Thicker Than Water
- The heroes deal with the disastrous results of last issue's major turmoil, and in the process face their own inner turmoil as well. Princess Sally is among the hardest hit, keeping a vigil for her ailing father, King Max - while Sonic blames himself for King Max's condition. Meanwhile, Robotnik has returned to see the damage his headquarters has suffered. Marshaling forces of Shadow Bots and Robians, he plots his revenge, even as Sonic ponder the Sword of Acorns' alleged ability to restore the Robians' own free will.
A Matter of Self Interest
- In a backup story, Knuckles and friends return to Albion, where many surprises await them - including Antoine discovering his father there.
Thicker Than Water
The story starts out with King Maximillian Acorn being rushed to the emergency room by Dr. Quack, while a distraught Sally, Elias, Tails, Geoffrey St. John, and Sonic watch. When Sonic attempts to comfort her, she turns on him, saying she can't understand; she trusted Sonic to protect him. At this, Geoffrey comes to Sonic's defence, explaining that he had no other choice. Afterwards, Sally runs out of the hospital in tears. Sonic attempts to follow her, but is stopped by Geoffrey, who tells him that she probably needs time to herself. Elias goes out to confront his sister.
In Robotropolis, the Robians are marching towards the Eggdome, where a Shadow-bot is ordering them to get inside. Doctor Eggman comes in and says "Well said indeed. But from now on... I'LL give the orders around here, comprende?" As he moves away, he mutters to himself about being abroad for too long, and upon discovering that his lab is in ruins, he remarks that he gets the feeling Sonic had been there lately, before moving past.
Back at the hospital, Sonic is muttering to Tails about Geoffrey, as the latter orders the guard to bring the Sword of Acorns to the Royal Reliquary. Rosie appears and tells Sonic he shouldn't blame himself and that she has known Sally since she was young, believing that her outburst is a result of the intense pressure she is going through. Sonic replies that he knows this, but he can't help but feel that he let her down. At that moment, Mina Mongoose, Snaggle, Rory and Sasha arrive, telling Rosie they have returned from their walk. Rosie thanks Mina for babysitting, and as Rosie and Sonic leave, Mina wonders why he looks so glum.
Elsewhere in Knothole, Elias is searching for Sally, escorted by his guards, before he finds her sitting on a bridge. He thinks to himself that he has never seen her look so lost. He sits down next to her, remarking that it becomes difficult when things start spinning out of control. Sally says that things have been spinning out of control for a while. They talk about how the King has been keeping secrets from Sally when she was so used to knowing what was going on, and how Elias agrees that she deserves to know about their mother's condition before going on the mission to "that hidden city of the old ones". Sally corrects him, explaining that it is the Ancients, and he tells her that their father should have made Sally the successor to the throne because she has a knack for it. Sally says she is not ready to lose her parents, to which Elias replies that he isn't either, but he asks her why she took her anger out on Sonic instead of him. She says that it was because she asked him to protect their father, but Elias cuts her off, telling her that Sonic had only left his side to rescue Elias. Shocked, Sally exclaims "Oh Sonic! I could HUG you!"
At Sonic's house, his parents are trying to comfort him. Jules says that he knows he tried his best, but even he can't be in two places at once. Bernie then says that Sally will come around, and offers to make him some breakfast. When his mother leaves, Sonic tells himself that he's a loose cannon, always acting before thinking, and goes on to say "I wish Uncle Chuck were here; he had all the answers", which saddens Jules.
Eggman is in his lab watching a screen recording of Sonic, Elias, the King and Geoffrey's attack on his Eggdome, and realises that the Sword of Acorns had temporarily given Uncle Chuck and Muttski free will. He sends his SWATbot to fetch the Sword for him.
At Sonic's house, Sonic and Tails are in their room, discussing how Uncle Chuck and Muttski had temporarily reclaimed their free will. Sonic wishes he'd had more time to figure it out, but he thinks it might be the key to restoring every Robian's free will. Just then, Sonic's mother comes in and tells them to come down for breakfast, which is Chili dogs. His mother asks him what they are like, and Sonic has a vision of eating the chili dogs Uncle Chuck use to make, replying "They're great!"
Outside, Mina is walking around when she smells the chilidogs, thinking to herself about how she misses her mother's cooking, and how both she and everyone close to her is gone. She claims that it is all Robotnik's fault and that she has to do something about it.
Later, Tails and Sonic are looking through the window, when Tails asks if Sally's parents will be alright. He looks around as he realises that Sonic is gone when he was just there. At the Reliquary, Geoffrey and Hershey the Cat are closing the door when a huge breeze blows, which they remark about without realising that Sonic is now hiding inside. Sonic looks over his shoulder at the Sword of Acorns on the wall.
Back at the bridge with Sally and Elias, a guard calls to them that the surgery has been complete. They run to the hospital and approach Dr. Quack, who tells them to follow him. He says that he did all he could for them, but he asks them to see for themselves. Behind the curtain, the King is holding his wife's hand, who is still asleep. Just when the King states that they are fine, he feels the Queen squeeze his hand, and to everyone's surprise, she awakens.
The story ends with Sonic running through the forest with the Sword of Acorns while someone watches him from behind a tree.
- A statue of Mega Man appears in the top left of the cover.