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Chapter 20 - Hidden Palace Brawl

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 20 - Hidden Palace Brawl

Chapter 20 - Hidden Palace Brawl
GeneX - Knuckles the Echidna
Chapter 20 - Hidden Palace Brawl
Stage 11-12(Hero & Dark 6) - Molten Sands
Boss 11 - Anubis
Boss 12 - F-8S Hotfoot

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:
Sonic and Kosmo have each been exploring Sandopolis and Lava Reef Zone with a group of allies. Between the two groups, they passed the three Trials of Sandopolis, causing something to open in Lava Reef Zone below. After grappling with numerous foes, including Shadow Chaos and Fera, the two groups soon passed by Professor Pickle, who had discovered a secret doorway in the Hidden Palace. What awaits them inside?
Now, on to the next chapter!

Behind the familiar mural of the hedgehog fighting for the Master Emerald, there was a larger, more elaborate mural depicting all of the Chaos Relics. Drawn on the mural were several golden objects including a pair of gauntlets, a deck of cards, some winged boots, a shining cape, a sword, a key, and two familiar gold rings. Several drawings on the wall had been blasted, making it impossible to tell what they were, but it seemed apparent that there had been at least ten drawings there, and possibly more. An orange GUN walker was shooting at Zeke and Zipp near the back of the room, and Amy was backed to the wall, caught between them. Fera, Dr. Nammad, and Agent 64 were watching the battle, while Fera's backup was busy battling it out with Nammad's robots. Sonic ran right past the distracted grunts and approached the doctor. "Hey, Dr. Nutjob!" he shouted. Tails, Shadow, Omega, and Kosmo's group were not far behind. "Fera! What are you doing!?" Kosmo yelled. "Were you, uh, addressing me?" Nammad muttered to Sonic, turning around. Fera turned to Kosmo as well. "Go away, you treacherous worm! Unless you'd care to help us trash the place..." she said. Espio and Charmy were looking around from the back of the room awkwardly. "Rats! They came all this way just to blow the place up!" Charmy groaned. "It's probably best to go back and report this to Vector..." Espio muttered, the two of them heading out before things could get any further out of hand. "Wait, why would Despair want to trash this place?" Tails wondered. Dr. Nammad shrugged. "Ask, uh, them. I can only assume it's to, uh, stop us from discovering the, uh, secrets of this place." he said. Silver pointed an accusing finger at him. "Hey! Hold on! Your mech is causing a lot of damage, too!" he shouted. "Silence, hedgehog! I won't, uh, tolerate any back-talk from civilians! I'm, uh, wiping out these terrorists!" Nammad snapped. "What a human way to spin it!" Kosmo growled. "Shiny! Three! Stay focused!" Rainbow stammered. Sonic stared at her. "Shiny? Three?? They're all buddy buddy now?" he muttered. Tails tapped him on the shoulder. "Sonic! You should stay focused, too! Don't forget Amy!" he said. Amy was clutching her hammer nervously. "I'm glad SOMEONE noticed me back here!! That mech and that dragon are having a grudge match and I can't get through!" she shouted. One of Fera's companions, Anubis the jackal, stepped away from the battle with the GUN robots to further block Amy. "You will not escape! You pesky hedgehogs have been following me for too long. This pyramid will now be YOUR tomb!" he snarled.

Sonic dashed away from Dr. Nammad and swiftly tackled Anubis away from Amy! "You want a pesky hedgehog? You got it!" he said. However, Kosmo suddenly dropped down between them in gargoyle form! Sonic raised his fists, but Kosmo pointed toward Amy. "Go! She's stuck in that crossfire, dummy!" he shouted. Sonic scratched his head. "If this is a trap, I'll--" However, Fera suddenly flung a bolt of darkness at Kosmo. "Grrr, YOU!!" she shouted. "Okaaaaay... Not a trap..." Sonic said, running for the GUN mech, which was shooting jets of flames at Zeke. "Hey, hothead!" Sonic shouted. Zeke dropped to the ground and rapidly flapped his singed wings. "Arrrrrgh!! This mech is crazy!!" he yelped. "And me without a bazooka." Zipp sighed. Dr. Nammad glanced at this scene and smirked. "Oh, uh, good. We're winning. Hotfoot, kill them all. The uh, girl, too." he said. "Wh-what!?" Kosmo stammered, turning away from Fera and Anubis suddenly. "You see? Humans are scum." Fera grinned. Silver stepped forward. "Kosmo, she's just trying to mess with your head!" he said. Suddenly, Agent 64 stepped in front of Dr. Nammad. "Doctor... The girl's just an innocent bystander!" he said with disdain. "Who's in, uh, charge here?" Nammad said, glaring at him. Anubis was taking advantage of Kosmo's indecision to try to sneak up on Sonic, but a Chaos Spear stopped him and alerted Sonic! Shadow jumped beside Sonic and glanced at Hotfoot. "I'll take care of this. You handle Anubis, Sonic." However, Hotfoot ignored the hedgehogs and charged at Zeke, making him panic and grab Amy hastily. "Waaah!! What're you doing!?" she shouted. "Human-err-hedgehog shield! Hedgehog shield!!!" Zeke screamed. Kosmo swiftly flew between Hotfoot and Zeke, morphing his tail into a fox tail to give the cockpit a swift tail whip! "Not so fast, scrap metal!" he growled. Observing this, Anubis turned to both Sonic and Shadow. "How amusing... Well, let's see if I can finish with you in time to destroy your girlfriend myself!" he snarled, creating fireballs in his hands!

As Hotfoot started to target Kosmo, something truly unexpected happened. Bolts of lightning streamed across the room and struck the mech, stunning it! "Get...away...from my experiments Nammad!!" Dr. Nammad turned with a start when he recognized the voice. "B-b-b-Bucky!!" he stammered. Kosmo stared for a moment, then shook his head. "I can handle this myself old man!" he shouted. Bucky pushed past any Despair or GUN forces in his way as he made his way through the room. "Huh? Bucky's here now!?" Sonic stammered. "You've got your own troubles!" Anubis growled. However, Fera saw Anubis facing both Sonic and Shadow and got an idea. "Bucky... I believe Kosmo's right. Let him handle Nammad. I hereby order you as an Agent of Despair to kill Sonic the Hedgehog!" she declared. Bucky stopped short, and the eyes of Vortex, Zipp and Zeke fell on him. "What?" he gasped. "You heard me... Or are you disloyal as well?" Fera sneered. Bucky looked around. "As well as who-- I mean... Very well, Fera..." he sighed, marching over to Sonic and Shadow, sparks starting to crackle from his fingers, "Sonic... I'm afraid this is the end for you!" he shouted. Making things even more dangerous, Metal Sonic came blasting into the room, accompanied by Char and Alpha, who immediately went flying towards Kosmo! "Wheeeee! Robot power! Hiya, freak face!" Alpha chuckled. "Hahahaha! If it isn't the guy that tried to eat us all! Let's gang up on him, Alphie!" Char giggled. Dr. Nammad looked a bit confused. "Eggman's robot? ...Whatever. It's, uh, helping." he sighed. "Ooops... He must've followed me..." muttered Ridley the coati, who was hiding behind the mural at the front of the room.

With intense battles shaping up, everyone started picking sides. "Metal Sonic! You dare show yourself again!? Now I will prove myself the superior robot!" Omega shouted, "Then, that crazed robot is next!" Silver, Rainbow and Whisk looked particularly worried about Kosmo. "He can't handle all of them alone... I have to help!" Silver said, rushing to join the battle with Hotfoot and Alpha. "Viola... What are you mixed up in...?" Rainbow whimpered, "Wait right there, Three! I'll help out, too!" she said, attempting to follow Silver, only to be blocked by Corky the frog. "Not so fast, lassy! Ya pulled my tongue, and ya snapped it back like a yo-yo a' pain! Now I git to do the same ta you!" he growled. Meanwhile, Tails started running to help Sonic, but Zipp got in his way! "Hey, squirt, you aren't planning to pick a fight with my boss again, are ya?" he said, pointing a gun at his head. "Don't make me squash ya, Zipp! You tricked me back at Chaos Shrine, and I won't let you mess with me again!" he warned. "Funny... Let's see how cute you are with bullet holes..." Zipp growled, forcing Tails to run as he started shooting at him! Whisk was looking around, seeming a bit dazed, but then looked at Kosmo and Silver. "Oh! They... They look familiar... And those robots are after them! No! I'll stop 'em!" she said, only to have her tail yanked by Vortex before she could go. "It'sss not our fight! If we want to do ssssomething, we sssshould help our creator!" he suggested. Whisk looked around. "Huh? Wha? The creator is in here? But if he created the heavens and everything, why's he need our help?" Whisk wondered. Vortex sighed in frustration. "Massster mussst fix your mind..." he sighed. A number of GUN robots surrounded them at this point, so plans to help the others would have to wait. As the battle lines were drawn, Carrie walked nonchalantly into the room. "Well, now... This IS interesting, isn't it?" she muttered. Dr. Nammad's modified beetle blocked her way as she came up behind him. "Intruder! You dare sneak up on Dr. Nammad!?" the beetle yelled. "Who?" Nammad muttered, turning around. Agent 64 shrugged and concentrated on Kosmo while Nammad was distracted. "Guess I'm in charge... Hotfoot! Stop Experiment 3 at all costs!" he ordered.

Red energy spheres attached to Hotfoot's legs started to glow, charging the mech until it fired a burning laser in Kosmo's direction! He flapped out of the way, still in gargoyle form, but started getting pelted with shots from Alpha! "Hey! Outta my way jerky jerks! I can't see anyone's mittens in front of my face!" the crazy robot shouted. "Hey! Leave him alone!" Silver yelled, grabbing Alpha with his powers! His concentration was broken when Char smacked him in the head, and Alpha started shooting at him, too! "Ha! No one gets the jump on us!" Char said, sticking out his tongue. Agent 64 watched this nervously. "Hotfoot might be in trouble if Eggman's robot turns on it... Better send in some bombers." he said. Thus, as Kosmo attempted to approach the flamethrowing Hotfoot mech, he soon found himself circled from above by several Bomb Hawks! "Oh, just great..." he grumbled. Kosmo backed off as bombs came raining down towards him, and he morphed into a Flicky as Hotfoot started charging its mighty heat laser again! "I'd better be hard to hit right now..." he tweeted. Seeing the bombers, Silver smiled. "Just what I need!" he said, grabbing a nearby robot with his powers and hurling it at Alpha! "Whaaaa!! Watch where I'm flying!!" he shouted, turning to blast the robot that was tossed at him. "Alphie! Focus! It was Silver!!" Char shouted. "If hitting a Chao didn't feel wrong, I'd toss you next..." Silver sighed. Meanwhile, Kosmo the Flicky flew above some of the Bomb Hawks, and Hotfoot fired its heat laser straight at them, the beam piercing right through the robots and forcing Kosmo to fly hastily out of the way! He then morphed into his own, purple version of Hotfoot while he was above some more bombers, crushing them under the weight of the heavy mech form! "He... He can copy Hotfoot!?" Agent 64 shouted, panicked. The mech backed away a step, unsure how to react. However, Kosmo could not copy its weapon systems, and could only shoot weak lasers from its guns. "How do you charge that thing?" he chuckled, morphing back to normal. "Get him!!" Agent 64 yelled.

Sonic and Shadow found themselves evading fireballs and bolts of lightning as Anubis and Bucky started their assault on them! Setting a wall of flame to separate himself from them, Anubis started to cast a spell. "Agents of despair, rise!! Break their bones while I burn them to ashes!!" he called, waving his hands over the ground. Suddenly, several mummified hands wrapped in black bandages burst out of the ground! "Pay up, Sonic. Seems the mummies were with him." Shadow said. Bucky zapped the hedgehogs quickly while they were distracted, stunning them briefly. "You don't stand a chance against us both, Sonic!" he growled. "I got bored, like, twelve threats ago!" Sonic panted. As Bucky and Anubis were about to assault the stunned hedgehogs, Tails jumped in and struck Bucky with a tail whip! "Gah! Prower!!" he yelled. "Leave Sonic alone!!" Tails shouted. Zipp had tried to stop Tails, but GUN's robots intervened, and now he was busy trying to keep them off his tail. Anubis pointed at Tails, and the mummies started to approach him. "What!? M-m-mummies again!?" he stammered. "You will suffer for interfering..." Anubis growled. His smugness was interrupted by a homing attack to the face! "Put a sock in it, mummy boy!" Sonic said. Anubis retaliated by shooting jets of flames from his hands at Sonic, who sped around, taunting him as he evaded the fire! Shadow smacked Bucky with a Chaos Spear, prompting him to take to the air, firing streams of lightning from his fingers as Shadow sped out of the way as well. "You shouldn't have interfered, Shadow! It's a waste to destroy Gerald's creation!" he yelled. "Hmph... Just try to destroy me, old man!" Shadow scoffed. During this, Tails was frantically fleeing from the mummies. If Omega couldn't destroy them with explosives, he didn't expect he'd have better luck. "Go away! Go away!!" he cried, dodging and weaving between Anubis's flames and Bucky's lightning as he ran. Little did he notice, the mummies were being burned and broken by those projectiles. However, Bucky soon gave up on Shadow and zapped the panicked Tails! "Hey! You dirty rat!" Sonic yelled, jumping away from Anubis to go after Bucky!

Rainbow had goaded Corky into using his tongue again, and managed to tie him up with it, to his aggravation. Omega and Metal Sonic had reached a stalemate when the Covenant of Despair agents in the room decided to try to eliminate them, and rapidly began to regret it. Vortex, Zipp and Whisk were rapidly taking out the GUN robots in the room. This left Hotfoot, Anubis and Bucky. Silver managed to grab Alpha again and hurled him at Hotfoot, confusing and angering the robot. "Stupid mech! You hit me! Now you go BOOM!!" With Alpha suddenly distracting Hotfoot with a gunfight, Kosmo took advantage of this chance to target the machine's energy spheres. "Let's see what happens when I blow these up! Kosmos!!" The powerful beams fired from his eyes struck one of the energy spheres as Hotfoot was charging it, causing the mech to backfire and explode! Meanwhile, Sonic and Shadow kept the pressure on Anubis and Bucky, but both of them kept attacking relentlessly. Tails backed off for safety's sake after recovering from Bucky's attack. Sonic and Shadow soon found themselves standing back to back between Bucky and Anubis. "That's it... Let's wrap this up, Sonic..." Shadow panted. "All right... Ready, set..." Sonic muttered. As Bucky and Anubis launched more attacks their way, Sonic bounced high into the air, while Shadow vanished with Chaos Control! In their confusion, Bucky and Anubis didn't see their attacks coming at each other right away! "Gaaaaaah!! Impossible!!" Anubis wailed as Bucky's lightning zapped him! Bucky howled in pain upon being struck with the flames, and Carrie looked to him in panic. "Oh! Bucky!" she gasped. "Time I made my move..." Ridley said from the shadows.

In the aftermath of the battles, Kosmo and Silver turned their attention to trying to save Amy from Zeke. "Wait... What are you gonna do to me when I don't have a shield anymore?" Zeke asked, refusing to release Amy from his grip. At the same time, Fera was stepping in to deal with Sonic. "You're a much bigger pain in the butt than I imagined, Sonic." she growled. "Leave him, Fera! We're wasting time!" Bucky panted. "I'm not one of your mindless creations, rat!" Fera snarled, "You can't boss me around!" Just then, Amy stomped Zeke's foot and smacked his face with her hammer, attempting to escape from him! "YEOW! Why you little!!" Zeke howled. "Amy! I forgot about Amy!!" Sonic gasped. "Hm...? Oh, very well. You go, then. While you're gone, we'll annihilate this place!" Fera grinned, making Sonic hesitate. "Shadow and I can take care of her!" Tails suggested. However, Ridley suddenly blocked Sonic's path! "Well, you've no time for shenanigans right now, hedgehog! I suggest you clear out!" he said. Sonic was surprised by him, and a sudden Chaos Splash in his face slowed him down even more! "Yaaaah!! Water!!" he cried. Meanwhile, Dr Nammad's modified beetle had its gun trained on Carrie, and she wasn't putting up a fight, so he turned his attention to the matter at hand. "Let's take advantage of all the, uh, diversions and have the, uh, beetle finish the job..." he muttered. However, Carrie was sick of standing idly by. "One side, doc! Comin' through!" she said, attempting to shove past him and make her way to Bucky. Nammad grabbed her arm and flung her in front of the beetle again. "I warned you not to, uh, interfere a moment ago, didn't I? Beetle, use Chaos Avalanche." he ordered. Agent 64's face turned white. "Wait! Stop!! YOU'RE CRAZY!! You'll bury us all!!!" he shouted, catching everyone's attention. "That sounds bad..." Silver muttered. "You don't scare me! I'm Experiment 14!" Carrie shouted, her fists glowing as she prepped an attack! "Fourteen, no!" Bucky shouted, causing Carrie to seemingly fumble, resulting in a pitiful punch that didn't even dent Nammad's beetle. "That's uh, it? Seriously Bucky?" Nammad mumbled. Fera smirked. "But I can finish it off, no problem!" she chuckled.

Agent 64 started to run like crazy, heading for the exit to the chamber. Dr. Nammad apparently intended to bury everyone inside the secret room so that they could never get in GUN's way again! With the situation looking dire, Shadow pushed Ridley aside so Sonic could go after Amy! "Sonic! This dragon has awful breath!" she cried. "...Hey!" Zeke frowned, only to get kicked in the face by Sonic seconds later, who then started to carry Amy away. Kosmo, meanwhile, had morphed into his own speedy hedgehog form, and dashed over to Carrie, picking her up and taking her away from Dr. Nammad! "Kosmo? You came to rescue me?" she stammered. "You seemed to be in trouble..." he said. Nammad was a little surprised by this, but it only made him want to hasten his attack. "Uhhhh... FIRE!" he yelled. "Let's try to make a massive explosion!" Fera smirked, approaching the beetle while charging dark energy, planning to strike it while it was using Chaos Avalanche! "Shiny! We gotta get outta here!" Rainbow cried, rushing over to Silver. The tremors caused by Chaos Avalanche drew SPOT and Professor Pickle's attention, and he ran into the room as Omega, Metal Sonic, Char and Alpha were leaving. "Retreat!!" Omega yelled. "Sonic!? Tails!? What's happening? The cavern is shaking!" the professor panted. "Eeeeek!! Teleport power! Do something!" Whisk cried. "Wait, Whisk! Over here! I have an idea for you!" Bucky shouted, drawing her near most of the others. Kosmo took Carrie out of the chamber without looking back, while Zeke, Ridley and most of the Covenant of Despair were fleeing as well. As Fera fired a beam of dark energy at Nammad's beetle, Whisk began to glow brilliantly at the same time a terrible explosion rocked the chamber! Agent 64 waited for a moment in Lava Reef Zone, and the only one he saw emerge from the cave was Dr. Nammad. "Sir! How did you get out?" he asked. "Gotta be the, uh, shoes." he said, pointing at smoke trails coming from his boots, "Gunner should be, uh, pleased. We seem to have neutralized quite a few, uh, threats..." he grinned.

To be continued...    ...    ...    ...    BZZ BVZZZ ZZZT!!!

The crumbling of the ceiling in the secret Hidden Palace chamber knocked open a part of the back wall, next to the Chaos Relic mural. Here stood Fera, safe after the explosion. "It seems I've located the true secret chamber..." she said, stepping into the dark room. Some dimly lit torches revealed a partially worn mural at the back, quite similar to the mural of the hedgehog battling the robot for the Master Emerald. This one, however, depicted two echidnas, on opposite sides. Between them, a hooded figure adorned with a crown stood mightily, red eyes piercing through the blackness covering his face. Fera gasped, seeming to recognize the echidnas in the mural. Parts of the mural were worn, and seemed to hide objects in each person's possession. Fera shrugged and blasted the mural to pieces using her dark magic, dusting her hands once that was done. "Mission accomplished..." she sighed, teleporting away. One chunk of the mural remained intact, depicting an echidna cloaked in an aura of darkness...

STILL to be continued...


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