“What I find interesting though,” said Tails, “is how that chao seemed to be a better tactician than Eggman. The placement of guards, and how everything seemed planned – even counter plans and backups.”
“The chao needed a mechanic. It knew Tails was one,” Sonic ventured. “But if it found out there was another mechanic, one who would be unknown to most, the plan could have gone off better than even it had expected. Of course, it also probably had bets on me not rescuing a stranger.”
“Glad it got that one wrong then,” Zoin said.
Sonic laughed and replied “Of course I’d help anyone in need. That’s what I do.” Looking back to the members of the Chaotix, he asked what was happening now.
Espio said that the Chaotix had a new assignment, and would be moving out. They would first return with the three chameleons to their village and help them get settled back in. Sonic wished them luck, and told Zoin that he hoped they would meet again. He said that time was short, so to tell his brother and sister that he wishes them luck as well. He and Tails then started walking out, talking about having a fly in the Tornado. It struck Zoin that maybe Sonic and Tails hadn’t seen each other for a while either.
The meeting closed, Espio led Zoin out of the room to find Cream. They invited her to come with them to the village, but Cream refused. She said that she would much rather stay at the hotel a while longer before heading on.
Zoin wondered if, once his family had settled down again, they could come back here and hopefully see Cream again.
Krona walked along the route, leading Vector, Espio, and Charmy to his home village. Zoin and Oreah were trailing behind the group. Krona wasn’t sure what would happen once they reached the village, but he hoped it would be nothing bad. He couldn’t help the rush of questions, all of them bad, about his future. Would he be banished? What would the mayor have to say about him? Where would he go, if he was banished? Surely Espio wouldn’t let it happen?
They reached the border of the village, and Krona noticed that it was empty. Surely nothing bad could have happened? Could it? As they walked further into the village, a scream rent the air. He saw their mother running up to him from the direction of the main square, and was met with a violent force as she wrapped her arms around him in a hug without stopping. Forced a few steps back, and with the three members of the Chaotix having stood aside, she saw both Zoin and Oreah. Giving both of them a tight hug each, she ran straight back to the main square shouting “They’re back! They’re back!”
Krona and Zoin looked at each other, and prepared for what would happen. They walked forward to the main square. It was a hive of activity with tables slung everywhere with maps and other papers over them. The entire village seemed to have been running a search party for them. Krona felt a bit guilty at having gone in the first place. But he couldn’t deny the fact that he had just been on his first proper adventure. And enjoyed it.
Zoin watched as Espio moved forwards to talk with the mayor. The other Chaotix members just behind, the mayor questioned Espio when he needed a point explained further.
Looking away, Zoin felt himself feeling guilty at having put everyone through this. The townsfolk had set up a search as soon as Zoin’s parents had read his letter. Despite the guilt, he also felt that they had done the right thing – him and Krona.
Turning back to The Chaotix and the mayor, he found his father’s eye. He could tell that he had been missing out on work to join the hunt. Nothing was more important than family, and everyone had been looking out for them.
“Attention! Everyone! Attention!” the mayor called to the crowd. “I declare that a party is in order. From listening to the story of these two brave gentlemen, I feel it only right we celebrate their achievement in tracking down their sister.”
The crowd cheered and chaos ensued as people started clearing the tables of maps and heading back to buildings to get stuff for the party.
Krona was enjoying himself. The party now in full swing, everyone was celebrating the return of the three of them. It also seemed that the three of them had become something like celebrities. Oreah was being questioned by her friends about the events, though it didn’t look like she was telling them much. Zoin was talking to the mayor, and every once in a while someone would walk up to him and shake his hand. Krona had done his fair share of hand shaking too. People also kept calling him a hero, something he couldn’t help but loving every time he heard it.
Walking over to the snacks, Krona looked for the others. Vector was doing a weird dance with Charmy. Espio was stood where there was few people, though some were talking to him. He wondered where Knuckles and Mighty were, and what Cream was doing now. He also thought of Sonic, and how it was to have finally been in his presence. It had been a dream come true, especially with him having saved his sister. He held high respect for Sonic. For all of them. He felt it was time to stop being a bother to his community and start helping it instead.
Zoin was thankful all had gone well. His parents had been so glad at having them all back, there had been no argument over leaving. His mother had even hugged him and said sorry for not believing him. Zoin had told her it was a hard thing to believe, but that worked out for the best.
He felt there was a lot to adventuring that was useful. He had made new friends, explored new places, and sensed a big change in Krona. After the last few days, he seemed to have accepted that making trouble wasn’t a good idea, and that helping is. It was a lesson reinforced to Zoin, after helping take care of those chao.
As for Oreah, Zoin would still keep an eye on her. While the fact she was training as a mechanic was no longer a secret, that knowledge could still cause others to want her. And the last person who had wanted her hadn’t asked. The secret was also something that had cost them. Had they known - Oreah had revealed – they would have had a rough location with the tracker she had implanted on herself.
The party started winding down, and Zoin, Krona, and the three members of The Chaotix were together once again. The party had lasted until evening, and the mayor was now heading directly for the group. Shaking the hands of each person, he informed The Chaotix that they could stay as guests. He led the group to the mayoral building, and opened the door into guest suite one.
Two beds were set at opposite ends of the room, with a number of chairs in the middle. One of those chairs had a pillow laid on it for Charmy to sleep on. There were also a few low tables.
The Chaotix stepped inside, turned, and one by one said goodnight and good luck for the future. The door closed, the mayor walked off, and Zoin led the way back outside with Krona, wondering whether they would see the three in the morning.
They had walked back to their house with their parents. All three glad to be back home. They had gratefully tucked into bed and fell asleep quickly. After a hurried breakfast, Zoin took Krona with him to the mayoral building and guest suite one. The Chaotix had left, though Zoin found a note on one of the chairs.
Zoin and Krona,
Mighty called us early this morning. Our next mission cannot wait any longer. This village has been payment enough for our work. The community here is wonderful, and you are lucky to live in it. While we might not have time for a while, we will certainly be visiting again soon. We will be checking up on Cream in the near future, and if you are allowed, you should too.
While you shouldn’t get any more ideas about going on more adventures any time soon, it would be nice to see you learning some combat skills. Maybe I could teach you some of the more interesting stuff some day.
It has been good meeting you, your sister, and your community. We hope you recover from this ordeal quickly and grow stronger from it.