what you are saying?" said the reporter.

"I know the history. Everyone does, and I know exactly what I'm saying. I'm defying history and everything that comes with it. And I'm saying they're not the only two." the buff woman said.

"Do you have any proof to back up your claim?" the reporter said speaking into the mic.

The buff woman smirked as right behind them a group of police were rushing at her. The buff woman then dashed at a somewhat fast speed and plowed through all the police, the camera caught all of it and Blaze and Tiara squinted their eyes watching the woman's movement feeling something was off. She was a little fast. Then the buff woman ran back over to the camera and next to the horrified reporter.

"Ugly girl isn't she?" Tiara said with a frown.

"That is mean." Honey chuckled but still semi-serious.

"She's kind of fast..." Sonic said as he rubbed his chin.

"Strong too." Marine said looking impressed.

Back on the TV screen the reporter spoke one last time in a nervous tone "You claim you are the third but you would have to verify this with our record keepers. What are your plans now?"

The buff woman smirked again "I don't need to verify." she paused making the reporter look even more nervous. The buff woman smiled nefariously "I can do what I want. But what I'm going to do is go into that summit and demand from the King and Queen that I am put into the records as the third….because I can…"

The news reporter was speechless as the buff woman continued "I'm gonna cause a ruckus today and after that I'm taking over." she reached into the pouch around her waist and pulled out the Purple Chaos Emerald. She held it up for the camera laughing for everyone to see, and the group got serious as they watched the TV screen "I jacked this Sol Emerald off of Star's syndicate single handedly!"

"Oi! She's got an Emerald!" Marine said as she jumped up from her seat and pointed at the TV screen.

"They are…I guess were a bigger runner here…and she took that from them by herself?" Tiara said in a serious tone.

"Star and her group have been big in Arch city in recent years…if she really did that she attacked one of the biggest crime groups in Arch City." Honey said surprised.

Blaze remained quiet as the newscast continued "If this isn't proof enough then just think of what I'm going to do to this city." she cackled as she stuck her fingers to her lips and whistled.

She ran off camera, and a large group of her lackeys came running after her, finally scaring the news reporter away and knocking the camera to the ground as the feed went dead. The TV switched to a technical difficulties placeholder, and Blaze placed her drink on the small table in front of them.

"She's lying." Blaze stated simply with irritation on her face.

Sonic looked to Tiara curiously "Aren't you two the only ones who can do stuff?"

Tiara frowned and nodded "It has always been just me and Blaze." she stood from her seat and punched a fist into her hand "We grew up like this, and we have personal experience from it. Trust us, they've looked for others like us, and they haven't found any in a while…she is an impostor..."

"She is an outsider." Blaze stood as well with a stoic expression on her face "She has the next Chaos Emerald as well; maybe retribution will follow her defeat for her actions."

Sonic was quicker than them all though as he got up from his seat and dashed near the exit with a grin "Let's go. We can't keep the lady waiting."

Blaze smirked at his enthusiasm for action "After you Sonic." she said following after him along with Tiara and Honey on his trail.

Marine halted Blaze though taking off her back pack and it made a large thud as it hit the floor "Wait up Blaze, I'm gonna stick around. These mugs might need my help."

Tiara's father had walked back over seeing they were leaving and heard Marine's friendly insult. He spoke in a jovial tone "Off again I see, you kids take care out there. And what's this I hear about someone needing help. If I do say so myself no one in this laboratory needs help with anything."

Marine gave him a wise look and pointed at the two still assembled bots on the operating tables "Then what do you call that?"

Mr. Boobowski then rubbed the back of his head "…Well you see...there were some complications and…"

Marine smiled with a smug face as she looked back over to the guys "I'll have the bots broken apart by the time you guys are back, once we get its black box we can find out were Nega is." Marine said picking up her back pack and turning it upside down. She then unzipped it and many tools fell from it.

It made quite a racket, and Sonic and Blaze looked at one another annoyed by Marine's antics. Tiara rubbed her ear, and Honey giggled when the last wrench hit the floor. Sonic opened his mouth to speak but Blaze softly pushed him out the laboratory's exit, glancing back at Marine as she herded Sonic out the door "We will return shortly Marine."

"Don't you blokes worry. I'll have found Nega before you can blink." Marine scooped up a handful of tools and spoke aloud so the whole lab could hear her "Somebody help me with my tools!" she said and the scientists other than Tiara's father obeyed knowing what relationship Marine had with the Princess.

Tiara's father chuckled and waved to them good-bye as Sonic whispered to Blaze as they headed out the doors. His tone also held confusion "How does she keep all that stuff in that bag?"

Blaze shook her head with a stoic face "Don't ask."

Tiara and Honey chuckled right behind them as they headed out the labs and to the center area of downtown to track down the gruff female and the next Chaos Emerald. Also to prevent the buff female from causing any harm to anyone and for Blaze more so to make sure her parents were ok. Once they were out of the Castle and off the Castle grounds they sped off, there was no time to waste. As every second meant the mystery female was in the position to cause harm. As whatever she claimed even if not completely true, she showed to the camera speed and strength, and she might not be gifted as she claimed but she was still able to do something.

About fifteen minutes later Blaze, Sonic, Tiara, and Honey had hurriedly made their way to the hub of downtown were Cohosh Stadium was. The cloudiness of the day had cleared up a little, and the sun peeked through the clouds every now and then. The heat had cooled down still as well, and it was very comfortable out; it wasn't hot and it wasn't cold. They had run at quickened speeds as they approached the stadium and there already seemed to be trouble going on as some people were fleeing the stadium. With such a big and dangerous situation going down, many mercenaries around the city were called at first. But when news was learned that it involved a Sol Emerald, which none knew was really a Chaos Emerald, they got put on hold.

The city's security forces always contacted the Guardian of the Sol Emeralds first when dealing with the Sol Emeralds. But they didn't have to as Tiara contacted her superiors first and let them know she was en route with Blaze. It was understood no additional help was needed, and the Mercenary Network did not contact any additional Mercenaries. All the security forces in the city understood that even with only four of them going in, the Stadium would be under control again. With Blaze in the lead Sonic was right behind her, and Tiara carried Honey on her back. But Sonic came to a screeching halt as they moved pass a billboard wall next to a convenient store. Blaze and Tiara stopped too as Sonic looked bewildered at the billboard.

Blaze raised an eyebrow "What is it Sonic?"

Sonic ran over to the billboard and snatched a piece of paper off of it. He then ran over to show them the paper "Is this me?"

Honey looked over Tiara's shoulder to see a wanted poster of Sonic stating 'Male on the loose'

Tiara burst into laughter and so did Honey. Blaze even smiled and Sonic looked annoyed. Blaze stopped herself from laughing but still holding her smile "Well, they certainly have you down to memory."

"Are you guys kidding? This looks nothing like me!" Sonic said in exasperation.

The wanted poster showed an exaggerated picture of Sonic's face, with a chiseled chin, full lips, and sparkling eyes. Tiara giggled a bit more before she spoke again "Sorry hedgehog, I guess those women at the mall haven't forgot about you."

Sonic then tore the paper to shreds with a triumphant smile "Welp, at least that's one poster down."

"You might have deterred them just a bit Sonic." Blaze joked smirking at him as she took off again in the direction of the stadium which was in their line of site now, and Sonic followed her lead again.

"Don't you worry hedgehog, I wouldn't let them get near you anyway." Tiara teased as she ran off after Sonic.

With all the joking aside the group became serious again as they ran into one of the entrances of the stadium. Terrified citizens rushed pass them as they entered the inner threshold of the stadium. It was total chaos. The teal buff woman was fighting a large group of police and royal guards in the center of the stadium next to a podium. Her lackeys were up in the stands terrorizing the citizens and politicians. The largest group of politician's up in the stands were being protected by guards and police in a special boxed section of the stands, but they seemed to be having a hard time fending off their attackers. In that particular group were Blaze's parents.

Blaze looked at them all and the expression of determination on her face said it all. Everyone quietly nodded at her as she ran off to the left and jumped up into the stands to help her parents. Honey hopped off of Tiara's back and ran to the right.

"I'll take care of the ones over here." she said running over to the stands and climbing up them.

"Shall we." Tiara looked to Sonic.

"Don't mind if I do." he said as they both dashed to the center of the area and got the buff woman's attention.

She was quick to notice too as she dodged Tiara's midair kick. The police and guards dispersed seeing Tiara and the strange blue hedgehog. Tiara and Sonic eyed the pouch on her waist with the indent of the Purple Chaos Emerald. The buff woman smirked "Tiara Boobowski and…" she gave Sonic a flirtatious look "…a male hedgehog?"

Sonic looked at Tiara with a distasteful face and Tiara frowned thinking this gruff looking woman couldn't be serious; she was not light on the eyes. Tiara spoke as she and Sonic circled her "He's not up for grabs…I haven't seen you around town. What's your name?"

The woman cracked her huge knuckles grinning "Name's Merle. I just got to town, but I know you Tiara. Your reputation precedes you. You're the best mercenary in recent history…for obvious reasons…"

Tiara then growled "Whatever, we heard about you, and you know we're here to take you down."

Sonic and Tiara stepped forward, and Merle crossed her arms "I figured you would come, but that's ok, you're not taking this Sol Emerald away from me either. The Guardian of the Sol Emeralds isn't here. The…"

Then in a flash Blaze rushed down from the stands next to Tiara. Merle looked shocked, more shocked than all the time she seemed to be gloating "Princess…" she inched out. She balled her fist and stood in a defensive stance as she suddenly blurted out her displeasure of the change of situation "How is this fair!"

Sonic laughed "What happened to all the bravado?"

Honey suddenly came running over to them on the field and joined them getting into a fighting stance "What did I miss?"

"Thunder thighs over here thinks she can beat me and no less beat me with help." Tiara said in an insulted tone.

Merle quickly realized that all her lackeys were defeated, and she looked up into the stands as the police and guards were handcuffing them. Some citizens were actually already starting to come back into the stadium, and the politicians were safe again and watching them from above in the stands. Merle sneered backing up "I can beat you all! I am the third! This isn't a fair fight!"

"Irrelevant, we are here to stop you. Now hand over the Emerald or face us." Blaze said as her hands became engulfed in flames.

Merle's mind raced as they all enclosed on her then she shouted out "Duel! I challenge you to a duel!"

Blaze was ready to protest her when Sonic stopped his advance with a frown "Wait a second guys..." Blaze, Honey, and Tiara glanced back at Sonic as he looked up at the returning citizens as they came back into the stadium "What about them…"

Blaze, Tiara, and Honey blinked their eyes in understanding…Eggman Nega's robots! They could or they most likely were here watching this right now right under their noses. Blaze frowned as she extinguished her flames. Tiara and Honey also relinquished their fighting stances, and they all huddled together briefly while Merle regained some smugness on her face.

When they broke apart Blaze walked over to Merle "You will duel him."

Merle grinned "What happens if I win?"

Blaze's face was stoic, but her eyes narrowed as she remained silent "…."

As Blaze turned and walked away from her with Tiara and Honey at her sides, Merle frowned as she watched the Princess walk to the stands. She knew the Guardian of the Sol Emeralds didn't adhere to an honor code. She then looked at Sonic and his cocky grin as he began stretching his legs. This was going to turn out bad for her if she didn't get out of here. She figured she could beat this puny looking hedgehog and escape with her speed…and maybe even take him with her...

Up in the stands Blaze, Tiara, and Honey joined Blaze's parents and the politicians in the special box. There was no clapping or praise for their efforts as they considered it their jobs. Blaze was seated next to her mother and Tiara, and Honey sat next to Blaze. As order began to return to the stadium, news reporters began pouring back in to, and the first thing the cameras landed on were the politicians but even more so the Royal Family. Security stood nearby while the reporters took pictures, and the stadium's huge screens came back online. At least five different cameras landed on Blaze and her parents and even Tiara and Honey; they all wanted the next big scoop.

Blaze could hear as one nearby reporter spoke of her and her parents as she kept focused down below at Sonic. All the while, cameras were still flashing all around "Breaking news here at Cohosh Stadium. Princess Blaze, the Guardian of the Sol Emeralds and Tiara Boobowski have disrupted the terrorism by the mystery female in the stadium's center. Order has been restored. This is also the first time the Royal Family has been seen together in many years." the reporter stepped out of the way so the camera could get a good shot of Blaze and her parents sitting next together. The reporter whispered to the camera lady "Get a good shot of Tiara too."

After a minute or two Blaze's father stood from his seat and moved to a microphone just a few feet away. His daughter briefly informed them that they were looking for someone, and she asked of him to continue on with the summit. Only to announce that there would be a duel before it began. Blaze's father cleared his throat; his voice echoed through the stadium with a serious expression on his face "Welcome everyone to the two hundredth twenty third Political Summit!"

At this, the stadium full of people that had returned cheered, and the politicians clapped. Blaze's father continued "Before we begin our opening ceremony's a duel will take place."

This time the crowd cheered louder and the TV cameras directed away from the King and pointed to the center of the stadium, and the feed on the big screens showed Sonic and Merle "A new arrival of the kingdom, my daughter's guest. Sir Hedgehog will be challenging the ways of our intruder today."

The crowd uproared and the King finished "Let the duel begin!"

And the crowd cheered loudly as without hesitation Merle attacked Sonic, and he dodged her attacks. Right away, Blaze, Tiara, and Honey began scanning the stadium for Eggman Nega's Robot.

Down below Sonic was easily defending himself from Merle, hearing the crowd cheer and seeing the flash of cameras all around himself. Only after a minute Sonic noticed he was hardly putting in any effort moving away from her attacks as he watched her movements. She attacked him with all her might though it still seemed something was off about her.

Merle swung her claws at him once again and Sonic effortlessly moved out of her way, making the look of frustration on her face increase as she wasn't even close to landing one hit on him.

Sonic yawned "You're not that fast."

Merle growled "Shut up! I'm outta here!" she said as she tried to run pass Sonic. She ran a few feet but Sonic quickly ran in front of her, and before she could react he spin dashed into her knocking her back to where she was. She landed hard on the ground, and the crowd cheered as she grunted pushing herself up. Sonic shook his head with a big grin "You're too slow."

Merle slowly got off the ground and reached into her pouch, but she didn't pull out the Purple Chaos Emerald. Instead, a syringe was pulled out, and she immediately jabbed it into her arm. Sonic looked surprised and she stared at him with a crazy look.

"We'll see about that." she said as she let the syringe fall to the ground. She fell to her knees and squeezed her hands into the dirt and Sonic cautiously stood where he was as the crowd cheered on.

Back up in the stands Blaze's father sat back down next to his wife and Blaze's mother whispered over to Blaze with a worried face "What exactly are you looking for dear?"

Blaze broke her eyes away from Sonic down below with her lips curled down into a frown after what Merle just did "It's hard to explain mother but..." Blaze whispered even lower "...Eggman Nega..." Blaze's mother and father were shocked as their eyes widened "...is involved. I will explain it to you later..." Blaze said with a frown as she began looking around the stadium again.

Blaze's mother and father looked shocked to hear Eggman Nega's name uttered, and though their daughter hadn't told them what she and her friends were looking for, they began looking around the stadium too. What they were looking for they were not sure though...

Back down below Sonic was hesitant as Merle suddenly slammed her fist into the ground leaving a huge indent were her fist was. Sonic was ready for her when she lifted her head with a crazy look in her eyes as she sprung from the ground and back handed Sonic. Sonic held his arms up to block her and the force of her attack made him do a back flip through the air. Sonic's face got serious as Merle charged at him, she was a little faster but Sonic was done fooling around. He dodged Merle and then spin dashed into her back knocking her onto the ground again. Merle quickly got up but when she turned around Sonic was gone again, and before she knew it she was on the ground again.

Feeling punches and kicks all over her body, she quickly felt her energy deplete, and as she tried to stand she was a wobbly mess. The crowd cheered louder and Merle held a tired growl on her face as she pulled the Purple Chaos Emerald out of the pouch around her waist "You're…not...taking the…" Merle fell to her knees looking ready to pass out "...the Emerald…"

Sonic walked over to her and crossed his arms with a grin "You shouldn't lie about stuff; it could get you into trouble."

Merle wobbled for a second longer then she fell face forward, and the crowd went nuts. The crowd's applause went on as the Purple Chaos Emerald fell out of Merle's hand and onto the ground.

Up above Blaze, Tiara, and Honey looked for anything suspicious looking, and they wondered if there were none of Nega's robots here when suddenly near the lower stands were Sonic was, a yellow female cat stood from her seat and stared in Sonic's direction without moving. Blaze caught sight of it, and Tiara looked were Blaze was looking, and they stood from their seats with frowns; Honey spotted it as well as she stood. Blaze's parents knew something was about to go down, and before they could even walk out of the politician's box the female in question leaped from where she was standing and began jumping through the crowd.

Blaze conjured fire in her hands shocking the politicians and nearby bystanders as she sped up and dashed down the stairs of the stands. Tiara picked Honey up, and they went in an opposite direction hoping to catch the robot off guard.

By this point Sonic noticed the strange female rushing down towards him from the stands as he picked up the Purple Chaos Emerald. Sonic began taking a few steps back away from the fallen form of Merle as the yellow female cat jumped the final few feet of the stands into the air.

Blaze had reached the lower sections of the stands, and she hopped up onto the railing and jumped off of them, throwing huge fire balls at where the female was going to land. Luckily, Blaze's aim was good enough that one fireball hit the female and exposed a piece of her metallic limbs. Though it did not stop it as the fireball only made it miscalculate its jump, and it didn't land on its feet. The crowd was unaware of what was going on, and they cheered even louder.

Blaze landed on the ground as the robot got up and stepped through her flames. The flames had revealed a lot of its metallic form. Sonic cautiously readied himself to move when it threw its arm out, and it extended. The robots arm grabbed Sonic's arm and Sonic was unable to break from its grasp.

"Sonic!" Blaze yelled with an angered expression as her eyes narrowed running towards the robot.

Sonic struggled against the robot's strong grip as it tried to pull the Chaos Emerald out of his hand when Tiara and Honey jumped down from the stand behind the robot and intercepted it. Honey jumped through the air and kicked the robot momentarily knocking it off its balance. It turned its head completely around and swiped at Honey with its other arm. It missed her as Honey jumped out of the way and Tiara got physical. Grabbing the robots extended arm and bending it. The robots head turned back around, and just as it did Tiara was able to bend it enough to break something. It didn't break the extended arm, but it was damaged enough to where its grip loosened on Sonic. Tiara jumped away from the robot's swipe and as the robot turned to look back at Sonic a giant fire ball was headed its way.

The fire ball hit the robot before it could move and Tiara quickly ran over to Honey and picked her up as the robot exploded. The explosion wasn't huge, but you didn't want to be near it when it did. The robot exploded completely, and all that was left were smoldering parts. The crowd's applause got louder and even Sonic knew by now that the crowd wasn't cheering because of their heroics. He knew just from what Blaze told him that they were cheering just because they were getting a show.

The fire that Blaze had lit to the ground she made go away, raising her hands to dissipate them as Tiara and Honey walked over to Sonic and Blaze. Before Sonic could move Blaze was at his side removing the robot's grip from his arm. Sonic rubbed his arm and they all stood together; Sonic had the fifth Emerald; the Purple Chaos Emerald. They waited and watched as they crowd cheered for the King to give his next announcement so they could leave without too many hassles. With five Chaos Emeralds, Eggman Nega was sure to know they had them and know they'd been busy as another one of his robots was down. They all looked at each other with frowns, and they hoped and dreaded at the same time. Hoping they could get Eggman Nega to come out of hiding and dreading that he was even coming...

Later on in the evening the group had returned to the Castle and to the upper wings back to the Castle Labs. The setting sun was now being blocked by more dark abnormal clouds. They didn't leave the stadium for a while after their victory as they had a hard time getting pass the press. They had returned long before the summit begun and ended but tracking Eggman Nega was proving to be difficult. Though with Marine's unorthodox mechanical expertise the robots they had captured the previous day were completely disassembled and their black boxes had been exposed. The scientists had been busy analyzing their unique encryptions ever since. They had been hooked up to their computers for a few hours now and been scanning for an active signal from the boxes.

The King and Queen had joined them in the Labs not long after the summit and along with Tiara's father, they discussed all manner of things. But most importantly the return of Eggman Nega. Marine spoke with a smile "Those were some sweet moves Sonic! Now I wished I had of gone."

"Ah well you know…" Sonic chuckled.

"Marine." Blaze said in a stern tone with her stoic expression.

Marine rubbed the back of her head with an embarrassed expression "Oh right…" she giggled "I took both of the bots apart, and we've been scanning the black boxes for awhile now. No sign of Nega yet."

Blaze frowned and looked over at the table with the five Chaos Emerald's they had collected "The Sol Emeralds are still safe. He must have detected the energy source coming from the Chaos Emeralds."

"I guess that's how the robots keep finding them." Sonic said with a serious face.

"This is certainly disturbing news…" Blaze's mother paused with a light frown "Do we need to evacuate the city?"

"Until we know he's coming here it is a possibility." Blaze said in a serious tone.

The King and Queen's faces became worried as Tiara spoke with her arms crossed "He hasn't been to Arch City in a few years, if he's coming for the Emeralds he might be bold enough to attack."

"Isn't their anyway for you to find the Emerald's?" Blaze's father said sternly.

"That's what we've been doing these last few days father. Sonic felt for the next Emeralds right as we returned to the Castle." Blaze cut herself short so Sonic could recall what happened.

Sonic spoke with his eyes closed "We've found all the other Emeralds in the city. When I felt for them, they were close but the Emerald's I felt for today were…really far away…" Sonic opened his eyes and looked around at everyone hinting at what everyone feared "Their not in the city…"

Nothing more was needed to be said after Sonic spoke as it was clear in one capacity or another, Eggman Nega had got a hold of the last two remaining Emeralds. Suddenly, one of the scientists yelled aloud "We've got something!"

Everyone immediately turned around to the big computer screens to see a solid red outlined drawing of Eggman Nega's grinning face symbol on the computer screen. The female scientists typed into a computer as she spoke "Locking coordinates…."

Everyone waited silently, and the scientists spoke again in a fearful tone "The signal is coming from…ten miles away!"

Everyone, even the scientists in the room needed no further explanation…he was coming…

"Well now that we know he's coming maybe you guys should evacuate the city." Tiara spoke to the King and Queen.

"We will get started immediately." Blaze's mother spoke in a strong tone and with a determined face.

"He must be coming right now too." Sonic said with a thoughtful face.

"What do you mean?" Blaze asked curiously.

"Because we have five Emeralds, and since he's got the other two he must know we've collected the rest. He's finally coming out of hiding because he knows we have the rest; you see how close he is right?" Sonic said with a frown.

Blaze nodded in agreement "We must prepare; he will be here soon."

"How are we going to stop him?" Honey asked looking worried.

Sonic then grinned "That's easy. I'm gonna take him head on. It never fails."

"Bold, I like it hedgehog." Tiara complimented him with a smile, obvious her bias of liking him influenced her words.

Blaze did not like his plan though giving Sonic her full attention "We need a plan, we must be tactful about this."

Sonic thought about it for a moment and then nodded with a smile on his face "Alright, I'll go head first, and you can catch him off guard or something."

Blaze looked at him confused "No Sonic, I mean all of us. We must all have a strict guideline in this fight."

Sonic was starting to look a little annoyed "What if the rules change? What happens to plans then?"

Everyone in the vicinity suddenly felt shut out of the conversation as Sonic went back and forth with Blaze about how they should take down Nega. With Sonic offering the most least mindful approaches which left him exposed to all kinds of unknown danger. Blaze's mother and father smiled and remained quiet about how their daughter interacted with Sonic. And Tiara, Marine, Honey, and Tiara's father looked at one another and shrugged, as they knew they would not be able to stop them in the bubble they were in right now so they watched and listened.

"Nega won't see me coming, its full proof." Sonic said sticking to his guns grinning.

But Blaze looked upset and her voice held a hint of anger "That is reckless Sonic."

"It'll give you a clear shot; I'll be fine." Sonic said shrugging as if this was just another fight.

Blaze was exasperated keeping her upset face "You will not place yourself in harm's way!"

"I won't get hurt if I move fast enough." he countered looking at her with his cocky grin.

Blaze hated how he could be so stubborn sometimes. She didn't want him to get hurt as he was placing himself in the same kind of danger that he did on the S.S. Marine. She did not want to see him get hurt or even consider placing himself in a situation where he could get hurt again. She was at her wits end when suddenly the anger was wiped off her face when she remembered their duel.

Sonic looked confused as Blaze smirked "We will settle this now then." she looked to everyone "Yesterday Sonic agreed to a friendly duel of chess. The outcome will determine the control of the authority of how we collect the remaining Emeralds, and since Nega has the remaining two it will also determine how we will stop him."

Even Tiara shook her head "That was a bad move hedgehog."

"I said the same thing yesterday!" Marine said aloud.

Sonic donned a determined face "Fine…" he said with hesitance "I keep my word…"

"A duel! This ought to lighten the mood! We have a chess board just in the other room, let me go get it." Tiara's father said with delight walking away to get it.

"Wish me luck Marine." Sonic gave her a thumbs up.

Marine giggled "You won't win Sonic but I hope you do. I'd like to relax in the A/C."

Sonic squinted at her responding sarcastically "Thanks for the support…"

Blaze remained quiet and kept a small smile on her face as Tiara gave Sonic her support even though in one way or another, she still said he was going to lose. Her parents even warned him but Sonic insisted his victory despite his new wave of hesitance. When Tiara's father returned he began setting the chess board on the table they ate off this morning. Sonic and Blaze glared at one another and they both made their way to the table….

Five minutes later….

The game was over in twelve moves, and Blaze had completely destroyed Sonic. Sonic looked surprised and Marine and Honey were in an uproarious laughter. Sonic's eye twitched, and Blaze held a look of triumph.

"Maybe I have to reconsider putting Sonic on my suitor's list." the king rubbed his chin with is hand and a contemplative look on his face. Blaze's mother looked proud of her daughter's victory, and Tiara's father tried to suppress his laughter from hearing Marine and Honey laugh.

Tiara grinned standing next to Sonic "All I had to do was beat you in a game of chess huh?"

Sonic looked at the chess board not knowing what happened. His voice cracked "What happens if we play again?"

Blaze kept her smug smile "That depends on how much your soul is worth. You have lost authority of how we collect the remaining Emeralds, you must now follow my plans. What else are you willing to lose?"

Sonic sighed in defeat and Tiara patted him on the back as even with the horrible circumstances that were coming their way. There was a bit of sanity in the room, and despite the horrible happenings that they all had learned of today a little laughter was always able to turn anything bad upside-down.

What a twist!? Bet you weren't expecting that with Blaze. Blaze had a few secrets you didn't even see, now prepare yourself for the action.