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Chapter 6 - Fight for the Chaos Gauntlets

Knuckles battles mysterious new foes bent on stealing the Master Emerald!

Meanwhile, Punchy and Rainbow have discovered Rainbow's sister... But is she an enemy?

Chapter 6 - Fight for the Chaos Gauntlets

Chapter 6 - Fight for the Chaos Gauntlets
GeneX - Knuckles the Echidna
Chapter 6 - Fight for the Chaos Gauntlets
Boss 5 - Losohst Knights

Note: Sonic the Hedgehog and related characters are (c) SEGA and
Sonic Team. You knew that, right?
GeneX and related fanchars are (c) 2BIT (TheGreatGator), the author.

The story thus far:
While searching for the Covenant of Despair's stronghold, Tails's plane was shot down by Dr. Eggman! Tails and Knuckles were captured, and left with no choice but to search for the mysterious Chaos Gauntlets, hidden in a secret ruins near Blue Ridge Zone. After being led to the ruins by E-6X Freeze, Knuckles and Tails found Rouge the Bat, who was searching for the Chaos Gauntlets for the president! They learned from her that the gauntlets were sealed in a room which required three relics to open. Having lost track of Freeze, it was up to Tails and Knuckles to find the relics on their own. Near the first relic, they found Metal Sonic, who soon joined their search. As they located the second relic, they soon found themselves trapped by Lospirits and Chaos Guardians!
Now, on to the next chapter!

Knuckles glanced in both directions. The dead end they had reached was blocked by a few Lospirits, while the path they came from was teeming with the jellyfish-like Chaos Guardians. The ground was covered with slippery ice, but the enemies were airborne, so only Tails and Knuckles would slip. SPOT and Metal Sonic were unaffected by the ice, but there were too many enemies for them to fight alone. "How are we gonna get out of this, Knuckles?" Tails whimpered. The easiest direction to go would be through the Lospirits, but that direction led to the dead end. The Chaos Guardians would be impossible to pass safely, so Knuckles was left with only one option. "I'll get us outta this! Follow me, Tails!" he shouted, jumping towards the dead end! He landed on the ice, which was so slippery that he began sliding towards the wall at high speed! This, of course, was part of his plan. The ice carried him past the Lospirits fast enough to avoid them, and he used the momentum from the sliding to punch the wall with tremendous force! The old, weather-worn wall couldn't take such an impact, so Knuckles managed to punch a hole in the wall! "Quick, through here!" Knuckles shouted, leading the way as SPOT and Metal Sonic escaped through the hole. This left Tails, who decided he could never slide across the ice the way Knuckles did. So, as the Lospirits and the Chaos Guardians were closing in on him, Tails leapt into the air and began flying as high and as fast as he could! Luckily, the Lospirits were slow, so he could easily outfly them. In moments, he'd managed to fly over the wall and rejoined Knuckles and the others. "About time, Tails!" Knuckles grumbled, "While you were taking your time, your robot detected the third relic. Let's get going before those creatures follow us through the wall!" Tails picked up SPOT and examined the information on his monitor. "Right... We should go that way!" he said, pointing to the nearest turn in the maze. Already, the Lospirits were passing through the wall, so there was no time to waste! "That way it is! Try to keep up, Metal Sonic!" Knuckles said, running off ahead of the others!

Tails soon managed to pinpoint the location of the third relic using the information SPOT provided. It was atop a large pillar of ice that the ruins had been built around. Though they could see the pillar over the walls, they still had to navigate the maze in order to reach the pillar. As they were wandering the maze, someone was watching them from high above the ruins. It was Lospecter, and he was accompanied by the Lospirits that Knuckles and Tails had escaped from. Lospecter turned his attention away from Knuckles and glared at his minions. "Lospirits... More like LOSERspirits! What are you guys, frozen stiff? Seriously, I've never seen your kind move so slow." In his frustration, Lospecter picked up a card from his deck and hurled it at the Lospirits! It burst into flame and exploded, taking the Lospirits with it! With the destruction of one of the cards, a new card magically appeared at the bottom of the deck. "My regular lost minions don't have the kind of oomph I want right now... I guess I'll try my luck with the cards." he said to himself, pulling one of the gold-backed cards from his mysterious deck. "Ah... Lucky me! And if I have this right, the next card's the same! This should be fun!" He returned the card to the top of his deck and resumed watching Knuckles, Tails and Metal Sonic, who had nearly reached the ice pillar. Lospecter chuckled to himself as he thought about his plans. "Things sure have gotten interesting lately. With all those unlost dopes ignoring me, I get ringside seats to all kinds of hilarious shows. Only thing that bugs me is how... left out I've been. Well, they won't be ignoring me much longer... Heh heh heh heh..."

Meanwhile, someone else was also exploring the ruins. Katie, Chet and Tommy had gotten themselves lost while looking for Tails and Knuckles. "W-we should t-t-turn back! It's g-getting c-c-colder out here!" Tommy stammered. Katie kicked some snow in frustration. "My reporter's intuition told me to go this way! There ought to be SOMETHING worthwhile around here!" she growled. Chet sighed. "Maybe we should head back to the entrance and see if we bump into them on the way? Knuckles probably found whatever he came here for by now, with his experience. There's no sense wandering around lost anymore." he reasoned. Katie sighed in defeat. "You're right. Let's go..." As they started to turn around, however, they noticed a couple of Chaos Guardians had been following them! "EEEEEIIIIIYAAAAAAAHHHH!!!" They all shrieked and immediately started fleeing in panic, seemingly causing the guardians to grow more suspicious of them and begin to chase them more furiously! Soon, they reached a slippery, icy path, and started to slide along it like hockey pucks, bouncing along the walls since they had been caught off guard by the sudden change in traction! As Chet smacked into one of the walls hard, it flipped over, revealing a secret door leading inside the ruins! "Aha!! Chet, you're a genius!" Katie shouted, shakily changing her course and grabbing Tommy as she headed for the doorway! Chet rubbed his nose as he crawled in through the top of the flipped entrance. "Really? I actually feel like my IQ just dropped a few points..." he mumbled in pain. As the secret door slid shut behind them, the Chaos Guardians stopped their pursuit and looked around in confusion before resuming their usual patrols. "So... going to the entrance is out, huh?" Tommy sighed. Katie smirked excitedly. "I think we've hit the jackpot! Let's check this secret room out!" she said, rushing ahead of the others.

Tails and Knuckles looked up at the pillar of ice within the ruins in awe. "It's like a small mountain..." Knuckles said. "I wonder what made the people who built this place decide to build around this thing?" Tails wondered. Metal Sonic was tapping his foot on the ground impatiently, similar to the way the real Sonic would. "I guess Metal Sonic is trying to tell us that Eggman would want us to hurry up..." Tails said. Knuckles spied a ledge near the top of the ice pillar. "I don't suppose you could fly up there?" he asked Tails, who merely shook his head in response. "I thought not. Well, I'd better start climbing!" While Tails and Metal Sonic waited at the bottom of the pillar, Knuckles began climbing his way to the ledge where the relic was most likely located. Once Knuckles was about halfway there, things became dangerous once again. The Chaos Guardians had finally managed to track them down, and soon surrounded Tails and Metal Sonic! "Hurry up, Knuckles!!" Tails shouted as the guardians began to attack! The flailing tentacles of the guardians struck Tails and Metal Sonic quickly, but they were quick to recover. Metal Sonic began using the homing attack to attempt to keep the guardians at bay, while SPOT used its shield to protect Tails. With so many Chaos Guardians attacking, the shield didn't hold up long, and Tails and SPOT were both soon struck by the guardians' tentacles! "Aaaagh!! Leave me alone, you slimy creeps!" Tails yelled, using his large tails to block the attacks from the guardians. SPOT attempted to harm the creatures with laser blasts, but it proved useless. Making matters worse, Knuckles still hadn't reached the relic yet. "Hang in there guys! I'll get down there as soon as I can!" Knuckles shouted as he began climbing faster. "I'm trying..." Tails groaned, but he couldn't last much longer. After being hit a couple more times, Tails was knocked over, landing face-first in the snow! As he fell, he dropped everything he'd been carrying, including his Tailband of Chaos! However, as the tailband hit the ground, the Chaos Guardians looked down at it and immediately stopped moving!

Knuckles, noticing that it had become quiet down below, glanced down to see that the Chaos Guardians had stopped moving. "Huh? What happened to them?" he wondered. Remembering the relic, Knuckles resumed his climb and reached the ledge, where the final relic was waiting. "Got it. Now I'd better see if Tails is all right..." Rather than climb back down, Knuckles glided in circles until he was close enough to the ground to drop down. Tails was already back on his feet, but was resting against the wall. "That was close... I wonder why those creatures stopped attacking?" he wondered. Metal Sonic reached down and picked up the tailband, which Knuckles quickly snatched out of his hands. "Eggman won't be needing this!" he said, handing it back to Tails. With the tailband in his hands again, Tails came to a realization. "Maybe they stopped because of the tailband. Come to think of it... I saw these things in the shrine where I got the tailband!" he said. Knuckles picked up the relics that Tails had dropped and began walking towards the direction of the door to the Chaos Gauntlets slowly. "I don't know what these creatures' connection to the tailband is, but I suggest you keep that where they can see it until we get out of here!" he suggested. Tails began following Knuckles, aiming the tailband around like a weapon. "Easy, creatures... I have this tailband, and I kinda know how to use it!" he muttered. Metal Sonic glanced around at the unmoving Chaos Guardians for a moment, and then ran off into the maze on his own. "Where's he goin'?" Knuckles wondered. Tails shrugged. "Maybe he's spooked by those creatures... If robots can be spooked, that is." he said. Suddenly, SPOT ran off in the direction Metal Sonic had been going! "Hey, wait up, SPOT!" Tails shouted. "Ha ha ha! I get it! Those robots are having a race to get to the door! Sonic never changes, robot or not!" Knuckles laughed. Tails began running ahead next. "Last one to the door's a rotten Eggman!" he chuckled. Knuckles looked confused for a second before running off as well. "Wait a minute here! I'm the one with the relics!! You can't leave me behind!!"

Regardless of what order the others reached the door, it was indisputable that Knuckles was the last to arrive. In fact, it had taken him a good while to find the door, since he'd gotten lost in the maze. "Thanks for helping me find the way back here, GUYS!!" Knuckles yelled upon catching up. "Heh... Sorry, Knuckles..." Tails said, taking the relics from him and placing them into the indentations on the door. Once they were all in place, they started glowing! Seconds later, the door began glowing as well! "Oh, wow!" Tails gasped. In a moment, the glowing ceased, and the door slid open! "Great! Now let's go find those gauntlets!" Knuckles grinned, running into the building first! "Last one there's an ice cube!" he said, prompting the others to run in quickly! As they disappeared into the building, Rouge the bat dropped down from the sky. "No wonder I can't find any of those relics... They already found 'em! Hmph, if my wings weren't frozen stiff, I'd have found them first!" she scoffed. As she peered into the dark building, she held up the walkie talkie she was carrying. "Shadow, come in. This is Rouge... Shadow? Hello!? Darn it..." The only response Rouge was getting was static, meaning that the walkie talkie was useless. "Figures I can't get in touch with him when I need him. I guess I'd better find him fast, before Knuckles leaves!" As she began flying off, Lospecter peered out at her from behind a corner. "Shadow, eh? Heh, how interesting. Too bad I can't wait for them to get back. The fun's starting now, and I don't wanna miss it!"

Beyond the entrance hallway was a room covered in frost. Large support columns could be seen by each corner of the room, and the walls were covered with hieroglyphics similar to the ones on the mural in the Chaos Shrine. Knuckles, Tails, and Metal Sonic spotted the Chaos Gauntlets right away upon entering the chamber. They were sitting on a pedestal in the center of the room. Knuckles was the first to approach the pedestal. The gauntlets on the pedestal were made of solid gold, except for red gems on the wrist part and on two "knuckles" each. The back of the gauntlets were decorated with patterns similar to those covering the Tailbands of Chaos. "Fancy gloves... These must be it!" Knuckles realized, picking up the gauntlets. Tails walked over and held out his tailband, comparing it to the gauntlets. "Wow! They look like they were made the same way!" he observed. Knuckles frowned with disinterest. "Yeah, yeah, they're similar. Now let's get these back to Eggman's base and see if he keeps his end of the deal!" he suggested. Tails put away his tailband and looked around the room. "Hold on, Knuckles... There's something weird about this place..." he said with suspicion. Knuckles crossed his arms. "Like what?" he asked. Suddenly, a terrible scream was heard from further inside the building! "Like that! That scream came from back there!" Tails shouted, pointing to an exit behind the pedestal. "Let's check it out!" Knuckles said, leading the way as Tails and Metal Sonic followed him into the next room. This room was nearly identical to the room that contained the Chaos Gauntlets, but instead of a pedestal in the center of the room, there was a golden throne at the back of the room! Tommy and Katie were in the room, hiding behind Chet, who was staring up at a figure standing on the throne. It was Shadow Chaos! "Tommy!? What are you doing here!?" Tails asked in confusion. Tommy turned to Tails and shrugged. "It wasn't my idea!" he said. Knuckles looked around the room. "I don't get it... How did these guys get in here!? The only way in was through the relic door!" he realized. Shadow Chaos was glaring at everyone in the room. "What's that thing!? It looks like Chaos!" Tails said. Katie turned to Tails and Knuckles and explained the situation. "Sorry about this. It was my idea to follow you. But we got lost and ended up in here somehow." she said apologetically. "And now this monster's giving us the evil eye... Good going, Katie." Chet growled. Knuckles grinned at Shadow Chaos. "Aw, don't worry about that thing! I can handle it!" he assured them. Suddenly, another voice came from above! "You can't handle anything now! 'Cuz I'm here!" Lospecter dropped down between Knuckles, Tails, Metal Sonic, and the others, waving at Tails. "Hi, there, fox boy! Taken any good quizzes lately?" he asked. Tails thought back and realized what he was referring to. "Quizzes...? Oh! Lospecter!" he gasped. Knuckles had forgotten Lospecter, but it was obvious that he wasn't there to be helpful. "What do you want, ghost!?" he demanded. Before Lospecter could answer, Shadow Chaos jumped down from the throne and punched Chet! Chet wasn't hit hard, but had been caught by surprise. "Hey! No fair!" he yelled. "Shoot! That creature's getting cranky!" Knuckles said, attempting to pass Lospecter, who pushed Knuckles back. "Outta my way, ghost!" he shouted. Lospecter drew two cards from his mysterious deck. "Let's see what my cards have to say about that! Read 'em and weep!" He threw the cards into the air, and started laughing as the cards became engulfed in shadows. From the shadows, two Losohsts emerged, but something was different about them. The hooded and cloaked creatures were wearing silver armor over their cloaks, and large silver helmets on their heads. Each of them held a large sword and a silver shield! "M-more ghosts!?" Tails stammered, worried. Knuckles was feeling too impatient for this. "OUT OF MY WAY!!!" he yelled. "Don't worry about us, you guys! I'll handle this creature!" Chet said, preparing to fight Shadow Chaos. Lospecter chuckled at this. "Yeah, sure he will. OK, Losohst Knights, try to get those fancy gloves from them!" Lospecter commanded. Knuckles held up the Chaos Gauntlets. "Oh, yeah? You want these? Maybe I should test them out on you!" Knuckles threatened. Tails shook his head. "Bad idea, Knuckles! You don't know what they can do! The results could be disastrous!" he warned. Knuckles glanced at Tails. "Disastrous? Oh, fine.... I don't need 'em anyway!" he muttered, tossing them to Tails. "Bring it on, ghosts!"

As the fights began, Tails called to SPOT, who had been quietly watching behind them. "This could get crazy, SPOT. Go protect Tommy and that coyote!" he said. While Chet began fighting Shadow Chaos using his claws, Knuckles and Metal Sonic stepped forward to challenge the Losohst Knights! The knights attacked first, swinging their swords at Knuckles and Metal Sonic, who both dodged. Knuckles attempted to punch the Losohst, but it quickly blocked with its shield and countered with its sword, which Knuckles had to jump to avoid! Meanwhile, Metal Sonic used the homing attack on the Losohst, but it countered by smacking him away with its sword! Luckily, Metal Sonic's metal body was hard enough that the sword could not slice him, but the sword did make an effective bat, knocking the robot away and leaving Knuckles alone with the two knights for the moment! "Look out, Knuckles!" Tails shouted, running over to help. However, Lospecter blocked his path! "Hand over the gold and I'll get out of your way." he said. Tails attempted to tail whip Lospecter, but the attack just went right through him! "Hee heh, that tickles! Now, c'mon, give me the gauntlets!" he insisted. Meanwhile, Knuckles was busy dodging the attacks of the Losohst Knights. As the knights backed him to a wall, Metal Sonic arrived. The robot was holding its laser again, and fired at the nearest Losohst! The shot bounced off its armor, but got its attention! Knuckles took this chance to run away from the wall so he'd have more room to fight. "We've gotta get through that armor somehow!" he realized. Metal Sonic nodded in agreement, and fired its laser at the Losohst's face, forcing it to raise its shield in defense! This gave Metal Sonic a chance to get close, but the knight quickly recovered and swiped its sword at Metal Sonic! The robot caught the sword in its hands, and struggled to push the blade away. Meanwhile, Knuckles dodged another attack by the other knight and punched it with all his might! Unfortunately, even with all Knuckles's strength, he barely managed to crack the armor. "This isn't working..." he growled. Suddenly, Metal Sonic managed to overpower the other Losohst and pulled away its sword! Before the knight could try to recover it, Metal Sonic thrusted the blade into the creature's hood! The Losohst let out a sharp shriek before bursting into blue flames and vanishing! Tails jumped excitedly upon seeing this. "All right! You're a genius, Metal Sonic!" he cheered. Knuckles backed away from the knight he was fighting and reached out his hand in Metal Sonic's direction. "Toss that sword here!" he yelled. Metal Sonic hurled the sword, which Knuckles jumped away from rather than catching. "Yikes! I should've asked him to bring it to me!" he muttered. The Losohst Knight attempted to stab Knuckles before he could grab the sword, but Knuckles dove out of the way and snatched the blade! He then spun around and parried the knight's next attack before hurling the blade into the Losohst's unseeable face! Once again, the Lost One burst into ghost fire and faded, but this time took the swords with it!

Lospecter let out an angry scream once his knights were defeated. "My knights!! My cool, silvery knights!! That was the best couple cards I've seen in days!!" he yelled. Meanwhile, Chet's attacks against Shadow Chaos had apparently irritated it, for it had started making snarling noises! "OK, that creature looks mad. Let's go stop it!" Knuckles said, glancing at Tails and Metal Sonic. Lospecter grinned at him. "Stop it? Ha ha ha, right! I'd like to see you try! But, I've wasted enough time here. So long!" With that, Lospecter flew out of the building through the roof. With him out of the way, Knuckles, Tails, and Metal Sonic began approaching Shadow Chaos. "Hey, you! Sludge monster!" Knuckles shouted. Shadow Chaos hopped back onto the throne, and then waved its hand, sending a dark shockwave throughout the room! The shockwave hit everyone, and sent them all flying backwards! Knuckles was knocked the furthest away, and landed between the gauntlets' room and the room with Shadow Chaos. Knuckles slowly climbed to his feet. "That was intense... I'd better get back in there, fast!"

Knuckles barged back into the room while everyone else was still recovering from Shadow Chaos's attack. "What's the big idea!?" Knuckles shouted to the creature. Shadow Chaos remained perfectly still while Tails and Metal Sonic joined Knuckles. "What a weird creature... A black version of Chaos!" Tails said. "Well, aren't you the master of the obvious!" said a voice at the entrance to the room! Rouge the bat flew in and landed next to Knuckles. Katie watched from the back of the room, and couldn't help making an observation. "Get a load of her. Got enough makeup, batsy?" she said. Rouge didn't even look at her. "I'll pretend I didn't hear that." she muttered. With the appearance of Rouge in the room, Shadow Chaos began snarling again. "Oh, great. It's getting that angry look again. Brace yourselves!" Knuckles shouted. As Shadow Chaos raised its arm to attack again, another voice was heard in the room. "Chaos Control!!" In a flash of light, Shadow the Hedgehog appeared in front of Shadow Chaos, startling it along with everyone except Rouge! "Holy smokes! It's Shadow the Hedgehog!" Chet said in awe. Shadow Chaos looked a little confused, but still angry. "Hmph.... Chaos... Blast!!" Shadow caused a chaotic explosion, which knocked over the throne, and Shadow Chaos along with it! The creature was quick to recover, but decided it had had enough, and quickly dashed past everyone and out of the room! "Heh... Cowardly creature. Well, thanks for saving me the trouble, Shadow!" Knuckles said. Rouge chuckled as she walked over to Shadow's side. "Aw, come on, Knuckles. We both know you didn't stand a chance!" she said. "What was that!?" Knuckles growled. Shadow glanced back over his shoulder at Knuckles. ".....I'm not even gonna ask what you're doing with Metal Sonic... Hand over the Chaos Gauntlets!" he ordered. Tommy looked confused. "What's going on? I thought all you guys were friends...." he said. Shadow turned around and grinned. "Come on, Knuckles. Set a good example for the kid and hand it over." he said. Knuckles glared at Shadow with disbelief. "What!? No way! We got to them first!" he protested. Tails attempted to keep the peace. "Why don't we share them? I mean, do we really need both?" he suggested. Rouge rolled her eyes at him. "Yeeeees, we do!" she said. Metal Sonic stepped forward and beeped at Shadow threateningly. Shadow grew angry at this. "We're taking both of them! Even if I have to beat them out of you!" he warned. Suddenly, a blast of ice was fired at Shadow from the entrance to the room! Shadow jumped back hastily. "What the!? Who did that!?" he yelled. The Gizoid, Freeze, approached Shadow with a very unpleasant demeanor. "The Chaos Gauntlets belong to Dr. Eggman now. Stand down, or I will put you on ice." he threatened. Tails tapped Knuckles on the shoulder while Shadow was distracted. "Uh, I hate to leave Shadow alone with Freeze... But I think we'd better go!" he said. Knuckles nodded. "You're right, Tails! Let's get moving!" he said, turning to Tommy, Chet, and Katie, "I suggest you and your friends get going, too, Tommy!" While Freeze and Shadow were exchanging insults, Knuckles led the others into the gauntlets' room. As they reached the hallway leading out, Sergeant Drol appeared in their path! "Outta my way!" Knuckles said. Drol stood firm. "I am Sgt. Drol of GUN, and I demand to know what you're doing here!" he said. Knuckles sighed in frustration. "Ask Shadow! So long!" he said quickly before pushing past Drol, followed by the others. Drol was shocked at this lack of respect. "What? Stop! You fool! I'll make you regret ignoring me!" he yelled, though no one was listening. Outside, Knuckles and company began heading for Station Square, when Knuckles was suddenly stopped by the sudden appearance of a ball of pink light! "What the... That light!?" As the light touched him, it flashed brightly, blinding him! "Agh!! Not now!!" Knuckles groaned.

Once Knuckles's sight returned, he found himself standing before the Master Emerald shrine. A quick look around made him realize that this was the Angel Island of the past. "This again... I thought I was through with this." Knuckles thought as he wandered towards the shrine. Chao were gathered at the bottom of the shrine's steps, and were gazing up at someone. The shrine was in ruins, and the Chaos Emeralds were gone. Yet, standing at the top of the steps was Tikal the Echidna! The Chao made some concerned sounds as they called out to her. Hearing this, Tikal started down the steps of the shrine. "Don't worry friends. I'm still here!" she said reassuringly. Suddenly, as she neared the bottom of the steps, she recoiled in pain. "Wh-what... Ah!?" She held up her hand and noticed that she could see through it! She backed up the stairs a bit, frightened, and as she did, her body returned to normal. "What happened? That was very strange... Like I was fading away! I feel... I feel as though I can no longer leave the Master Emerald!" As Tikal pondered this, some echidnas approached the Master Emerald shrine! Knuckles hid behind the shrine as they approached, and watched them from the shadows. One of the echidnas was a yellow female, wearing a small orange shirt, brown pants, and a red headband with blue at the front. Her headband held her multicolored quills up, and she had green eyes. The other echidna, who was in front of her, looked astonishingly similar to Knuckles! In fact, they seemed nearly identical! This echidna reached the stairs of the shrine first, and gasped upon seeing someone there. "Princess Tikal!" he shouted with relief. Tikal looked relieved to see them as well. "Oh... Survivors! I am glad all were not destroyed!" she said happily. The red echidna smiled. "We never expected to find anyone here, either. What happened last night?" he asked. Tikal hesitated to reply. "Well.... It's hard for me to speak of..." she said. The red echidna nodded in understanding. "Take your time. You are among friends. My name is Athair. And my friend here is Radia. She is of the Raisol Clan." he said. Radia bowed politely to Tikal. "I came to investigate the roars and screams heard in this area. You... you are not injured?" she asked. Tikal shook her head. "Um.... No. But I can't leave here. I can't explain why." she said. Radia stepped past Athair and approached Tikal. "Excuse me... I am curious about something..." she said, raising her hand to Tikal and shutting her eyes. Tikal was confused. "What is it?" she asked. When Radia opened her eyes, she looked shocked. "I cannot sense your heart... How can this be?" she gasped, backing down the steps. Athair sat beside some Chao and looked up at Tikal. "It would seem we have much to discuss. Tikal... Your majesty. Please, share your story with us." he requested. At this point, the vision began to fade, and Knuckles found himself looking at Tails. They were back in Station Square. "Knuckles! You're awake!" Tails said, relieved, "I had to drag you out here. I sent SPOT to Troblusk City with the Chaos Gauntlets. I lost track of Metal Sonic." Knuckles rubbed his head and looked around. "Sorry, Tails... I'm not sure what came over me...." he muttered. Tails grabbed Knuckles by the arm and started leading him away. "Never mind that! Let's get back to Eggman's Base!" he said. As Knuckles followed Tails to the train station, he thought about the vision he'd seen. "Tikal... What are you trying to tell me?" he wondered.

To be continued...


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