Synopsis: Taking place a few years after 'The Soon to Be King of Mobodoon'. Ichiro and Elise think everyone's forgotten their 16th birthday. When Sonia forgets to pay the rental company their fee for keeping the decorations up for the second week to surprise them after their school, is their birthday bash ruined ?
Chapter 1—Sonia's Misstep
Ichiro and Elise had always been treated to some of the best birthday parties that money could buy. Of course, to them, it wasn't the expense but the celebration itself and neither one of them asked for much in the way of gifts since they had more than they could ever desire. This particular birthday was more important than all the previous ones though. It was the turning point; the time they would become young adults. Honestly, Elise couldn't wait to hold responsibilities in the realm of Mobius. Ichiro, on the other hand wasn't all that keen on the ideas and constraints of being royal. He still wanted to dash around and not be held back by anyone or anything. There was still a bit of immaturity in him. He wondered if he would ever see an arcade ever again with his friends outside of the palace. Never being able to venture into the hallowed halls of his favorite haunt, Nobuyuki's, he thought was positively abysmal. The thought gave him shivers and he wondered if there truly was anything behind this 'real world' he had heard so much about. If he couldn't unwind from time to time, what was the point of it all ? But these thoughts, he pushed to the side. After all, he had been looking forward to the prospect of all that delectable food that greeted he and his sister every birthday anniversary. What he and Elise were unaware of was their Aunt Sonia had forgotten to pay the rental company for the streamers and decorations and they were about to come down before the duo could arrive home in order to be surprised.
Takeshi Maurice Hedgehog, or 'Sonic' as he was more widely known, walked over to the video phone, got in and did his telephone greeting.
'His Majesty, King Takeshi of Mobius speaking.'
'Sonic, I have a major problem. In my attempts to make this the biggest, best and most spectacular birthday bash ever for my niece and nephew, I forgot to give the rental company their payment.', Sonia explained on the video phone, lowering her head in shame. She even veiled her eyes. Sonic had never seen his sister so downcast. Manic too, was a bit bummed out due to the fact that he had been really looking forward to playing with his siblings for the gala.
'We've been planning this celebration for weeks ! Are you sure that Mr. Tarantella is availible to extend the contract ?', Sonic asked. Sonia had been so absentminded as of late. Duties on Mobodoon had kept her so occupied that she had forgotten to contact Gino about the proceedings. She slaped her gloved hand to her head.
'I've been such a doofus ! Seems I had forgotten all about that.', she said, shaking her head in regret. Sonic reassured her.
'Sis, don't worry. You've been under a lot of pressure. We all have recently. Just give Gino a call, I'm sure he'll cut you a break. Don't worry.', Sonic said. Sonia's usual smile was brought back, and encompassed her entire face.
'Thanks, bro. You know exactly the right thing to say and when to say it.', she stated before saying her goodbyes and rectifying her tiny mistake. After all, there was still plenty of time to get all settled before the twins made it home from their schooling abroad in Kyras.
Chapter 2—The Ship Ride From Kyras
Kyras was an ancient community that had rebuilt itself not long after the Freedom Fighters and the Underground had defeated Robotnick, his SWAT Bots and minions during the Resistance Movement. It retained its former glory and was a hub of intellectualism as well as beauty and architecture. It reminded Elise so much of Mobodoon but nothing could compare to the palaces there as well as the statues depicting the beauty of Queen Aileena, the children's paternal grandmother. It seemed all too reminiscent for her; Ichiro placed a comforting hand on his sister's shoulder and smiled warmly.
'I've missed grandmama so much. It will be wonderful to see her again.', Elise said, sweetly. Aileena had doted on them both since the moment they came into the world. In fact, Ichiro could remember the lullaby she sang to them to hush their crying and send them off to sleep. To this day, that very same song sent him to slumber faster than a glass of warm milk and freshly baked date cookies.
The cruiseliner from Kyras was equipped with all the ammenities and conviences of home, including 5 star meals. Nothing was too good for the royal Hedgehogs, but the twins were anxious to return to Mobius once more. Being away from family and friends made them pretty homesick, even though they wouldn't admit it directly even to one another. Kyras had been lavish and unbelievable, but the party they were anticipating would dwarf everything they had experienced on that antique island. Before long, the plasma powered ship motored closer and closer to shore. The nearer the liner came to the shore the more eager the twins became. Soon, they would be reunited with their parents again, and Aunt Sonia and Uncle Manic would be waiting for their return at their Castle in Mobius. It was that time of year when everything was dark green, vibrant and colorful and the weather was pleasant enough for sandals and shorts. They could just about taste the refreshing lemon-limeaide Sonia was so famous for as well as fruit punch and smoothies galore.
Chapter 3—Familiar Faces and New Friends
It seemed like a ghost town once the cruiseliner La Pearla docked at shore.
'Where is everyone ? There's no one here.', Elise said, looking around, wondering where everyone could be at this hour. Surely they had gotten their invitation and marked the date of their birthday anniversary in their calendars. That is, unless, something more important popped up on their itineraries.
'I don't know, Lise.', Ichiro said, starting to feel a little dejected and saddened. He was starting to worry that everyone had forgotten he and his sister's big day. But upon opening the wide, arched doors of the castle, they were surprised by noise makers, streamers, tremendous music and presents a mile wide from the floor to the ceiling.
'Surprise !', everyone yelled, cheerfully. The joviality in the air was remarkable, so much so, that it was downright contageous.
'Look who's here ! Knuckles, Julie-Su and Lara-Su ! Cream, Cheese, Rouge, Big, Mighty, Vector, Espio, Charmy, Honey, her friend Grace, rockin' echidna Raxel, even Tails. Must've taken Tails forever to have gotten here. I hear it's a long flight from Knothole to here.', Ichiro said, excitedly. He had never met most of these characters. Most of them he had only read of in his history class. But now, seeing them in person was the greatest thrill ever.
'It feels good to be home again, especially among friends and family !', Elise agreed. One by one they were greeted by heroes and heroines straight out of their textbooks. All of them were pleased to see they had arrived safely and thus far, were savoring every moment of the gala.
Sonic and Amy Rose were at the end of the corridor, waiting for their beloved twins to approach them. Pretty soon, it would be time to open presents and gorge on cake and ice-cream.
'Mom ! Dad !', Elise said, rushing their way, nearly knocking some party goers over in the process. She appologized for her excitement, but she had only seen the two of them on video phone. School at Kyras had come to an end and they would have to return in the fall, but the summer was long and glorious, begging the two of them to enjoy it to the fullest.
'Good to see you too ! My, how handsome you look, Ichi.', Amy Rose said, ruffling her youngster's quills affectionately. This really embarassed Ichiro, but he didn't seem to be too phased by it. He kissed his mom's cheeks and basked in the warmth of one of her bear hugs. It was good to be back, he thought. At least, he and Elise could relax for a bit. Or so they thought.
Chapter 4—The Vicissitudes of Royal Living
The party had been collosal and the twins were enervated by the end of the day. They wondered where they were going to put all of their presents from the celebration, but they were sure they would cross that bridge when they came to it. Aileena had been present and she had written a song in commemoration of their 16th birthdays. It was a beautiful song, one that they had recorded on their portoplayers to keep it forever. Aileena said that she would be staying for a while and then returning to her hanging gardens in Verandia, which was where she resided. It was about a day's journey from Mobius, but she had left the invitation open to the Hedgehog twins this summer if they wanted to experience nature and its beauty. Elise was open to the invitation, as was, ironically, Ichiro. Despite Ichiro's ruggedness, he adored being in and amongst the greenery of Verandia. After all the first thing he remembered as a hoglet were the statues, fountains, birds, butterflies and myriads of fragrant flowers. It would be splendid to return. However, Sonic and Amy were more interested in having them properly educated. After all, they were now adults and were required to learn what it took to be proper royals.
The next morning the hedgehogs were awakened to a rather large repast, which was rather welcome to Ichiro. Typically Elise did the cooking and she ate very healthy foods and cooked nutritious dishes. To Ichiro though, it was almost like he was being starved, so seeing bacon and eggs was a sight for sore eyes. He didn't know that this was the beginning of etiquitte training for him. He had remembered the basics from childhood, but he never thought 'that frilly stuff' would be useful later on in life.
'Like it or not, Ich, you have to make a good impression on those around you. A hedgehog who holds poise, elegance and good posture will be taken more seriously than one who slurps his drinks and forgets to excuse himself after burping.', Amy mentioned. Ichiro wondered if his parents had been kidnapped by aliens and replaced by pod-replicas. It was akin to a nightmare and he had to rub his temples due to the fact all of this information was giving him a terrible headache.
'We shouldn't barrage him with so much to remember in just one day. It won't be until mid-summer that they will be making their debut as the next in line to rule the throne. Someday we will retire from our position. That day is inevitable.', Sonic chimed in. Ichiro's head stopped pounding. He had begun to sweat quite a bit. He wasn't keen on feeling pressure, especially when it came to putting one's proverbial best foot forward. Elise on the other hand lived to perform and was graceful, eloquent, elegant and the essense of refinement. He had scoffed at her ability to learn this 'etiquitte' and 'balance' so easily. He really could use some time alone sparring in the garden with one of the butlers, Metrucio. Metrucio wouldn't mind a bit of exercise, and despite the fact he was in his 90s he fought like he was a vulpine well into his 20s.
'Can I be excused for a bit ?', Ichiro said, discreetly dismissing himself from the large breakfast. Half of what was on the table would be used in other meals or for the few Mobians who were less fortunate, which were rare in this post-Robotnick age. Elise wanted to follow him. Her catharsis was archery, and she was feeling a little pressured herself, even if she couldn't discover the reason why. Maybe it was because seeing Ichi stressed the way he was made her feel similar.
Whatever the cause, a bit of target practice in the labyrinth outside the garden was good to clear her head of unnessecary gathering thoughts. Sonic and Amy seemed to understand what they were going through. It was never simple to adhere to the rules and regulations, but they were handling it in a mature way, better than they did when they were young. The parents had to admit, they were impressed, and would treat the two of them to something special later on that evening.
Chapter 5—Honing Skills
The Labyrinth was a place of extreme focus. Here the newfound adults could escape for a while and blow off steam. Elise found her bow and arrows in mint condition, just as she had left them as a hoglet. She remembered the first time Aileena taught her to hold a bow and arrow. Getting the hang of making certain the bow didn't slip from her grip and keeping the arrow pointed toward its target wasn't easy. There might be a time when she would need that skill, but for the time, the diversity of simply shooting the arrow into the bullseye and landing it straight in the middle gave her more joviality than anything else; save Grandma's hanging gardens in Verendia. She fired one last arrow and cheered when it hit the bullseye.
'Alright !', she exclaimed, holding her fist into the air. She looked into her arrow quiver and found there were no arrows left.
'Awwww man !', she groaned. She packed up her archery equipment and headed home to the royal palace. She could hear Ichiro sparring with Metrucio in the labyrinth as she headed through the castle. She meandered through her room, picked up her tablet and strolled out to the garden. She wondered how her boyfriend Laurence was doing as of late. He was a native of Kyras and quite the scholar. He too, enjoyed archery, leisurely walks, meditation and exercising out and about in nature. He hoped one day to marry her. Even Ichiro's girlfriend, Mariko, had become close friends with her. They had all met each other during the school year at Kyras and it was painful to say goodbye to them when the summer began. They knew the fall would come soon enough and they could see each other again, but Elise's tablet allowed her to email her companions. After replying to her lover's and girlfriend's messages, she read one of her favorite books of poetry. She could almost hear grandma Aileena reciting them to her.
Elise smelled the faint fragrance of mint mixed with chocolate. There was a stronger smell of vanilla and just a hint of graham crackers. It was one of her favorite desserts, which was a triple chocolate mint graham truffle with vanilla essense. She could hear Aileena and Amy in the kitchen, humming together as they cooked merrily. Elise, much like a piglet, rushed into the labyrinth, found Ichiro and practically dragged him back to the kitchen.
'And here we were trying to suprise you.', Amy said, feigning disappointment. She had forgotten how sensitive Elise's sense of smell was. It was a small treat before heading to bed. Typically they didn't overindulge, but having the twins home was cause for celebration in and of itself. After the decadent dessert the twins, along with everyone else, was bushed. So, escorted by Sonic and Amy, the two were put into bed and kissed goodnight. After all, tomorrow was going to be a busy day. Fairly soon, it would be time for them to be presented to the entire public as the heirs of the kingdom. Sure it was a lot for them to take in, but even if they made mistakes the people would understand and accept all of this. Royals were creatures just like anyone else on Mobius, especially in the kingdom of Crysallis.
Chapter 6-The Twins' Debut
It was one year after school had come to a close for the hedgehog siblings. The Debut Ball was to be held fairly soon and honestly the two were rather apprehensive about what was expected of them. They were still teenagers and following all of the rules and regulations they had been taught by their parents. It had been nice to have a small respite in Verandia before they returned to Crysallis, even if it was far too short for their enjoyment.
Ichiro was very nervous, wearing a black tuxedo and carrying the same expression his father had when he attended the Beautillion all those years ago. Elise, however, was wearing a sparkling party dress with a short skirt, topped off with a golden tiara atop her royal purple quills. Etched into is center was the royal crest. Ichiro had one as well that acted as a boutoneer. It held a white and red carnation close to his palpitating heart. He was glad that Elise was there and wondered if their dates had come to participate. Both Laurence and Mariko said they would be attending 'with bells on'. Behind the stage they heard the triumphant fanfare of trumpets. From the exits they could see their grandmother beginning the celebration. The crowd was even larger than it had been for their birthday celebration a year back. Ichiro felt his palms sweat. Beads of sweat gathered along his brow.
'It'll be alright, Ichi. Mom, dad and Grandma taught us well. We'll dazzle them all tonight.', she reassured him with a gentle pat on the hand. It was funny how a single touch and encouragement from Elise calmed his nerves instantly.
Once the intial introductions were out of the way, both twins made their entrance, bowing to the crowd and giving their prepared speeches. Neither one of them savored oration, but both did a grand job and everyone was pleased with what they heard. As their parents before them they would rule Crysallis to the best of their ability. This passing of power wouldn't come until they were much older in life, probably in their 20s, so all of the pagantry was merely symbolic. All of the pomp and circumstance truly was something to behold. If anyone could throw a party it was the hedgehogs and this one, even though it was refined, was possibly the most enjoyable event the siblings had experienced other than birthdays and their favorite holiday, Nativity.
Long after the Debut, the twins had met and greeted each of their subjects to be. Ichiro, still coming along in maturity, admitted that he didn't mind the responsibility he would have to fulfill. He had been altruistic much like his father and had a gentle heart like his mother. Elise was ever the social butterfly and Laurence wasn't ashamed to show her off to everyone at the ball. He felt like he was the luckiest Kyrian alive, and one day, he would marry her. He wasn't of royal blood but Amy and Sonic weren't strict about such things. When it came to love, it was all a matter of the heart and how it spoke within that particular creature. Elise, just like Ichiro, knew that the eyes of Mariko were only for Ichiro, and Laurence's were on Elise. Someday, they would share their throne together and like the twins, would be acclimated into the world of royalty. Sure it wasn't easy and some days were more challenging than others, but when the time came, the hedgehogs would rule with honor, respect, dilligence, tradition, love and morality. The people of Mobius would someday call them 'The Peacable Duo' thanks to their patience and penchant for non-violence. Ailleena, Sonic and Amy couldn't have been more proud of them, and honestly Manic and Sonia were glad they were related to these jewels, for they were truly gems in the hedgehog diadem.