At dawn in Knothole, Geoffrey sneaks out from the bushes heading towards a nearby hut, until he is ambushed by Sonic. Geoffrey calms Sonic down, telling him that he was asked to come there by Sally Acorn, who runs over to them. They take Geoffrey into the hut to find King Acorn half crystalized and speaking nonsense. Sally recallsrecenteventsfor Geoffrey, explaining the King's condition since he left the Zone of Silence has taken a turn for the worse. She asks Geoffrey to resume his position as elite royal guard and not to reveal the king's return to the populace. Geoffrey accepts and heads out to guard the door. Bunnie and Rotor are still confused about the king's condition when Tails suggests the king might be turning into a Chaos Emerald since he spent so much time in the zone. Realizing that Chaos Emeralds and Power Rings are usually found in zones, the group is shocked by the possibility, but Sally wonders why they didn't see any emeralds or rings in the Zone of Silence.
Sonic has a quick idea and runs out to his hut, and comes back with his One Billionth Power Ring. He uses it on the king, who momentarily recognizes Sally before becoming unintelligible again. Rotor theorizes that they need new, unused Magic Rings to help save the king. Bunnie believes that it will be dangerous traveling through zones, so they decide to explore the Power Ring Grotto from Sonic and Knuckles' battle (SSvsHK) and the Lake of Rings that Sonic discovered in the Great Forest (STH: #38). Bunnie and Antonie are assigned to head to the Lake of Rings, Sonic and Tails to explore the Power Ring Grotto, and Rotor and Sally remain with the king.
Meanwhile, Dr. Robotnik walks through his base and assigns Snively to watch over the rebuilding of Robotropolis while he heads to their new base. He heads into his capsule and leaves after reminding Snively to not let the power go to his head. Snively immediately commands the SWATbot to stop reconstruction and start waiting on him hand and foot, design a new uniform for him, and change the city to "Snivopolis".
Meanwhile, Sonic and Tails are investigate the outskirts, when they come across the ring grotto sealed underneath a steel dome. Sonic is unsure what to do next, when he remembers the Freedom Fighters, Carl Condor being their leader, are nearby at the Mobian Cliffs. Sonic runs off to get in contact with them, when the steel dome opens. Tails ducks behind bushes when he watches as a large tube comes from behind clouds and sucks Magic Rings. Tails is about to run to get Sonic, when he is sucked up by the tube as it leaves the ring grotto.
Sonic arrives at the Mobian cliffs to find Carl when he notices something blocking the sun. Sonic focuses on the object coming in front of the sun and another shape hits his vision. Carl Conder appears to him roboticized and attacks Sonic. Sonic is defeated by Carl from being blinded by the sun and out of his element. In his base, Robotnik insults a nearby SWATbot for draining the grotto, but allowing excess weight onto the craft. He pounds his fist onto the robot and throws it down the garbage chute. Robotnik sits down in front of his control pad and gloats about his ultimate creation... the Death Egg.
Knuckles the Echidna's name is misspelt as "Knuckles the Enchida" in page 8.