=Epilogue: Five Years Later=
"May, Cynder! Wait for me, kudasai?"
A small pale rose female hoglett now nearly 5 and a half years old, ran through the halls of the Imperial Palace chasing her now preteen half-sisters. The twins were giggling as they rushed through the hall. Suddenly, their adult half-brother appeared in the corner. Both May and Cynder froze in their trail before him.
"Kon'nichiwa, Damien. What's with the grumpy looking face?" May asked after noticing the stern expression on the prince's face.
"You know that running through the halls is prohibited." he said.
"Aww, you're such a kill joy, Damien-kun." Cynder pouted.
"You are fortunate that Satoshi alerted me to your activities."
Behind the charcoal clad hedgehog, nervously twitching his fingers was the now seven-year-old echidna.
"Aww, Satoshi." May moaned. "Didja have to go and tattle on us?"
"Gomen'nasai..." Satoshi apologized regretfully.
"Enough." Damien boomed. "Your presence is wanted in the Tutoring Hall. You'll be late."
The two girls let out groans and went about their way. Then Damien nudged Satoshi is greatly.
"You run along too." Damien said. "Your mother's waiting in the courtyard."
"Okay!" Satoshi replied.
With that, the young prince went off. Then, Damien's ears twitched to the sound of huffing and puffing. He turned his head and saw little Reika coming from the corner almost out of breath.
"Reika, what are you doing in the halls by yourself?" the scarlet-splashed male asked.
"How come Satoshi gets to be by himself?" Reika challenged.
"Because he's older than you. Come here..."
The crown prince bent over and picked up his youngest sibling into his arms.
"It's not fair!" the female hoglett whined. "I never get to do anything 'cause I'm too little..."
"You'll get old enough soon, I promise you that." Damien assured her. "Besides, Otōsan won't like seeing you without your mother around."
Reika let out a sigh and snuggled into Damien's chest.
"Mmmmm, you smell just like the pine trees outside." she observed, to which her elder brother smirked at.
"Is that so?" he asked.
Then the crown prince came to halt when he came across Shadow.
"Otōsama..." Damien greeted, trying to bow while holding his kid half-sister.
"Is Reika going off on her own again?" Shadow sighed.
"Hai." Damien replied.
"I was trying to play with May and Cynder..." Reika muttered disappointedly.
"I see..." Shadow replied patting her head.
The ebony hedgehog didn't really mind his youngest daughter talking a little out of turn like that. Not to say she wasn't respectful towards him at all. But soon she would learn to act like a proper young lady.
"General Takahashi is in need of your assistance at the present moment." Shadow told Damien who quickly understood.
"Hai." the charcoal clad hedgehog replied. Then he put Reika down to her feet. "You go along with Otōsama now. I'll see you later, okay?"
With that, Damien bowed to his father and left.
"Sayōnara, Damien!" Reika called out.
A few moments later, she turned to her father.
"Why is he always busy?" the hoglett asked.
"Because someday when I'm gone, he'll be taking my place on the throne." Shadow explained.
"Ohhhhh, so he'll be e'mper just like you?"
"Yes. Come, your mother is probably questioning your whereabouts."
The crimson-splashed male scooped up the tiny girl into his arms and proceeded down the hall. A few minutes later, they arrived at Amy's chambers to which Shadow politely knocked.
"Come in?" Amy called out.
Amy was now a young woman in her early twenties. A fully matured female hedgehog. She was sitting at her loom weaving when her jade eyes sparkled with her mate came in with their little one.
"There you are!" she exclaimed. "I was starting to wonder where the twins had whisked you off to."
The sakura hedgehog got to her feet and bowed to Shadow before taking Reika into her arms.
"You naughty girl, were you out alone in the halls again?" Amy asked as she nuzzled her daughter's quills and nipped at her ears.
"It's not my fault." Reika protested. "May and Cynder run faster than me..."
The hoglett quieted down when her mother persistently started grooming her. After a few seconds of watching them, Shadow wrapped his arms around Amy. She made a pause to let him put a love nip on her neck.
And thus ends our story. Amy would live the rest of her days at the Imperial Palace in peace and happiness with her new family.
And dats the end of that folks. Thanks very much for all the kind reviews and I'll catch y'all on the flip side ;)