Sonic Speed

A Brave New World Indeed

Sonic cradled the Princess in his arms tightly as he streaked across the barren landscape that stretched between the vast greenery of the Great Forest and the dark, polluted city of Robotropolis. The two of them had made this journey too many times together throughout the years as Freedom Fighters, scraping together their limited resources and endless desire to reclaim their dying planet from the iron-fisted dictatorship of Dr. Robotnik. Today marked the first time any of the Knothole Freedom Fighters would be setting foot inside the city since Robotnik's defeat during the events of his own Doomsday.

As news broke of Robotnik's demise to the various pockets of resistance scattered throughout Mobius, a steady stream of celebrations broke out and stories were shared of bravery and survival alike. These were the scant few survivors that witnessed the destruction of their homes and were forced to adapt to living in secrecy. You could not cross paths with someone that was not related to a causality of this war. Sonic's own Uncle was one of the first and he considered himself fortunate ever since he was able to regain his free will. In time, the outside would be repaired as well.

With the Doomsday pods now all out of commission and with the celebratory parties dying down, now the hard part begins. Sonic knew that much. He glanced down at Sally before looking back up. They were fast approaching the outer edges of Robotropolis and you could already smell the horrid stench of pollution in the air. It was a smell that Sonic never got use to - he much preferred the smell of wood and pine from the Great Forest (or a nice, piping hot chili dog!) - but he did not have a clue if it would ever go away. Where the heck were they suppose to even begin?

"Which way, Sal?" Sonic asked her. They had several methods they would use to gain access into the city undetected. Sonic preferred to just juice right in out there in the open just like the brazen super cool hedgehog that he was. With Robotnik gone, who was running the show now? Snively? Robotnik's nephew, if he was smart, would be anywhere BUT Robotropolis Sonic thought. Nah, the place was probably abandoned, even though the lights were still on and all of Robotnik's factories were still unleashing poisonous chemicals into the environment.

A Welcome Retreat: Princess Sally Acorn

Rain was a much-welcome diversion from the rather late summer that had taunted Knothole for far too many months this year. According to NICOLE, it was due to all the pollutants emitted from Robotropolis causing the longer heat waves. It was any wonder that the foliage in Knothole was able to benefit from the prolonged presence of the sun, considering all the smog that loomed over, creeping to the outskirts of their village.

In spite of the gloomy skies, the rain was a huge relief for most of the residents. They had been wondering when the cool weather would welcome them into the autumn and winter months. Sally wondered just what the harvest would bring them. It'd be a surprise if the heat didn't kill off a good chunk of their produce. One could hope for the best...

Sally was lounging in her hut, which was no less modest than those of her fellows-in-arms. She was a princess, but were it not for the family photo kept on a coffee-table in her lounge area, you would never guess it. A kettle was on the fire, heating to a boil for some tea. She hadn't broken it out many times during the summer, as she deemed tea to be more appropriate for rainy days or chilly ones. Admittedly, she'd been looking forward to the chance in seasons. The Winter Solstice festivals were always things of pleasant memories, and it seemed inappropriate to start planning for such a thing when you broke a sweat just opening the front door...

The squirrel cast her cool blue eyes towards the teapot. It wasn't even starting to steam yet, which gave her time to decide upon which tea she would be brewing.

She had blends that she favored personally, but there was something about brewing a pot that typically inclined her to set out a second cup. Typically having a light glowing from her window in the middle of a shower attracted a passer-by or two.

Approaching Robotropolis: The Freedom Fighter, Sally Acorn

Sally Acorn was a Freedom Fighter first, guardian second, and a princess--somewhere much further down the list. She wouldn't accept resistance when she insisted upon joining the latest excursion to Robotropolis, even when it was clear she was out-numbered.

There was a new technology detected in the latest of SWATbots, and it was troubling. She knew it was only a matter of time before it dawned upon Robotnik that his rather basic henchman were lacking any form of stealth. But she didn't expect his earliest test dummies to have any trace of success.

She had been scolding herself for letting it get as far as it did. It had been a long while since any of Robotnik's creations had made it past the outskirts of Knothole. A few more seconds, and it would have caused damage on the village itself.

She didn't know what was more stressful - the fact that the technology was in Robotnik's hands, or that some of the civilians caught wind that something was amiss. She signed internally. This had to get resolved quickly. A threat, she could handle. A community of panicked citizens, however...

They were growing near to the walls of the metal city. Her vest beeped before NICOLE spoke up.

[Vulnerability in the outer walls detected approximately twenty degrees north-east, Sally.]

"Got it, NICOLE." Sally didn't bother to take out her hand-held computer. She needed her hands free in case she needed to reach for a weapon. She hated this. With technology like that, they could be snuck-up on anywhere. "Any detection of cybernetic presence?"

[Affirmative. Closest SWATbots detected precisely point-eight kilometers straight ahead.]

Sally looked forward and let her shoulders relax. Good. Inside the walls then.

Guardian, Princess: Sally Acorn

Dusk had fallen on Knothole as planned, like it had for the many nights before. The pathways between huts remained well-lit; if not for the full moon, then for the ominous glow from Robotropolis serving as a haunting lamp upon the grounds of their hidden retreat.

Although Antoine and other veterans from the royal guard often made their rounds up to the twilight hours, Sally felt put-upon to make her own walk-through of the premises. If anything it was for her own peace of mind, so she could sleep through the night...or as well as could be expected for an exiled princess hiding in Robotnik's front yard, practically.

It didn't help matters that Sonic, their strongest Freedom Fighter (and to an extent, their wild card) was off taking care of who-knows-what at who-knows-where, saving who-knows-who, leaving her alone, once again, to bear the brunt of the Freedom Fighter's safety on her shoulders.

Sally sipped the cool autumn air through her nostrils, bringing her bubbling anxiety to a calm. She didn't blame Sonic, as it was his calling. He was able to travel across Mobius at incredible speed and use his cunning to out-do whatever foe or challenge was presented to him. She knew that the Freedom Fighters had to stand on their own. They couldn't rely on him all the time. It was easier for her to realize that than others, but Sally had grown up with the expectation that the well-being of her people ultimately fell on her.

The crunch of the chilled blades of grass balanced out the deafening chirps of the crickets calling out to their kin, and brought Sally a sense of comfort that in spite of the perversions of nature coming out of Robotropolis, some things remained un-touched.

Sally looked ahead, relieved to see that many of the huts had their lights dimmed, or out completely. It was good to see that the inhabitants were getting their rest - they certainly needed it.

She would get some rest as well, at some point. Right now, though, there was more ground to cover before things got too cold.

I'm Perfect! - Miki Aono, Cure Berry

Miki did the best she could to ignore the hollering of her friends to come out into the sun. It was the last week of summer until school started again, and they were spending what time they could at the pool.

The lithe and beautiful girl with lavender hair stretched out on a chair beneath an over-sized umbrella, retreating from the sun's harmful rays and protecting her milky-fair skin that was all the rage for upper-class modeling gigs. She sipped on ice water with a squeeze of lime, a calorie-free beverage that kept her mind alert and her skin clear.

She wore a blue, ruffly bikini, and she wore it well. Her nails had been professionally done just yesterday, a sky blue with indigo flowers painted on with exquisite detail. She wiggled her toes proudly as she giggled to herself. She was the perfect vision of luxury and class.

As long as she didn't get wet.

Sabaku no Hana : Yuri Tsukikage, Cure Moonlight

Yuri Tsukikage wore her hair in a style that was not often seen for her. Typically her indigo tresses simply fell straight down between her shoulder blades, tucked behind her ears and clear of her eyes peering behind her glasses.

It was still in the latter days of rainy season of summer, and the heat mixed with the humidity made for an uncomfortable situation on her neck. In a rare fit of desperation, Yuri pulled her hair up off her neck and twisted it into a messy bun. This way she wouldn't be distracted by continuing to peel off clumps of hair sticking onto her dewing skin.

It only helped a bit, though. It was unavoidable, some of the inconveniences. She was loathe to leave the bookstore she had retreated into, not only because she was enjoying the luxury of a working air conditioner, but also because stepping back out into the torrid outdoors would result in the inevitable fogging-up of her glasses.

She had little choice though. She could only spend so much time in a bookstore before feeling compelled to justify her presence. There were so many opportunities to spend what money she had on her, too. She could pick up a study guide for one of her less-favored subjects, or a biography to offer some source of inspiration...even a work of fiction was an occasional diversion Yuri welcomed, and the books seem to chide her for mooching off of 'their' air conditioning.

So what would it be? A novel? A reference of some sort? Maybe a literary magazine? Yuri idlely strolled through the book store in a half-hearted search for something to support the store that had saved her from typhoon-induced discomfort.

Tough Like A Weed! - Tsukushi Makino

Small beads of sweat clung to Tsukushi's bangs. She furrowed her brow, pushing out her bottom lip to blow the damp strands of hair off of her forehead. While her expression came off as angry, she actually found much joy in a good job well-done. But she was getting ahead of herself. She was only half-way through scrubbing down the glass case of the sweets shop. The collection of summer delectables had a hard time staying on their plates, as ever since Nishikado-san and the rest of the F4 had started frequenting there, business was hopping. It was a struggle just to meet the business needs in the small first-floor store, but Okami-san refused to budge from the storefront her father's father had put in place just before he went off to war. (At least, that was the story she was sticking to for the time being.)

Though honestly, if the F4 kept insisting on serving a different form of sweet for every one of their weekend parties, she may have little choice but to expand. Or at least erect a satellite store in one of the other shopping districts. Maybe then she'd be able to afford some additional staff members--or at least maybe a raise?

Tsukushi stood up from the crouching position on the floor, and swiped the back of her hand across her forehead with a sigh, looking over her fine work on the glass paneling of the front case. "Perfect." Never any less.

She looked over her shoulder at the antique clock perched on the wall above the kitchen entrance and frowned. She had only twenty minutes left until the last train left the station. She reached into her apron and pulled out her--Doumyouji's--cell phone and flipped it open. She could stay past and finish up, and be picked up by a taxi or something. She'd be lying if she wasn't tempted, but she shook some sense into her head. She couldn't be taking advantage of Doumyouji like that! She had her pride, after all, and she couldn't adulterate her working-class status with the privilege of Doumyouji pampering.

She flipped her cell phone shut stuffed it back in her apron. She took her washcloth and folded it up. She'd have to make do with what she had managed to accomplish, and just come in early to wrap up the rest.

Sweet Notes, Kanade Minamino, Cure Rhythm!

Kanade hummed a merry tune to herself, not taking much care to keep it under her breath. She was in the school's kitchen after classes let out, and it was a Friday. Most students jump at the opportunity to go home immediately after and get an early start to their weekend, but she had other plans.

She had a glass bowl cradled in the nook of her arm, and a rubber spatula in her hand. Scooping out the thick, ivory batter into an aluminum mold on the worn, but clean counter-tops of the kitchen. There was no special occassion - did one really need a reason to bake a cake, after all?

In all honesty, she'd had a craving, and not just for any cake. During the lull of math class that afternoon, Kanade found her mind drifting off to an old bakery that used to be open on the corner of where she turned onto the main street to get to school. It was perfectly sandwiched between the school and her house so she could walk by and admire the sweets - and on the occasional lucky day, go in and get a treat.

There were so many delightful confections in the glass cases, lined like dutiful soldiers set to conquer one's sweet tooth. Colorful tarts with fresh berries and shaved chocolate, deep, rich chocolate tortes with gold embossing on the ganache frosting...but there was one particular dessert engraved in Kanade's memory, and she had to reincarnate it in a dessert she could share with others.

Earl Grey pudding in tiny egg-shaped cups, garnished with a delicate, single raspberry on the top with a clear purple spoon built for a fairy's stature. It made sense to Kanade, once she thought about it. It was essentially milk tea (Earl Grey milk tea, that is) but in pudding form. It would make sense to cross two such sophisticated flavors.

...but how would it carry over into cake, she wondered?

Belldandy, Goddess First Class

The silence of the living room only made the faint rustling of dried tea leaves easier to hear. Those that knew her would probably protest that a goddess first-class would be humbled to the position of making tea for the household, but on the contrary, she truly did it for herself.

Summer showers cooled the burning afternoon sun's rays on the Tariki Hongan Temple, and left a sweet aroma on the grass and soil in the garden. Belldandy had opened the windows to let some of the fresh air in.

Now, pouring some hot water over the delicate leaves of tea, Belldandy closed her eyes gently to take in the weaving smells of nature around her. These things, which the average human resident of this green earth would take for granted, where unique and special to a goddess from the heavens. Here these things would bow to her command, lean in to her touch, and yet she found herself at the mercy of their splendor.

Belldandy tenderly placed the ceramic lid of her favorite tea pot back in place to let the tea steep. It wasn't her only tea pot that she had accumulated over the years of residence with the Morisatos, but it was her first, and still her favorite. It was a soft, very light pink, almost to the point of being white. On its surface were raised cherry blossoms, which a touch darker pink paint dotted in the middle of each bloom. She brought her hands around the tea pot, warming her fingers on its surface.

The tea would be done any moment. Hopefully she wouldn't be the only one to enjoy it.