Having given Charmy and his mother their privacy, Vector and Espio returned down the steps from the balcony and to the main hall, where the honeybee workers shuffled the hornets away. The detectives did their part to assist putting the invaders away, starting with Queen Vespa, locking her in a dungeon cell. Figuring she was the most dangerous, Vector decided that the shackles on the wall would hold her nice and tight, very much to her dismay. Little did he know that these were the same shackles inside this very same dungeon cell Vespa had imprisoned Queen Bea for six years. Of course, Vector didn't know this. He simply told her to shut her trap, thinking she wasn't getting much of a punishment at that moment.
Getting together the hornets proved not to be such a difficult task. While they were bigger and stronger, the honeybees had the advantage in numbers and overcame them, after finding the courage to stand up to them. If it weren't for Nic the Weasel, that is...
Speaking of Nic, where DID she disappear to anyway?
Espio figured that she did her good deed for the day by helping the honeybees gather their strength and took off before the reclamation. That's too bad... She WAS their ride after all. Looks like it's gonna be a long walk home...
But what about Nack? Where did HE disappear off to? During the round-up, the worker bees had managed to drag Percy and lock him away. But Nack was still missing... and so was...
Vector and Espio immediately dropped their thinking pattern and raced to the source of the trouble. Above the dungeons just around the corner was a crowd of worker bees, in a circle, many beaten badly. The detectives nudged their way through to get a better look.
"Return my weapons!" Fargo demanded, holding a soldier bee in a tight chokehold, "Or else he dies!"
"Let him go, Fargo!" Espio shouted, "There is no further need for violence!"
Vector slammed his fist into his palm, "Unless ya WANT yer head to go rollin'!"
"I will not be outclassed by a bunch of novice soldiers!" Fargo cried, "If I cannot fulfill my task and be rewarded, then I'll cut my losses! I will not sink so low as to play your prisoner!" His hold on the bee grew tighter, "Return all my weapons and I will spare his life!"
The other bees wouldn't risk it. They've already seen what the ferret was capable of without his weapons... To return them would be suicide.
"Fargo!" shouted a young voice. Everybody turned to look down the corridor, where a badger/mole hybrid stood.
Fargo raised an eyebrow. "Jiffy..?"
"Fargo, just... STOP!" Jiffy pleaded. "No more violence! I'm sick of it! I get it, we all do! You're a Gangdam outcast."
"What's your point?" Fargo snarled.
"You've tarnished their name long enough!" said Jiffy, "What good does this all do you? What do you want to get out of this? You kill, your make people suffer, for what? A little bit of cash?! You're a strong guy, Fargo, you can do so much more!"
Fargo narrowed his eyes. "I knew you were too innocent for the bounty hunter business," he droned. "I should have left you behind at Emerald Sea. You're the one that wanted to follow me. You were the outcast in your family."
"You guys are the only family I have left!" Jiffy's eyes watered, "I need you! Please!"
"Newsflash, kid!" Fargo spat, "Nack's gone! He abandoned you. Percy's arrested and I have no intention of going back for him. You wanna stay with me, you better learn to get your hands dirty!"
Jiffy's fists clenched. He stared downwards, his shoulders shaking, doing everything he could to hold back the tears. "Is that so...?" he murmured. From behind his back, he revealed Queen Vespa's dagger. Charmy wasn't the only thing Jiffy had caught in the main hall earlier.
"Kid, don't do it!" shouted Vector.
"You want me to be a cold hearted killer?!" Jiffy screamed, ignoring Vector, "Then I'll start with you!"
With a cry, he ran towards Fargo, dagger raised over his head. Fargo merely sneered at this and pushed away the nuisance that was his hostage. He approached the oncoming hybrid, clutched both of his arms before Jiffy could make the stab, and rammed his knee into his gut. At this, Jiffy's breath escaped and a wave of pain rushed to his stomach as he doubled over in pain. The dagger was easily taken and Fargo raised it over Jiffy's head...
But the dagger was struck by a speeding shuriken and flew out of the ferret's hand. In shock and rage, Fargo turned to face his attacker, only to come face-to-fist instead with Vector's powerful punch. Fargo was out for the count. The bees wasted no time gathering him up and dragging him down to the dungeons.
"All you all right?" Espio rushed over to Jiffy and knelt down by him. Jiffy was still on his feet, but crouched down, trying to recover from the blow to his stomach. Espio could tell he was in pain, not just physically, but emotionally.
"You shouldn't have saved me..." Jiffy whimpered, tears falling from his eyes, "There's nothing left for me... I've got no family, no gang, no nothin'..."
"You've still got your dignity," said Espio, "You realize that you are not destined to travel the dark path before you, and that you can take another route to something more just."
"What am I gonna do though?" Jiffy looked up, "I don't want to be part of the Fanged Snipers anymore, but I got nowhere to go..."
"Then why not stay here?"
From the opposite side of the corridor, Queen Bea walked in and approached the group, cradling in her arm her young son, Prince Charming, or rather, Charmy. The younger bee was cuddled into his mother's chest with a big smile on his face.
Jiffy stood up, "What do you mean stay here..?"
"Every child needs a home," spoke Bea, "And if you truly have nowhere to go, then perhaps you should consider the Honey Hive Colony."
"You mean... after all my gang did, all the trouble we caused, after helping out the hornets capturing your son, you still want me to stay here?"
"You did more than that," Espio interjected, "You saved Charmy's life. You were clearly against Fargo."
Vector nodded. "That's right, kid. Like Espio said, you've still got a chance."
"Perhaps life at the hive will help your decisions on what you want to make of yourself," Bea smiled.
Jiffy was overwhelmed with emotions. He had a new life, and a new chance a real future. He found himself rushing over and giving the queen a big hug. Charmy made sure to flutter out of his way and allowed his once kidnapper to have his momma for the moment. At that moment anyway, he was interested in two other people. "Hey Vector! Espio!"
"Heeey Charmy!" Vector raised his hand, allowing the bee to fly over and high-five it. Espio smiled and nodded his hello as well.
"Have you met my mom?" Charmy excitedly pointed over at Bea.
"Not properly," said Espio as he made his way to the queen and gave a polite bow. "Your majesty."
Vector came over and offered a handshake, "Please to meet'cha!"
Bea took a hold of Vector's hand and immediately pulled him in for a hug, much to his surprise. "My little Charmy has told me everything about you two," Bea murmured, "I can't thank you enough for taking such good care of him when I was unable to. I was lucky to have picked a great family for him."
"So then it was you who dropped him off at our cottage that night six years ago," Espio stated, remembering back to the stormy night.
Bea nodded. "My husband, before he was killed, made sure Charming and I escaped safely as the hornets made their invasion. But I had spotted them not far behind me. I was forced to drop him off for his own safety... It wasn't long afterwards when I was caught and brought back."
Vector grinned and placed his fists on his hips. "Well, all's well that ends well!" he announced as he roughly pat Espio on the back, "Oh, and it took six years, but... case closed! Right Espio?"
The chameleon crossed his arms. "I suppose so..."
Charmy buzzed up to his friend. "Yeah, why the long face?" he asked, "Everything worked out for the better!"
Bea smiled. "To show our appreciation for everything you have done for us, my son and I would love to invite you to a feast."
"Feast?" Vector's hungry eyes widened, as he practically began to drool already.
"If, of course, you don't mind helping us to prepare."
"No problemo!" Vector stuck out his chest and pounded it with a fist, "Nothin' Team Chaotix can't help ya with! S'long as there's food in the end."
"Of course!" Bea gleamed once more.
"Yaaaay!" Charmy danced in mid-air, "Party party party!"
The other workerbees were just as jolly over the idea of a feast and gave their cheers as well.
Everybody did their parts to help clear the hive of any remaining hornet trace, taking down Vespa's terrible taste in decor and cleaning up the dirt and grime that the hornets left behind. It would be a lengthy process, possibly would take months to a year for the colony to belong completely to the bees. For now, it was clear enough to prepare for the next day's feast, which in itself would take a day to put together. Tonight, Bea ordered rest for her people. They were only recently freed from the hornet queen's evil reign.
Knowing the entire colony would not be revamped in one night, Bea allowed herself to stay in her old bedroom, which Vespa had made her own after the takeover . It was a little disgusting sleeping in the bed of the hornet queen, but Bea pushed it to the back of her mind, deciding that it was many steps up from sleeping from the shackles of her dungeon cell.
Charmy was shown his bedroom from infancy. The hornets didn't even touch this room. Even his old hive-shaped crib was there which he was still capable of fitting in. However, he insisted he wasn't a baby anymore, and rather, gave puppy-dog eyes to his mother, pleading to sleep with her instead. How could Bea resist that little face? So Charmy slept snuggled in his mother's arms.
Vector didn't mind spending the night. He rather enjoyed the luxurious guest bed and snored the night away. Espio on the other hand, while he didn't mind the room he shared with the snoring croc, had trouble sleeping. There was too much on his mind... mainly things that were focused on his little bee friend, and the future of Team Chaotix. Not that he had the heart to bring up the topic. Charmy was too happy to be back with his mother in his old home, whilst Vector was blissfully ignorant of the situation. He'll bring it up later. Now would be a good time to just relax himself...
After some cleaning up, the bees and the guests set together a beautiful feast in celebration of their first full day of Honey Hive Colony being a free kingdom once more. Queen Bea took her rightful place on the throne, and Prince Charming was officially crowned next in line. Jiffy was welcomed as part of the family, as were Vector and Espio, who were graciously thanked once more for taking good care of Charmy, as well as their role for helping to free the colony.
The night was enjoyed away. The celebration lasted long past Charmy's bedtime, when even Vector and Espio had to retire for the night. Vector figured first thing tomorrow would be the best time to start the long walk home.
"Vector..." Espio started.
The large crocodile gave a yawn as big as him. "What's on yer mind, Espio?" he asked, "You seemed distracted all day. We were supposed to be celebratin', after all..."
"Hasn't any of this crossed your mind?"
"Any of what..?"
"Charmy... The Chaotix... All of this... Vector, I think we should really consider our future here."
"Our... future..?" Vector blinked, and turned away awkwardly, "Ohhhhh... Oh jeez, Esp... Listen, I'm really flattered and all, and I hope we can stay friends, but, I kinda don't swing that way..."
"I DIDN'T MEAN IT THAT WAY!" Espio snapped, "I meant our future as a team! "
"Oh! OHHHH!" Vector slapped his forehead, "Of course! That's what ya meant! I knew that! Hehehe... sorry..."
There was an annoyed silence between the two... before Espio muttered, "Disappointed?"
Espio sighed, "Listen, in all seriousness, what are we going to do? Are we really leaving Charmy here?"
"Charmy..?" Vector glanced downwards. He was so happy for Charmy finding his mother and his true home... he completely forgot about the bee's other home, with him and Espio.
"You didn't honestly expect to come here, help Charmy find his birthplace and mother, then just up and say, 'Time to go back'," Espio pressed on, "Vector, this is his home now... This..." the chameleon looked away, almost afraid to say it, "This may be the last time we see Charmy..."
Vector let out a low, long sigh before leaning back into his bed. "Poor kid..."
"Why do you say that?"
"If I didn't even think about it 'till now, what are the chances HE was thinkin' of it? It wouldn't be fair to put him in that predicament... It'll break his heart."
Espio laid down in his bed, pulling the sheets over, "This was what I was worried about... but in the end, we have to do what's best for Charmy."
The hive was getting cleaner and cleaner as each day passed. Espio and Vector could already see a brighter difference as they made their way to the dining area, where breakfast was served, and Bea and Charmy were sitting.
The young bee waved his friends over to where he sat. "Vector! Espio! Over here!"
The crocodile and chameleon joined their little friend. "Isn't this place great?" Charmy chimed, waving his fork full of pancakes in the air, "These guys make the most awesome foods! And because I'm a prince, whatever I ask for they give it to me right away! I bet if I tell them you're my friends, they'll give you whatever you want as well!"
Bea chuckled. "Now Charmy, sweetie, we musn't take advantage of our titles. The servants here are as human as you and I."
"It's tempting, kid," said Vector, "But y'should do what yer mom says."
"Okay..." Charmy moaned, but immediately chinned up and looked over, "So whattya wanna do today, guys?"
Both reptiles cringed and face faulted at each other. Charmy could sense something was up. "What's wrong?"
"You want to tell him..?" asked Vector.
"You tell him," said Espio, "You're the leader."
"Yeah..." Vector wiped a tear away, "But you won't burst into tears like I'm about to..."
Espio's eyes started to moist. "Who says I won't?"
"Okay, okay, I'll tell him..."
"Tell me what?" the child demanded.
Vector sucked in a big breath. "Look, Charmy, it's like this..." he sighed, "We really enjoyed having you on the team. You were annoying, sometimes, but you proved to be a great asset. But... now... it's time we left..."
"Left..?" Charmy looked over to his mother, "But... but... my momma!"
"When I say 'we' Charmy, I kinda mean me an' Espio..."
Charmy whipped his head back. "You and Espio? But what about me?!"
"Charmy," Espio stepped up, "You need to stay here. You're the prince of Honey Hive. This is your home now..."
"You mean... you mean..." Charmy whimpered, his eyes watering, "You don't want me anymore?!"
"No! Nooo!" Vector cried, "It's not that we don't want you! We do want you! But... you just belong here, okay?"
"No!" Charmy cried, "No! I belong with you! I'm a detective too, remember?!"
This was becoming harder. "Now, Charmy, you're staying here, you got me?!" Vector shouted, "That's final!"
"But... but... but..." Charmy sniffled, until he finally burst into tears, "But I don't wanna leave the Chaotiiiiiiiix! WAAAAAAAH!"
Vector couldn't take it anymore... and he too burst into tears. "WAAAH! I don't want you to leave eitheeeeer!" The two embraced tightly, bawling their eyes out.
Even Espio was having trouble keeping it together as he wiped away the tears from his eyes. "Charmy, this is for the better..." he wept, "We're only looking out for your best interest."
"But what about what_I_want?!" the bee cried.
Queen Bea approached Charmy, patting his head lightly. "What is it you want, dearest?"
"I..." Charmy sniffled, looking back from Vector to his mother. "I... want both of you! I wanna stay with Momma... But I don't wanna leave Team Chaotix!" He buried his face into Vector's chest as he continued to wail, "What do I do?!"
Vector lowered his head, "I... think you should stay, Charmy," he murmured, "This is yer momma we're talking about. We can't in good conscience take you away from your family."
"Nor can I do the same," spoke Bea.
The three turned to her direction. "Momma..?"
"My little Charmy..." Bea stroked her son's cheek, "How I love you... But it seems I'm not the only one who does. These detectives have raised you, taught you everything. I think you belong with them."
"What?" both Espio and Vector cried in unison.
"But Momma!" Charmy flew from Vector's arms to his mother's, "I don't wanna leave you either! Can't you move in with us?"
The queen shook her head. "My place is here, so that I may rule over our people. One day, Charmy, you will grow up to be king and take over my role..." she smiled, "Until then, it would be best if you stayed with the Chaotix."
"But your majesty," said Espio, "Are you sure? This is your son..."
"You've done so well to raise him," Bea smiled, "And he's learned so much in his short 6 years. He should continue to learn under your guidance the values that make a king, which includes loyalty, hard work, and love."
"You mean it?" Vector grinned.
Bea nodded. "My only requests are that you don't overwork him, and that he returns here on the weekends and during the summer. Think of it as a 'boarding program'."
"Fine by me!" Vector chimed, grabbing Charmy and swinging him around. "Hear that, kid? We don't hafta let you go after all!"
"Yaaay!" Charmy cheered.
"Welcome back, Charmy," Espio smiled and nodded.
A smile and a nod was not enough for Charmy. He extended his arm out to the chameleon. "Group hug!"
Espio sighed, "Very well." But he didn't seem to mind one bit as he stepped over and hugged his teammates, who returned the gesture.
Two days wasn't enough however for Charmy to spend reuniting with his mother, and he had asked Vector if he could stay a bit longer, to which Vector replied, "Boarding starts next month!"
So for the time being, it was only Espio and Vector. The end of the month seemed to take years, but eventually, a new month came, and Charmy returned to the team, much to the delight of his partners.
Things didn't change much, other than the fact that Charmy was a prince and could now receive the occasional donation whenever business was slow and money was tight. Despite the newfound riches, however, they never lost sight what was more valuable.
The super power of teamwork!
They were Team Chaotix forever!