Part 58

The next day everyone went over the plan. They decided how they present their offer to Scourge. Tails was angry.
“What?! I have a right to take Cream’s place if need be!”
“You’re too young. You need to hang back with Shades.”
“You’re letting Antoine!”
“That’s a bit different.”
“No it isn’t! He’s a coward! You’re letting him and not me?! It’s not fair!”
“I told you no! Stay and help Shadow.”
“What if Scourge only accepts if I join? Will you let me?!” Sonic wanted to say no, but he held back. Instead he turned and walked off. That day Shadow was given all the Chaos Emeralds. Then, in the evening, the group went off to the forest. Some were nervous to see what this night would bring. When they got there they stayed in the trees around the clearing.
“This is it.” Sonic whispered, “Today we get back the girls.” Sonic said farewell to each person. When he came to Tails he hugged his little brother.
“I’m scared, Sonic.”
“Don’t worry. I’ll be fine. Help Shadow out, OK?”
“…OK” Sonic turned and stepped out into the clearing. The sight that met him made him gasp.
All the girls were trapped in giants tanks, sitting in a row. The tanks were all wired to a control panel where Fiona stood. Scourge was standing in front of the tanks. Some of the girls were unconscious. Amy was awake and watching Sonic. Blaze was semi conscious. Sally had her face buried in her knees. The others, including Cream, were out.
“You have it?” Scourge asked. Sonic took a deep breath.
“You can’t have the Emeralds.”
“Then you leave me no choi-”
“But,” Sonic said before Scourge could finish, “you can have me.”
“Soni-kuu! Don’t!” Screamed Amy through the glass.
“You for the girls? You’re kidding! Do you know how hard it was to round them all up?”
“Then take me too!” Manic shouted and came forward.
“Mani-ku!”
“It’s still not enough! Two for seven? You’re crazy!” Tabby was about to run out, but Knuckles held him back.
“Let me and Espio go.” He said. Tabby nodded. Knuckles and Espio ran off. Scourge could be heard.
“Look. I like your general idea, so you can each take the place of one. Seven for seven. Anymore volunteers?” Tabby and Silver nodded and shot from the trees.
“I volunteer for Blaze!” Silver shouted. Scourge saw Tabby.
“You again?”
“Yeah. Been a while.”
“That’s six. You need one more. Where’s Shadow? What about him?” Shadow grew stiff.
“He won’t be coming.” Sonic said, “He has something else he has to take care of.”
“Pity. So, who’s the last one huh?”
“Can’t you let the last girl go!? You’re getting all of us, why don’t you release just one without another volunteer?” Tails wanted to rush forward, but Shadow grabbed his wrist.
“I don’t think so. I want each of those cages to have a captive!”