Knuckles looks down at the egg in his arms and stares at it for a bit before sighing, disheartedly. He reluctantly hands it over to Sonic before kissing it and turning back to the direction of Angel Island. He looks back as Sonic is about to leave.
"Sonic, please, promise me that you'll be careful with our baby..."
Sonic, who was now holding the egg close to his chest, smiles softly as he gives a wink and a thumbs up to Knuckles.
"You can count on me, Knuckles. I'll go and find Kira and she can help out too..."
After jogging for a few miles into Station Square, Sonic activates his communicator and speaks into it.
"Kira, honey, are you there? We need to talk..."
A few miles ahead of Sonic's position, a young purple female mobian answers the communicator.
"I'm here, what's up?"
"I heard a rumour that Angel Island is about to fall again and Knux and Maia have just had a baby there. Knuckles has gone back to the island to take Maia elsewhere and I'm looking after their egg but I'll need some help."
Kira nods as she speaks into the communicator.
"Understood, I'll meet you outside the casino..."
Once the two hedgehogs arrive at the casino, they share a kiss before the young female, named Kira, looks down at the egg in Sonic's arms. She gasps and smiles as she gently rubs it before looking up at Sonic.
"I can't believe they have a baby... this is so exciting!"
Sonic chuckles as he holds the egg close to his chest.
"Indeed, I can't wait to see the baby when it comes out of the egg. But one thing we need to do is help Maia make a nest. Knuckles said that she wants to do it in the Mystic Ruins but he was going to make sure that it's safe first..."
Kira nods as she takes out a book from her backpack.
"I had a feeling that Maia would want someone to build a nest so I borrowed this book from the library on Echidnas and their Nesting Habits. We can use it to get the materials that we need..."
Sonic smiles a bit and kisses Kira's cheek from behind.
"You are always so prepared, my sweet..."
Kira giggles and blushes a bit from the kiss.
Knuckles, who was now on Angel Island, looks around the Master Emerald altar and puts a finger on his chin as he looks over to Maia, who was laid down near the altar.
"Everything seems normal here... no missing pieces."
Knuckles walks back to Maia and smiles as he kneels down beside her, holding her hand.
"It seems that everything is fine, my love. I think the rumour is false..."
Maia sighs contently and smiles as Knuckles helps her to her feet.
"That's good to know. With that in mind I should head back to the Mystic Ruins..."
"Are you sure you'll be ok while I'm checking things here? I'll try and be as quick as I can..."
Maia smiles and gently nuzzles Knuckles' nose.
"Don't worry... I'll be fine. Besides, Sonic and Kira will be there too..."
Knuckles chuckles softly and hugs her close.
"Alright, my love... but please be careful."
Maia smiles and kisses Knuckles' cheek before heading back through the forest, making her way back to the Mystic Ruins.
Meanwhile, in the Mystic Ruins, Sonic and Kira traverse many hills and forests before coming across a small cave. They both enter the cave and check for any creatures that remained.
Sonic uses his nose to sniff out any scents, left behind from any creatures but doesn't find any. He holds the egg close to his chest as he looks around.
"I'm not getting any scents... I think we're all good here."
Kira, who was walking behind with a backpack on her back, smiles and nods as she removes the backpack. She then kneels down and takes out various materials, including blankets, leaves and twigs.
"There's a warmer area over here... I think this would be a good place to build the nest."
Sonic nods and walks over, unfolding one of the blankets before placing it onto the ground. He gently places the egg onto the ground and watches as Kira begins to construct a nest from the twigs. She finishes and puts her hands onto her waist.
"Done! According to the book, we can put the egg in the nest and keep it warm by putting leaves and blankets over it."
Sonic smiles and nods as he sits down beside the egg.
Kira smiles and continues to read the book before coming across a new page.
"Hmm, hold on... it also says that the egg can be kept warm by the male sitting on it."
Sonic blushes a bit as he looks down at the egg.
"But... Knuckles isn't here."
Kira smiles sweetly to Sonic and giggles a bit as she notices his blushing muzzle.
"But YOU'RE here, sweetie..."
Sonic sighs a bit before standing up.
"Alright, I'll do it... but until Knuckles gets here!"
Kira giggles a bit as she watches Sonic try to sit onto the egg. He eventually manages and makes an uncomfortable facial expression.
"Are you sure the book says that? This doesn't feel comfortable..."
"Well, the position isn't meant to be comfortable... it's just to keep the egg warm until it hatches."
Kira giggles as Sonic wriggles around.
"Do you want me to do it instead, honey?"
Sonic shakes his head.
"No, it's the male's job to do this... I don't want you to feel uncomfortable."
Kira smiles and kisses Sonic's muzzle.
"That's really sweet of you."
Sonic purrs and wags his tail from the kiss but soon feels his ear twitch as he hears footsteps approaching the cave's entrance. He bares his teeth as Kira hides behind him, in a defensive manner.
The figure walks into the cave but soon looks over, noticing Sonic sat on the egg and Kira hiding behind.
"It's ok guys... it's me, Maia!"
After recognising Maia, Kira comes out from behind Sonic and walks over, giving her a hug.
"Hi Maia! How have you been?"
Sonic changes his facial expression to a smile as he continues to sit on the egg and looks down at it.
"I'm much better thanks... I had a nice rest after the egg came out. Speaking of which, it looks as though Sonic is doing a good job!"
Sonic, who was still blushing a bit, chuckles nervously.
"I hope I'm doing it right..."
Maia giggles as she walks over and kneels down next to Sonic.
"Of course, it looks about right to me."
Sonic smiles as he looks down at the egg, gently rubbing it with his hand.
After a few hours of patiently waiting, Sonic soon gasps as he feels the egg wriggling around from under him. Kira and Maia, who were asleep, soon wake up as they hear little cracking noises coming from the egg.
Kira and Maia gasp also as they watch the egg wriggle around. Sonic gets into a squatting position and moves backwards, watching as the egg shell begins to crack.
"I think it's coming!"
Maia gently places a hand onto the egg and smiles widely. Kira turns on her communicator and soon speaks into it.
"Knuckles, the egg is hatching, come quick!"
<i>"I'll be there as soon as I can!"</i>
A few minutes after watching the egg shell crack, the sound of footsteps are heard as Knuckles runs into the cave and kneels down next to Maia, wrapping an arm around her shoulders.
"It should be any minute now, my love..."
The four mobians watch in amazement as the last piece of shell falls onto the blanket. After a few seconds, a tiny puggle emerges from the egg and makes a little squeaking noise, calling out for Knuckles and Maia and shivering a bit from the cold.
<i>"Oh my gosh... it's so tiny!"</i>
Knuckles lays on his stomach and gently wraps his arms around the puggle. He kisses the puggle's muzzle and watches as the puggle reaches out and grabs his nose.
Kira smiles and leans her head onto Sonic's shoulder, watching as the puggle continues to gain an interest in Knuckles. It wriggles it's nose as it tries to get Knuckles' scent.
Maia smiles and sniffs a bit, feeling a few happy tears dripping down her muzzle. She gently reaches a hand out and brushes her finger against the puggle's cheek.
"Our little angel..."
Sonic chuckles softly and watches as Maia lays down and gently uses a finger to tickle the puggle's tummy. The puggle squeaks and slowly begins to open its eyes. Knuckles, Maia, Sonic and Kira all look down and gasp as the little puggle looks up at them, curiously with its lilac-coloured eyes.
"Oh my gosh..."
"Aww... our little angel has your eyes, sweetie."
Knuckles smiles proudly as the little puggle slowly turns its head around, looking up at Knuckles and staring up at him before turning its head to Maia. Maia smiles softly as she looks down at the little puggle.
"Hello, sweetie... I'm your mommy."
Kira smiles as she watches the scene and soon feels a few tears run down her muzzle. Sonic notices and smiles as he holds her close. Knuckles moves back into a kneeling position, giving the puggle some room. Maia looks over and smiles as she notices Sonic and Kira admiring the puggle.
"Sweetie? I think we should find out what gender our little one is..."
Knuckles makes a nervous expression as he looks down at the puggle.
"R-right... I'm uh... not sure how to..."
Sonic shuffles over to next to Knuckles and chuckles a bit.
"I'll help ya, pal... I found out Sammy's gender after all."
Knuckles pouts a bit, feeling a bit inferior to Sonic but soon watches curiously as Sonic gently opens the puggle's legs. The puggle whimpers a bit and Knuckles gently kisses the puggle's muzzle again.
"It's alright... papa's here, little one."
Kira smiles and kneels down beside Maia, watching as the males try to figure out the gender. Sonic takes a closer look at the puggle and soon smiles a bit as he notices a female area. He points to it and looks back at Knuckles.
"See that, Knux? It's a little girl..."
Knuckles smiles and turns to Maia as he gently holds the girl in his arms.
"We have a little girl, Maia..."
Maia smiles softly as Knuckles takes a blanket from beside him and wraps up the little girl within it. He brings her over to Maia and the two share a kiss before looking over to Sonic and Kira.
"I can't thank you guys enough for helping us out..."
Sonic and Kira both share an embrace as they smile up at the echidnas as Knuckles begins to groom the puggle with his tongue.
"It was no problem, guys."
"Yeah, we're just glad that you're all safe."
Maia smiles as she lays down beside Knuckles and the baby. Knuckles hands the baby to Maia and watches as the baby begins to nurse off her. Sonic blushes a bit as Maia feeds the puggle but soon smiles.
"So, do you guys have a name in mind?"
The two echidnas smile at each other before looking back at the hedgehog couple.
"Well... we both had the name Zircona for a girl."
"That's a great name!"
"Aww, that name sounds really pretty!"
"Well, it is the name of a gemstone. A pretty name for a pretty girl..."
Kira makes a cheerful expression as she watches Maia gently rub the back of the puggle, causing her to burp. Kira and Maia giggle and Knuckles and Sonic chuckle from the little burp.
"Sounds like her digestion is all good!"
Knuckles soon chuckles once again and kisses Maia upon her lips. Sonic Kira share a kiss also before breaking apart and holding hands.
<i>"Zircona, our little princess..."</i>