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Carefulspoon 06:14, February 4, 2012 (UTC) I decided to have this story take place in Mobius for various purposes, they'll be mentioned in the story. For the record, I’m simply gonna say that there is in fact violence in this story. Just a warning. Also; there are a few mild expletives added in some of the dialogue-“swear words,” and suggestive themes, again just a warning for those of you who may be offended.

I’d like to thank Frozina, Mitena the WereHedgeWolf, Gamerboy123456, Ouka-noir, Emeraldgreeny, Red the hedgehog, and Muppet171 for supporting me while I was in the process of writing this-you guys are all great!!!

Characters I've been given permission to introduce:

Faith the Hedgehog: (I gave myself permission =3, I'm so generous lol) Highly adept in swordsmanship, skilled in multiple forms of martial arts, augmented reflexes, unusually acute senses, and possesss some degree of super speed and agility. (Introduced)

Edmund the Seedrian: Professional bounty hunter, expert firearms specialist, and quite the talented drinker... (Introduced)

Jem La Chauve-Souris: Flight, masterfully acute in the arts of ninjutsu, gymnastics, hand-to-hand combat, and can vanish in the shadows (Introduced)

Adi the zodiac fenec-fox: Powerful magic user, good fortune teller and skilled Pokemon trainer (Introduced)

Rita the Otter: Highly talented singer (Introduced)

Red the Hedgehog: Super speed, Pyrokinesis, teleportation (Introduced)

Dani the bat: (Unknown powers) (Not yet Introduced)

So… here it is-hope you enjoy

Prologue

A warrior... one who will save us all. (Voice)

She is of darkness. She cannot save us! (Voice 2)

Hush. Soon her destiny will be revealed. All in good time, all in good time...

Chapter 1 (Part 1) 

Outside, the blue waters of the Mobian Ocean danced in the sunlight of a late approaching dusk. The shadows began (slowly) to emerge from their daytime hiding places, crawling behind graffiti-embellished brick walls and white flickering street lamps. Despite the colorful, explosive city lights pouring down over Faith, the dark hedgehog managed to remain inconspicuous in the dimly-lit streets while crossing the empty intersection.

As soon as she made her way to the crosswalk her bright, yellow eyes drifted solemnly up to the tall, wide-spread building. It read in massive flaring pink lettering above “Kingdom Nebula Casino.” Up ahead there were two security bots lingering in-front of the main entryway, which happened to be enshrouded in fancy red curtaining like some kind of priceless-not yet presented-item. Faith approached the entrance in a casual manner, as if she weren’t even carrying four dual-crossed katanas across her back. On the way to the doors, she probed through her black shorts pocket and plucked out a tiny square piece of paper. Written on the crumbled up sheet was but a name and nothing more. It was all she needed. “Edmund.”

Faith then rolled up the (now useless) note between two fingers before flicking it in the air the same way a smoker would a cigarette, the breeze took its course from there.

“Citizen!” The security bot to the far right wheeled towards Faith. It threw out its mechanical hand, signaling her to stop. “Identify yourse-” It stopped speaking when it no longer had a head to speak with and stopped moving when (at the same time) it had no wheels to maneuver with. All it took was an expeditious, blurred swipe of her katana before she slid it back into its sheath, continuing on through the doorway.

The security bot on the left, under the impression it was safe, reached frantically for the laser pistol magnetized to its metallic torso. It was at this time that its hand instantly dropped severed on the ground-somehow still grasping the weapon. A moment later its entire body divided into four separate units and crashed to the rugged concrete floor with a loud CLANG!

Faith found herself trudging down an open hallway lit by orbs of icy blue flames. Up ahead she immediately spotted a blazing streak of flickering (continuously contrasting) strobe lights that spilled deep into the hallway corridors. It was a little surprising to see the lack of security at such a huge Casino.

The hall lead to a big, smoky nightclub- it looked like. Guests were dressed in fancy clothes, many of them crowding around the dice tables lit by hot, floating lanterns all in which nearly resembled small glowing balloons only with no strings attached. The lottery machines were crammed with party guests shelling out their life-savings and the music was defining, booming through the house-sized stereos imbedded to the cherry-pink walls, shaking the entire club with its loud, eruptive bass till Faith’s heart was beating right along with it.

She didn’t feel too left out in terms of style. Her purple tank-top, her boots, and her dark shorts seemed to match the chosen genre of apparel perfectly. In fact, she would have fit right in if not for the exposed weaponry she had on her. Faith wasted no time. Her feet guided her through the club while she slipped past all the guests without so much as trying to avoid them darting by.

The ceiling burst into a luminescent detonation of eye-tantalizing color like some laser light show, the fluttery alteration almost made it look as if everybody was moving underneath a rainbow that was undergoing a spasmodic self-destruction. Many eyes diverted themselves in Faith’s direction. A number of the male eyes clung to her though it didn’t appear as though they were interested in her weapons. Some weren’t even looking at her face. Faith sneered, doing her best to ignore them. “Pigs.” She thought bitterly. Though admittedly she did enjoy attention.

Faith scanned the casino for telltale signs of anybody who fit the listed target’s description. This was all based on the information she’d obtained around the city-“He’s a Seedrian” (a two-tailed fox told her) “Be careful, he’s really dangerous” (a small cream-colored rabbit with a Chao companion timidly claimed) “He wears some kind of vest” (declared a red echidna) he was apparently a very well-known bounty hunter, and he had “a scar on his left eye” (she’d heard mentioned by a blue hedgehog). Faith never thought it would be so difficult to find an individual who matched such a description… not until she made her way to the bar.

At the corner of her eye (in the lounge area) she noticed a peculiar being she did not quite recognize as a species. He had whitish/green skin, a perfectly round head framed by an explosion of smooth charcoal hair, and he wore a dark brown sleeveless vest that draped all the way down to his waist. Was this a Seedrian? Obviously he wasn’t Mobian.

In his left hand he held a small crystal glass of vodka- or so it looked. In the other he twisted and twirled a large military-grade combat dagger between his fingers. There was a crooked toothpick tucked in his mouth that he didn’t seem too worried about choking on while he jerked his head and inhaled the vodka in an instant.

“He looks like the type.” Faith thought.

She didn’t even know what a Seedrian was. Much less if this was the correct one. It would have been a gamble to accuse him of being such, but this was a casino and there was no better place to gamble.

“Edmund.” She blurted, but her voice was thrashed apart by the blasting music. She couldn’t even hear herself. Annoyed by this, she heightened her tone and yelled as loud as she could, “EDMUND!”

The plant-like being ceased from fiddling with his knife but again gave no response. As soon as Faith was convinced he hadn’t yet heard her the pale individual turned his gaze across his shoulder, frowning at the dark hedgehog through a cigarette-smoke haze materialized from one of the guests across the table. Past the cancerous fog she caught a remote glimpse of two large, glowering eyes. One was green and the other a rippling Navy blue with a patterned scar tattooed directly in its center.

“Yeah, I heard you the first time.” The Seedrian spoke in a sharp, raggedy tone not even the club music could drown out. He twirled the knife between his fingers a couple more times and then (with great force) speared it into the thick wood of the counter. The handle hung stiffly in the air as he let go.

Edmund spun to face his new acquaintance, his sleeveless vest swung back like a stage curtain in an opening scene, and now there was a full view of his pistol. It lurked in a bronze hip-holster that matched the color of his leather belt. The weapon gleamed beneath the white lights of the glass sign above, reading “Bar.”

“Look, I’m busy right now,” lazily he leaned back, propping his forearms against the counter, “can I ignore you some other time?” The Seedrian then noted the weapons sheathed across her back. “Cool medieval butter knives.” He blurted.

Faith folded her arms along her torso, glaring coldly in his direction. But she decided to humor her target while he was still breathing. “You like em?” She threw her gaze halfheartedly towards the katanas. They formed a doubled X shape behind her shoulders. “I was planning to dismember you with them.” She said flatly.

Edmund stared (not at Faith directly) but somewhere much farther into her consciousness, her charisma, her soul with his deep, haunting eyes. These were eyes that took a lot and gave nothing. She searched his face for any signs of distress, but he was still undecipherable, or was that-by Chaos-a trace of amusement? She would have preferred anger, or even a blank expression, rather than the sense of being toyed with. He tipped his head drearily back towards the bartender (a short, dome-shaped robot) and tapped his glass, an evident sign for a refill. The robot humbly obliged and took his empty glass, only moments later to replace it with a full one.

Edmund grabbed the glass by the rounded edges with two fingers and a thumb then lifted, using only his wrist. He allowed the glass to dangle for a moment then swerved it closer to his face. The toothpick still poking out of his mouth shifted idly to the left and he downed the vodka in a fraction of a second.

“Well?” Said Faith with a shrug, becoming impatient with Edmund’s lack of acknowledgement. “Do you have any comments or concerns?”

Edmund didn’t bother to look at her. “Sure.” He answered normally. “You might wanna run while you still got the chance.” He scoped out his glass, eyeing the emptiness in unsatisfactory.

Slyly Faith smiled. “Is that threat Scarface?”

“A threat?” Edmund barked a laugh. “Nah.” He let his arm fall near the gun at his waist, making an obvious show he wasn’t afraid to get his hands dirty. Slowly he reached for the handle. “I’m a nice guy.” Somehow she doubted this.

The two were both well aware of the audience assembling around them. Suddenly Edmund whipped out his pistol only to watch the barrel slide off the handle and drop to his feet. Faith had already drawn her blade and sliced the loaded instrument in half. As his gaze fell in disbelief to where the barrel did he also noticed half his toothpick was missing. She swung less than a second later, this time aiming a little closer to his face. He lurched back, avoiding her blade by mere inches, then found himself pinned against the counter. She swung a third time with incredible swiftness.

Chapter 1 (Part 2)

It was almost with relief that Edmund ducked her attack, in where she jammed at his face with her knee. He dove out of her way so the blow didn’t fall true. Instead she bashed a large crack into the counter ledge. Nobody had ever dodged around her like this before, usually her mission would have concluded by now.

Faith dashed at him in the blink of an eye then executed a fast, destructive spinning hook kick marked for his cranium. Edmund managed to block her with his forearm but the impact was more than enough to knock him off his feet. He glided like a hockey-puck across the stainless floor, stopping only when the back of his head met with the leg of a dice table.

Faith took her time approaching him, her blade swaying serenely at her side. Edmund observed (with one eye arched) her stepping up to him. He rubbed the back of his scalp surprised not to find any bruise or indentation.

“No gun huh?” Faith said with an overconfident smile. “Too bad.” Her grip tightened around the handle of her blade. “This might sting a little.”

“No gun.” Edmund muttered through clenched teeth, still undergoing pain in his cranial structure. His left hand floundered on top of his vest when he shifted and Faith wondered if she had broken his arm in his defense. Then, without warning, his left hand flung out, “Two guns!” he pointed a revolver straight for her head.

Faith stopped dead in her tracks. Utterly shocked. She had been careless. She let her guard down for only a minute to now find herself staring death in the face. This was all happening too fast for her to react.

Edmund squeezed the trigger. But before he could apply enough pressure to set the gun off it was suddenly blasted out of his hand. He and Faith both watched the handheld weapon fly across the casino.

“Danger!” The bartender robot hummed. “Danger!” All robots such as these were equipped with restraint weapons such as stun guns and even zappers in the event of a bar fight or some other alcohol-related inconvenience. The robot transformed its right arm into a zapper and blew the gun right out of Edmund’s hand. Just like it was programmed to do. “Danger!” It echoed. Then it pointed the zapper at Faith only to find its arm and half its body cut vertically by her blade. The inferior piece of hardware fell apart on the floor, severed wires sparking like firecrackers.

She wrenched her head back at the table towards Edmund who was no longer there. He took this opportunity to book it through the casino, tackling and shoving off anybody who might have been in his way-and who might not have been. He was heading for the lottery machines, not the exit, no doubt eager to retrieve his gun. She must not have heard his getaway past the blaring music. He dodged through guests, leaped tables with ease, and burst out into the lottery area, leaving a perfect trail of separated citizens behind him.

Faith used this trail to her advantage and threw her blade in a perfect alignment aimed for the back of his head. She drew two more blades and ran for him in case she missed. But the sword’s angle couldn’t have been more efficient. Despite that she could have caught up with Edmund in no time-for she was much faster than him-the dark hedgehog halted after about the third step of her pursuit when (out of nowhere) a thick pointed object ricochet off the katana. This knocked it entirely off course. Her blade spiraled out of view. The weapon Faith instantly recognized as a Kunai plummeted to the ground. A thick, triangular throwing weapon with a miniature handle. This was what redirected her blade. She was sure of it. But where did it come from? She glanced around. All Faith saw, at first, were a bunch of guests moving around either in panic or confusion.

Looking out beyond the countless iridescent lights, where the darkness shifted into a somber, deteriorating contrast Faith caught a vague glimpse a composed shadowy figure merging (quite elusive) into frame. From the dark, shuffling patterns of the frantic crowd she solely fathomed this to be nothing more than a pretense of the lights, a dark shape to which-at first-didn’t seemed visible. This mysterious guise possessed wide, pointed ears and midnight-black wings finer and sharper than any razor. Formation-wise, they appeared to be enveloped naturally into neat, perfectly-aligned crescents slightly branched across a curved set of deadly daggered tips that extended just beyond an elbow-length level. If they were to slash somebody in half such an unfortunate individual most likely wouldn’t have even noticed he’d been cut, not right away. It was a female bat-Faith could tell by the shape-but everything else was an enigma. The mystifying stranger somehow vanished in a single lightless flicker, out of sight, out of mind. Like she wasn’t even there to begin with. An illusion.

Faith felt her heart flutter deep in her throat. She scanned the perimeter only to find nothing; nothing but a mob of fearful citizens and heeled boots suddenly whisking out of the shadows like a gunshot. They connected with Faith’s forearms in a solid block but the power of the kick knocked both the katanas out of her hands and her body flung back like a spring. Thanks to her years of acrobatic training she knew precisely how to land flawlessly onto her foot, knee, and both her hands instead of her head.

A dark bat came into view shrouded in even darker attire that concealed all but her wings and eye-spacing. Jem had been given strict orders not to be recognized by anybody, especially her enemy. Faith wouldn’t have known who Jem was even without the face concealment.

The bat sprinted at Faith. This time she released throwing stars as she advanced with impressive speed. Faith slid out the last of her katanas to parry off the bladed discs which-she soon realized-was exactly what this mysterious newcomer was counting on. The hooded figure performed a majestic yet deadly back-flip in the air launching the sword right out of Faith’s hand with a rod-iron kick. The blade skyrocketed into the radiant lights above. Jem’s chosen encounter was followed through by a surprisingly quick roundhouse, an attack in which Faith crouched without delay.

Jem punched. Faith dodged. Jem kicked. Faith swerved.

Faith no longer possessed any weapons; this, however, did not render her helpless. The hedgehog stormed her opponent with a swift series of air-based kicks, backing her hooded rival away so she either blocked or countered the hits with rigorous efforts. Faith swung (remarkably fast) in the air striking Jem a piercing blow directly across the jaw with a tornado kick. The lethal force of the attack slammed Jem into a dice table with a thundering crash, breaking the hardwood like mere cardboard.

Jem didn’t care nor did she seem to notice. The hooded bat recovered in an instant landing perfectly back on her feet. Her wings appeared to more than soften the impact. Who was she? Faith wondered. And why was she interfering?

Faith caught a glimpse of her fiery red eyes when the bat lunged. Quickly she side-stepped a lethal jab from her opponent, feeling Jem’s knuckles swish past her jaw. The hooded figure twirled after this, skewing her foot across Faith’s left ear while the dark hedgehog somersaulted out of range. Whoever this was, she was clearly no stranger to combat. To finish, Jem sprung forward and twisted, lashing out with an airborne spinning crescent. The strike was ultimately powerful-Faith hit the ground hard, back first, then flipped to recover. She winced at a stabbing pain coursing through her shoulder-a pain originally intended for her face. This wasn’t any basic-trained opponent who’s blows hardly touched her, even with ten or twenty opponents against her at once. This one could injure her critically. This one could fight.

Faith recoiled and shot forward, striking her nemesis about the head, arms, and torso with a severe combination of blows, using her fatal punches just as much as her kicks; every one of them was blocked off like her strikes were magnetically repelled by Jem’s wrists. Faith felt her heel connect with Jem’s solar plexus which drove her rival so high in the air as to shatter the glass sign of the bar. The dark figure’s body then collapsed in a flourish, sliding back on the dense marble floor.

Damn.” Faith thought. “I need to hurry up and finish this.”

She spun in half a circle and bolted away. Edmund was her main target-she reminded herself. Using gravity at her disposal she threw out her hand and snatched the blade (by the handle) that had been kicked out of her grasp, in where it recently descended when gravity took over. For all the events that took place as it sailed through the air happened in minor seconds, finishing just before the blade could land.

Faith was astonished to find her target still in the casino residence instead of running away. The two were both a great distance away from each other but Faith made short work of this. It looked like Edmund recollected his gun.

“Hold still,” Edmund lifted the pistol in her direction, using both hands, “this might sting a little!” He said, using Faith’s own words against her. A cruel irony.

He pulled the trigger then in a single explosive flash it went off. The bullet soared gracefully through the minimizing gap between himself and Faith just before the dark hedgehog swat it off course with her katana. Edmund, too stunned to speak, fired the gun again. Faith deflected yet another shot with her blade.

“Just what are you?” Edmund shouted, his voice muffled behind the roar of his gunfire. Having no goal or purpose other than to hit Faith-which was pointless, for she deflected every shot-he continued to fire until the magazine was spent, and the barrel was smoking. The magazine automatically ejected from the chamber with a noisy CLICK. No sooner did he grab a second magazine from his belt pouch that Faith swiped in a skyward motion. The pistol burst into a shower of tiny fragmented pieces right before his eyes.

Faith swung her blade once, twice, three times-every attack just barely avoided-before barreling into Edmund using her left shoulder, shoving him forcedly against the wall. He jerked his head when she lunged her sword, claiming about two or three strands of his hair. Her near-misses were becoming irritating. With one of Faith’s famous spinning side-kicks Edmund was on his back after a few painstaking, unintentional rolls.

Faith spotted a slight change in the shadows through the reflection of her polished blade. It was difficult to see past the flickering lights but she knew exactly what to expect. She was prepared this time.

In an instant Jem swooped down from the darkness, her wings serving the purpose of a parachute. Faith used her katana blade as a mirror waiting for the perfect moment to strike. As soon as she felt Jem was close enough from behind she twirled like an energized top and slashed only to cut through air. Faith couldn’t believe it. Jem had anticipated her moves and flipped straight over her head with stunning acrobatic agility. Her wings thrust out like ejecting switchblades from above. Faith had plenty of time to dodge the airborne assault, her katana (on the other hand) wasn’t as fortunate. She watched (almost in slow motion) the jagged tip of her blade breaking off like glass and hitting the ceiling, piercing one of the lights.

As soon as Jem landed she spiraled and launched her foot forthwith. Faith felt a searing pain stab through her abdomen, the pain of heels connecting with rib bones, and the next thing she knew she was on her back.

Faith’s world went momentarily black, or so it seemed. She lied there dazed and staring up at the ceiling lights, motionless. For a fleeting pause everything felt oddly warm and peaceful, and then the nauseating feeling swept over her, a sickening sensation from agonizing pain. “Get up.” She commanded herself. Her mind responded but her body rebelled. She moved her foot in a slight twitch, making sure she hadn’t broken her spine. She again ordered herself once more, “Get. Up.” Both words became a sentence and finally she regained full consciousness.

In no time at all she was back on her feet, quite a ways away from Jem and Edmund. The bat pulled out a tiny glass capsule from her hood and held it out for a moment.

Faith had never once heard Jem speak a word since they first met making her wonder if this would be the only time she earned such a privilege. Jem spoke in a shallow, dark, and mysterious tone that was practically a whisper. But Faith could hear every single word as if she were standing right in-front of her…

“This isn’t over.”

Faith knew the exact purpose of the capsule she held. The dark hedgehog ran for her but Jem threw the capsule at the floor in record time, immediately swallowed by a thick cloud of red smoke. Faith stopped. She coughed, she wheezed, she coughed again. The smoke wasn’t only used for evasion it was also designed to temporarily stun the enemy. This gave her no choice but to stagger back for a sufficient amount of oxygen. She covered a few more coughs and then watched the clouds spread out. Jem was gone, and for some reason so was Edmund. Faith never had so much trouble with a mission before-neither had she failed one, until now.

When the smoke eventually cleared Faith trudged over to the scene of the escape, her arm wrapped around her stomach and clutching the area Jem’s kick had landed. She dropped down on a single knee, blinking curiously at an object that was unfamiliar to her. It was about the size of her fist, had a white, alabaster surface, round edges, tiny blue specks of glittering light all around it, and it was shaped almost like a small boomerang. Instinctively she reached to grab the enigmatic item. She hadn’t the slightest clue what it did but it was the closest thing to evidence she could find, therefore making useful.

Chapter 2 (Part 1)

-Red’s POV-

The crimson hedgehog waddled lazily to the empty table across the end of restaurant. He wanted a seat where he could watch the skyline glitter under the hazy morning sun. The restaurant did not have any windows available, only large hollows next to the seats so that when he planted himself on the chair he could feel the wind swish across his face. Red breathed out fabric clouds of steam into the brisk morning air, it was fairly cold out and the temperature wasn’t set to increase until early in the afternoon, but it was nothing his naturally augmented body heat couldn’t suppress.

“Are you sure you wanna sit here sir?” A delicate voice muttered beside him. Red turned his gaze to find himself staring at a slim, red-haired otter with fur as blue as the ocean across the city-scape outside and green emerald-like eyes.

“She’s kinda cute.” Red thought to himself.

“It gets really cold in the morning. Aren’t you uncomfortable?” She spoke with deep emotion in her tone.

Red glanced back at the large hole beside him then half-smiled. “I’ll be fine.” He uttered. “But I appreciate your concern.”

The blue waitress stared at Red a moment then shrugged. “Okay.” She pulled out a notepad. “My name’s Rita and I’ll be your waitress for today. Care for any beverages before I start your order?” Rita’s voice almost made it sound as if she were capricious though it was mixed together with a streak of confidence. “Uh-S-SIR!” She finished, forgetting to address him like a military commander.

Red drummed his fingertips against the ledge of the counter, thinking. Her pen hovered, ready. “I guess I’ll have…” he gave himself one more moment to ponder, “an orange juice?” He said, disappointed with his decision. But he didn’t want to keep her waiting.

She scratched it down in her notepad. “Coming right up sir.” Rita glided off on a pair of rollerskates almost before she could finish.

“Orange Juice?” He mocked himself in his whispering thoughts. “Do hedgehogs even like orange juice?”

Red followed through with what he had sat at the table at the end of the room for, he gazed at the beautiful ocean surrounding the city until his attention was attracted to something else that was beautiful. The usual alarm went off from whenever a customer entered the restaurant residence, and walking through the doorway (at a fast but steady pace) was a dark female hedgehog with long flowing hair that extended to her ankles, near-perfect physical features, a purple tank-top, and similar-colored high-heeled boots reaching up just beyond her knees. Red’s eyes shadowed her while she trudged to the table on the other side of the restaurant (not noticing him past the cluster of customers). She was really pretty, and she seemed vaguely familiar…and then he saw the blades. They were strapped to her back. Blades! “How the hell did she get past security with those things?” Red wondered. It took him a while to acknowledge the existence of the waitress who was trying to speak to him.

“Excuse me!” Rita was never one to lose her patience frequently but she had to get Red’s attention somehow. Red jumped in complete surprise-spinning with more speed than he anticipated. “What is-” suddenly he smacked Rita’s hand, knocking out an enormous glass of orange juice. It shattered on the floor exploding into a bright orange shower that tagged her uniform.

“Damn it.” Red murmured through clenched teeth. “I-I’m so sorry!” He stuttered. “You surprised me!”

The blue otter (blushing) shook her head. “No, its my fault.” She pulled a somehow clean tablecloth out of her shirt-pocket, which had been splashed along with everything else. “I shouldn’t have yelled so loud.” Instead of drying herself off with the tablecloth she handed it to Red, who had hardly been touched by the liquid fruit.

“No please,” Red held up his hands, “you need it more than I-”

“Rita get in here!” A hauntingly familiar voice shouted. It was coming from behind the door to the kitchen. “You might actually be of use at table seven-hurry up!” {C Rita dropped the tablecloth onto Red’s lap then zoomed away like a bullet.

Now everybody’s attention was converged entirely on Red, this including the dark hedgehog’s. Red felt a sudden rush of color ripen his cheeks. “I must look like a fool.” Red hated himself with a passion at the moment. Soon enough everybody went back to their eating and conversations as if nothing had happened.

-Faith’s POV-

Everything was so quiet as soon as she stepped into the restaurant. Sure, it was noisy and crowded but somehow too quiet for her. And to think only two hours and-she glanced at the clock suspended on the wall-thirty four minutes ago she was in the middle of a vicious fight against some random opponent who appeared literally out of nowhere. “Who was that anyway?” This question had been clawing at the depths of her skull ever since she failed her first mission.

Everything was, in fact, ‘too’ quiet when she walked in, the sound of glass breaking on the floor was a splendid relief from the serene environment. Faith looked over assuming she would spot a waitress saturated in beverage liquid which is exactly what she found, what she wasn’t expecting was the red customer (who was being served) to be quite so attractive. She could see him perfectly through her significantly acute vision, she actually found herself checking him out. This one looked familiar, almost “too” familiar. Faith was likely the only one who wasn’t concentrating intently on the spilled orange juice.

“No!” Faith pried her eyes away-which she actually found to be arduous. “Snap out of it!” She looked away at the precise moment everyone else did. This allowed her to blend in. The ringing bell of the door sounded off. Another customer had entered. Faith was right next to the door. She swerved her gaze drearily across the booth in-front of her to spot a familiar blue fox walking inside.

“Our sincerest apologies sir.” One of the robot’s approached him. “We are currently out of seats for the time being.”

Faith signaled by flinging her hand. “Psychotic satellite dish!” She addressed the service-bot, amazed that it could hear her past all the rambling people. “He can sit with me!” The booth in-front of her was empty.

The blue fox recognized her almost instantly. A keen smile wandered along his face at the service-bot, who appeared a little annoyed. “Very well.” It said with a sigh. “This way please.” Adi held out his hand, gesturing the robot to stop, and then walked to the booth as if to say “I’m fully capable of getting there myself, thank you.”

“Adi,” Said Faith, “I haven’t seen you in forever.” The blue fox seated himself, smiling warmly. He made a quick decision and munched down on the saltines and butter lying on the table. “How are things going?”

Adi tipped his head and held a fist towards the ceiling as if to hang himself-his way of saying “horribly-thanks for asking.”

“First come first served.” Faith giggled. “I’m kinda surprised you came to a boring old place like this. Wouldn’t someone of your status be more interested in a place less boring?” Adi, with a smile still dancing along his face, shrugged with unquestionable intention. “Have you heard about that new restaurant on the moon?” She asked, serious about the location. “I’ve been told there’s great food there, but no atmosphere.” The blue fox hid a light chuckle behind his hand. Faith went on, she liked Adi especially, because he paid close attention and let her do all the talking, “You get the bad joke-”

“Can I get you anything?” Interrupted a tall yellow badger, he was a waiter by the name of Charles-according to the microscopic nametag pinned to his chest.

Faith, (somewhat annoyed by the conversational impediment), ordered what she always did in the mornings. “Give me a coffee.” She muttered half-heartedly, peering at him only through the crystal reflection of the window.

“With pleasure.” The waiter said cheerfully.

“No, with cream.” Faith corrected him in a smart allecky manner, still holding a grudge against his interruption.

Both Charles and Adi smiled, but uncomfortably so, with a large, gleaming runner of sweat crawling down their foreheads-though Adi was used to her behaving like this. He had become accustomed to her less charismatic side. Faith locked her sight on the waiter, glaring at him through her ferocious yellow eyes. These were eyes freshly picked out of a nightmare. And to think they were a beneficial part of such a rather glamorous figure.

“Uh…” The waiter’s voice quivered, “R-right, um, any-anything else?” He coward behind the menus he was originally going to hand to them. She had him trapped with her eyes. He couldn’t bring himself to peel his own eyes away.

“Sure.” Faith declared. “More.”

The yellow badger blinked at her response. “More what?”

“More coffee, more cream, more creamed coffee. Add a ton of sugar too.”

The waiter smirked. “So just…more.” Faith nodded. Under the fluorescent lights Charles appeared tired and lined, like one of Adi’s old spellbook bags before he memorized everything. The dark hedgehog diverted her attention back out the window, freeing the waiter of her vicious stare. “And for you sir?” His eyes darted across the table to peer at Adi. This gave him the opportunity to take his eyes off of Faith’s katanas.

The blue zodiac fenec fox calmly plucked out one of the menus the waiter held firmly and cracked it open (with one hand) like a thin, oversized novel. The menu was huge and had about seventy different breakfast/lunch/dinner specials on it. But despite its colossal size it didn’t take him long to locate his desired nourishment. He set the menu on the table, poking repeatedly below the words reading “Blueberry Pie.” The words were cornered at the very bottom of the menu. The waiter stared at Adi a moment, then at the menu, then at Adi again, possibly waiting for some kind a statement. But he never got one. “What is it sir?” He asked, unable to see the words from his distance.

Adi stared at the waiter through a half-open gaze, looking both irritated and bored at the same time. This had happened to him more than once and he was beginning to wonder if these guys were blind or just stupid.

“He’s not a huge fan of talking.” Faith answered for him. “Actually I’ve never heard him talk before.” She glanced at Adi for any signs of correction. Adi simply shrugged. “In case your wondering, he wants a blueberry pie.” Faith didn’t even need to look at the menu-she knew how much Adi loved this type of pie.

“I’m terribly sorry.” The badger fanned himself off with the one menu in his hand. “All the blueberry pies are currently out of stock.”

Adi glared at him like a predator ready to mangle its prey. “It ain’t my fault.” The waiter pleaded his innocence. But it was too late. Adi readied his wand, muttering an unknown dialect beneath his breath. He circled the thick alabaster instrument in the air, channeling more and more white, radiant energy that appeared to enshroud it. The wand glowed so brightly that it was almost painful to look at. He then snapped his wrist forthwith and in a single flashing, sparkling instant the waiter’s uniform and rollerskates collapsed to the floor.

FOR SPOON STORY

Lol

“Huh.” Faith mumbled. “Is he dead or something?”

Adi smiled at her, it was a smile that clearly said, “see for yourself.”

Out of the neck of the shirt that lay on the spotless floor a tiny frog sprung out like a grotesque dart. Faith focused on what once was a yellow badger. “So its safe to say you have frogs legs?” The small, slimy creature dove forward and landed only inches near the table. When it hopped again it was right beneath Faith, who didn’t seem at all bothered by the revolting specimen. Her gaze dropped down on top of it and then climbed back up to Adi-who was no longer by himself at the other end of the table.

Beside him stood a pale figure, fairly small for a human, and handed Adi a note that he fished out of his back Jeans pocket. “Adello Finnigan de Gorsemour,” he addressed Adi by his full name. The boy leaned forward and whispered deep into Adi’s ear, apparently whatever he had to clarify was secret. Faith’s left ear twitched. She had incredibly acute hearing and though Adi could barely hear the kid himself Faith caught the words, “Pokemon Tournament,” and “you have been chosen” and “need to hurry if you want to get there.” Then just like that the kid raced away-likely to deliver more messages.

Adi’s eyes followed him out the door before slinging in Faith’s direction. Through his gaze Faith caught a wild flicker that she clearly read as determination. No words needed to be exchanged under such circumstances. She had seen this look before.

“I guarantee this tournament will be Live if its important enough for you to be there. I’ll see if I can watch you compete.” Faith ruffled his dark-blue hair. “For right now, I’ll see you later.” And just like that, Adi was gone. He tapped his own forehead with his wand and vanished into a bright, sparkly fog. When the misty material cleared the seat in-front of her was again empty.

“Ribbit.” Faith heard underneath the table. She looked back down at the waiter who was a frog. “Hmm,” she hummed, “your still here?” Faith peered at the attire on the ground and noticed the guy’s wallet was entirely exposed. Usually a common instinct would urge someone to take the wallet but Faith had no interest in money, they were just scraps of paper and melted iron to her. What she was interested in, however, were the pictures inside the wallet. There was a golden wedding ring right next to it clearly indicating that the guy was married. And the pictures inside proved that he had a family, two daughters and one son who looked to be the oldest. They were all very touching family photos.

“Wow,” Faith muttered to herself, “that’s…that’s perfect.” She heard another ribbit beneath the table. Charles, who had been transformed into a frog, gave off a number of loud croaks. She could have taken him back to Adi to change him back into his former self but Faith had another idea. The dark hedgehog stomped on top of the frog crushing it (bones and all) beneath her metallic heel. She felt the crunch of its tiny spine and limbs crumble like dried apricots underneath her foot. “Oops.” She cooed, sarcastically.

Lightly she kicked the flattened carcass beneath the seat in-front of her, giving herself more than enough room to stretch her legs. While she was at it she also shoveled up the uniform beneath her foot and crammed it under the seat as well. “Quick question!” She hollered at one of the waiters who was feeding quarters into the jukebox. The guy held his last quarter half-way through the slot, looking back at her. “Could I get a waiter that’s not dead please?”

Chapter 2 (Part 2)

-Rita’s POV-

“You have another order at table four and five.” Fiona stated, balancing a tray of beverages in one hand and shedding from her bartender apron with the other. She tossed it lazily over her shoulder. The apron landed in the sink. Her shift had finally ended and it was time for Slade (a former colleague of hers) to take her place as bartender. “We haven’t got all day.” Fiona strapped a piece of tape to a small paper scribbled in writing and stamped it hard on the wall.

Rita drifted back and forth on her horrid rollerskates, flapping her arms frantically, wildly, trying to maintain balance. “I’m already dealing with (one, two) five customers!” She had to get up off her knees twice before she was hugging a support beam like some long lost friend.

“Seven.” Fiona corrected her. She then shoved the order into Rita’s arms forcing her to slide back until the red fox clutched her shirt. “Now get moving!” She pulled Rita back with unimaginable force then pushed her effortlessly out the doorway.

Without any intention Rita began to build up speed as her rollerskates carried her through the room. “I’ll be right with you miss!” She flew past Faith. Rita kept the brakes of her skates in mind. She allowed her feet to slip back from under her-which is what they naturally wanted to do anyway-and skid upon the floor with brakes that had about as much traction as a duck landing on a frozen pond. Soon enough she stopped, with nothing broken, and had made her way to her desired destination.

-Faith’s POV-

Faith stuck in an earpiece and scrolled through the menu on her Ipod. Eagerly she clicked the center button when the song “Forgive Me Father (I Have Sinned)” by “Cradle of Filth” was highlighted in dark blue. This was one of her favorite songs by her favorite band. And besides, any genre of music beat the horrid sounds manifesting from the jukebox. This was her idea in waiting for the waitress who was tending to a customer directly behind her.

The waitress wiped a cloth across the table and took the empty appetizer plates. There was only one customer she had to tend to but this one was trouble. He was under the delusion he was eating raw fish and continued to complain about Mercury. Faith sighed. Just because she could, she opened the restaurant menu and scanned all the dishes. “Nope.” She mocked him beneath her breath. “Don’t see the mercury special anywhere.” She used the clear casing of the menu as a mirror and watched the two bicker.

The waitress, a rather cute blue-colored otter with dark red hair and an orange-stained uniform, looked confused. “Well damn.” Rita blurted without thinking. “I-I mean my goodness!” She corrected herself. “Are you from the health department? Cause we passed with flying colors like two weeks ago. Fiona-err-my manager’s got the certificate on file.”

Regardless of this, the customer still had plenty to whine about. In the song, Faith had made it to the verse “She comes to me like a sandstorm in an hourglass, a whirlwind of desire” by the time he accused the chefs of being lazy.

“The chefs aren’t lazy sir.” The waitress’ smile was strained.

“Oh really?” Challenged the customer. “Then what’s this?”

The otter fetched a meager glance at his dish. “That would be Oyster Soup sir. Its what you ordered.” Her tone was beginning to unveil hints of irritation. Faith had been irritated from the start.

“Yes well there’s no oysters in my oyster soup.”

That was it for Faith. “Would you expect to find angels in an angel cake?” The dark hedgehog wrenched her head in his direction. “Hurry up!”

Lightning Lynx-a gloomy and practically half-dead individual Faith wasn’t aware of-glared at her with his big beady eyes. “Whoa,” Faith quickly inspected his eerie figure, “there’s a graveyard two blocks down the street, you might wanna check it out.” Rita laughed at this a little but softly enough so no one notice.

“I’ll be right back with you,” Rita shuffled instantly to the next table, remembering just in time to say, “uh-sir” to Lightning. She looked hurried. “Any beverages miss?” She half wheeled half staggered to Faith’s table.

“Just coffee please.”

A faint memory crept into Rita's thoughts. “Oh! And you can try a sample our new vegetable soup for free.”

Faith smiled and shrugged. “Free is a good price.”

This was invitation enough. “One coffee and one vegetable soup coming up.” The otter scribbled the order on her notepad, doing her best to ignore the katanas Faith carried. She flew back into the kitchen afterwards.

“Faith?” A raspy voice erupted from beside her.

“That’s my name.” She didn’t even bother to look at the pale, red-eyed creature standing next to her.

“One of our agents recognized you at the casino a few hours ago.” Faith’s ears perked. “Sounds like you made quite an impression.”

“One of your agents?” She echoed, flinging her eyes over towards Slade the Ratel. “Was this agent by any chance female with sharp wings and eyes about as red as yours?”

“Maybe it was.” Answered Slade. “Then again, maybe it wasn’t.”

“Here you are miss.” Rita came back with a metal tray dressed in several beverages, one of them obviously being hers. She set a steaming cup of coffee on the table, piled a few bags of sugar and plastic cream containers beside it, then planted a small bowl of soup in-front of her. “Friend of yours?” Rita asked, her attention focused entirely on Slade now. She didn’t seem to notice his left arm suddenly hardening into a thick rock-like substance. A famous ability of his that neither Rita nor Faith knew about…yet.

“Nah, we just met.” Faith answered dryly.

There was a long gap between their conversation. “You’re a killer Faith. A murderer.” Rita paused wide-eyed, incapable of backing up on traction-less wheels. “On the outside you may look appealing. But I know the truth. Deep down, you’re evil.” Faith dipped her spoon into her watery soup, immediately drawing back when Slade slammed his fist on the table, his knuckles spilling the vegetables. “We know about your organization and let me tell ye, we don’t plan to keep knowing.” Faith remained silent, for the first time ever allowing someone else to do all the talking. “I guess you could say I was born with a talent. In all honesty I’m genetically engineered to kill monsters like you.”

Her song was finally over. She popped out the tiny earpiece and stuffed it gently back in her pocket. “Well this monster’s one of a kind.”

“One of a kind.” Slade echoed. “Just like all the others. Nice weapons by the way.”

“Stay away from the swords.” Declared Faith. “I don’t think you could handle them.”

Slade smiled at her in a flirty manner. “I wasn’t talking about the swords.”

“Is there a problem over here.” A waiter soared up on his skates, it looked like he was cleaning a glass of some sort with a used up rag.

Faith eyed Slade’s fist in her bowl. “Waiter there’s a little bitch in my soup.” And just like that Slade took the table by one hand and hurled it at the ceiling like a flattened softball. Tableware and eating utensils hung briefly in the air just long enough for Faith to clutch a steak knife. Her newfound weapon slipped past his defenses and slashed his throat. A direct hit.

Chapter 2 (Part 3)

-Regular POV-

Slade growled, enraged with himself for failing to retreat far enough back to keep from being cut. Bringing first blood always gave the fighter a measure of psychological advantage-or so Faith told herself. She lurched from her seat right at the Ratel. Her swiping arm motion followed through with the drawing of her blade, releasing the knife from her grasp almost exactly at the time she pulled her sword out. She jabbed forward, barely missing Slade’s face and instead lacerated his cheek. During the first few blows, Faith concentrated on her attacks and let her body motions settle into the rhythm of the swordplay.

Slade barely saw the spinning hook kick coming in time to leap back, watching Faith’s boot slice a millimeter from his nose, he knew it would have broken his neck if he'd been but a fraction slower. Luckily he was a great deal faster than she was and able to keep up with her paces. But not her attacks.

Faith took one, two, three lethal swipes at him (all merely quick blurs to the customers), and Slade felt a jarring impact in his side. The searing pain hadn’t occurred yet, but he knew he had been hit. Slade disengaged his defenses and scrambled back in a flourish.

Red watched this entire scene jaw-dropped, not knowing what to do. What could he do? Which one was the villain? He instinctively wanted to help the hedgehog though his legs seemed to rebel against the rest of his body and wouldn’t move. It was as if he were set on pause in the middle of an action scene.

KSH! Faith plunged her blade about two inches below his ribcage in a single unseen thrust. Slade, now in custody of her weapon, took a massive swing at her with a rock-solid punch. Faith danced swiftly back, avoiding the attack completely, swinging a new blade skyward. She cut off a sizable chunk of his dark, gleaming nose. Her following attack point was a scant millimeter from Slade’s face when he jerked his hardened wrist to deflect the blow. The blade sliced past the Ratel’s ear, severing the very tip. To think it took him this long to realize she was carrying two swords-one wedged deep in his abdomen. Her blade again clashed with his armored forearm, resulting in a firework display of sparks.

It didn’t take Faith long to figure out what her opponent was capable of. Slade had the ability to harden his molecular density by thickening the carbon atoms of his body, transmogrifying them into a type of rock-like material that rendered him practically invulnerable. On top of that he was faster and much stronger. “Physically I’m outmatched in every way possible.” She thought to herself. “This should be fun.” Slade pulled out the blade trapped between his abdominal muscles and threw it far out the window.

The Ratel suffered through deep gashes all across his face, arms, and torso before he was able to parry off another attack. A larger portion of his upper limbs were armored but Faith noticed he was moving more slowly, despite him still being somewhat faster than she was. It made perfect sense. The added weight of the thickened carbon atoms slowed him down. But no sooner did she find this out that Slade lashed his claws out and broke a few inches off the blade, casting it to the ceiling.

Faith, still in a daze, was grabbed by the arms and forced on top of a tables. Struggling would have been pointless, for the Ratel was far stronger than she was and could have held her off without any effort at all. He had her now.

Red wanted desperately to run over and help her but his legs still refused to cooperate. Around him he noticed customers were beginning to rise from their tables. But for some reason they weren’t going anywhere.

Her arms were now useless but Faith had other skills. She jammed her knee into impalement wound on his gut making him move just enough so that she could cock her head, grabbing the severed blade out of the air with her teeth. She then lunged. Slade would have seen how satisfied she looked if he wasn’t suddenly blind in his left eye.

He staggered a few paces back, mouth agape in a silent scream. All he could unleash from his mouth was a mixture of gurgles and blood from the deep gash in his throat. Faith launched her heel forward and watched Slade fly across the room breaking a table beneath his landing. The dark hedgehog sprung up from her pinned position like a jack-in-the-box. Due to a common instinct Red couldn’t help but rise from his own seat as well. Some of the customers that had risen as well weren’t really customers at all but a part of this whole operation. He watched them pull out handguns which was more than enough reason to progress with unimaginable speed and, in the blink of an eye, blow all the weapons forcefully against the wall. It took them all a long moment to acknowledge what just happened.

Faith, in the midst of battle, noticed Red had just saved her life.

Slade recoiled and threw a punch. Faith dodged and retailed with a groundbreaking crescent-kick. He took the blow right next to his punctured eye, pain exploding inside his head. Ignoring the woozy aftereffects he launched out with bared knuckles. Faith covered swiftly with a double-armed block. She then twisted around and roundhouse-kicked him across the gut. He sputtered out a swear laced in blood and crumpled to the ground-in where she slammed her knee into his face. The painstaking blow set off a chiming CLING when the tile cracked like glass beneath his head. She kicked him again, viciously, in the ribs. Slade doubled-up on the floor. All the customers in the restaurant retreated a few paces back and Slade lied motionless. She kicked him hard in the face, blood from his severed nose spattered on the carpet nearby. Afterwards she twirled and sprinted away to help Red, though from her own perspective it looked like he could handle himself.

All in a blurred instant Red had performed a number of tactical maneuvers that was the fastest thing Faith had ever witnessed. Red jumped and kicked one of the hired assassins in the chest. The guy crashed to the ground and Red threw himself on top of him, struck him hard in the face once, twice, three times and kneed him in the side before barreling into another hitman and he was on the ground again. All of this had occurred literally in a minor second. In the duration of another second Red kicked, punched, and elbowed another hitman across the stomach while tackling him directly through the plastered wall like an organic wrecking ball. The broken wall threw up a thick cloud of smoke that snaked around his ankles when, briefly, he stopped.

“Slick moves!” Faith smiled at her new ally.

“Your not too bad yourself!” Red smiled back.

More assassins came pouring into the restaurant. “What a crazy ride.” Faith uttered flatly. Red nodded. “You can say that again.” “What a crazy ride.” She obediently said again, obliging to his request, (not being serious of course). It was so uncalled for Red actually found himself laughing, regardless of the perilous situation.

Red and Faith made quick work of the assassins. Though during their pursuit they were separated for a while. Red was handling the ones far across the room picking them off one-by-one though with his speed it appeared more like five by five. Faith had her own techniques. The first assassin she faced off against drew his sword and let out a battle cry when he charged directly at her. When his blade was only inches from her throat, she moved from his path and all in a blurred instant grabbed his wrist, twisted, struck his elbow snapping his arm reversely, discarded him of his weapon, and quickly dragged his own blade across his belly. Her opponent crashed to the floor, his innards spilling out faster than he could stuff them back in with his one useful arm. The second one in pursuit cast throwing stars in her direction. She shielded herself (with her newfound sword) from the first five then snatched the last out of the air, hurling it back at the owner-striking him in the leg. He screamed and grabbed the wound with both hands and Faith swung her blade, taking off not only his hands but the leg in which they grasped. He fell to the floor and was promptly beheaded. The third assassin pulled out a gun from quite a ways away, but before he could so much as lift it Faith flung the sword across the restaurant, piercing his chest. On his knees he bled out for a while until finally he collapsed.

The last assassin, a purple rat near the unattended bar, Faith didn’t see until it was too late. He lunged at her with a blade held firmly in his grasp and stabbed her right across the waist. Faith drew back from the impact and strangely enough didn’t feel any pain in her side at all. Across the room Red had witnessed this and Faith spotted a sudden flicker in his glare that she read as a combination of anger and hate. It was a side of him she didn’t know, whereas the other side was still very familiar. Out of nowhere he summoned a dancing, golden flame in his open palm and hurled it at the assassin like a dodge-ball.

The flame swallowed the assassin whole and in-front of Faith stood a living torch, running wildly back and forth in a frantic panic. She glanced at the bar behind him, scanning through all the alcoholic drinks exposed and lined up neatly along the shelves. This was a perfect setup. Alcohol was flammable.

Faith ran up to the assassin set ablaze. She delivered a swift spinning sidekick across his head which exploded into a thick cloud of smoldering, white ash and scorched fur. Sending his body crashing into the glass shelves labeled “Alcoholic Beverages.” The chemical admixture of carbon Hydroxide combined with Oxidizer resulted in a blazing detonation that spread all across the bar. The rat’s smoking carcass collapsed on the hard marble floor, no doubt dead before hitting the ground.

That was the last of them. There were no more assassins. Rita had watched the whole thing goggle-eyed and entirely unable to move in shock, the metal tray of not yet served refreshments quivering in her hands. She had forgotten she was holding them. Faith looked at her and smiled innocently. “Check please.” She uttered.

Chapter 2 (Part 4)

Her new accomplice, Red, came over to her recently, in about a second, when he was clearly all the way across the room before then, a look of uneasy revelation in his eyes. His palms were still hot and smoking from projecting his destructive flame. “Are you hurt?” Red asked, his eyes fixated on the shredded portion of her shorts.

Faith’s eyes followed the direction his were pointing. Her pocket was torn apart by that one swipe she took below the waist. She said yes and assured him that she was alright.

“Who would’ve guessed there’d be ninjas too.” Red sounded a little annoyed.

“I know.” Faith answered in all seriousness. Then she added a touch of playfulness to her tone. “Pretty cool huh?”

Red chuckled behind half a smile and shrugged. “If you say so.” He stepped up closer to her, taking care not to disturb the bowels of the assassin she had recently gutted. “What happened to that other guy? The one who started this whole party?” Red recalled a white-furred creature who, through the loss of his temper, threw the dining room table.

Faith looked back where Slade no longer was. “Looks like he ran off.” She smiled proudly. “What a marshmallow. I’m not surprised, judging by the condition I left him in.” The crimson hedgehog looked disconcerted. But his emotions fought off the feeling and replaced it with curiosity. “So,” Faith instantly changed the subject, peering intently at Red, “apart from looking good, what do you do for a living?”

Red froze in shock of her bold words, the question was so bluntly remarked but at the same time is was rather flattering. A sly grin spread along his face and he decided to play along. “Well,” he began, “I save the lives of beautiful, dark-furred, female hedgehogs who I call up on a date afterwards.” Faith blinked at his reply, impressed. “But I seem to have lost my number, can I borrow yours?”

This was entirely new to her. Usually all the males were tongue-tied when she spoke to them this way and their faces exploding into a crimson concoction of embarrassment, happiness, and flattery, but not this one. This one was much more intriguing. “Of course you can,” Faith threw back, “though you’d have to get rejected by my answering machine.” She reached into the pocket that had been lashed with the knife and pulled out what was left of her Iphone-it was what shielded her from the attack. “And who says music can’t save your life?”

Red appeared both shocked and relived at the same time. “Whoa! Talk about a ‘close call.’” He joked. “A little ‘too’ close. Not only that, but it looks like you have something on your face.”

“Really? Where?” Faith sounded concerned.

“You can’t see it? Its all over your face,” he dipped his head closer to hers making the dark hedgehog blush a little, “oh, never mind,” he cooed, “that’s just beauty.” It was a brilliant setup and Faith was amused with his reactive responses. “I know when to heat things up. After all, I ‘am’ a fire bender.”

Faith readied herself. She was prepared this time. “Well then ‘fire bender,’” she spoke in a flirty tone, “if I said you had a hot body would you hold it against me?”

It took Red a moment to decipher the full meaning of her question, she was definitely a professional at this indicating that she had most likely done this before. “Wow, your good.” Red admitted.

And it was at this moment that that spark of familiarity to this red stranger grew into a raging flame ready to torch all of Mobius. She recognized him, she knew him, it had been so long but she was sure this was him. But it couldn’t be…could it? “Red?” Faith squeaked, grasping his full attention.

The crimson hedgehog looked sharply in her direction, the thin streak of Deja-vu hanging over him, taunting him. There was just too much about this dark female hedgehog that brought back memories shrouded in cobwebs, not very clear but they were memories nonetheless. “Do I…” He had trouble forcing out the words, “do I know you…?” He gazed deep into her haunting yellow eyes, this time really looking, and the memories came pouring back into his head. “Faith?”

The dark hedgehog was speechless. Why had she not seen this before? The energy, the chemistry, the feelings that existed between them. “Red I…I…” for the first time ever she couldn’t think of anything to say, a remarkably unusual feat for her while she was typically very sharp and never without a witty comment. Faith not only lost her train of thought, she lost all coordination.

Why didn't I prepare myself for this possibility? her chaotic mind wailed. How could she prepare herself? Prepare herself for someone who back then merely seemed like an exquisite dream, too perfect to be real. Someone who, now at the age of seventeen, affected her twice what he had in her troubled years as a six-year-old. Ten times that! Their gazes met, they locked, sweeping her out of reality on a tidal wave of emotion, just like always. She hadn’t felt this way in so long.

Why had nothing changed? She’d been gone for so long, any reaction to him should have been mild. She’d somehow convinced herself Red was a brief part of her reckless youth...a part that had no ground in reality. Certainly not in her present or future. God he was hot. In more than one way. Sweet, dangerous, and she adored that sense of untamed justice, barely suppressed below the surface… He appeared more mature, more shuttered than ever before, and unbelievably handsome too. He had light greenish/yellow eyes that seemed to hold all the mysteries in the universe, a clever face that flared slightly (she noticed) when he was angered, furious. Or even aroused. The features of his face seemed to be carved from stone. At one time, she'd known every line, each texture. She’d actually believed she’d known the hedgehog...the inner individual who remained an enigma even to his closest friends.

Their silence rang through the entire restaurant residence until Red uttered a familiar phrase she hadn’t heard in ten years time. “Damn, your beautiful princess.”

Tears flooded her eyes at his unexpected, almost unwilling sense of worship. But instead of developing her want, her need, for tenderness, the tears made her feel needy, greedy. Red extended out softly, touching the tears on her face. Such a kind and tempting gesture. It was too bad she couldn’t breath, speak, swallow, or hear anything beyond her painfully thudding heartbeat. She was back in her fantasy world with Red. Where she belonged.

The look in his eye was pure with intention, emotion. “Don’t cry,” he whispered, running his fingers through her hair as she hugged him viciously and her body wracked with sobs.

“I can’t help it. I’m too much a girl right now!”

Red smiled, ever so slightly; he held her gently in his arms. It felt as if she were going to melt right into him. Faith was afraid her heart would beat right out of her chest. It was to such a degree that she (for an extensively long while) wished they could stay so close together forever…

(Ten minutes Later)

Red escorted Faith out into the parking lot when she settled down. By the time they journeyed all the way to the sidewalk she was back to her cool, congenial self again. She sighed bitterly to herself. “I feel naked without my swords.” She murmured.

“I take it you still enjoy the prospect of being an assassin then?” Red asked courageously, a slight twitch of disappointment in his tone. He had always known Faith had a sick (rather disturbing) affinity for killing things. Why back when they were children she took great joy in torturing insects and other small creatures by removing their legs one-by-one then dropping their limbless bodies into a pot of boiling water to watch (in blissful marvel) them slowly disintegrate in a thick, powdery foam.

Despite how loosely Red’s term had been used under previous circumstances Faith was anything but hesitant to answer. “I don’t just enjoy it,” she answered, “I contribute to it.”

Red sighed. “So you’re a member of the Cell now?”

“I always said I would be.” Faith smiled. She was proud of her position as a hired killer as she always loved the idea of being one, a preference she and Red had always differed on.

“What are you doing to those bugs?” Red often asked when he was seven and she was six. In where Faith would reply, “impaling them with sticks that I sharpened.” There would always be a stack of dagger-tipped strips of wood next to her no thicker than a pencil, but definitely sharper. She had her own pocket knife to carve the jagged tips and occasionally peel off the specimens’ heads. She would usually impale numerous creatures on the same stick like some kind of sick shish-kabob, a few would actually still be moving or at least twitching. “She is seriously sadistic.” Red’s blue brother would exclaim. “I don’t know why you hang out with her. Anyway, I gotta go.” And just like that Sonic was gone. But Red had more effective approaches. “Its almost nighttime.” He’d walk up to her. “You wanna climb the old willow tree with me and watch the sunset?” And just like that Faith would be in his arms, her project abandoned. “I’d love to.”

Red snapped out of his flashbacks and listened to Faith beside him. “Your heroic judgment is making you apprehensive, don’t worry about me.” Then she remarked, jokingly, “C’mon, ye gotta ask the right questions.”

Red smiled. “Okay, what would the right questions be then?”

“You could ask if I wanna stay over at your place.”

“Wanna stay over at my place?” He asked.

“Sound like an awesome idea, I’ll need clothes that aren’t saturated in blood, coffee, and…” she eyed the dried blood, of her kills, caked in her dark fur, “a shower couldn’t hurt.”

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