Vanilla, I Shrunk the Kids

(Cubed Cinder)

Chapter 1

Chuck Thorndyke walked down the hallway, clearly still trying to wake up, and looked over at the table inside the kitchen where Ella was serving up pancakes for Cream, her mother Vanilla, and Chris.
"Here we go! Pancakes for everybody!" Ella shouted.
"Goody! I love Ella's pancakes." Cream said.
"What do we say, Cream?" Vanilla said, still keeping a smile on her face.
"Oh, thank you, Ella!" Cream said.
"You're quite welcome, little rabbit girl! Now, if you'll excuse me, I must go clean up." Ella shouted. Sonic soon came zooming into the room.
"Hey, Chuck! Are you ready to go?" Sonic asked.
"Hold up, Sonic. I haven't had breakfast yet! An old man needs his nourishment before he heads out on a mission, after all." Chuck said.
"Oh? Where are you guys going?" Chris said.
"Sonic told me last night that during his run under the night sky, he could sense a Chaos Emerald near the Lava Reef Volcano." Chuck said.
"Yeah. It definitely felt like an emerald. Its energy was pulsing like one even though I was probably a mile away." Sonic said.
"Cool! Can I come along?" Chris asked. Chuck shook his head.
"Not this time, Chris. Volcanoes are very dangerous. It's best if you stay here for today." Chuck said.
"Yeah, I agree. The Lava Reef Volcano can get pretty rough even when it's dormant!" Sonic shouted.
"Awww... but it's the weekend, and I have no homework! What am I supposed to do?" Chris asked.
"Hey, I know! Maybe we can bring your friends over." Cream said.
"Oh yeah... Helen, Francine, and Danny! That's a good idea. I can do that, um... right, grandpa?" Chris asked.
"Sure, I don't see any problem with that." Chuck said.
"Oh dear... I guess I will have to babysit, won't I?" Vanilla asked.
"You'll be a great babysitter, mom! The best babysitter ever!" Cream said.
"Awww... thanks, Cream." Vanilla said as she kissed her daughter on the forehead. Mr. Tanaka, the family butler, then came running into the kitchen.
"Mr. Thorndyke! I just got off the phone with Mrs. Thorndyke!" Tanaka shouted.
"My mother?" Chris asked.
"Yes, master Chris! Apparently there were problems on the set today, so she is coming home right away!" Tanaka said.
"Wow, that's great!" Chris said.
"It certainly is! You won't be alone then, Vanilla." Chuck said.
"Oh, that's nice. Maybe I can do some more sewing today." Vanilla said.

"Hey, Sonic, where is Tails, anyway? He should be down here for his breakfast!" Chuck said.
"I don't know. He was up in the attic all night long working on something." Sonic said.
"If you will allow me, I shall check up on him." Tanaka said.
"Fair enough, Tanaka. Be careful, though. If I know Tails, he's got something crafty up his sleeve." Chuck said.
"As always." Tanaka ran out of the kitchen and proceeded up the stairs where he would find the attic. Everyone else, except Sonic who went outside the mansion for his 'morning run,'  went back to eating.

Meanwhile, up in said attic, Tails was indeed getting crafty. The room was about as messy as you could get with all sorts of spare parts around the floor, and it wasn't any neater with Tails tucked away with his welding laser aimed at his masterpiece. It's tough to describe how it looks, but that didn't matter to Tails. It was the purpose of the machine that mattered most to him. He was welding away, making sure all the X's and O's were perfectly aligned. It had to work the first time, otherwise it'd be a total waste of his time. A LOT of time too.
He heard a faint cry from the other side of the room, at the door which concealed the staircase down to the main floor. Tails lifted up his safety mask and saw Cheese, Cream's pet chao, fluttering around.
"Not now, Cheese. I gotta get this thing working before we leave. Tell Sonic I'll be down in a few minutes." Tails said. Cheese simply nodded and then flew away, out of the room. Tails put the mask back on and got back to welding.
"When I'm done with this thing, it will give us the edge we need in finding the Chaos Emeralds. Maybe even change the world as we know it!" Tails said to himself. Once the final welding was done, it was time to power it up.
"Okay, time to power this baby up!" Tails said. He flipped some switches and the sequence started... steam came pouring out of the exhaust tubes. Electricity flowed from one antenna from the other, more with each switch that Tails threw up. With the only sound in the room that of the machine, Tails looked at the targeting monitor on the side, focusing on an apple sitting atop a lonely table. And then he took the controller in hand to warm it up. First, a thin red laser was striking the middle of the apple. Eventually, it glowed into more of a blue shade, surrounding itself in electricity. The apple was vibrating with the power. He raised the juice up a few notches.
"Come on... shrink... shrink, little apple... shrink..." Tails said, repeating the word shrink every couple of seconds. He kept on raising the power... it now read 100%. Critical mass. Now or never. Sink or swim.
"Please shrink..." Tails said. He pressed the fire button. The laser shot full on at the apple.


Went the apple. Whole pieces and apple sauce cluttered the room now, with Tails getting the most of it, naturally, as close as he stood to the apple at the time. Tails sighed and crashed down on the nearby green couch, watching as the machine shut itself down and the noise level gradually went down to null.
"On the other hand... I invented a new way of making apple sauce." Tails said. Shortly thereafter, Tanaka opened up the door.
"Ah, Tails... the family requests your presence at the table." Tanaka said.
"Oh, right... right. I'm coming, Tanaka." Tails said.
"My goodness, what a horrible mess! I will have Ella clean it up right away." Tanaka said.
"Thanks, Tanaka." Tails said.
"Hmmm... you are welcome. Please follow me to the breakfast table." Tanaka said. Tails took one more look at the shrinking machine, and let out a deep sigh.

Eventually, Tails did make it down to the table and joined them for breakfast. He clearly didn't look like he was in the mood.
"Hey buddy, what's eating you?" Sonic said.
"Did you get that shrinking machine to work yet?" Chris said. It was no secret that Tails was trying to invent a shrink ray.
"Well, almost... there's still a few bugs to iron out." Tails said.
"I can tell with your voice, something is not working out." Chuck said.
"Yeah, you're right. There's no hiding anything from you." Tails said.
"Listen, Tails. You know how good I am at building things. Been doing it for many years, right Chris?" Chuck said.
"Of course, grandpa! You're the best!" Chris shouted.
"If you ever need any help, please let me know. In fact, how about I help you out when we get back from Chaos Emerald hunting?" Chuck asked.
"Well, okay, even though I probably don't need the help." Tails said.
"Nonsense! It's probably just the slightest thing that's wrong with it." Chuck said. Just then, a couple of loud horns could be heard from outside.
"Hey, I know that sound!" Sonic shouted as he sped off towards the front door. Chuck and Chris got up to follow.
"Alright! Uncle Sam is here!" Chris said.
"I should've known that crazy uncle of yours would get your mother here in a flash." Chuck said.

Indeed, outside the Thorndyke Mansion, Sam Speed was parked outside the mansion, stepping out of his super fast racing car, opening the passenger side door and letting his sister and Chris's mother, Lindsey Thorndyke, step out.
"Why thank you, Sam. You're more of a gentleman than the last driver who dropped me off here." Lindsey said.
"Hey, you're a Hollywood gal, you shouldn't have to waste all your energy trying to open a door." Sam said.
"Hahaha... I think I expend enough energy on the set, thanks." Lindsey said.
"Mom!" Chris shouted as he ran towards his mom. He practically dove right into his mother's arms and ended up burying his head underneath Lindsey's breasts.
"Oh my goodness! It's good to see you too, Chris!" Lindsey shouted. Sonic, Chuck, and Tails joined him outside. Sam right away noticed his good 'buddy' Sonic.
"Yo, Sonic! How about a race today?" Sam shouted.
"No can do, Speedo! We're out to find a Chaos Emerald today." Sonic said.
"Yes. We should get going now that we're all charged up." Chuck said.
"I'll go warm the X-Tornado up!" Tails shouted as he ran off.
"Chaos Emerald hunting, eh? Drat! If only I weren't on active duty today, I'd come along!" Sam shouted. While Tanaka came out to help Lindsey bring her luggage into the house, Chuck remembered Chris's request of having his friends come over.

"Hey Sam, you think you can do us a favor? Chris would like to have three of his best friends over. You remember them, I'm sure." Chuck said.
"Yeah, yeah. Danny, Francine, and Helen. But what do I look like... a cab driver!?" Sam shouted.
"Well, you are the fastest cab driver that we know of, right?" Chuck said, prompting a laugh out of Chris. Sam cringed his teeth, but he was right. He was virtually the only person in all of Station Square who could drive twice the speed limit and not cause trouble.
"Ho ho, very funny. Alright, alright... anything for my little buddy." Sam said, rubbing Chris's head of hair and wrinkling it in the process, not that he seemed to mind.
"Thanks, Uncle Sam, you're the best!" Chris said.
"Alright, I'll be back in a super sonic flash!" Sam said as he ran back to his car.
"Yeah, right!" Sonic shouted. As Sam drove off, it was time for Sonic and Chuck to get ready.
"Come on, let's go help out Tails." Chuck said. Just then, a familiar call could be heard. Sonic recognized the voice as Amy Rose.
"There you are, Sonic. Now come here so I can finally hug you the way I want to!" Amy shouted.
"Uh oh... speaking of super sonic flashes!" Sonic said as he sped off.
"Hey!!! I said come back here! Why do you always like to play hard to get!?" Amy shouted as she chased after the blue blur. Chuck and Chris headed back towards the house as well, Chris inside and Chuck for Sonic and Tails as they got the ship ready.

About fifteen minutes later, Ella and Tanaka helped Lindsey settle in after her long trip to home. Chris sat patiently in the living room with Vanilla and Cream (with Cream playing with Cheese in front of her mother who was trying to read a book), and Tails and Chuck preparing the X-Tornado while Sonic played 'hard to get' with Amy Rose. Soon, the doorbell rang, and Chris immediately jumped up from the couch he sat on.
"I got it!" Chris shouted. He ran up to the door and opened it up, immediately greeting his three friends, Danny, Francine, and especially Helen. I say especially because they've had special feelings for each other for quite some time, despite Helen being confined to a wheelchair.
"Danny! Francine! Helen, welcome!" Chris shouted.
"What's up, Chris?" Danny said.
"Yeah... Officer Speed really got us here fast!" Francine said.
"You owe me for this, Chris!" Sam shouted from the background before driving off, no doubt to get back on duty.
"Awww... he's only kidding. Are you okay, Helen?" Chris said.
"Yes, Chris. He treated me just fine." Helen said.
"So what's going on?" Danny said.
"Well, Sonic and his friends are going off to find a Chaos Emerald, but I can't go because the Lava Reef Volcano is too dangerous." Chris said.
"Oh, the Lava Reef Volcano! I've heard many stories about that volcano... it's one of the strongest in the world!" Francine said.
"Yeah, I remember that. I hope Sonic is very careful when he goes there." Helen said. Cream joined Chris at the door, bowing before our special guests.
"Hey, Cream. How is everything?" Helen asked.
"Oh, just fine, thank you. I'm so glad you came." Cream said.
"Arrrgh! When I get my claws on Sonic the Hedgehog, I'll make sure he looks at me at a different light." Amy shouted as she stormed her way up another floor behind Chris.
"And I guess Amy's mad about Sonic again." Francine said with a smile.
"I guess... come on, I think they're getting ready for take off." Chris said. He stepped outside and his friends followed suit, with Francine pushing Helen around.

Chris and his friends just got to the launch pad when Tails had fired up the X-Tornado. He gave the thumbs up down to Chuck.
"All good to go!" Tails shouted. Chuck noticed the children and walked towards them.
"Be careful, grandpa." Chris said.
"Yes, Lava Reef Volcano is extremely dangerous from what we've read!" Danny said.
"Don't worry... I'm a tough old man, there's no volcano I can't handle." Chuck said with his trademark grin. He patted Chris on the head, "You stay safe too, and don't do anything reckless."
"Okay, grandpa." Chris said.
"Come on, step it up! I want to get this show on the road!" Sonic shouted. Chuck nodded over at Sonic and climbed into the second seat of the X-Tornado. Tails closed the cockpit and spoke into a microphone for Sonic to hear him.
"Okay, Sonic! Lead the way!" Tails shouted. Sonic flashed a smile and gave a thumbs up before he zoomed off into the distance. The X-Tornado took off towards the skies shortly afterward, following the blue streak that was Sonic at warp speed.
"Well, there they go. I'm sure they'll have a fun time." Chris said.
"So what are we going to do since we're stuck here?" Francine said.
"Well, anyone fancy a game of baseball?" Chris asked.
"Oh! Me, me, me!!!" Danny said. Chris wasn't surprised at the reaction knowing baseball was his favorite sport.
"Can I ask my mom if I can play?" Cream asked.
"Sure, Cream!" Chris said.
"What about Amy? Can she be on my team?" Francine said.
"Well, I think we better leave Amy all to herself for now." Chris said.

Chapter 2

Again, several minutes passed, and in the backyard, Chris, Danny, Francine, Helen, and Cream (who indeed got permission from Vanilla as long as she played nice; although most of the time she was the umpire) played a light game of baseball. With only five players after all, there was no way they could hold a full game, so it became more of a hitting and base-running contest. Everyone had been hitting well, especially Danny who knocked a ball into the pool even. But now it was his turn to bat again, with Chris pitching.
"Ha! What kind of pitch are you gonna give me this time, Chris?" Danny asked.
"I don't know, but try eating this!" Chris said as he tossed the ball towards Danny. It curved downward at the last moment, causing Danny to miss and the ball to land in Cream's hands. Yep, she was also the catcher!
"Strike one!" Cream shouted.
"You totally missed that one, Danny!" Francine shouted from first base. Helen simply laughed as she sat in her chair from third base.
"That's okay, I'm just warming up." Danny said. Chris sent another slow ball away. Another swing and a miss.
"Strike two!" Cream shouted.
"What!? Come on, that was a check swing!" Danny shouted. Both Francine and Helen broke out in laughter.
"He's only kidding, Cream!" Chris shouted.
"Oh, okay then." Cream said.
"Strike three, coming at you!" Chris said.
"In your dreams, junior!" Danny said. Another pitch was on its way, and BANG! Contact was made as the ball flew through the air.
"Wooooooooo! That ball is headed deep and is going... going..." Danny said, and then...

CRASH! Right through the upstairs window the ball went, shattering it into many pieces.

"Gone..." Danny softly said.
"Uh oh... I think you're in trouble now." Cream said.
"And that wasn't even my best swing..." Danny said, again with a low tone.
"It's okay, Danny." Chris said as he walked towards Danny.
"No, it's not okay. You have the richest house in all of town, and I had to break its spirits with a broken window." Danny said.
"Well, all I know is someone better get up there and retrieve that ball." Francine said.
"We'll go get it. Come on, Danny. You girls can wait here." Chris said. The two boys headed for inside the mansion to head up for the attic while Francine, Helen, Cream, and Cheese all waited outside. Too bad for them that the attic held one very important piece of equipment...

Indeed, after the baseball had crashed through the window, it bounced off a wall and then right into Tails' shrinking machine, bouncing off a couple places of it, particularly the exposed circuit boards. And right away the machine reacted to the hardware problem. Something to keep in mind until the end of the story... the ball was sitting in a compartment where the machine's laser normally charges up.
Anyway, the machine started firing on its own every minute or two, first hitting a nearby chair, and then hitting the soft couch that Tails had sat on this morning.
Meanwhile, Chris and Danny were on their way upstairs when they bumped into Chris's mom, Lindsey, and Tanaka.
"Oh, Chris... where are you headed?" Lindsey asked.
"Um... just to get a baseball. My friends and I are playing... or, um, going to play baseball in the backyard." Chris said.
"Oh, that's nice. Just be careful out there. Now then, Tanaka's agreed to take me jewelry shopping for a little bit." Lindsey said.
"Already, Mom? You've only been home for a few minutes." Chris said.
"Well, you know what your father always says. Never procrastinate, and get things done at the first chance! Anyway, see you later!" Lindsey said as she and Tanaka headed out the door. Chris just shrugged while looking at Danny.
"Your mom gets to go everywhere, doesn't she?" Danny said.
"Well... she is a Hollywood actress, I guess. Come on, let's go get that ball." Chris said.

Finally, they got upstairs in the attic with Chris swinging the attic door wide open. They were greeted right away by the blue glow of Tails' shrinking machine. Chris was the first to notice the glow.
"Uh oh..." Chris said.
"Whoa, what is that thing?" Danny asked. Before Chris could say anything, the machine fired dead center at the two boys.
"Look out!" Chris said, but it was too late.

A few minutes passed, and with the boys still not back, the girls began to worry a bit.
"It's taking them a very long time." Helen said.
"I know... just to get a baseball? Come on, we should see what's up." Francine said.
"Wait... can I come to?" Cream asked.
"Okay, Cream, you can follow us. And Cheese too." Francine said as she started to roll Helen towards the mansion, with Cream and Cheese close behind.

As for the boys themselves, Chris and Danny, they picked themselves up from the wooded floor. The much bigger wooden floor, I might add. Danny, in particular, was wondering what hit him.
"Whoa... what just happened?" Danny asked.
"It's gonna be okay. You were just hit by a very powerful energy beam... one that I didn't think would work." Chris said.
"Chris, what happened to us? And where are we?" Danny said. Chris gulped over what he was thinking, and what he was about to say.
"That machine that just zapped us... was Tails's shrinking machine." Chris said.
"A shrinking machine? You mean... something that makes something small?" Danny said.
"That's about the size of it, and we can't be any bigger than one inch tall." Chris said.
"One inch tall! How is that even possible!?" Danny shouted.
"Now just stay calm, Danny. I'll... I'll figure out a way to fix this." Chris said.
"How?" Danny asked.
"Okay, you're right. We're in trouble..." Chris said. Just then, he heard loud female voices from beyond the attic door and stairs. Danny wasn't paying much attention. He was just scared stiff to be part of a science experiment gone wrong.
"Well, things can't get much worse, can they?" Danny said.
"I think they just did..." Chris said. Right when he said that, Francine, Cream, and Helen were all in the room, and of course, they were still normal-sized, so they looked gigantic to the two boys. Helen was wheeled up into the attic with the combined help of both Cream and Francine.

"Whew... thanks for the help, Francine and Cream. I do appreciate it." Helen said.
"Hey, leave it to Chuck Thorndyke to design a staircase-friendly wheelchair." Francine said.
"That's strange... there's nobody here." Cream said. Francine started to walk around the room a bit, trying hard to find the boys.
"Chris! Danny! Where are you?" Francine said.
"Now we're in BIG trouble!" Chris said.
"You're not kidding! They could step on us!" Danny said.
"Watch out!" Chris shouted. He and Danny ran away just as Francine stepped towards the spot the two were standing on. Helen and Cream were looking around as well, but didn't come anywhere close to stepping where Danny and Chris were. Soon, that wouldn't matter, as Helen noticed the shrinking machine powering up again on its own.
"They've just gotta be around here somewhere!" Cream said.
"Hey, look at that!" Helen said. Just as all three girls (and Chao in the case of Cheese) were looking at the machine, its energy was at full capacity.
"I don't like the looks of this..." Francine said. Right as she said that, the machine fired, hitting all three girls at the same time.

After rubbing off the visible electricity off their clothes and jumping back to their feet, Francine, Helen, and Cream were all wondering what just hit them.
"Wow... that was some light show." Francine said.
"What happened? Helen, are you alright!?" Cream shouted as she ran over to Helen.
"Yeah, I'm fine. Luckily this chair is built strong." Helen said.
"I still don't like the looks of this..." Francine said. Finally, she heard a familiar call.
"Girls! Over here!" Danny shouted.
"Francine! Helen! Everyone!" Chris shouted. The two were running towards the shrunken girls.
"Chris! Danny!" Francine shouted as she ran over to join them. Cream took control of Helen's wheelchair and followed them. Soon, after Chris and Danny had to jump over an oversized needle, all five children were together again.
"Thank goodness you're all okay." Chris said.
"What in the world happened to us!?" Francine shouted.
"Well... that thing up there just shrunk us." Danny said. Chris didn't quite want it to come out that quickly, but felt there was no other way.
"Yeah... what he said. Tails has been trying to invent this shrinking machine... and I guess he did get it working after all." Chris said.
"You mean... we're so tiny that nobody can see us!?" Francine shouted.
"I... I guess." Chris said.
"Oh no, what will we do!?" Helen shouted.
"Are we going to be stuck like this forever? Waaaaaaaahhh!!!" Cream shouted as she started sobbing all over Cheese.
"Shhh... shhh... calm down, Cream." Chris said.
"Calm down!? I am smaller than a raisin! And I still haven't done my homework!" Francine shouted. Danny sighed.

"This is all my fault... if I hadn't gone Home Run King, none of this would be happening." Danny said. Chris, however, stayed strong. He took a couple steps so he could see everyone.
"Look, we may be down, but we're not out! Never give up, everyone! We just have to find a way to get back to our normal size!" Chris shouted. Soon, there was an incredibly loud booming sound. Everyone turned around to see it was the baseball, which finally collapsed on the ground (and had a big hole from the machine's laser). The machine itself finally powered down, leaving behind a series of sparks and smoke as a result of being used so much.
"Yeah, if we're not crushed like bugs first!" Francine shouted.
"If we just stay together, nothing bad will happen to us." Helen said.
"Helen's right. We should stick together. We should try and get downstairs!" Chris said.
"Yeah, but how? We're probably too small to even climb down the stairs." Danny said.
"And who would we talk to?" Francine said.
"Hey! Maybe my mother can help us. She's really good with her eyes and ears. She can recognize us, perhaps!" Cream shouted.
"Good thinking, Cream! I forgot your mother has excellent vision and hearing." Chris said.
"Well, I guess it comes from trying to protect me." Cream said with a blush. Just then, more booming sounds could be heard. This time, from the stairs.
"Oh great... what is it now?" Danny asked.
"That could be her right now! We gotta get her attention somehow!" Francine shouted. But nope, she was wrong.

It was the maid, Ella. Ella, holding a broom and a dustpan, took one good look around and saw the mess on the floor, namely the nuts and bolts from the inactive shrinking machine.
"Oh my goodness! This place is a pigsty! I must clean it up, pronto!" Ella shouted. Chris and his friends backed away from the horror of seeing Ella so huge now that they were shrunken.
"Oh man... and I thought Ella was big before!" Chris said.

Chapter 3

Each time Ella put a foot down on the floor, it sounded like an explosion to the tiny ears of the shrunken children. While she looked around at the mess that had been made earlier, the kids wondered what they could do.
"What are we going to do!?" Francine shouted.
"Ella! Down here!" Danny shouted. Chris looked around and noticed a soft couch that had apparently been shrunken as well.
"Hey, it's Tails' thinking couch!" Chris said.
"It must've gotten shrunken as well." Cream said.
"Let's get on top of it. Maybe Ella can hear us better!" Chris said. He and the others ran towards the couch, jumping over the cracks in the floor (except for Francine, who had to navigate Helen around). Soon, they all made it to the couch, and they jumped on top of it and started shouting.
"Ella! Ella! Down here, Ella!!!" they all screamed at different intervals. It didn't seem to work at all.
"Well, I suppose I better get sweeping." Ella said.
"What is she, deaf?" Francine asked.
"We're so small... she can't possibly hear us from down here." Helen said. But then, Ella was looking down where they were, where the couch used to be.
"Hmmm... maybe I'll start here. Sonic Hedgehog always says this is a lucky spot." Ella said. The kids all looked up in horror as Ella approached them, and then the broom as it made contact with the floor. They looked as the bristles slowly made their way towards them.
"Runnnnnnnnnnn!!!!" Chris shouted as they all jumped off the couch and took off running, with Francine pushing Helen as hard as she could, causing the wind to hit her face. Of course, she was used to such a thing having been pushed around by Sonic before.

Anyway, the kids were amazingly able to outrun the first sweep, with the wind from the sweep only throwing off their balance a little bit. But the broom was back in front of them, and they turned the other way. Running in this way, they had to jump over the dustballs and loose screws that were just as big as they were. Once again, it looked like they were safe, until the broom came down in front of them again and they had to turn around. Danny was exhausted.
"I don't know how much more I can take of this!" Danny shouted.
"Never mind that, keep running!!" Chris shouted. Finally though, they were cornered as a dustpan came down in front of them. They had to turn around, only to meet up with the broom's bristles. Everyone hung on, screaming for dear life, as they landed on the dustpan. Very quickly, the dustpan tilted down, causing everyone to fall into the trash bag.
"Hang on, we're going down!" Chris shouted.
"Aaaaaaahh!!!" they all screamed. On top of being forced to slide down into their trashy fate, they had to avoid all sorts of screws that were falling faster than they were because of the extra weight they carried over their shrunken bodies. Eventually, they all landed quite hard inside the bag, but luckily none of the screws hit them. Just as they could recover from their fall, they looked up at Ella's face as she sealed up the bag.

Finally, after filling up two more bags full of trash, Ella started to carry the three bags downstairs from the attic. She was about to take the next flight of stairs down to the main floor when she heard the doorbell ring.
"Oh! What a fine time to have company!" Ella said to herself as she placed the bags down on the floor. She went down the steps and eventually made it to the front door, opening it up and seeing Lindsey Thorndyke standing outside.
"Oh, Mrs. Thorndyke! Welcome home!" Ella said as she also looked down at the bags at Lindsey's feet.
"Thank you, Ella. You think you can help bring my bags in? Tanaka had to leave early for his date with this Topaz lady." Lindsey said.
"Oh, yes, of course! That Tanaka... he said he was really excited to meet this lady." Ella said as she proceeded to help Lindsey with her bags.

Meanwhile, one floor up, the trash bags continued to sit down on the floor, with one of them containing the shrunken kids.
"Well... I hope you don't mind the pun, but this is a fine mess we've gotten ourselves into." Francine said. The other kids actually laughed upon hearing that.
"Yeah, I guess you're right. But how are we going to get out of here?" Chris asked. Danny noticed a tiny bit of light peeking through the bag.
"Hey... look at this! There's a little hole here in this bag!" Danny said.
"Awesome! We just have to tear our way out of here. Come on, everyone, help me make this hole bigger." Chris said. Everyone except for Helen gathered together and pulled as hard as they could on the bag, eventually expanding the hole enough for everyone to step through.
"It worked!" Chris said as he jumped out of the bag, along with Francine, Danny, Cream, and Cheese.
"Wait! Where's Helen!?" Francine shouted.
"Oh no... Helen!" Chris shouted. He ran back inside the bag, and luckily he didn't have to look far. Helen was turned on her side, as was the chair she was sitting on, and Chris jumped over some loose wire and was able to pick her back up.
"Helen, are you okay?" Chris asked. Helen was checking up on her hair.
"Yeah, I'm fine. I was able to get the seatbelt on while Francine was pushing me away from the broom." Helen said. Chris smiled.
"Heh, leave it to my grandpa to make things convenient for you. Come on, let's get you out of here." Chris said. While he pushed Helen outside of the trash bag, everyone else was looking around, noticing how much bigger the hallway was.
"Wow... we really have shrunken so small as big as this hallway is." Francine said.
"Well, at least we're still inside the house." Danny said.
"Whew... that's a relief! Maybe we can still find my mom!" Cream said.
"Yeah, but what good will that do? Ella couldn't hear us, and couldn't even see us!" Francine said.
"Don't forget... Vanilla does have excellent sight and sound senses." Helen said.
"Oh, right... I keep forgetting. Sorry, Cream." Francine said.
"It's okay, Francine!" Cream said.
"Yeah, I think we're all overwhelmed to be this small. But we'll get back to normal. I'm sure of it!" Chris said.

Soon after, a familiar voice could be heard. Naturally, as small as the kids were, this voice was pretty loud.
"When I get my hands on that Sonic the Hedgehog, I'll make sure he hasn't heard the last of me!" Amy Rose said.
"(gulp) Amy..." Chris said.
"She must be on one of her temper tantrums!" Francine said. She stopped short of the trash bags, looking down on them.
"Huh? What are these trash bags doing in the middle of the hallway?" Amy Rose said. Then, upon further review, she looked by the bags and could see tiny dot-like things moving around. Of course, she had no idea these 'dots' were the shrunken children.
"Hmmm?  What weird looking bug creatures. Maybe I'll just take my frustration out on these things and crush them!" Amy said as she pulled out her hammer.
"Did she just call us little bug creatures?" Cream asked.
"I'm afraid so!" Chris shouted.
"Look out!" Francine said as the hammer came flying down towards them. Everyone scattered away, just avoiding being crushed by the hammer, but it hit the ground so hard, it created a shockwave that almost knocked everyone off their feet. Nevertheless, they all took off running, and Amy noticed that too.
"Hey, come back here! I'm not finished with you! Haaaaaaaaaaaa!!!" Amy shouted as she ran after the 'bugs.' She took a couple more whacks. It felt like she was badly playing Whack-a-Hedgehog all over again from Eggman's ship a while back during a mission to save the world. The kids were doing a mighty fine job avoiding Amy's huge attacks, although that may have had to do with Amy losing focus because of her anger.
Francine, however, got tripped up over her own feet and fell down, losing control of Helen's wheelchair.
"Ouch!" Francine shouted as she watched Helen wheel out of control. Finally, the chair fell down, and the seatbelt dislodged as well from the impact, causing Helen to fall to the floor. As she squirmed around in a little bit of pain, she watched as Amy approached her with the hammer in hand.
"Ha! I've got you now!" Amy shouted.
"Chris! Help me!!!" Helen shouted. Chris and the others stopped their running when they indeed saw Helen in the tough spot she was in.
"Helen, no!!!" Chris shouted. He started to run towards his best friend to help her. But it seems they were saved by a miracle in the form of Ella. The maid came storming back up the stairs and saw Amy swinging her hammer around.
"My goodness! What in the name of Thorndyke are you doing!?" Ella shouted.
"Um... just about to squash some bugs for you, Ella." Amy said.
"Forget the bugs! You know better than to throw that thing around the house! You might have even cracked the floor as much as you were swinging that thing!" Ella said.
"But, but..." Amy said. However, she was grabbed by the arm and brought downstairs. Ella picked up the trash bags with her other hand on the way down, leaving the shrunken kids all by themselves.
"Now come on! You're going to help wash dishes just for all that!" Ella said.
"Awww... Ella! I just washed dishes yesterday! Can't you let Cream do it!?" Amy shouted, but Ella didn't listen, and the two kept arguing all the way down to the main floor.

All the kids breathed a collective sigh of relief.
"Wow... saved by the maid." Danny said. Chris, meanwhile, ran over to Helen and helped her back to her chair.
"Helen, are you okay?" Chris said.
"Yeah, just a little shaken up, but I'll be okay. Thank you." Helen said as she sat back in her wheelchair, with Chris helping with the belts.
"No... I didn't save you. We were just lucky." Chris said.
"But I noticed you were about to run to my rescue. That would've been very brave." Helen said.
"Well... I never would've forgiven myself if anything happened to you." Chris said.
"I'm glad you care so much for me. The same with all your friends. It's important for me to have friends, especially one like you." Helen said. She leaned forward and surprised Chris with a kiss on the right side of his face. Chris clearly blushed from that, and Danny and Cream laughed over it.
"Hahahaha! You're blushing, Chris!" Danny shouted.
"I think it's very romantic." Cream said as Cheese nodded and shouted 'Chao!' in agreement.
"Ahem, not to be rude or anything, but we do still have to get downstairs somehow." Francine said.
"She's right, and our free ride was taken away too." Danny said.
"I don't know. We might have been led outside and very far away from the house had we stuck with those bags. I think we should all be lucky we're up here to begin with." Chris said.
"So how will we get downstairs now?" Cream asked.

But soon, the loud booming sounds returned, everyone looked at the stairway to see another normal-sized person heading their way. This time, it was Lindsey Thorndyke, Chris's mom. On top of that, she was talking away on her cell phone, not noticing the shrunken children down below.
"Oh man... it's my mom!" Chris shouted.
"And she's coming fast!" Danny said. Indeed, she was walking pretty quickly, leaving the kids with very little time to react. In fact, almost no time!
"Look out!" Francine shouted. Amazingly enough, the kids survived, having only to deal with the loud boom from both sides. Chris quickly realized what it was that saved them. They had all been standing underneath the archway, and very close to the heel of the dark blue shoe. Chris watched as his mother entered another room, and he then looked back at his friends.
"Whew... thank goodness my mom likes to wear high heels." Chris said.
"For once, I'm grateful myself!" Francine said.
"That was a very close call... any closer and we would've been crushed for sure!" Danny said.
"Hey, Chris! Maybe your mom can recognize us, just like my mom can!" Cream said.
"I don't know... are you sure?" Chris asked.
"We have to try! It can't be any worse than trying to get downstairs!" Francine said.
"I agree. It is a good idea. But how can we possibly get her attention?" Helen asked.
"Wait! Cream can fly! She's gotten very good at flopping her ears and carrying things, especially ever since she touched that Chaos Emerald!" Chris said.
"Oh yeah! Right! My mom was so proud when I showed her." Cream said with a smile.
"Well, it's worth a try." Francine said.
"Chris... please be careful!" Helen said.
"I will. Let's do it, Cream!" Chris said. Cream nodded and she started flapping her large ears like they were wings. As she was airborne, Chris grabbed onto Cream's hands and the two were flying towards the open room.

Lindsey was in one of the laundry rooms, sifting her way through her long line of dresses with one hand and talking on the phone with her other hand. She was speaking with her husband, Nelson.
"I know, Nelson, it's not like that studio to just suddenly cancel production. You don't suppose they're up to something, right? Oh, you're right. I guess I am being paranoid, it's probably from playing that weird scientist in the last movie!" Lindsey said. Meanwhile, Cream and Chris were making their way towards Lindsey's face. Although Cream had nearly infinite flying power from coming in contact with that emerald recently, it still made it tough for her to be holding onto Chris and flying through some strong air as well.
"Ugh... the air feels so thick!" Cream said.
"That's because we're so light in addition to being so small. Basic physics, really. You'll get better with time." Chris said. Soon, they were both flying directly in front of Lindsey's face.
"Mom! It's us! Help!" Chris shouted.
"Ewwww... bugs!" Lindsey shouted. Pulling her hand away from her clothes, she took a swing at the two shrunken kids.
"Look out!" Cream said. She quickly dropped altitude to just barely avoid being swatted away by the giantess.
"Oh... sorry, dear. There are these big bugs flying in front of me all of a sudden... I know, I guess this is one of Ella's rare misses!" Lindsey said. She took another swing at them, once again missing.
"I think we better retreat!" Chris shouted.
"I have a better idea, let's fly away!" Cream said. She flew away from Lindsey, flying behind the giantess. Lindsey noticed this, but didn't bother to go after them.
"Hmmm... that's odd. Now they are running away. Can you imagine bugs acting like that?" Lindsey said. In the meantime, Cream clearly began to show signs of exhaustion, sweating a lot and unable to keep her altitude.
"It's okay, Cream. We did our best. Let's land and think of another plan." Chris said.
"Sure... let me just slowly... slowly land straight down." Cream said. Chris looked straight down... noticing the path was taking them right on top of Lindsey's right foot!
"Ack! Not down there, Cream!" Chris shouted, but it was too late, as the two landed softly on the smooth skin. Amazingly enough, Lindsey didn't notice them at all, especially as she got back on the phone.
"I know, maybe I should use that as a plot for my next movie! How the lovely bugs were spared from doom!" Lindsey said with a laugh. Suddenly, Ella came walking into the room.

"Mrs. Thorndyke, darling! The big rabbit girl, Vanilla, says she needs some help in the kitchen!" Ella said.
"Huh? But can't you help yourself?" Lindsey said.
"Oh, so sorry, Mrs. Thorndyke, but I'm so busy washing windows. That Tanaka... when I get my mitts on him upon his return!" Ella said. Lindsey couldn't help but laugh over her reaction.
"It's okay, Ella. You may continue with the window washing. I'll go help Vanilla." Lindsey said.
"Whew! Thank you, Mrs. Thorndyke!" Ella said as she left. That was Lindsey's cue to end the call with her husband.
"Well, I better let you get back to work. There's so much going on here too! Bye, baby... I love you too!" Lindsey said as she pressed the button on the cell phone to end the call. Lindsey then started walking out of the room. Chris and Cream heard the whole thing and now held on tight to whatever skin they could to keep from flying off.
"Hey, the kitchen! That's one floor down!" Chris said.
"And we'll find my mother down there! Yay!!!" Cream said.
"Yep... she'll help us out, without a doubt!" Chris said.
"Oh, but what about the others? What about Cheese!?" Cream said. Chris had forgotten about his friends, but he looked down the hallway and noticed the others standing around, until of course they looked to see the giant Lindsey coming.
"Quick, Cream, we have to get them onboard! Reach out as far as you can!" Chris said. They were soon very close, and Danny noticed the hitchhiking they were doing.
"What the...!?" Danny said.
"Grab on, everyone!" Cream said. Francine quickly got the hint.
"Everyone hold on to me! Danny, you get Helen!" Francine said as she held out a hand as far out as she could. Danny was holding onto Francine's other hand while his other hand was being held by both of Helen's hands. Helen had already rebuckled herself tight to the wheelchair, making certain not to fall off this ride. The reach was just right as Chris and Cream both grabbed onto Francine's hand, and the two, with the combined speed of Lindsey's walking, miracously brought everyone onboard Lindsey's right foot.
"Wow! What a ride that was!" Francine said.
"And thankfully, Helen is okay." Danny said. Helen nodded in agreement.
"But best of all, we're headed downstairs to see Vanilla! YAY!!!" Chris shouted as all the children cheered for their small victory. No pun intended, of course, especially since their adventure was far from over. Everyone held on tight as Lindsey walked down the stairs to the main floor.

Chris and his friends decided to end their trip the moment Lindsey arrived in the kitchen, where Vanilla was waiting. As Chris and his friends jumped off the wild ride and took shelter behind a table leg, Vanilla bowed down in respect to Lindsey.
"Welcome, Mrs. Thorndyke. I'm so glad you offered to help." Vanilla said.
"Please, Vanilla. It's no problem at all. I'm happy to help a fellow, um... rabbit. So what are you making?" Lindsey said.
"I was thinking of making chili dogs, but I don't know where the ingredients are." Vanilla said.
"Oh, that's easy. I'll check the fridge. I guess they're for Sonic when he comes back?" Lindsey said. She opened up the fridge while Vanilla backed away towards the table.
"Yep! He's kinda like my little Cream, always hungry after a long adventure." Vanilla said.
"Y'know, speaking of Cream, I wonder if she and Chris and all their friends are still out there?" Lindsey asked.
"Oh, I'm sure they are. And I'm sure they are all safe, especially if they stick together." Vanilla said. Chris just had to let out a sigh from hearing that.
"Oh man... they have no idea, do they?" Chris asked.
"They probably wouldn't believe us if we told them, too." Danny said.
"I can believe that. I don't think any of our parents could believe it!" Francine said.
"So what's the plan, Chris?" Helen asked.
"Hmmm... I guess we just start shouting for Vanilla. Right, Cream?" Chris asked.
"Oh, I don't think her hearing is that good. We need to get closer... like maybe on top of one of the tables!" Cream shouted.
"You mean... we gotta do more flying?" Danny asked.
"Maybe not, if we can get close enough to Vanilla and climb up her dress, that should help us get to the table." Chris said, pointing out the fact that Vanilla was standing right at the table they were all hiding underneath.
"So who's going to climb up there?" Helen asked.
"Not me! That's too high up for me!" Francine said.
"Yeah, count me out. It really looks dangerous." Danny said. Cheese, of course, wouldn't go anywhere without Cream, so Chris and Cream looked at each other.
"I guess it's up to us again." Chris said.
"Gee, I wonder what climbing my own mom's dress will be like." Cream said as Cheese nodded in agreement.

So the two kids quickly ran towards Vanilla's feet, jumping on top of them and then making a leap up at the bottom of Vanilla's dress. As soon as Chris made sure that Cream was on securely, both started climbing. It seemed pretty easy climbing up a dress, that is of course until Vanilla moved again. As Vanilla moved towards the fridge to look inside with Lindsey, Chris and Cream both held on for their lives as Vanilla's dress flowed smoothly in the air. It didn't help them both that they were both periously close to the icy cold air from the fridge.
"Here we are, all you need are these buns, hot dog links, and can of chili." Lindsey said.
"Wow... it's like you knew exactly where they were!" Vanilla said.
"Yeah, I'm kinda surprised myself. I'm only home so often, after all!" Lindsey said. Ella then shouted out something from outside.
"Awwww, for crying out loud! I'm about to go spotless getting rid of these spots!" Ella shouted.
"Hmmm... I think I better help out Ella. She really flips out when she's stressed." Lindsey said.
"Of course. I can take it from here. Thank you so much." Vanilla said. Lindsey nodded and then left after she closed the fridge. Once again, Chris and Cream held on tight as Vanilla walked over to the table and placed the ingredients down on it.

After their second bumpy ride, Chris and Cream found themselves halfway up Vanilla's dress, but now at a safe jumping distance after Chris looked behind him and saw the table nearby.
"Look! We can jump onto the table now!" Chris said.
"Alright! Away we go!" Cream said as they both leapt from Vanilla's dress and landed safely on the table. Walking by the huge hot dog link (which eventually got picked up by Vanilla), Chris and Cream got as close as they could to Vanilla's body before they started jumping up and down, calling out for her.
"Vanilla!!!" Chris shouted.
"Mother!! Down here!!!" Cream shouted. As Cream predicted, Vanilla's sensitive ears picked up the noise, and she looked down at the shrunken two.
"Oh my... I don't remember pulling any jumping beans out." Vanilla said. But when she looked closer, that's when she recognized the two tiny dots as Chris and her own daughter, Cream.
"Mother! It's me!" Cream shouted. Vanilla looked like she had just seen a ghost.
"C-C-C-C-Cream? Is that you!?" Vanilla said. Both kids nodded.
"Yes, mom! We need your help, please!" Cream said. This was too much for Vanilla to take, seeing not only her own baby girl but Chris also at such a small size. Her eyes fell back as she fell down to the side, collapsing on the floor. After the loud thud sound, Chris and Cream looked down at her.
"(gulp) I hope she didn't land on anyone down there." Chris said.
"Come on, we better wake her up!" Cream said. Flapping her ears once more, she and Chris went gliding down towards the floor.

As for the other kids, who were also recovering from Vanilla's loud thud even though they were away from danger, they looked at the giant motherly figure as well. Danny summed up her reaction very nicely.
"Well, I guess they got her attention." Danny said.
"No kidding!" Francine said.

Chapter 4

While Danny, Helen, Francine, and Cheese all recovered from almost being crushed by the fainting Vanilla, Cream and Chris finished their gliding and landed back down on the floor next to everyone else.
"I'm guessing she took it well." Danny said.
"Well, about as well as I might react seeing the rest of you so tiny." Chris said.
"I hope she's alright! I didn't mean to scare her..." Cream said.
"It's okay, Cream. Her reaction is pretty normal. Still, we have to get her attention somehow." Helen said.
"Let's scream into her ear, especially since Cream says her ears are pretty sensitive." Francine said.
"Yeah, but she looks pretty out of it. I say we climb on top of her and frantically wave at her." Danny said.
"I like both of those ideas. We'll try them both. Francine and Helen, you start screaming into her ear. The rest of us will climb on top of her." Chris said.
"Okay, but be careful everyone!" Helen shouted.
"Yeah, you too." Chris said. And with that, the plan was set in motion. Francine wheeled Helen near Vanilla's large right ear. With the girls so tiny and the ear so huge, this wasn't going to be as easy as they thought.
"I guess we have to climb closer to the ear." Helen said.
"Ugh... the things I get myself into. You stay here and just shout your loudest. I'll do the climbing, and promise you won't laugh if I get any ear wax on me!" Francine shouted.
"Actually, I've never seen ear wax from Cream's mother. She seems to keep herself very clean." Helen said.
"I hope you're right! Wow, this is one big, big, big bunny!" Francine said as she started climbing the ear that was laying flat on the ground. In the meantime, Chris and Cream once again had to climb Vanilla's dress with Danny doing some climbing for the first time. At least this time she was laying flat on her back, so they were in no danger of falling down to their doom if they slipped. Eventually, they made it to the top. They could tell Vanilla was still breathing from the way her stomach was slowly rising up and down. Chris and company struggled to maintain balance.
"Whoa... everyone hold on!" Chris said.
"To what?" Danny said. The group walked their way towards Vanilla's chest, jumping onto the only part of orange that Vanilla wore on her clothes. They all felt that was close enough, with Vanilla's head looming in the distance. They all got started shouting.

Eventually, Vanilla slowly stirred herself awake. Lifting herself up slowly, Francine tumbled away from Vanilla's ear, landing back on the floor and nearly getting crushed by her large gloved hand. Chris, Cream, and Danny all hung onto Vanilla's clothing as they continued their shouting.
"Oh dear... how embarrassing." Vanilla said softly. After she rubbed her head, she looked down to see the three kids hanging on for dear life, including her daughter.
"Oh my goodness!" Vanilla said. She held one of her hands underneath the kids, allowing them to drop down safely. Once they landed, she raised the hand and looked very closely at the children, giving them the closest view they've ever had to Vanilla's eyes.
"Cream! Chris! What happened... have you been eating right?" Vanilla asked.
"Well, yeah... we're just fine. Except of course for the shrinking part." Chris said.
"Yeah! It's a long story, but you have to help us." Cream said.
"Don't forget about the others!" Danny said.
"Huh? What do you mean?" Vanilla said. She looked first to her right and didn't see anything, but she almost fainted again when looking to her left and seeing little Francine and little Helen both calling up to her. Luckily, she kept her composure and gently picked up the two girls, now holding everyone in her left hand.
"My goodness! It got you two, ladies?" Vanilla asked.
"You can say that again!" Francine said.
"Yeah, we were kinda the last to shrink." Helen said.
"How did you shrink, if I may ask?" Vanilla said.
"Well... it's kinda my fault. I hit a baseball through the window upstairs, and I guess it hit Tails's shrinking machine." Danny said.
"Oh my! That's not good!" Vanilla said.
"Yeah, so the machine first shot Danny and myself. And then the girls, including Cream, all came up next and the machine fired again." Chris said.
"And we've been narrowly crushed on, stepped on, swept by a broom, and everything else in between just to get down here!" Francine said.
"Hmmm... that was indeed very dangerous. Cream, you should know better than to put yourself at danger." Vanilla said.
"I'm sorry, Mom... I just wanted to get to you as quickly as possible! Maybe you can get us back to normal size!" Cream said.
"Vanilla!" Lindsey shouted from outside the kitchen. Vanilla quickly closed up the hand she was holding the kids in and hid it behind her back. She turned to face the matriarch of the Thorndyke household.

"Um... yes, Mrs. Thorndyke?" Vanilla said.
"I just heard that Charles and Sonic found the emerald and are on their way back here. It should be at least a few minutes..." Lindsey said.
"Oh, okay! Don't worry, I'll have their lunch done before then!" Vanilla said.
"By the way, have you seen Chris around? For some reason, I didn't see him or his friends when I checked the backyard." Lindsey said. Of course... she had no idea that they were shrunken and right in the palm of her hand as she spoke. But Vanilla didn't feel like spooking Lindsey off, much like she was spooked out from seeing her own little girl littler than ever.
"No, I haven't seen them either. I'm sure they are still around here somewhere." Vanilla said.
"You're right. This is a huge mansion, after all. My heavens, maybe Nelson and I bought too big of a place. Anyway, let me know when you see them. I'll keep a watch for Charles, Sonic, and Tails." Lindsey said.
"Okay! You can depend on me!" Vanilla said with a smile. Lindsey smiled back as she walked out of the kitchen. Vanilla breathed a sigh of relief and opened up her hand over the counter, placing the children softly on top.
"Wow... that was some tight squeeze!" Danny said.
"I hope my hair didn't get messed up from being stuck in there!" Francine said.
"Helen, are you okay?" Chris asked.
"Oh, don't worry. My seatbelt worked like a charm again." Helen said.
"Oh, I hope everyone is okay. I didn't want to scare her like I was earlier." Vanilla said.
"I do not blame you, Mom. Mrs. Thorndyke probably would've fainted from seeing Chris so small!" Cream said.
"Heh, yeah. Imagine that." Chris said.
"Hmmm... you all look so cute. I thought you were all sweet before, but you're just like little angels who have come to play with me." Vanilla said.
"Uh... come again?" Danny asked.
"I could just cuddle all of you until it's time for Tails to grow you back to normal with his machine!" Vanilla said. And she did just that, picking everyone up and pressing everyone against her chest.
"Ouch! Not again with the tight squeezing!" Danny shouted.
"Hey, I can hear Mom's heart from here!" Cream said.
"Yeah, me too... her love for us must be stronger than ever!" Chris said.

Eventually, she ended the cuddling and placed everyone back down on the counter. Immediately she thought of her next game she could play. She didn't know why exactly she was in such a cheerful mood all of a sudden. A side effect from seeing the children, especially Cream, so tiny and in her control? That was almost too intoxicating for her to feel such power, but she couldn't exactly ignore it either. Fortunately, her thoughts were immediately cut off by a simple request.
"Um... excuse me, but could you perhaps feed us? I haven't really eaten anything since breakfast this morning." Francine said.
"Me too, I can feel my stomach grumbling." Helen said.
"I'll eat even a bread crumb as tiny as I am." Danny said.
"Oh, of course! I know just the thing." Vanilla said. She looked over at the hot dog link inside the bun that she was going to use to prepare Sonic's chili dogs. She very carefully pulled a small piece of the link off and placed it down where the kids were standing.
"Huh? That thing?" Francine said.
"Who cares? That will fill us up good!" Danny said as he ran for the piece. Eventually everyone conceded this was what they had to deal with for now, and they all joined up with Danny as they chomped away. Indeed, everyone felt full
"Thank you for the food, ma'am!" Francine said.
"Yeah, Mom! That was very smart of you!" Cream said.
"Well, I do my best." Vanilla said.
"Okay, so now can you help us get back to normal size? The machine that shrunk us is all the way up in the attic." Chris said.
"Well, I suppose I could..." Vanilla said. Soon afterwards, the doorbell went off. Seeing nobody walking towards the door to answer it, Vanilla felt she had to get it herself.
"Oh? I wonder who that could be?" Vanilla said. As she walked off, Cream was looking up at the huge hot dog that her mother had torn a piece of earlier.
"Wow... I'm still kind of hungry. Maybe one more bite from that thing couldn't hurt." Cream said. She wondered off towards the hot dog while everyone else was looking outside the kitchen, wondering who it was that came home.

Vanilla opened the door and saw Sonic, Tails, and Chuck Thorndyke standing outside.
"Oh, welcome home, everyone! You sure got back quickly!" Vanilla said.
"Yeah, but not quick enough! The X-Tornado was kinda slow on the takeoff!" Sonic said.
"Well, I couldn't help it that the thing wasn't getting the fuel at first." Tails said. Chuck laughed a little bit.
"Heh, nothing a little engineering can't handle. We were getting fuel in no time." Chuck said.
"Right, thanks to you. We definitely should check the fuel tank and make sure the problem wasn't there." Tails said.
"Of course." Chuck said.
"Man, I'm starved! Got any food for us?" Sonic asked.
"Well, I was getting ready to make some chili dogs..." Vanilla said.
"Chili dogs!? My fave!!! I'll help you out!" Sonic said as he sped off to the kitchen.
"Man, when it comes to chili dogs, Sonic's got one cracked mind!" Tails said. While he and Chuck were smiling over the whole thing, Vanilla looked concerned.
"Is something wrong, Vanilla?" Chuck asked.
"Um... nothing, nothing at all. I guess I better get busy with those chili dogs." Vanilla said as she quickly made her way back to the kitchen.

And in the kitchen, the kids watched as Cream slowly chewed away at the hot dog.
"Wow, I had no idea Cream was that hungry..." Chris said.
"Don't you think you've had enough!?" Danny shouted.
"Gee, I'm really sorry. I guess I got carried away. It was like this one dream I had." Cream said.
"Was it the one with the giant birthday cake?" Francine asked.
"Exactly! I'm glad you remembered!" Cream said.
"Well, Francine's got an almost photographic memory, after all." Helen said.
"Okay, I'll come on down now." Cream said. But right when she said that, a very strong gust of wind almost blew everyone off the counter. Some of the children were able to look up and see a blue streak across the sky. That streak belonged to the normal-sized Sonic the Hedgehog. As he looked down at the hot dog, the children were surprised to see him there.
"It's Sonic!" Chris said.
"Super-sized Sonic is more like it!" Danny said.
"Oh no, and Cream is still on that hot dog!" Francine shouted.

"Hmmm... the chili's not on here yet. We can fix that!" Sonic said. He found the container of chili nearby and opened it up, allowing the contents inside to pour on out. Cream saw the chili coming from above and tried to run away, but it came down too fast for her, and she found herself smothered in the warm condiment. She was lucky it wasn't burning hot like chili typically is after it is heated up.
"I've been clobbered with chili sauce!" Cream said, and to make matters worse, because of the cooler temperature, it was harder to push her way out of the sloppy mess.
"Ugh... it's too strong, I can't dig my way through!" Cream said. The other shrunken kids could only helplessly watch as Cream looked to be in serious trouble.
"We've gotta do something! Cream's stuck in the chili!" Chris shouted.
"Yeah, but what? We're too small to help her!" Francine said.
"Oh no... look!" Helen shouted. Indeed, Sonic picked up the now ready-made chili dog and took his first bite at it. Cream could only look in horror as she came closer and closer to Sonic's huge teeth with each and every bite. Chris tried to help, but Francine was right. They were much too small to do anything, not even get Sonic's attention.
"No... Sonic!!!" Cream shouted. She was pretty much one bite away from being swallowed unless she drove her way out of the sloppy chili, which was looking pretty hopeless right now.
"Ahhhh... nothing like a refreshing chili dog after a long day of Chaos Emerald hunting." Sonic said. He opened his mouth wide, ready to take another bite... and take Cream with him.
"Don't eat me... nooooooooooooo!!!" Cream said, with tears coming out of her eyes as her life was seemingly about to come to a vorish end.

But if it's happened before, it's happened many times in Cream's life. Her mother came to her rescue. Vanilla arrived inside the kitchen, and with that sharp eyesight Cream always bragged about, she watched as her little daughter was about to be swallowed whole by Sonic. Naturally, she put forth her immediate reaction.
"DROP THAT CHILI DOG THIS INSTANT!!!!!!" Vanilla screamed with all her might. Sonic complied in a split second, loosening his grip on the food and letting it fall down to the counter, with chili splattering a few inches from the bun. This was an emotion he was not used to seeing out of Vanilla.
"Whoa, whoa... okay, I dropped it. I dropped it! Man, I didn't mean to start eating early." Sonic said.
"Never mind that... you almost ate my baby girl!" Vanilla said as she ran towards the counter and looked around the chili both on the hot dog and on the table.
"Huh? You mean Cream? What are you talking about!?" Sonic shouted. Vanilla's search ended when she spotted Cream waving her hands (despite them still being smothered in chili sauce) and jumping up and down in excitement. Despite the mess she was in, Vanilla gently picked her up and held her in front of her eyes.
"Oh, Cream... are you okay? Are you hurt in anyway?" Vanilla said.
"Whew... I'm okay. Maybe we should have chili for dinner tonight!" Cream said, still keeping a smile and light sense of humor through all that.
"Oh, I'm glad. I'm so glad." Vanilla said as she then held Cream right up against her face. She wiped off the chili that got on her face and then didn't mind cleaning Cream off with just her two gloves.
"Um... hello? Cream's not here! Am I missing something here? Maybe that volcano heat did get to me." Sonic said. Just then, Tails and Chuck Thorndyke came running into the kitchen.
"What happened? I heard someone shouting really loud!" Tails said.
"It was Vanilla. Apparently I almost ate her daughter." Sonic said.
"Huh? But that's impossible. Cream's not anywhere in here." Chuck said.
"Um... actually she is. See for yourself, everyone." Vanilla said. Finally, with the hand she was holding Cream in, she moved it out so Sonic, Tails, and Chuck could all take closer looks. Tails was the first to look, and his jaw dropped as far down as it could.

"Oh my goodness! It works! The shrinking machine actually works!!!" Tails said, jumping up and down close to Chuck.
"But how can that be? You told me this morning you still were working on some bugs." Chuck said.
"I swear, that's what happened! This is what I'd like to figure out myself." Tails said.
"Wow... wait until Chris hears about this!" Chuck said.
"Oh dear! I forgot about the other kids! Where are they, Cream?" Vanilla asked.
"They should all still be on the counter behind you!" Cream said. Vanilla turned around, and indeed saw the other four kids waving their hands all around. Sonic, Tails, and Chuck came around to see the same four shrunken children that Vanilla was looking at. Including, of course, Chris.
"No way..." Tails softly said.
"Hey, Chris! Coming up a little short today, aren't we?" Sonic said with a sly smile.
"Um... yeah, you could say that." Chris said.
"This is quite extraordinary... but we better get you all back to normal right away!" Chuck said.
"Chuck, will you help me fire up the equipment upstairs!" Tails said.
"Right. Science marches on!" Chuck said as he and Tails quickly left the kitchen.
"Oh, you hear that everyone? You'll all be back to normal size soon!" Vanilla said excitedly. And with that, Chris and his friends all hugged each other in happiness.
"Whew... finally." Chris said.
"Normal sounds pretty darn good to me!" Danny said.
"Mom! We better follow them upstairs!" Cream said.
"Oh, right! Hold on, everyone!" Vanilla said as she picked up the rest of the children and gently carried them upstairs, with Sonic bringing up the rear.

Sonic, Tails, Chuck, Lindsey (who was briefed on the situation on the way up and almost fainted herself from seeing Chris so tiny, just like Vanilla did with Cream) and Vanilla were all standing by Tails's shrinking machine, the one that got this whole story started. All five shrunken children (and shrunken chao in the case of Cheese) were standing at a nearby table watching as the giant ones did their work. Chuck was quick to suggest they try to re-enact the whole story for the sake of the kids' safety. In fact, nobody yet seemed to notice the broken window or the baseball that triggered the machine in the first place. Nevertheless, Tails placed another apple on a smaller table.
"Okay, here we go!" Tails said. He fired away, but unfortunately, the apple simply exploded into pieces, just like before.
"(sigh) I don't get it... it worked on our friends, but it just makes the apple blow up every time." Tails said.
"I know, it is quite strange. But don't worry, we'll figure this out somehow." Chuck said.
"I hope so." Tails said. The kids sighed as they watched the experiment fail miserably.
"Man, I hope grandpa and Tails can figure it out soon." Chris said.
"Me too... it's been kind of a unique experience, but I'd hate to be this tiny forever." Francine said.
"I agree. Being normal-sized is a lot better." Helen said.
"Hey, wait! They probably don't know about the baseball incident. We should probably tell them about that!" Danny said.
"Huh? Are you sure about that, Danny? I don't know if I can help you pay for that window..." Chris said.
"Think about it, Chris. Tails said that thing wasn't working before today started. Now I crash a baseball through the window, and suddenly it shrinks us to this size!" Danny said.
"Hey, good thinking!" Francine said.
"Yeah, I didn't think of that! Surely they would get some answers that way!" Chris said. Cream, listening in on the conversation, couldn't wait to break the news to someone. Mainly her mother, Vanilla.
"Mom! Mom! Over here!" Cream shouted. Sure enough, Vanilla walked towards the table they were standing on, and managed to pick up Cream's shouting with her huge ears. She looked down at everyone.
"What is it, Cream?" Vanilla asked.
"Hurry and get the others! Danny has something important to say!" Cream said. Vanilla nodded and looked back at the others.
"Um... excuse me, but could you come over here? One of the kids named Danny has something to say." Vanilla said.

Soon, the normal-sized group crowded around the table, and that was really making Danny sweat having to look up at all these people.
"Well, go on, Danny!" Chris said.
"Yeah, don't be nervous! You can do it!" Helen said.
"Okay... well, this whole thing started when I hit a baseball harder than I should have. And it went crashing through the window over there. Chris and I went up to get the ball, and that's when we were suddenly hit." Danny said. Chuck turned his head back at the window and indeed saw the broken glass where the ball had left its mark.
"Well, I'll be... but what about the baseball itself?" Chuck asked. Lindsey looked down on the floor and spotted it right away.
"Would this be it?" Lindsey asked. Chuck took the ball and scanned it through and through.
"But how could a baseball suddenly trigger that machine to work properly? It had to have bounced off a ton of circuitry." Chuck said.
"Wait a minute... look at the hole on that ball. Must've been a pretty cheap ball." Sonic said. Tails saw that hole next and took the ball from Chuck's hands.
"Holy smokes! I get it now!!!" Tails said.
"You do?" Lindsey asked.
"Yeah... only the machine's laser could burn a hole right through this tough baseball. And if the baseball was in the way of the laser... that's it! The ball came through the window, activated the machine, and got in the way of the laser..." Tails said.
"Thus lowering the intensity of the beam itself!" Chuck said as he jumped in to finish the thought.
"It was too much energy going through! That's what was causing everything to blow up! Darn it, why didn't I think of that before!?" Tails said. Chuck placed an arm around Tails and kept a smile.
"Science is quite a fickle force of nature, my friend. Sometimes it's always the little things that can throw us off from the grand scheme of things." Chuck said.
"Yeah, kinda like me being the pest in Eggman's plans every time!" Sonic said.
"Thanks, everyone! You're geniuses!" Tails said as he looked down at the shrunken children. The kids, in particular, were congratulating Danny.
"I guess all those science lessons paid off, didn't they?" Chris said.
"Awww... it was nothing, I guess." Danny said.

Now understanding what it was that was giving him trouble all along, Tails knew now was the right time to grow everyone back to normal.
"Vanilla, you get the kids in position. I'll go fire up the machine and..." Tails said, only to get a pat on the shoulder from Chuck.
"Whoa... slow down there, tiger. How do we know your theory is going to work on living human beings?" Chuck said.
"He's right. Blowing up fruit is one thing, but I'd hate to see blown up children." Sonic said.
"Hmmm... alright, I'll volunteer. Chuck, I'll show you how the machine works and..." Tails said.
"No, Tails. Shrink me. I'll do it." Chuck said.
"What!? Charles, are you sure?" Lindsey asked.
"Well, Lindsey, remember what I've always said about scientists." Chuck said.
"Of course. If you want something done, sometimes you have to do it yourself." Lindsey said with a smile, and having said that, there was no way she would talk Chuck out of this one. Chuck sat down on the table where the apple once was, watching as Tails (with Sonic's help) got the machine fired up. Chuck took a deep breath.
"Alright, Tails. Shoot!" Chuck said.
"No reason this shouldn't work now!" Tails said as he took the controller in hand and then fired the laser. It hit Chuck Thorndyke dead on and he seemingly disappeared.

But upon further review, everyone gathered up at the table and looked very closely... and there was the shrunken Chuck, fighting to climb back onto the table. He was successful, and he waved up at everyone, still with a smile on his face.
"I'd say mission accomplished!" Vanilla said.
"Not yet, we still have to return him to normal. Everyone step back!" Tails said as he ran back to the machine. Everyone else returned, except for Lindsey who was admiring Chuck at his tiny height.
"Oh, Charles... you're so brave!" Lindsey said.
"Um... you can play the part of the giant wife some other time." Sonic said.
"Oh, right... sorry!" Lindsey said as she stepped away from the machine along with Sonic. Tails flipped the machine's controls in reverse, to allow things to grow instead of shrink. Once again taking the controller in hand, Tails fired away, and the beam hit Chuck. He successfully grew back to his normal height. Everyone, including the children, breathed a sigh of relief.
"Charles, are you okay?" Lindsey said. Chuck brushed his clothes off.
"Oh yeah, nothing like a little height change to brighten up your day." Chuck said.
"Oh you're such a jokester!" Lindsey said.
"Now it's their turn. Vanilla, will you do the honors?" Tails said. Vanilla nodded as she held a hand out and allowed the children to climb on. Then she very gently placed everyone on the floor. She stepped back, as did everyone else, while Tails got the machine warmed up once more. Chris looked over at his friends.
"Guys... I'm proud to be friends with all of you. We've been through so much together." Chris said.
"You're right. I feel the same way." Francine said.
"I don't think this is an experience I will ever forget." Danny said.
"None of us will." Helen said.
"I agree! Don't you, Cheese?" Cream said. Cheese shouted its name in agreement.
"Let's all hold hands, everyone." Chris said. Indeed, everyone took someone's hand, forming a horizontal chain that truly showed the power of their friendship. They looked up at the bright blue light of the laser as Tails fired away.

Just like that, everyone was back to normal size.

Everyone ran over and hugged each and every one of the children in excitement. Vanilla especially to her daughter, Cream.
"My little baby... I'm so glad you're back to normal!" Vanilla said.
"Me too, Mom!" Cream shouted.
"Man, you all wouldn't believe the things we've been through." Danny said.
"Y'know, for some reason, I feel bigger than I did before." Francine said.
"Why is that, Francine?" Helen asked.
"I don't know... maybe it was because I was so tiny for so long!" Francine shouted. This prompted a laugh out of everyone.
"Listen... Mr. Thorndyke, I'm really sorry about the window. All of this today is my fault." Danny said.
"Oh, Danny... one little broken window is nothing! I'm sure I can have it fixed in no time, and at no cost too!" Chuck said.
"And don't ever think it's your fault. These things happen for a reason, after all." Lindsey said.
"Thanks. That means a lot. Wow... you really are the coolest family outside of Station Square." Danny said.
"I had this funny feeling it was the laser, didn't I, Tails?" Chris said.
"You were right. You were brilliant, Tails! You'd probably make a great scientist like your Uncle Chuck!" Tails said.
"Oh, please... I don't know about that!" Chris said. Of course, he didn't know YET. He probably would figure it out in about six or so years.

"Gee, I guess I better get home now. My parents are probably worried sick." Helen said.
"Y'know, that's a good idea. It feels like we've been gone a long time." Francine said.
"Listen, kids. It's okay to tell your parents the truth. We can back them up with our machine, right?" Chuck said, looking over at Tails.
"Well, they could... but actually I was just thinking..." Tails said. He reached over behind the machine and unplugged literally all the wires connected to it.
"Huh? You're pulling the plug?" Lindsey said.
"Hey, come on, Tails! We can really make good use of this machine!" Sonic said.
"I know... but today proved to me one thing. If bad things were to happen... it'd be almost catastrophic, especially if Dr. Eggman were to ever get his hands on this thing. I would never forgive myself that something I invented would cause these terrible things. I'm gonna cover this thing up and save it as a keepsake." Tails said.
"You're making a wise decision, my friend. That's good logical thinking!" Chuck said. With that, the kids started walking towards the stairs that would take them downstairs.
"Well, so long, Chris. We'll see you tomorrow!" Danny said.
"Okay! Bye, everyone!" Chris said.
"I'll walk you all out." Lindsey said as she, Danny, Francine, and Helen all leave the attic.

"So, what's for dinner, everyone?" Sonic asked.
"How about chili dogs?" Cream said. Pretty much Chris was the only one laughing at that line, but eventually Vanilla joined in as well so that Cream wouldn't feel bad.
"Whatever you want, my dearest daughter." Vanilla said. And so ended the biggest adventure that Chris, Cream, and the rest of the children could ever possibly imagine.