Author's note: The story has more chapters than originally intended. Few of them are serious, but every one is waiting to be read, and reviewed.
Disclaimer: Sonic the Hedgehog, related characters and locales are copyright SEGA.
I LIKE PIE
Chapter 1: The One
Amy got down on her knees and poked her head forward. The girl sighed; she was never so close to pleasing Sonic.
This was only half the headache.
"I baked you a pie and…" she whispered, looking at rows upon rows of tinned fruit, "I have no idea what flavour it is."
Peach, cherry, apple. Oo! Tomahto? The choices blew her mind away. Her pastry idea sounded more like a spreadsheet than poetry they'd air on TV.
The unhelpful shop worker didn't help either. "We're closing! Come back tomorrow, with a list."
"Just a minute!"
Nonplussed, the last remaining clerk jerked towards her, puffing with every step as Amy had surrounded herself with a number of fruit containers. She thoughtlessly misplaced a third of the aisle's produce. That would cost fifteen minutes of unpaid overtime easy.
"No minute. Take everything and pick at home."
"But Tails said I can take only one. There can be only one, kind store worker!"
"We're closing. Take anything; they're all the same in the end."
The shopkeeper then retreated to the security room to turn off the lights. No way would some pink pygmy hedgehog get him unpaid overtime. He'd smoke her out. But first, he decided to change clothes. Nobody cared about uniforms after working hours, anyway.
Amy could hear him grumble for a while longer. It added to the hair-biting pressure. Once the door opened again, followed by a sound of the cash register, she knew that time ran out. Desperate and guilty, the girl approached the counter holding but a plight in her hands.
"Please, oh kind store worker, you must help me find the right one! There are too many jars in your store…I'm suffocating!" she exclaimed, her head wetting the table's surface.
Secretly, she glimpsed at the worker to check his reaction. There was nothing save for confusion and a uniform worn backwards. Amy looked up at the idle face with a bulbous tear in her left eye and a quivering lip below. This was an emergency.
"Come o-o-on!" she wailed. "I just want to make Sonic feel special! To make him something he'd remember for the rest of his life…and after."
The idle face in front of her lit up with no less than 200 watts of smile. "Special. Sonic. Oh!"
He dived back into the staff only room and returned toting a tall luxury jar with a purple jelly-like substance inside. It was shiny. The glow reflected off Amy's pupils, inflating them via the power of a hundred teenage dreams. Her mouth emitted generous sounds of multi-lingual admiration.
"This must be the one! Can I try it?"
The shopkeeper put it on the counter, letting Amy open the container. As she broke the seal on top, a vaporous bubbly cloud emerged. The surface waved, swirled and steamed while the ethereal glow reflected off every object in the tiny convenience store. Its looks were amazing, so Amy bobbed her nose down for more.
She couldn't pull it too close as the powerful vapour tickled her nostrils mercilessly. Was it blueberry? Grape? Acai? The girl's excitement, mixed with confusion and fatigue after a long day, made it difficult to distinguish. Whatever berries they put there, it was the good stuff.
Amy took her right glove off and slowly, as if teasing herself, lowered it into the playful storm in a jar. Having hooked some of the gelatinous substance in, she immediately put it in her mouth, everything the flavour touched already floating in a daze. As she swallowed, Amy could have sworn there was a shockwave rolling from head to toe. Her quills shot up straight, and the tingle spread all the way to her tail. The sensation was so strong that the hedgehog nearly fell down.
"Whoah!" she exclaimed, holding on to the cash desk for balance. Even though her body swayed like milkweed during a hurricane, it felt great, mind-numbingly exhilarating. In fact, it felt like…
Amy shook her head to regain her senses and quickly brushed the unruly quills into place. It looked like the worker was about to speak, so she interrupted him.
"Shut up and take my money!"
The hedgehog was gone in a blink. She wouldn't wait for the receipt, the change or the glass door. Thankfully, she wasn't in a particular rush, or he'd have needed to close a doorless store.
On a regular day, that would have been the end of the evening shift: lights were fading and a sign at front asked passersby to come tomorrow. That night, however, the passersby were particularly insertive. As they struggled to enter via the narrow doorway, the last remaining store worker had a creeping suspicion that things were not what they seemed.
A stout hooded figure entered the dim space, nearly toppling a tower of liquorice soda. Someone smaller but equally hooded prevented the accident by holding the top bottles in a very agile manner. The bulkier one coughed awkwardly.
The two removed their cloaks to reveal a large bald mustachio man and a hedgehog in unnatural black and red stripe fur. The man poked his companion before inhaling and prepping up for a pose.
"Shadow, all systems, full pingas!"
"Doctor, there is no need for pomp-" the hedgehog protested.
"I said, full pingas!"
Shadow put a boom box on the tiled floor and pressed "play." DJ Yolker's latest remix, EGGMAN, YO blared out, much to the cashier's idleness. Eggman's theme song made the evil doctor dance as he straddled towards the counter. He flipped like a piece of butter and slid forward like a rabid bumble bee. The doctor felt the funky rhythm, and he was ready to tear the house down, literally. Shadow had to stand on the lookout for any grocery goods knocked down, which was a basketful in progress. Thankfully, the show ended promptly as the doctor reached his destination.
Eggman turned his back on the clerk, tapping the table's edge coyly. "I think you've got something special for my problem with Sonic. Something he'd remember for the rest of his life…and beyond."
The worker, just like before, said nothing. He didn't look confused, just frozen still.
"He doesn't have it," Shadow intervened.
Shadow walked around the store, his eyes perfectly content in the dark. Nothing suspicious, save for the pile of fruit tins near a single aisle. He glimpsed at the worker, Eggman and the security door ajar.
"The Chaos energy is withdrawing. Your bot gave it away to someone else."
Eggman punched the counter in protest. "Impossible! I am the client! I said the password and made a down payment…oh those Rogues have swindled me again!" he yelled at Shadow.
"Doctor, were you listening?"
"Yes!" the man barked back, and punched the clerk in the head, causing its legs to fall off. "See? That's what happens when you outsource robot production to an online business."
"All your robots…look like you. The Rogues would have gotten suspicious."
The hedgehog snuck into the security room without breathing another word. Eggman was left to deal with the predicament alone. The villain poked the fizzled machine with his foot, so it would roll out of sight, breaking further on the way. Eggman needed the Chaos essence for his latest plan to come to fruition, but the previous owners refused to do business with him or anyone affiliated. That is why he resorted to outside help, a sketchy humanoid robot production plant with a major discount policy. He ordered three bots in total. One broke during transit, another got punched in the face moments ago, and the villain couldn't remember where he put the last one.
Shadow interrupted the pondering by poking his spiky head out the door. "I accessed their security footage."
He rewound the recording for the doctor.
"Amy Rose…" Eggman murmured. He saw the pink hedgehog's reaction to the substance and her quick exit. "No! She knows!" he exclaimed and proceeded to punch the screen that delivered such awful news.
The doctor's companion was unfazed by the anger management routine. "You should not underestimate her ignorance, doctor. She won't be using it for whatever purpose till tomorrow. Hedgehogs sleep at night."
"We must pursue her! To the Egg Carrier!" exclaimed the man, a finger wound up in the air for drama.
Shadow glanced out the window wall and smirked at what he saw. "Or we could chase the girl on foot. She's in the hotel across the street."
"I can use the Egg Carrier to destroy the street and have my bots search the remains."
The hedgehog face-palmed. "Seriously, doc, she's right there. Ten seconds walk max."
"Very well, then. To the hotel across the street!"
"I'll turn the music off," Shadow said. The boom box was a bad idea.