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Chapter 17 - The Trials of Sandopolis

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 17 - The Trials of Sandopolis

Chapter 17 - The Trials of Sandopolis
GeneX - Knuckles the Echidna
Chapter 17 - The Trials of Sandopolis
Stage 11-12(Hero & Dark 6) - Molten Sands

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:
After escaping from Super Eggman Land, Sonic encountered Knuckles. Believing him to have been tricked by Eggman yet again, they inevitably got into a fight, which led Sonic to get captured! While Knuckles is busy trying to come up with a plan, Sonic is trapped in a "special cell!"
Meanwhile, Kosmo and Copter went on a mission to get the Chaos Boots from Eggman's Cloud Carnival. During the chaos of the battle to get the boots, Katie the Coyote was shot! While Basker made off with the boots and dragged Chet off with him, Copter enlisted the help of Gemini and Silver in attempting to save Katie's life!
Now, on to the next chapter!

Kosmo met up with Silver outside the hospital in Station Square. "Well, she made it to the doctor... I guess she'll be resting for a while." Silver said. Kosmo nodded. "Yeah..." he murmured. Silver looked around anxiously. "I'd better go after those guys now. They got away with the Chaos Boots, and I have to see if I can throw a wrench in their plans!" he said, hurrying on his way! "Huh??" Kosmo muttered, watching him go. "Didn't he know I was one of them? Why is he letting me go?" he wondered. Not really wanting to dwell on it, he thought for a bit about what to do now. Though he would surely be wanted back at Despair HQ, he decided to check in with Katie.

He found her in a hospital bed, bandaged up and connected to IV drips. Copter and Gemini were standing at her bedside with worried expressions. "Katie... please be okay..." Copter whispered. The doctor looked at them sympathetically. "I've done what I can. It's up to her now." he said. Kosmo looked at the human doctor awkwardly. "Think a human's qualified to treat a fur?" he wondered. Noticing him, Gemini stepped past Copter and pulled out her wand threateningly. "What are YOU doing here?! Go on, beat it you creepy monster!" she growled. "WHAT!?" Kosmo snarled. Copter quickly planted himself between them. "Hey, both of you! This is a hospital!" he snapped. Gemini glared at him. "Copter, how can you hang around him? After he tried to destroy the whole world before!" she shouted. Copter gulped and turned to Gemini, motioning frantically for her to silence. "Ix-nay!" he said. Kosmo growled softly. "Well, you're still here, aren't you? Did you think I was still all crazed?!" he growled. Gemini looked startled, like she'd never even thought of that. "You feel that way, too, don't you Copter?? I see how it is. All anyone sees when they look at me is a monster!" Kosmo yelled. This got the doctor's attention. "Sir, I'm afraid I'll have to ask you to leave. Undue stress could slow the coyote's recovery." he said. Kosmo looked around the room, and started to run off. "You... I don't need any of you!!" he cried. "Kosmo!!" Copter yelled before turning to Gemini angrily, "Gemini, you dope! I've been keeping an eye on him, not palling around with him!" he snapped. Gemini looked pale and gasped after hearing this. "Teacher, what have I done?" she thought.

Kosmo had tears in his yellow eyes as he exited the hospital. "I don't... need..." he stammered. "Troubled?" someone called out to him. It was a strange, yellow creature with a blue streak going down the center of her head, as well as blue hair hanging behind her head as well. She wore a light green sleeveless top, burgundy pants and had a forked tail with a band of blue fur ringing near the tip of each end. She had pink eyes and white and light green shoes. Kosmo just wiped his eyes and kept walking. "Go on! I don't need anyone else bothering me!" he grumbled. "I saw what happened at the carnival. They all say really nasty things about you, but... You really worried about her, didn't you?" the odd creature said. Kosmo stopped walking. "Are you spying on me, too?" he asked. Actually, I was sent to keep an eye on GUN. I've learned quite a bit about that snake Drol's activities." she said. Kosmo turned to face her. "GUN? Yeah, right! Unless... You're with the Covenant of Despair..." he murmured, "Looking at you...\. I've never seen your kind before. You strike me as one of HIS experiments!" he realized. "Perhaps we have a bit in common. We're both... unique." the stranger said. "You mean freaks..." Kosmo grunted. The stranger looked a bit angry. "THEY call us freaks! Those who just don't get it... My name's Carrie." she sighed. Kosmo's expression softened a little. "Why did you come here?" he asked. "You looked like a lost soul... I... can relate." Carrie said, "If you seek some truth, try Angel Island in the Mystic Ruins. There's a place there that's important to both GUN and the Covenant of Despair." she whispered. Kosmo smirked a little. "This your way of asking for help 'keeping an eye' on things?" he wondered. "Hoping to see you again, maybe..." Carrie said, walking away. Kosmo thought about it for a moment, then started on his way to the train station. His route unwittingly took him past the entrance to the Hidden Ruins, which Rainbow was on her way home to. "Maybe I shouldn't have shouted at One like that. I'll never find my sister without..." she was muttering as she caught a glimpse of Kosmo through the corner of her eye. "Wait! I'd know that shade of purpley fur anywhere! It's Viola!" she gasped. Just like that, she started to follow in the direction Kosmo had gone...

In the basement of Eggman's Eggtopia base, Sonic's teeth were chattering in the frigid cell that he'd been thrown into. An energy field generated by the cyan Chaos Emerald was keeping him stuck in the cell. Sleeping in a chair in the corner of the cell was Professor Pickle, another prisoner of Eggman. As a security measure, Jolt was standing guard outside the cell. "Can't you at least turn up the heat?" Sonic whined. "No way! I'm going nowhere! I'm not gonna let any more prisoners escape!" Jolt said. Suddenly, BAS started blaring. "Intruder alert!!" As everyone's attention turned to the stairway, they could hear Metal Eggman's voice from above. "Hey, it's just... NO!!! Wait!! What are you doing!? STOOOOOOP!!!" A loud thud followed the robot's screams. "What's all that racket?" Sonic wondered. They then heard Spiny's voice at the top of the steps. "Hey, you!! You got a death wish!?" he growled. "DO YOU!? GET OUTTA MY WAY, YOU FAKE SONIC!!!!" With this shout from Amy, Spiny soon came tumbling down the stairs! Amy followed him down and smacked him with her hammer, sending him soaring to the back wall, out of the way! "WAAAAAAAAAAHHH!!!!" Spiny wailed before collapsing, unconscious. Jolt watched in horror as Amy stomped her way in. "Spiny? Metal Eggman??" he murmured. "Who dares stand between me and my Sonic!?" Amy growled. Jolt started to buzz with electricity. "Hehehe, go ahead and touch me! You'll get a terrible shock!" he warned. Suddenly, SPOT dashed down the stairs and stood beside Amy. "Eggman robot detected! Preparing for battle mode!!" his monitor read. "N-n-nice doggy..." Jolt stammered as SPOT started charging his lasers. SPOT then started to chase him. "Save me, Sonic!!" Jolt shouted as he fled up the stairs. Next, Tails came down the steps while Sonic was telling Amy that the chaos energy shield would only repel her hammer. "Hang on, Sonic!" Tails said. "Go away, Tails! The power of my love will save Sonic!" Amy protested. "How?" Tails asked. "Umm... It just will! So stand back!" Amy shouted. Tails looked up at the cell and saw the emerald plugged into a socket near the ceiling. So, he pulled out a new gadget to take care of the situation. "Activating Chaos Emerald magnet!" he said, using the high powered magnet to pull the emerald down! Meanwhile, Amy tried her hammer anyway, just as the energy field vanished! "Huh? I did it! I did it! Now we'll ride off into the sunset and get married!" she cheered, running into the cell and throwing her arms around Sonic tightly! "Arrgh!! Stop!! Let me go!!" Sonic gasped. "So, we're finally free to leave this drafty cell?" said Professor Pickle, standing up. Tails stared at him in confusion. "Huh? What are you doing here, professor?" he asked.

They hurried up the stairs while Spiny was still unconscious. "Dr. Eggman was interested in the research I was doing into the Chaos Relics." Pickle explained. "Huh? What're Chaos Relics?" Sonic asked. "They're ancient artifacts that were created a long, long time ago. I'd better gather my research notes before I go. Now where did Eggman stash them...?" the professor muttered, looking around. Metal Eggman was sprawled on the floor, looking rather dizzy. "My metal moustache! Y-you'll... pay for... thizzzz..." he buzzed. "Here they are! My notes on the Chaos Relics. The gauntlets. The boots. The cards. The wing. The tailbands..." Pickle mumbled. "The tailbands!?" Tails gasped. Pickle nodded. "Yes, the Chaos Tailbands. Tails, I believe you're the only one who could use them." he said. Amy sighed. "Aw, that's old news! What's Eggman want with the others?" she asked. "I'm not entirely sure he wants them for himself... The Covenant of Despair is also after them." Pickle explained. Sonic shrugged. "Well, we'd better get to 'em first, I guess! Where are they?" he asked. "They were hidden throughout the world. My research was about to take me to the ruins of Sandopolis when Eggman kidnapped me." Pickle stated. Tails nodded. "Sandopolis? So, we need to go to Angel Island." he reasoned. "Quite right, Tails! Those old echidna ruins are housing an ancient secret about the Chaos Relics, by my reckoning!" Pickle smiled. "Then we'd better hurry on over there! Before Metal Eggman wakes up!" Sonic said. "I HATE that hedge-hog! Bzzzzzzzzt... Sniii-iiii-vl-yyyy-yyyy!!" the robo-Eggman babbled as Sonic, Tails, Amy and Professor Pickle exited the base, followed by SPOT, who was finished chasing Jolt around now. Once they were gone, Ridley the Coati emerged from a hidden door. "Did you hear that, Metal Eggman? They're off to Angel Island." he muttered. "Scratch! Grrrrrounder! Behooooold! My latest brrrrilliant scheme!" Metal Eggman mumbled. "So, you're saying it's up to me to follow them? Very well, sir. I understand there's no time to properly report this to the real Eggman." Ridley mused, heading on his way.

Kosmo had gone to Angel Island, and found his way to a crossroads in the mountainous region of the island. There, he discovered Fera, Zeke, and Vortex facing off against Dr. Nammad, Agent 64, and a number of GUN robots! "Looks like Carrie was right." he mused as he approached Fera. "Kosmo! Good timing!" Fera said, focusing her attention on Dr. Nammad. "You're hopelessly outmatched, humans! Lay down your arms!" she warned. "What should we do, doc?" Agent 64 asked with concern. Nammad seemed deep in thought. "I don't, uh, really want to waste perfectly good uh, ammunition so, uh, quickly..." he muttered. Just then, Silver jumped down from a ledge on a nearby cliff, landing between GUN and Despair! "Stop! I won't let you get away, Covenant of Despair!" he shouted. Zeke groaned upon seeing Silver, but otherwise kept his mouth shut. Fera glanced at Kosmo. "Take care of him." she ordered. Kosmo was hesitant, but he called out to Silver. "Hey, you!" Silver stepped towards Kosmo and frowned. "Not now! Can't you see I'm busy here!" he said. Kosmo was about to say something in response, when Rainbow came up behind him! "Viola!! I found you! Now..." As Kosmo turned around, Rainbow stopped short. "Oh, wait, you're not Viola... EEEEK!! Three!!" she screeched! "Owww!! My ears!!" Kosmo growled. Dr. Nammad was watching this and looked bored. "Maybe we should, uh, retreat during this diversion." he muttered. "Kosssmo issss taking too long! Let'sss do ssssomething!" Vortex hissed. Fera rolled her eyes and jumped at Silver, knocking him aside with a darkness-charged kick! He was surprised, and tumbled into the nearby cliff wall! Meanwhile, Kosmo was herding Rainbow away from Despair a bit. "Go away!! Don't eat me! I didn't mean to bother you, mister freak!" Rainbow stammered. "SHHH! It's dangerous here." Kosmo whispered, ignoring anything she was saying. "...huh???" Rainbow gasped. "Oh, all right! Get that, uh, Beetle up here! I'll show them how I, uh, modified it." Nammad said. At that moment, things were about to get even dicier, as Sonic and company arrived!

"Huh? Wha? Hey, it's crowded up here!" Sonic observed. "Oh. Uh... It's, uh, Sonic the hedgehog. Just like Col. Gunner, uh, said." Nammad mumbled. "Hold that thought!" Sonic said quickly, dashing straight for Kosmo! "KOSMO!!! What are you scheming!?" he shouted. "Are you... with the Covenant of Despair?" Tails asked. Silver stood up shakily and looked at Sonic in shock. "Guys! You're ignoring the real threat!" he yelled. Fera noticed Professor Pickle with Sonic's group and glared at him. "Sonic... You brought a human here. You're against us!" she snarled. Kosmo gulped. "This isn't going to end well at this rate." he muttered, morphing into gargoyle form quickly and lifting Rainbow into his arms. "Hey, huh?!" she gasped. "All right, flying out! Let's go before they make a mess!" Kosmo said, taking to the sky! "Wait!! Three, lemme go! Take me back!! I gotta find my siiiiister!!!" Rainbow protested. Tails gasped. "He... He's kidnapping that girl!? SPOT, do something!!" he shouted. SPOT flew after Kosmo and fired some laser blasts, but they simply struck the cliff and caused a rock slide, blocking anyone from pursuing Kosmo! "Enough! These delays are getting on my nerves!" Fera growled. "I, uh, quite agree!" Nammad added. Silver decided there was just one solution. "Sonic! Let's team up!" he suggested. "I'm afraid you're all, uh, too late." Nammad said as a simple GUN beetle flew in front of him. "Huh? That's just a little baby-bot. I can take those without a hammer." Amy remarked. "You'd be wise not to underestimate Dr. Nammad!" Agent 64 warned. Nammad smirked. "OK, little uh, Beetle. Use Chaos Avalanche." he said. "Do what now!?" Sonic gasped. "I'd take cover! This area isn't stable enough for that!" Pickle warned. The robot started to glow, and the cliff started to shake as rocks started tumbling from above! "Yikes! I'd better move while the getting's good..." Silver said, rushing off in the direction Kosmo had gone. With the modified beetle tearing the cliffside apart, Fera quickly gave up on trying to fight Nammad as well, and hopped on Zeke's back to escape instead. Sonic and the others were forced to scatter, while Nammad and Agent 64 slipped out in the confusion.

Sonic wore a grouchy frown as he found himself carrying Professor Pickle to the desert region of Sandopolis. They soon met up with Tails, Amy and SPOT, who had beaten them to the desert due to Sonic's efforts to make sure the professor made it through the avalanche safely. Shadow and Omega were there as well. "Ah, here comes Sonic now..." Shadow muttered. "Sonic! Why won't you ever carry me like that!?" Amy pouted. Sonic put down the professor and shot everyone a dirty look. "Sorry to trouble you, Sonic..." Pickle muttered, "Ivan Nammad was never this cheeky when he was my student." he said. Tails chuckled softly. "Wow, professor... I had no idea..." he sighed. Shadow crossed his arms impatiently. "So, what's this nature walk you got organized, Sonic?" he asked. "We're going to check out the Chaos Relic ruins! Or something..." Sonic said. "The pyramid. We must go to the pyramid." Pickle stated. Omega pointed into the desert. "Eggman robots and Despair agents are ahead. We came to investigate." he reported. Sonic smirked. "Think Eggman and Despair are playing nice after Anubis blew up that digital castle?" he wondered. Shadow shrugged. "Let's just get moving. Obviously, the action's at this pyramid." he said. Tails turned to Amy. "We'll go on ahead! You watch the professor, Amy!" he suggested. "Hey! I wanna go with Sonic!" Amy protested, "Make Omega watch the professor! He's the slowest!" she snapped. "At least I can handle undersea navigation." Omega said. "Excuse us for needing to BREATHE!!" Amy growled. "...huh?" Sonic and Tails said at once. Shadow started to leave without them, so Sonic, Tails and Omega quickly took off after him! "Stay with Amy, SPOT!" Tails shouted. As they ran, they could see a metallic blue figure in the direction of the pyramid. "...Metal Sonic!?" Sonic gasped. The robot spotted them, and emitted an angry buzzing noise, prompting several spiky sandworm robots to leap out from beneath the sands and start soaring towards them! "At last, Eggman's robots! Prepare for obliteration!" Omega said. "Errr, yeah. Great, Omega." Sonic sighed.

Kosmo had descended into a cave to escape the dangers above. However, now they found themselves in a cavern of bubbling lava and weak rock walls and floors. They were in Lava Reef Zone. Rainbow backed away a bit once Kosmo put her down. "Well, ha ha... This has been fun, Three, but I better get looking for my sister, now..." she stammered. "Your sister? Why would she be here? ...Is she with the Covenant of Despair?" Kosmo asked. Rainbow stopped backing away and stared at him. "Huh? You care??" she murmured. "Wait up, Kosmo! We need to talk!" shouted Silver as he dropped down into the cavern after them! Kosmo turned toward him defensively. "Hold up, Silver! FERA hit you!" he shouted. Silver looked at him strangely. "Huh? I know. I'm here to work on stopping the Covenant of Despair's plans." he said, "If you're not exactly with them... would you consider helping me stop them?" he wondered. Rainbow looked at him with awe. "Umm... Aren't you scared of him, Shiny?" she asked. "Why would I be?" Silver asked. Kosmo was surprised as well. "You really aren't scared of me? Not even a little? You don't hate me or anything??" he asked. Silver didn't even think about it. "No. So, uh... Could you lend me a hand? I don't really know what the Covenant of Despair is after here." he said. Kosmo thought for a moment, then nodded. "All right." he said. Rainbow smiled a little. "Well, it's settled! We're going the same way, so I'm in, too! Follow me, Three!" she grinned, running off ahead! "H-hey... The name is Kosmo!" he stammered, following her along with Silver. They were soon stopped at a sea of lava. "...Great..." Kosmo muttered. "Heeheehee! Look at you guys staring out at the fire pit! Can't you fly?" giggled someone above them! Looking up, they saw Whisk the Divine. "You again... Are you following us for giggles?" Kosmo asked. "Huh? Who're you? Gwaaa! Who am I!?" she shouted, flapping around in a panic. She then teleported down next to Rainbow. "Eeek! How'd you do that!?" she gasped. "Um... Do you have amnesia?" Silver wondered. "Huh? Oh! I'm Whisk! Hey, where am I?" Whisk said. Silver sighed. "Maybe we better bring her with us. She seems confused." he said. Kosmo shrugged. "I guess I better get started flying us across this..." he sighed.

As Sonic, Shadow and the others stepped inside the dark Sandopolis pyramid, Tails flew up and pulled on a primitive light switch to make the torches on the walls light up, and Professor Pickle quickly located a section of the wall with hieroglyphics that interested him. "Sonic, listen here! Granted, my ancient echidnaese is a bit rusty, but, loosely translated, this says: 'Hero Who Seeks The Truth; You must pass Three Trials to be deemed worthy...'" he said. "Hmm... Could these trials be a way to open the Chaos Relic ruins?" Shadow wondered. Pickle turned and nodded. "It's a place to start. I found more information. 'Trial the First: The Sands Of Time. Escape, Lest You Be Lost To The Sands Of Time For Eternity.'" he explained. Tails had SPOT's back opened up, revealing a keyboard and a screen for him to work with. "I'm setting up SPOT to be able to translate these hieroglyphs, in case we get separated from Professor Pickle." he said. They proceeded deeper into the pyramid, and soon came across what was surely the first trial, the Sands of Time. Quicksand was shifting extremely fast, and would surely swallow up anyone who stepped in it in seconds. However, the sands were solidifying in places, forming safe walkways which would, moments later, return to quicksand. "You'd have to be a quick one to get through here..." Shadow smirked. "...Race ya!" Sonic chuckled, and the two hedgehogs were off on a contest to see who could navigate the quicksand maze the fastest! "Sonic!! Aw, I better follow in case they get sucked in..." Tails said, snapping his fingers at SPOT so that the robot would transform into hover-scooter mode. Tails hopped on and started to follow the speedy hedgehogs. "Watch over the professor, Amy!" he said. "Not AGAIN!!" Amy whined. Omega fired up his thrusters and started hovering over the sands as well, leaving Amy to pout. Sandworms leapt out of the quicksand as they made their way across, but Sonic and Shadow just bounced off their heads and kept moving, outpacing the quicksand every step of the way! "Slick moves, guys!" Tails said, flying past them. "Hey! That's cheating! Come back here!" Sonic shouted, leaping ahead to some stable sand a distance away in order to regain his lead! Soon, they set foot on the other side, and all of the quicksand solidified, which was fortunate because Shadow had to stop to fish out Omega, since his thrusters could not carry him all the way across. "Eggman will pay for giving me inferior thrust..." he mumbled. "You can come across now, Amy!" Sonic shouted back, only to receive no response. "...Amy?" Both Amy and the professor were gone! "...Um... Good thing SPOT can read the hieroglyphs, huh?" Tails muttered.

Kosmo's group soon found that Dr. Nammad had not come to Angel Island alone. GUN agent patrols were roaming around Lava Reef Zone, though none of them could be sure why. "We don't have time to deal with a grouchy military. How do we get past them?" Silver wondered. Kosmo started to glow, and in a moment he was in the form of his Agent 16 disguise, a purple-haired GUN spy. "Eeep! A yellow-eyed human!" Whisk yelped. Kosmo sighed and pulled a pair of sunglasses out of his coat pocket. "...Don't ask how these got there. I keep them in my sock." he muttered. "I thought you morphed them..." Rainbow said. Kosmo glanced out at the GUN Agents and nodded. "Wait until I get them to look away, then sneak by." he said, tiptoeing out to meet his fellow agents. He first met up with an agent with purple shades and red hair. "Huh... Agent 16! What rock have you been hiding under?" he asked. "Oh... Gunner has me lookin' for those experiments he's so fixated on. How's working for Nammad, Agent 77?" Kosmo replied. Agent 77 sighed. "I dunno, I just got transferred from Drol. I think he finds my shades too flashy." he grumbled. The other nearby GUN Agents started to gather around to shoot the breeze with "Agent 16," giving the others a bit of a distraction. "Wow... Three's really popular as a GUN guy. Who'da thought it?" Rainbow mumbled as she, Silver and Whisk slowly snuck past the GUN agents. Silver stopped to use his psychokinesis on some boulders on the other side of the agents, tossing them against the wall to create a loud noise! "What was that!? We'd better check it out!" Agent 77 stammered. Kosmo watched the others go and smiled. "I'll hold down the fort, fellas..." he said, turning to follow Silver and the others. Once they were safely away, Kosmo morphed back to normal, and then was startled by someone loudly calling his name nearby! "I've been looking all over for you, Kosssmo!" Some nearby rocks were revealed to just be Vortex colored brown, and he startled everyone when he reverted to his normal colors! "Well, now that I have your attention... Let'sss have a little talk." Vortex hissed.

To be continued...


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