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Chapter 2

New Knothole

About a half-hour later, the Freedom Fighters made their way out of the forest. Sally then told the others that they would arrive at the city in a few short seconds, and she and Sonic continued down the path, his arm around her. His sister sighed quietly, watching them. 'I wonder if Shadow will ever see me as more than a friend, like them?' she thought, and she glanced at the black one, who noticed her actions.

"Is something wrong?" Shadow asked.

"Oh! Uh, no... It's nothing," Maria replied.

The G.U.N. agent was not convinced. He knew she was terrible at lying. Assuming she didn't want to talk about it, he decided to leave it at that.

After passing through some large bushes, Sally turned to the rest. "Everyone, welcome to New Knothole!"

Once they got into the city, a small Mobian girl noticed them. She looked to the crowd… "Hey, everybody! The Freedom Fighters are back!" she called out. The crowd of Mobians looked in the girl's direction. Seeing she was right, they began to cheer for them out of rejoice. Many if not all gathered around to properly welcome the returners and the newcomers.

Suddenly, a voice called Sonic out by name. He turned to see a young Mobian canine. "Sonic, is that really you?"

The blue hedgehog quickly identified him. "Muttski?" The two ran to each other and embraced warmly. The older Mobian looked at the younger one. "How're you doing, little bro?"

"Me?! How are you doing, big bro?"

"Never felt better in my life," Sonic replied with a joyful tear in his eye. "Where's Mom and Dad?"

"Follow me!" Muttski lead the blue hedgehog through the crowd.

In almost no time at all, they all saw a number of Mobian hedgehogs in the distance. Some were much older than the rest. Half of them were blue, like Sonic. One in particular seemed to be fully robotic.

The blue hedgehog called out to them. "Mom! Dad! Uncle Chuck! Everyone! I'm home!"

The hedgehog crowd turned to see the blue hedgehog and his canine companion coming. They cheered his name and ran over to them. A violet hedgehog held him tight and kissed him all over. "Oh, Sonic! We missed you so much!"

"I missed you too, Aunt Aleena." The blue hedgehog saw a green male hedgehog and a purple girl run over. "Manic! Sonia!"

The twins rejoiced at their cousin's return. "Sonic! You're alive!"

"It's true! It's true!"

The three blue hedgehogs joined them in their embrace. The one with a bushy mustache and eyebrows laughed. "It'll take more than one of Eggman's experiments to do in my favorite blue nephew!"

"Let's hope it doesn't come to that, Pop," his son said.

"What Manic said, Uncle Chuck," Sonic replied.

"We're just glad you weren't hurt, son," Sonic's mother, Bernadette, said with tears in her eyes.

"And that you're finally home," his roboticized father, Jules, added. He then looked up at the crowd. There, coming toward them, was the blonde winged hedgehog, who was trying to find the blue one. He seemed confused by her, as his scanners told him she was Sonic, too.

Once she got close enough, the blue blur pulled her over and introduced her to the other hedgehogs. He was able to at least tell them her name before Maria pointed out the obvious. "You must be Sonic's family."

"That's right," Jules said. "Are you a new friend of his?"

"Well…" Maria seemed slightly nervous, but she quickly got the courage to speak. "In a sense, I'm his sister."

The others were understandably surprised. They didn't believe her until Sonic explained and Maria showed them the birthmark on the back of her hand. "…and you took her in as your sister after that," the robot hedgehog concluded. Though he couldn't show it, he was pleased. "I have to say, I'm proud of you, Maurice."

Sonic cringed at what he heard.

Maria turned to her male counterpart. "Maurice? That's you're real name?!" She held in her laughter. "I wonder what your middle name is."

"Actually, that is his middle name," Bernadette replied. "His real first name is-!"

"MOM!" snapped the embarrassed blue Mobian . "The name is Sonic! Period!"

The yellow hedgehog burst into laughter.

Then, another voice called for her by name. She turned to see Sally coming toward her. Behind her were Chris, Jack and Shadow. "Do you need us for something, your highness?" the blonde hedgehog asked.

"First of all, just call me Sally. Titles make my skin crawl," she replied. "Secondly, I've been thinking… since you and your friends are new here, how would you like a tour of the city? Courtesy of the Freedom Fighters."

The four agreed to her offer. It seemed only fair that they get to know the place better. It was home to most of their friends after all.

"If I may, Sally," called a female voice. The chipmunk reached down to her side and pulled up what looked like a pocket-sized computer. "I could be their tour guide for you. It'll give you more time with your familiar friends."

The princess smiled at the offer. "Sure thing, Nicole." She pulled a Ring out of her pocket and attached it to the computer. Then, right in front of them, something began to pixilated on the ground.

Quite rapidly, whatever it was grew from the ground until it eventually configured itself to create a humanoid form. From its appearance, it seemed to be a Mobian lynx. "So, who's ready for a tour of New Knothole?"

Sonic's eyes widened. "Nicole?!"

"I… Yes," replied the lynx. "I've been studying corporeal life as a side project."

"Sweet! I like your avatar."

"Thank you. I've run into some trouble, but-!" The hologram turned to the other four. She cut herself off at the sight of the hedgehog-like robot. He was speechless as well when he saw her.

Slowly yet surely, the two approached each other until they were merely inches away. "Hi… I'm Jack."

"Nicole. Have we ever met?"

The robot shook his head. "I would've remembered," he replied, causing her to giggle. "I like your hologram matrix."

"Nice power core."

Sally then came between them. "Come on, Juliet. We don't have all day," the princess teased.

"Sorry, Sally," she quickly apologized.

"Let's make up for lost time, shall we?" The robot held out his arm cannon, and she playfully wrapped her arms around it. Soon they began the tour.

"Talk about 'compatible software'," Sonic joked.

Nicole showed the newest Freedom Fighters around New Knothole the rest of the day. The holographic lynx pinpointed all of the more popular sites in the city. Some of these included a Chao garden, the same one where Cheese was born in, Uncle Chuck's diner, Castle Acorn and the Ring Grotto. After an hour of seeing the sights, Nicole directed them to a cave-like place that was mostly underground. "Most normally take the oak slide. Ladies first…" With that said, she and Maria started down the slide first, and the rest followed after them.

Down at the bottom, the four new comers were surprised. The whole cavern was built full of games, computers, weapons, and more. It was the best man-cave one could ask for.

"This is Freedom HQ, our base of operations and home-away-from-home." The lynx then pointed to the large computer on the side. "That's my main frame over there."

"Wow! You look amazing!" The robot stood in awe.

"Thanks. I have Wi-Fi, a voice-operator, and even a virtual world. Plug yourself in, and see for yourself."

The Metal Sonic doppelgänger pulled a cable out of his back and plugged himself in to the giant computer's hard drive, and he could his feel his coding be sent into her. He whistled as he appeared on the screen. "This place is huge! Isn't that the city library over there?"

"Yep." said a voice from behind. Nicole showed up with a smile. She hasn't had any company in her network before. "With the finest technology from Mobius, I can build, rebuild and fix the entire city at the wave of a finger. And since I'm hooked up to the new surveillance system, I can see and hear everything that-!" Before she could finish, her built-in alarm sounded. "Proximity alert! Something's attacking the city!"

"Don't you have a defense system?" Chris asked.

Nicole reappeared in front of them. "We do, but it's shut down for repair! I'm still working on that!"

Jack unplugged himself from the computer. "Alright then, where is it? What is it? And how do we blow it up or beat it down?"

"Near the northern wall. All the other Freedom Fighters are there, and they–" Her eyes widened. "Oh, no!"

"What is it?" Shadow asked.

"Something's jamming my signals!"

"That can only mean one thing," the robot replied. "An invasion."

The remaining four looked at each other, and they agreed to take care of this. Flying out a chute overhead, Maria carried Shadow whereas Jack held Chris in the air. Within seconds, they were near the north wall.

Once they landed, they ran more toward the north, and there, they were surprised. There were a large number of Mobians dancing and relishing before them. Even the Freedom Fighters, Rouge and Omega were having a joyous time. There was a large banquet, music and a few fireworks being set up.

The remaining four were on beyond confused. Nicole appeared before them. "Surprise! I lied!"

"Okay… what's going on?" asked Shadow.

"I was actually setting up a celebration behind your backs," she explained. "It's to honor those who have returned and the newest recruits to the Freedom Fighters."

Jack chuckled. "Well, I guess we fell for that one."

The city rejoiced and celebrated. It seemed like a perfect end to their joyous day. The return of their lost heroes and some new ones as well... they could ask for nothing less. The newest members were very aroused with entertainment, especially Shadow. It felt good to be amongst his kind now.

Shortly, a new face stepped onto the stage. It was a Mobian squirrel, slightly older than Jules. Judging by the crown on its head, it must have been the king. He clapped for the band, and the lead performer handed him a microphone. "Here you go, sire."

"Why, thank you, Mina." And he turned to the audience. "Good citizens," he began, "We've all been fighting the war against Robotnik for so long. It seems like our entire lives were put into this. We've had great victories and losses over the years, but I believe that the worst circumstances unleash the best in each of us. Nobody is more evident than one of our most recent additions to the Freedom Fighters, Angel the Hedgehog."

A spotlight lit over the blonde hedgehog's head.

King Acorn called out to her. "Miss Robotnik, please come up."

Surprised, the former human slowly approached the stage. She stepped up onto the stage and the king continued. "My daughter, Sally, has told me about you, Angel. You have fought to protect the world you cherished, knowing almost nothing about it. You even sacrificed your own life for that of your friend, Shadow. This and more have instilled great hope into the lives of billions, whom you cared for without reason." He opened a small box and pulled something out. "And that is why I am pleased to honor you with the Acorn Medal of Valor."

After the king placed the medal on Maria's chest, the rest of the Freedom Fighters applauded for their more recent recruit. A small smile crept onto her face. "Gee… you're all so nice… If I had a family, I'd want them to be just like you."

Sonic and his family froze as the rest cheered. The words echoed in their heads. 'If I had a family… If I had a family…' This gave Sonic an idea, which he quickly explained to the others. Once Maria found them again, Bernadette was the first to speak. "Maria? Sweetie? We were talking just now, and there's something we want to ask you…"

Suddenly, she squealed silently, and she froze. Everyone else was frightened. "Mom? What's wrong?" But the same thing happened to him. One by one, Mobian by Mobian, the crowd stiffened up where they stood. Shadow, somehow, was the only one who didn't. He had no idea what was happening.

Then, he heard a voice. "A special weapon, this gas… Once inhaled, it is quickly absorbed into the blood stream, paralyzing your nervous system in seconds." The voice cackled.

Surprised, Shadow looked all over. But he could see no one who wasn't paralyzed. "Who are you? Show yourself!"

His answer came in a more menacing tone. "Me?" the creature asked. "I am you in a way. A living weapon built for a singular purpose… The shadow that blocks out the last light of hope… the Black Blood perfected..."

Just then, a shape appeared in the direction of the voice. There stood a bizarre creature. It was his height and color, but it appeared to be more like a lizard. It had three claws on each hand, two toes on each foot, and a long, spear-headed tail.

"I am Eclipse the Darkling! And I am your end, brother!"

Part 2
Hero of the Future

Chapter 1
The Mysterious Island

One time each year for the past two millennia, there is a marvelous occasion, where enchantment and wonder ignite and fill the hearts of the Earth. Each home in the world fills with this joy when this moment occurs, with hearts growing warm in a seemingly magical way. Each room filled with decorations. The mantles prepared with a warm blaze roaring within. Lights twinkle and glow. Bells chime brightly. The moment is near.


This year, a precious gift shall be bestowed upon many the world over and beyond. But this is a gift that cannot be wrapped in papers, or placed under the tree. Far from it… it is a gift of the heart, and it means so much more.

In the heart of the Atlantic, a large airship was on a voyage to the American republic. Its crew: the Freedom Fighters, who for many years have been fighting against the evil genius Doctor Ivo 'Eggman' Robotnik.

And among them, stretching her wings outside of the ship, was a very special girl: Angel the Hedgehog, also known as Maria Robotnik. It had been almost six months her return from the grave and reunited with her best friend and secretly beloved Shadow the Hedgehog. Before their reunion, Doctor Eggman, her former cousin, unknowingly resurrected her, and to this day, he is still trying to reclaim her. But in the end, she and Shadow escaped his clutches and haven't seen him since.

Between then and now, the two begin to accomplish an old dream they shared: along with all their friends, they have travelled the globe. It was a time of great joy and pleasure for Maria. For the majority of her previous life, she had literally looked down on the Earth, with little knowledge of its splendor and beauty. But like a dream, all things must come to an end, and this was no exception.

Soon, the hedgehog girl came in the ship through the hangar. Chris Thorndyke, a partially roboticized human, was waiting. Shortly before, Amy, Vanilla and Cream asked him to give an early Christmas present to her. A woman's holiday jacket in with a matching beret, and they were both her favorite color as well. Maria was quick to find a place to change, and she looked in a nearby mirror. "I think it's just wonderful," the girl said in a thankful voice.

"I'm glad you like it," Chris replied. "The gang really wants to make your first Christmas on Earth special."

Maria breathed a silent sigh. "Yeah… um, can I tell you something kind of personal?" she asked her friend, who nodded in reply. "This isn't just my first Christmas on Earth… it's my first real Christmas all together."

"Really? You've never… not even on the ARK?" the boy asked, and she nodded in turn. "That's so sad…"

"It was because of my NIDS way back when. My grandfather was always too busy trying to find my cure for me, so he was never around. I couldn't contact any family either because technology wasn't as advanced, so I was almost all alone."

"But wasn't Shadow with you back then?"

The hedgehog girl smiled at those words. "Of course… He was always there for me, and he made my life on the ARK warmer with every passing moment."

"Aww…" Chris teased. "Shadow showed that side of him? I would've loved to see that." The two couldn't help but laugh, knowing it was a joke.

Maria had almost forgotten how she never met her human parents. She honestly saw the Freedom Fighters as family, especially her 'twin brother' Sonic the Hedgehog, whom she got her new body from. It was truly to be a Christmas she would never forget.

As they were walking, the human boy noticed something out the bay window… "Huh? What's that doing out here?"

On another part of the ship, Shadow, Jack, and many of the other boys were at the ship's food court. All of them were looking forward to the holiday season to come. Only Sonic, despite his usually cheerful holiday spirit, was complaining. "We've been on this thing forever. How much longer until we return to the States?"

Shadow shrugged. "You're so impatient, Sonic. Sometimes, you have to slow down and enjoy life." He then handed the blue hedgehog a plate. "Here. Have some pumpkin pie."

Adhering to Shadow's instructions, Sonic ate a fork-full, and he gave a mild moan from the taste. "This is good."

"Really good," Tails added between bites.

Shadow grinned. "I never get to have these desserts around Rouge. She's allergic to cinnamon."

"Yeah, that's the bummer about limiting your number of friends," Knuckles pointed out.

"I wish I could eat," Jack complained. "Food always junks up my circuitry."

As they continued, Shadow sighed in a somewhat despairing way. Sonic noticed. "Something wrong?"

"Sort of…" the organic being replied. "It's Maria's first Christmas on Earth, you know, and…"

"…and you haven't found a good gift to give her, have you?" the blue hedgehog cut in.


"I'm having the same problem with Chris."

Shadow smirked. "You haven't thought of anything for him either, huh?"

"Nope. I mean, what do you get for the son of a CEO and a movie star?" And as he spoke, he and Maria came in. "Hey, guys. What's up?" Sonic asked.

"You guys should see this," the college boy replied.

Rousing with curiosity, the others did as told. They followed him to the front of the airship, and Chris pointed to an island not too far away from them.

But this wasn't some standard tropical island one would expect in the mid-Atlantic. This one was full of pines and oak trees. It was like a continental island, but what was one like this doing so far from the mainland?

Shadow pondered this thoroughly. Such an island couldn't be thought of as real. "Let's go check it out. Up close and personal," he said finally. So they carefully landed their ship on the beach, and everyone came off.

Once they got there, Sonic fell face down to the ground. "Finally!"

Shadow shook his head. "Wuss," he muttered. Suddenly, he took himself to the head. Images filled his head of monstrous creatures he quickly recognized.

Sonic looked and scoffed at him. "Looks like you need your land legs too, Faker!"

"No. It's not that," he replied. "I… I thought I sensed the Black Arms nearby."

"Sensed?" Maria asked curiously. Shadow started to explain. Bluntly put, the Black Arms thought and felt as one. Black Doom was the hive mind, controlling them all at the pulse of his mind. Since Shadow was only partly their kind, he shared a very loose connection. He could feel their presence within a close radius. "But… a Black Arm? I thought the Eclipse Cannon wiped then all out with the Black Comet."

"That's what concerns me," replied the black one.

The team decided to investigate the island more thoroughly. If there was a threat upon this island, they would find it. Very cautiously, many maneuvered through the trees and bushes. They crackled and snapped as they were being passed by.

Those who could fly, including Maria, took to the skies for an answer. Then, Rouge the Bat found something even more curious. There, at the top of a nearby hill, were statues of Sonic, Tails, Amy and the rest of the gang that was sent to Earth from their home world. The stone figures were all arranged in a circle. The island was just getting weirder by the minute.

They quickly climbed the hill to get a better look. None of them were certain why that was there. Then again, what was a continental island doing so far away from any continent? Cheese then jumped around like mad. He was trying to direct them to a pedestal in the middle. The group came over, and Maria read the plaque aloud.

"This memorial is to commemorate the Freedom Fighters who gave their live to defeat Doctor Eggman. These few include Sonic the Hedgehog, hero of Mobius and Eggman's greatest enemy," she read.

Tails then realized something. If Angel Island was brought here to Earth, as well as Eggman's fortress and the Mobians, then maybe…

All at once, the aerial scouts departed to retrieve the remainder. But Maria stayed. She decided to get a better inspection of the monument for clues. As she did so, she didn't notice a hooded figure approaching her from behind. Before she could, two arms wrapped around her, and from the wrists came beams of energy.

"Don't move," a female voice instructed. "We saw your ship land on our shores, and we know you're behind the recent attack on my father. Come quietly, and we won't hurt you. Got it?"

But before Maria could answer, another more familiar voice spoke. "I've got a better idea." The being holding Angel turned to see the blue hedgehog in the distance. "You let her go by the count of ten, and I won't hurt you."

The figure didn't answer. She stood in awe at Sonic. "It... can't be..."

"One... two... TEN!" Sonic curled up and charged for a spin attack. He spun at full throttle toward his target.

The figure pushed the winged hedgehog aside and quickly combined her wrists, and a sphere of energy appeared. Sonic ricocheted off the barrier into a nearby tree.

"Sonic!" The blonde hedgehog dashed over and helped him up. "Are you okay?"

The blue hedgehog simply stared in shock at the mysterious female. "You dodged my spin attack... Nobody's ever done that before..."

"Well, I've had my experience," she replied as she approached him. "I know your type. Confident, often sarcastic and witty, and let me guess: you're the fastest thing alive."

"Who... Who are you?!"

The figure was now only inches away. "You mean you don't remember? Perhaps you remember this..." Then, out of nowhere, she pressed her lips to his.

Before Sonic could react, she pulled away. The ends of Sonic's lips stretched up and wide. "Sal!"

With a squeal of joy, the girl was lifted into the air. Sonic spun her around as they gazed into each other's eyes. The blue hedgehog gently placed her back on the ground and wrapped his arms around her.

Then, after he let go, the girl lifted her hood to reveal a Mobian. Judging by its appearance, it was a female chipmunk with soft red hair on her head. "I knew you'd come back someday! You always do! I... I love you."

"I know." It was Sonic's turn to kiss her now.

"Uh... What just happened?" Maria asked.

Sonic and Sally pulled away and looked to the source of the voice. They both blushed at this very awkward moment.

Before anybody could do any more, there was the sound of footsteps from all over. The Freedom Fighters charged in from all over. They were accompanied by three extra Mobians: a walrus, a coyote, and a partly roboticized rabbit.

The walrus was the first to speak. "If I didn't see it myself, I wouldn't have believed it."

"Hey, Rotor! Long time no see!"

"Sonic ze Hedgehog, mon'amie!" called the coyote. "'Tis good to be seeing you again!"

Sonic chuckled. "Still got that wacky accent, huh, Antoine?" Then he turned to the rabbit. "And Bunnie Rabbot! How are the robot limbs?"

The rabbit giggled. "I ain't a 'Rabbot' no more, Sugah-Hog... Now, it's Mrs. Antoine D'Colette."

Sonic's jaw almost dangled open. "Shut up... Seriously?!"

Bunnie showed him the ring. "I wish yah could've been there."

"I'm sorry I missed it," Sonic replied, "but we were all separated through Eggface's experiment. That being said, I didn't know you were warped to Earth too."

"We… we were what?" Sally asked.

"Yeah. Somehow, his machine warped this whole land mass and us to all over this world through Chaos Control. We've been trying to find a way back to you guys ever since." The blue hedgehog then introduced his new friends to his old ones one by one, ending with the winged one. "…and this is my sister, Maria 'Angel' Hedgehog."

"Sister?" Sally asked out of curiosity.

The yellow hedgehog girl giggled. "It's a long story..."

One long story later, Rotor was the first to speak. "I see… so you're a clone of Sonic, who used to be Eggman's cousin, huh?" the walrus asked Maria, who confirmed her summary. "Well, it's a pleasure to meet a Robotnik who's not out to rule the world. Then again, Eggman was assumed to be the last living of his family line when he started."

"Yeah… I figured that out the hard way," the former human replied.

"Well, on behalf of the Freedom Fighters, I welcome you all to our cause," Sally told them. "So, are any of you guys hungry? I know of a great place for lunch."

"Where is it?" Shadow asked.

"Trust me… you'll know it when you smell it." On that note, they began their trip into the forest.

Sally glanced back at Shadow with a sense of doubt. She had never seen a Mobian like him before. Plus, he looked like one of the invading Black Arms from a few years back. And he was partially one of them, biologically speaking.

Sonic noticed her glare. "Relax, Sal. He's cool, and here's all the good he's done," he started, and Sally listened closely.

Upon hearing that, Shadow's ear twitched. He was reminded of the day he lost Maria. He had once used those same words as a sample of what she might say to vouch for another. But to hear them personally from another about him… Shadow smiled a small smile as they walked. It felt great to know that he had a clean slate amongst his own kind.

Maria smiled at Sonic's words, and he playfully elbowed Shadow. "Remind you of anything?"

"Aw, shut up," he mumbled in a somewhat joyful tone.

Unbeknownst to any of them, a mysterious figure watched them go by from the distance. He was particularly focused on the black and red hedgehog. "I finally found him," he said to himself. "Black Doom's executioner…"

Shadow the Hedgehog 2 - Part 2 - Chapter 1
Change of plans. 

Part 1: 

next: September 18, 2016

Chapter 14

On Angel Wings

Later that same day, Shadow was in the kitchen of the ARK, making himself some soup. Chris was in there as well, working on his mechanical arm. The black hedgehog couldn't get his mind off what was to happen in the near future. The Kendov specifically instructed him to search their world for a force stronger than the Chaos Emeralds, but what was it? How would they find it? Where should they start their search?

As he pondered over these, Espio came in from behind. "Hey, Shadow. Can I borrow you for a minute?" he asked.

Shadow didn't respond. There was too much on his mind. He wasn't even focused on his lunch. After calling on his name twice, the chameleon whistled loudly, snapping him back into reality. "Huh? Wha…? You need something?"

"Ah, forget it. You've clearly got too much going on right now," Espio replied with a smirk. He then sniffed the air. "Do I smell smoke?"

Shadow glanced at the pot on the stove. Its contents were brown and emitting what the chameleon smelled. "Hey! Whoa! I-It's boiling over!" He tried to take it off, but it was too hot for his gloves to handle.

"You're burning the soup!" Chris pulled the pan off with his metal hand and started fanning it with a towel off a nearby rack.

"Sorry, guys. I guess I was thinking about Maria…" he lied.

"That's what I wanted to talk to you about," Espio said. "Charmy and Vector believe that you have a crush on her. I can't convince them otherwise, so perhaps you could vouch for me?"

Shadow blushed slightly. It was getting harder to keep it a secret by the day. He decided they'd find out eventually, so… "If it were a crush I would have gotten over it years ago. She's the one."

"Really?" Chris replied. As the conversation continued, he glanced at his upgraded arm, and he thought that it was hands down worth it.

"I take it you haven't told her?" Espio asked with a smirk.

The hedgehog shook his head. "How can I? I've thought it all out, and it just wouldn't work. Besides, what if she doesn't feel the same about me?"

"Well, either way, you shouldn't cook for her," the cyborg human teased.

"I'm serious, guys. She's always treated me as a brother or some part of her family. Once there, it's almost impossible to get out. What do you say about that?"

Chris sighed and sat down next to him. "Shadow, like you, I believe in making my own destiny. But do you know what else I believe?"

The black hedgehog thought for a second, but he had not the foggiest idea.

"I believe that destiny and fate are two very different concepts," he told him.

"I don't… understand."

"I do," Espio cut in. "He means that while we determine who we are and how we are to spend our lives, there are still rare, unpredictable events that happen for a reason."

"Exactly!" Chris said.

Shadow shrugged.

"Wait, hear me out. You were frozen in a stasis tank for fifty years. Maria came back to life after just about the same time. And now, both of you are Mobians. Coincidence?"

He didn't respond. Instead, he glanced out the window, thinking about what they said.

"Look," the human continued, "I'm not saying you should just go tell her now. In fact, that's perhaps the last thing you should do. But at least think about it." On that note, he and Esio began for the door. Before he left, the chameleon looked back and offered another piece of advice…

"There aren't that many second chances in life. Try not to let this one go."

Shadow spent a lot of time processing what they said. Because she was always so sweet and loving, he had always felt drawn to Maria. Deep down, he dreamt of a long, happy life together, eventually as more than friends. Now those emotions were accompanied with a new one he never had experienced before.

The hedgehog also had to admit, those two were right about one thing. The specie difference wasn't an issue anymore. And in her new shape, she was just as beautiful to Shadow as when she was human… perhaps even more so. He had never before felt such a great desire for her… or anyone for that matter.

After a long while of staring at Earth and pondering, Maria's voice echoed through the halls of the ARK. "Shadow! Will you look at something in the Park for me?"

The black hedgehog snapped out of it. "Sure, I'm on my way!" He replied and in a zap, he was standing in the doorway of the Park. There, as he walked in, was the blonde hedgehog. "Alright, what is it you wanted me to see?" he asked calmly.

"What?" came a reply. "You said you wanted to show me something."

Suddenly, confetti started falling everywhere, and party favors were being blown. Shadow was lured over to a remake of the other night's surprise. Everything he had accidentally destroyed was restored, food and all. And unlike last time, Maria and Jack were there.

"Um… surprise?" Rouge said hesitantly.

"Look," Knuckles began, "we know you didn't want a party, but after last night…"

"We were hoping you might reconsider," Amy jumped in.

"You may not be crazy about your birthday, but we're all glad you were born," Sonic added. "So, what do you say?"

What could Shadow say? All this time, he had let himself to believe that no one cared about him. He thought he was doomed to live his life in the shadows as a solitary soldier. Not trusted or accepted by the people he actually protected and risked his own life for.

Their making his surprise party, not once but twice, made him realize that he was wrong. People did care about him. He smiled a little to himself as he responded, "We're going to need ice cream."

On that note, the Freedom Fighters either smiled or laughed in pleasure. Seeing Shadow like this was indeed something to be enjoyed.

"I told you guys a surprise party was a good idea," Knuckles said cheekily.

"Give it a rest," Tails teased.

Soon, the celebration was in full swing. The Freedom enjoyed the games and the banquet. Shadow received a few awesome gifts, including a brand new motorcycle that Sonic and Knuckles bought together. Everyone was having fun, especially Shadow, who it seemed was the most glad.

Maria then noticed the white bat with a rather large robot not too far away. "Who are those two?"

"They're friends of mine," Shadow grinned. He then brought her over to introduce them. "Maria, this is Rouge the Bat and E-123, or 'Omega.' Team… I think you know who this is."

"So, you're Maria," Rouge began. "Shadow told us a lot about you. All that trouble to trying to–!"

Before she could finish, Omega quickly covered her mouth with his gigantic, metal claws. "That is classified information."

But it was too late. Maria had become suspicious. "Shadow… what did you do?"

"Well… uh…"

All the while, the white bat was able to get out of Omega's grasp. "He became a G.U.N. commando."

This surprised Maria. But she was also relieved. "Oh. Well, that's good."

The bat turned to Shadow. "Would you relax? It's not like I was going to mention how you tried to avenge her death– Oops…" But it was obvious she said that on purpose.

Maria was now shocked beyond belief. "You didn't..."

"Hold on! I can explain!"

She sighed. "I told you before, 'help people and be friends with them!' I didn't want you to get revenge!"

"Neither did he," Vector cut in, catching her attention. "From what I dug up, you old man was torn up by your… uh, 'untimely demise.' He tampered with Shadow's memory… made him think you did want that. Shadow never wanted to do anything like that. He was just honoring what he thought was your last wish. In fact, when he got his real memory back, he stopped the whole thing and almost died trying."

The blonde hedgehog turned to the black one. "Is that true?" she asked Shadow, who quickly nodded in response. "You foiled your own plans… for me?"

"Well, you know I'm not one to go back on my word." Shadow's ears lowered. "Still… I'm sorry I ever did that. Can you ever forgive me?"

Maria smiled sweetly, planting a small kiss on his cheek. "What's to forgive? You were confused, but you did the right thing in the end. I'm proud of you, Shadow. And I'm sure grandfather is, too."

The black hedgehog grinned at Maria, then glared at Rouge. "Can I have a word with you in private?"

"Maybe later," she replied.

But Shadow would not take 'no' for an answer. He grabbed her by the ear and started dragging her away. Once he was a good enough distance away, he let go.

"What is your problem?!" Shadow asked out of irritation. "Look, I don't know what I did to you, and I'm sorry. But you didn't have to pull a stunt like that!"

"Yes, I did!" the bat said with a huff. "In case you forgot, Little Miss Goody Two-Shoes over there is a Robotnik! Her last living relative is public enemy número uno!"

"In case you forgot, Maria and Eggman are nothing alike! She's my best friend, and I–!"

"All the more reason to do that! I don't want to let that dumb blonde influencing you!"

"Influencing me?! Her return doesn't mean the end of our team!"

"I meant influencing you away from me!" Rouge covered her mouth. This time was unintentional.

Shadow was slightly confused when she said that. Then it hit him. All she had done to make him forget about Maria… joining his team, trying to cheer him up, always calling him 'handsome'… not to mention what happened just now. Shadow grinned slyly and crossed his arms. "Rouge the Bat, are you jealous of Maria?"

A slight blush grew on her face as she said, "Me? Jealous? Don't make me laugh! I just-"

"Don't want me to be influenced away from you?"

"That's not what I meant! I–"

Shadow interrupted with a chuckle. "Sorry, old friend, but it's as plain as the blush on your face."

The white bat kicked him hard, sending him flying like a football. It was just right for him to land clean on the birthday cake.

Maria instantly came to his aid. "Shadow! Are you okay?" she asked worried.

But what he said only put more stress on the situation. "That… does it!" He turned to Rouge in anger. "It's been a real kick having you around! But you better behave yourself, or I'll have to give you the boot!"

"I'm gonna keep pounding away until I got you tenderized," his partner growled and leapt at the two. "From now on, you're gonna respect me!"

Before she was close enough, a bubble of energy engulfed the two. Rouge bounced off the shield without causing any harm. The shield retracted itself, and Shadow looked to the source. He was shocked... It was Maria.

"Did... Did you just…?" the bat asked in surprise as she stood up.

"Yeah. I'm not as defenseless as I once was." The former human reached behind her back to reveal a Chaos Emerald. She then warped over to Rouge, who lunged at her. Soon, the girls were in an all-out melee.

As the others cheered for each girl, Shadow watched in admiration. He grinned as he thought of his vow to protect his best friend and secretly beloved. "This'll be easier than I thought," he muttered. But what happened next really surprised him.

Rouge suddenly spun and kicked the hedgehog's legs, knocking her down. Then she held Maria down with her heel. "This just proves that a blonde is no match for a bat," she chuckled. "So, do you give up?"

Instead of answering, Maria's dainty little body began to glow a red light. She drew her arms in as she began to pull her energy out.

Shadow's eyes widened. He knew what was about to happen. "Hit the deck!" he shouted.

The hedgehog girl released her energy in a strong Chaos Blast. Rouge was flung off Maria while the remainder were knocked off their feet. In seconds, the party was in ruin once again.

Omega, who was the last one standing, looked around at the mess surrounding them. "Such destructive power…" He excitedly approached Maria like a puppy coming to its owner. "I like you! Let us demolish things together!"

Maria stood silently, unsure of how to respond.

Jack was almost as speechless as she was. He had never seen anyone use Chaos Blast other than Shadow. "Wow! Since when could you do that?" he asked as he and all others stood up.

"I-I don't know… I guess after so long, some energy's gonna rub off on you." she replied. Then she remembered something. "By the way, Shadow, I hope you don't mind, but I took a couple of your inhibitor bracelets. This power's pretty dangerous."

"Right. Never hurts to be safe. But there one small critique I'd like to point out." This caused a little confusion. Maria seemed so adept using that Emerald. They didn't know what she did wrong. Then the black hedgehog smiled. "You might want to try shouting 'Chaos Control' when you do that. It'll really get you psyched up." He chuckled and held his thumb up for her.

Maria stared for a second, and then she giggled softly. "Right… I'll remember that…" The other Freedom Fighters laughed as well, seeing Shadow had a good enough sense of humor.

Omega, however, turned to the distance, weapons at the ready. "Hostile threat detected! Confirmed Eggman Empire radio signature!"

"Ivo?" Maria asked surprised, and they looked out the dome over their heads. Out in space, they could see a large head-like station facing the ARK. It was the Dark Egg, and it was only minutes away from the ARK. "They found us? How…?"

"Wait here and stay hidden. I'm going in!" Shadow instructed, and he was just about to race to the hanger when the former human girl grabbed him by the arm.

"No…" she said calmly.


"I don't want you to fight…." She said and let go of him. "But I'm not ready to face my cousin… not yet anyway."

"Well, what else can we do?" Shadow asked her.

Maria thought for a split-second, and remembered what the Kendov instructed her to do. She took his hands into hers. "Shadow… show me the world! Take me to where we wanted to go when we were kids!"

The black hedgehog smiled by her words and grabbed his Chaos Emerald. "Here's an idea. Follow my lead," he said, and she pulled out her Emerald.

They heard a loud bump when the Dark Egg docked outside the ARK. In the distance, they heard footsteps.

Using their power, Maria and Shadow held out their Emeralds to the other. "Chaos Control!" they shouted in unison. The energy from the Emeralds collided with each other, and through Chaos Control, a large portal appeared. Wasting no time, Sonic and the Freedom Fighters jumped in, and Rouge, Omega, and Jack followed. In seconds, it was only Shadow and Maria left.

But then, the portal closed. Neither were sure what happened or why.

"Daisy!" a voice shouted. Behind them, the two hedgehogs saw a man not too far away. It was Doctor Eggman. He looked as though he were weeping. "Thank goodness you're alright. I'm so sorry. I should've watched over you instead of letting three trashcans do it for me." He held out his arms. "Please, come home. Let's be a family again."

Shadow stood between the man and the girl. "Don't try to deceive us, Doctor!"

"Sh-Shadow!" Eggman replied, a poor tone of surprise in his voice.

"You have no desire for family. You only crave global domination. You're just going to mold Maria in your image to rule by your side. So just say you're going to destroy me to get her, and let's get this over with."

"Blast you, Shadow!" the man shouted. "Not only do you foil my plans, but you foil my acting as well! I worked hard on that scene! No matter. I WILL destroy you, and I WILL be victorious!" he announced. "Is that better?"


Suddenly, a multitude of monsters came in behind them.

Shadow was shocked. He remembered them from his restored memories. 'Oh, no. Not again,' he thought to himself.

"So I dug up these alien beings, and it turns out they can naturally neutralize all Chaos energy pulses. And I couldn't have that potential go to waste unless I sic 'em on you!" the Doctor explained. "Try to appreciate the work I put in as they destroy you." The creatures approached them slowly, many of them circling around to the back. In seconds, they were nearly surrounded.

The hedgehog boy quickly got an idea. He quickly grabbed one of the tables and swung it at the nearby monsters, sending them flying. Then he grabbed Maria's hand, and they ran for their escape.

The Dark Hunters simply watched them at first. But then… "Well? What are you waiting for? After them!" Eggman demanded, and the others followed.

While the halls and corridors passed by them, the Dark Hunters were quickly catching up to them. And Maria was quickly losing her breath. Despite being Sonic the Hedgehog's clone, she didn't have his speed or energy.

Shadow saw this. But he also noticed something past a nearby corridor. "The gun lift!" In a quick move, he picked Maria up and ran toward it. "Why didn't we think of this last time? We can ride this straight to the Escape Pod Chamber." After loading and launching, the transport moved along its rail at a steady speed. Shadow manned the transport's mounted cannon, and he blasted any Dark Hunter that came near.

Ahead, they could barely see the chambers. "Almost there..." Suddenly, Eggman appeared before them on his Egg Mobile, stopping the gun lift. Under him, an electromagnet held something large with metal claws, which was then dropped on the rail.

"Oh, and by the way, Shadow," he added, "I took your advice! Burn-Bot can burn things!" From each side of its torso sprouted what looked like a small cannon. From them, Burn-Bot shot a clear liquid at the platform, which started to dissolve. "Score one for nitric acid."

As the acid removed the platform, the rail it was on grew unstable as well. The gun lift began to shake and crumble. Just as last time, Maria shoved Shadow off the platform and onto the rail. If given two more seconds, she would've jumped to safety, but the rails around the platform gave out. The track fell into the abyss, taking a screaming Maria with it.

Shadow witnessed in horror. "NO!" he and Eggman shouted at the same time. Filled once again with grief, Shadow fell to his hands and knees, weeping.

The doctor growled as he approached the G.U.N. commando. "I hope you're happy. This would've happened if you had just handed her over." He turned to his forces, who had finally caught up. "Dark Hunters, tear him apart!" Four of the creatures quickly grabbed him, one holding each of his limbs. There was no chance of escape for him. "Wait... hold his head up when you kill him. I want to see the life leave his eyes."

The Dark Hunters did as instructed. Then, Shadow saw something that greatly surprised and enlightened him. Eggman didn't need to look to know something was behind him, but that didn't stop him from doing so. There, in mid-air, was a familiar Mobian girl with a huge difference. Out from her back came two white, feathered wings, which glowed a faint light blue. "Surprised? So am I."

"You can fly?!" Eggman bellowed. "That's impossible!"

Ignoring the doctor's remark, Maria held out her hand toward Shadow and the Dark Hunters. From a bright flash, a bow lined with gold appeared in her palm. Her free hand drew from the bow, and arrows of pure energy flew from it, slaying the Dark Hunters holding her friend.

"This will be much easier than I thought," the coal hedgehog muttered to himself.

The golden hedgehog then nabbed Shadow, and she flew toward the escape pod chamber. Eggman retracted Burn-Bot with the magnet and chased after them. The robot launched all he had at them: flamethrowers, incendiary grenades, and of course its retractable claws. But Maria was able to dodge while it dodged their attacks.

Except for one... it landed on Burn-Bot's chest and it looked as though it were enough to make him fall. But the magnet was strong, and it sucked him back up.

This made Shadow realize something. "Maria! Hand me your bow!" His friend handed it over. Seeing how sharp it was, he slashed the cable over the magnet. Burn-Bot fell from the Egg Mobile for good, shatterring into a pile of scrap when it hit the rail.

At last, they made it to the escape pod chamber. Once inside, Maria and Shadow stumbled to the floor, and Eggman crashed, his Mobile rolling open-side over his body. The black and red one slowly got up and approached his friend. He held out his hand and helped her up to a sit. Then, despite all that happened before, they laughed. "Welcome to the Freedom Fighters, 'Angel the Hedgehog'," Shadow said with a friendly smiled and a wink. The two then activated the escape pod and climbed in.

Eggman, who got out of his Mobile two seconds too late, growled in frustration. "This isn't the end, you rebellious rodent! I'll be back for you! With a new robot... who has an accurate name… and super laser eyes… and he'll feed me ham! Evil ham…"

Shadow smirked as he held Maria closer. "It'll be a cold day on the sun when that happens, Doctor. I must commend you on your accidental success, though. Maria and I have some catching up to do." With that said, the escape pod released itself into the void of space, heading for the blue planet below.

Orbot, Cubot, and Makuta appeared seconds later. The last of the three stood in amusement as he watched the two chosen warriors begin their destiny. "Well played, Takanuva... well played."

Eggman turned to his partner. "Prepare yourself, Makuta. We will find them soon and very soon."

"No… we will be patient, Doctor," the elder brother replied. "I've waited decades for my revenge. I can wait a little longer."

"But they know I'm after her now. They'll be preparing for us."

Makuta grinned. "I'm counting on it…"

The next morning, back at Thorndyke Manor, Maria woke up early. Her head was full of so many thoughts about travelling the globe. She got up and moved out to her balcony just in time to watch the sunrise. While it was still beautiful, she couldn't help but think of the planet Mata Nui and the Guardians. She glanced at her wings, and thought of the bow she conjured. 'I guess that's what Takanuva meant by the "strength of the Kendov",' she thought.

Behind her, the black hedgehog carefully cracked the door opened. He wanted to check on his friend and ensure her safety. Seeing her awake and looking up at the morning star, he chuckled. "A completely new body, and you haven't changed a bit."

She turned to face him. "Not really… I still feel the same anyway." Her friend and secretly beloved came over beside her and leaned up against the railing. She smiled a small smile since she could spend a little time with him before their world adventure. But that soon decimated as something else came in to her mind.

Shadow turned to notice a slightly concerned expression. "You okay?"

"Not really," she answered. With one exception, she couldn't lie to him. "I've been stuck in a Soul Catcher for fifty years, and the world's so different now. We're in a war against my cousin, Station Square is now a city, and… you seem different, too. It's a good different, but... I'm not sure we're the same people I remember as kids." A couple small tears emerged from her eyes. "And what's worse: almost everyone we once knew is gone, and I'll never get to meet my parents."

Shadow placed a hand on her shoulder, catching her attention. "If you didn't save me, the world would've been destroyed. You did what you thought was right, with great courage and sacrifice, and now you have a second chance at life with more friends, and even a 'brother' who cares about you. Trusting your instinct is no mistake." He then wiped the droplets from her eyes. "By the way, I met your parents at your funeral. Your mother even told me she would've done the same for her husband, and vice versa. They couldn't have been more proud of you than they were that day. You're a hero and a role model to the entire Robotnik family... except maybe Eggman."

Maria smiled once he finished. "You're right, Shadow," she replied with a sigh. "It's funny. When we first met, I thought you were scary. But now… well… I'm really glad it was you."


The hedgehog girl embraced the Ultimate Lifeform. "We'll always be friends, won't we?" she asked. "We'll keep looking out for each other and the world, and everything's going to be okay, right?"

The black and red one smiled. "Right." After she let go and turned to the horizon, he took a good look at her in her new form. 'Maria certainly is special… I only wish I could tell her how I feel,' he thought to himself, a small yet visible hint of pink on his cheeks. "You're so beautiful," he mumbled, absent-mindedly. He bit his lip as he realized what he was saying.

Fortunately for him, the girl misheard him. "Yeah, the sunrise really is beautiful. I feel like I could watch it all morning."

"So do I…" The G.U.N. agent shook his head. It was going to be a long journey in more ways than one.

To Be Continued...

Shadow the Hedgehog 2: Part 1 - Chapter 14

And that's it for now. Part 2 will be posted later... I just haven't decided on a date yet.

In the mean time, I'll have another fanfiction ready for a younger audience.
I won't give away too much just yet, but here's a hint:…

All Rights to SEGA and Lu-Raziel for characters and story.




Chapter 13

New Beginnings

"You wanted to see me, grandfather?" In the doorway of one of the living rooms on-board the ARK, a young girl stood. An elderly man sitting on an easy-chair near a large window gave her sign to sit on a sofa near him. As she came closer she could see he was sad… very sad. She sat down in front of him, and he poured some tea which he gave to her. "Thank you," she said and took a small sip.

"Maria… how do you feel?" he asked.

"Better now. The pain's gone, but I get tired more easily..." She stopped as she can see tears emerge in the old man's eyes. "Please don't be sad, grandfather, I'm not in pain anymore… That's good news, right?" she tried to comfort the old doctor.

But he just shook his head and hugged her. "I'm sorry… I've failed you," He almost whispered. "It's so hard for me to tell you this… I fear I can't have the cure ready in time. We still haven't figured out a way to transfer Shadow's immunity to you." He sniffed and continued. "And what's worse, you've spent almost your entire childhood without your parents for nothing…"

The little girl could feel a teardrop run down her cheek, and yet she wasn't the one crying. Although, she was rather depressed. She knew she didn't have much time left.

"There's still hope…" said a voice from the doorway. The two looked over to see a woman standing in the doorway.

Gerald recognized her at once. "Louise?"

The woman came over and kneeled down so that she would be eye-level with Maria. "I've found one last way. You'll think I'm crazy, but perhaps the only way to keep you alive… is to let you die." She then dug into her lab-coat pocket and pulled out a tiny glowing crystal on a string.

"Is that a Soul Catcher?" Gerald asked amazed when he looked upon it.

"Yes… the very last of its kind, as far as I know," Louise said and started to tie it around Maria's neck.

The girl looked in the reflection of the nearby window in admiration. "It's so beautiful… but I'm not sure if I can receive such a gift," she told them.

Gerald put her hands on her shoulders and stared at her in a very serious way. "Whatever happens, Maria, you must not take this pendant off. Will you promise me that?" he begged.

"I promise… but why would you want me to wear it?" her granddaughter asked, puzzled.

"Follow me, and I'll show you," Louise then gave her a signal to follow, and she did so. Gerald, on the other hand, stayed behind to write this info in his log book. As the two girls walked, the older one explained. "That pendant on your neck is a Chaos Emerald with a unique power… It can undo death. If you die before we can cure you, the stone will absorb your very spirit and soul."

They then walked into another room. The woman threw switch to show a large machine with two capsules, one on each side. "And once I put the finishing touches on my 'secret weapon,' I can recreate you in a new, stronger, healthier body," she said, trying to sound optimistic. "I call it, 'Project: Angel.'"

But Maria looked a little unsure at her. She wasn't sure what to think about the idea of abandoning her own body. But she did see one potential advantage. "One quick question… can you re-fabricate someone as a different specie with this machine?"

Louise thought for a moment. "That would be quite a scientific breakthrough. I might look into it." She then paused and looked at the girl in curiosity. Why would she ask that unless… "Why? Is there something you want to be?"

"N-no," she said nervously. "I was just curious…"

The scientist laughed. "You're a lousy liar. Do you know that?"

Maria simply blushed in response.

"C'mon. What is it you want to be?"

The girl hesitated, but answered. "A hedgehog… my biggest dream is to be a hedgehog."

Now Louise understood what this was all about. "Ah, I see… You wish to be a hedgehog and be with Shadow, huh?"

Maria nodded a little and blushed even more, feeling more embarrassed and very ashamed. She never wanted anyone to find out, especially not the boy in question.

The woman chuckled. "There's nothing to be ashamed of, Maria. Love is a natural thing. It is, however, rare that it happens between species."

The girl kept quiet. She didn't look at her until she felt a comforting hand on her shoulder.

"If it means that much to you, your secret is safe with me."

Maria nodded a simple nod to her promise to not tell a soul. She didn't want to feel more pity than necessary.

The former human girl wasn't sure how long they had been asleep, though one thing was certain. It was early in the morning, and she could smell herself. It was then she realized how long it was since she had taken a shower.

She looked behind her to find that she was still in Shadow's arms. Luckily, he had loosened his grip around her during the night; else she had to wake him up in order to get up. Maria carefully wrinkled herself free from his grip and got out of bed. She looked at him for a moment and grinned. 'What is it that makes boys so cute when they're asleep?' she thought to herself with a giggle.

Maria then started searching for stuff she needed for a well-earned bath. As she looked through the wardrobes, she was very surprised. Besides a few exceptions, they were unchanged. She yanked a bathrobe off the hanger and looked up at some of her very old clothes. She definitely had to make adjustments since her measurements had changed.

A small smirk came across her mouth when she saw a pair of Shadow's old shoes on one of the shelves with a couple of other things. "Guess he had moved into my old bedroom." Then she noticed a pair of bracelets, like the ones he wore.

They weren't just an accessory for Shadow's style. They were a specially built inhibitor to suppress his powers, keeping them at a safe level. Removing them would greatly increase his Chaos Control ability, but it would also be a risk to his own life. Since Maria could control this same energy, did she need them?

"Better safe than sorry…" She quickly snapped them onto her wrists. Then, she quietly left the room and headed for the bathroom on the other side of the ARK. Maria opened the water in the old bath tub, and to her relief, it was working fine, and the water is fresh and warm.

After having undressed, she carefully dipped herself in the tub. It wobbled a little since it was a very old bath tub on legs. "I needed this…" She breathed blissfully and started to relax in the water.

About a half-hour later, three Mobians: a chameleon, a bee, and a crocodile, came into Maria's bedroom. They were sent to wake everyone up so they could help with another setup. They found Shadow in bed, hugging the pillow, still dreaming of what had happened last night. "I really missed you, Maria," he muttered in his sleep.

"Charmy," the big green one instructed, "get me the pepper-mill."

"Can do, Vector!" the bee replied. No sooner had he left did he come back with one.

The crocodile cranked the knob over the hedgehog's head, and small black pieces of seasoning sprinkled on Shadow's face. The hedgehog inhaled the pepper through his nose, and soon let out a bloodcurdling sneeze.

"Rise and shine, sleepyhead!" Charmy Bee instructed with a laugh.

Once he was fully awake, he glared angrily at them. "Can't you just use the alarm clock?"

"I feel your pain," Espio the chameleon jumped in. "Wait… Where's the girl?"

That's when Shadow realized he was hugging a pillow. He let go of it and looked around in despair. But Maria was out of sight.

Suddenly, there was a loud crash. "What was that?" Shadow jumped out of bed to locate where it came from, and the other three followed.

Back in the bathroom, Maria lay on the floor shaking, and collected herself from the shock. She was in pain from the fall, but it wasn't serious. She was reaching for a towel when the tub she was in cracked and toppled over with a loud bang. The yellow hedgehog wrapped herself in the towel as she sat on the floor to recover. Suddenly, the door opened rapidly behind her.

"WHO'S THERE?!" A male voice shouted.

She looked up and saw a frustrated Shadow, who right away turned red in the head and locked the door shut.

"I didn't see anything! I swear!" he yelled from the other side of the door.

'Oh man, oh man, oh man! She's must be mad at me now!' The black hedgehog rubbed himself furiously in the face with his back turned to the door all embarrassed. 'Maybe I should help her…? No! I can't go in there while she's naked! But if I don't, she might think I'm careless. Oh, man, what should I do? What can I do? What's wrong with me?'

After quickly calming himself down, he realized the obvious solution. Carefully, Shadow leaned over and knocked on the door. "Are you okay in there?" He asked with an almost wet voice.

"I'm fine, but what about you?" Maria answered from the other side.

Shadow did not respond. Instead, he kept his back turned on the door, more embarrassed. He couldn't exactly run away from Maria and the ARK, since he thought she and the others would be trapped here if he just left them behind.

Soon, the door to the bathroom opened again. The young yellow hedgehog stepped out, wearing her bathrobe. Suddenly, he felt a hand rubbing him gently on the shoulder, which caused his cheeks to burn even more. "Shadow, are you alright?" she asked him worried. Afraid of facing her, he still kept his back turned to her. A small tear emerged, and he tried to cover it by blinking a few extra times.

A hand moved slowly to his face, and gently turned his head. The black hedgehog looked guiltily at her and then down at his feet. "I-I'm so sorry. I didn't mean to, Maria. I thought you… I…" he tried, still looking down.

"Shadow, calm down. I'm not mad."

"But I–!"

She placed a finger on his lip, and he silenced. "It was an accident. You just came to see what happened. That's all… There's no need to feel guilty or ashamed."

The black hedgehog sighed with a small, innocent grin. "It's strange how you're always so forgiving," he said, "but… I've always liked that about you." They grabbed one another in a hug, and the emotion the black one felt for her grew stronger inside of him as he could feel her freshly cleaned fur.

All the while, Vector was watching them from the corridor. Seeing all this, he grinned slyly. "What do you know?" he mumbled.

Espio the Chameleon and Charmy Bee showed up. "What's up, boss?" the latter asked.

"Now I see why he's always jumping through hoops to keep his promises," the croc replied. "They should call him Shadow the Sly Dog."

Charmy glared at him in confusion as he continued.

"Shadow has a crush on his best friend. He ran off so he could be alone with her, and I'll bet he's gonna ask her for a date, or invite her to take a space-walk so they can gaze at the stars."

Maria let go of Shadow, took his hands into hers, and rested her forehead on his. "Whatever happened is past… Friends?" she asked cheerfully.

"Best friends," Shadow smirked.

She gave his hands a gentle squeeze before letting go. Then she went into the bathroom and picked up the dress she grabbed earlier. "This isn't sitting right, so I'm gonna try to adjust it. It shouldn't take too long…"

"Mmm, take your time. No rush," the black hedgehog said as he watched her leave. He then chuckled to himself. "If she isn't Maria, I don't know who is." With that said, he left in the opposite direction.

"Look at that…" Vector said with tears in his eyes. "Shadow's too shy and insecure to tell that girl how much he cares about her. I know exactly what that feels like."

Espio sighed. "Not again with his nonsensical drivel…" he muttered. He then decided he would put Vector's delusions to rest in the only way he knew how.

Later that same day, Maria was working on the dress she had picked, trimming it down to size. Once she tried it on for size, a pink hedgehog girl came in. "There you are," she said.

"Good morning, Amy," Maria replied in pleasure.

Amy quickly hugged her. "I was so worried about you. I didn't know you had recovered." She let go of her as she continued. "We finally found Shadow. Well, really he found us. Perhaps now we can figure out who you are, Angel."

The hedgehog girl paused. "Oh, I get it. You haven't heard yet, have you?"

"Heard what?"

"I already got my memory back. My real name is Maria."

Amy's eyes widened, and she quickly scanned the girl from head to toe. "Wait… you're not Maria Robotnik, are you?" she asked, and Maria nodded. "No wonder Shadow was actually happy this morning!"

The former human already knew where her friend was all this time, but she couldn't help but tease him a little. "Aww… did he miss me that much?"

"You have no idea…" the pink hedgehog was being cautious not to mention the ARK incident.

The yellow one smiled. "Well, out of all the people I could ask to still be alive, I'm glad it's Shadow. Under all that black and red beats a heart of gold…"

The pink one thought for a split-second, and smiled at her in a sly way. "Sounds like someone has a crush on her best friend."

Maria blushed bright red. "No! No, I don't!" she said, defensively.

Amy laughed. "You do! That's so cute!"

Her eyes widened, and she looked away, slightly more embarrassed.

"So, girl to girl, what's up with you two? Have you been on a date with him yet?"

"Well, no. He doesn't know…"

"A secret love? How romantic!" she teased. Amy smiled as she noticed how embarrassed she looked. "C'mon, there's no reason to be so shy." She then took her hand into her own. "Look, you're his best friend, and you're super cute. Shadow's the lucky one. I also have a certain blue hedgehog that I'm pursuing myself. I wish us both luck."

Maria smiled in thanks, and they both laughed as two close girl friends would. It was nice for her to know someone understood.

Shadow the Hedhehog 2: Chapter 13
All rights to SEGA and Lu-Raziel for characters and story, respectively.


Next: 7-10-2016

Chapter 12

Deviled Eggs

The doctor moaned in pain. He rubbed his eyes from behind his glasses and slowly sat up. Eggman slowly woke up to find himself in total darkness. He couldn't even see the nose on his face. The old man chuckled. "Finally, a use for my night-vision glasses." He tapped a button on the rim of his glasses. He could see he was in a seemingly unexplored cavern.

Then, he tapped a device on his wrist. "Eggman to Orbot and Cubot. I'm trapped in a cave. Lock on to my coordinates, and help me out."

All he could hear on the other end was static.

"Orbot. Cubot. Come in. Do you copy?" Nobody answered him. It became clear that he was too deep beneath the surface to reach a signal. "Looks like I'm getting out of here the old fashioned way…" Eggman slowly stood up. The soft earth made him sink, but he managed, and off they went down a nearby tunnel.

The dark caverns seemed endless. The old man felt his aged bones begin to ache, and he almost contemplated stopping to rest. If that were the case, he would have to return to the soft mound of soil. But then, Eggman could see there was some form of light being generated nearby, so he slowly approached the end of the tunnel. Then his eyes were wide with wonder.

The tunnel opened up to a large chasm carved out from the cavern. Torches were along each of the four walls, acting as the source of light. In the center of this room stood what looked like a statue of a human with wings. It was standing on one knee, as though it were dying, and it held out its hand toward the doorway.

"The lost prison of the Dark Gaia… I've found it." The old doctor slowly approached the statue, unaware of what might happen. He was mere inches from the extended arm, the words of the scroll echoing in his head.

'When given the power of the Spirit Stones, he shall be released and obey his master: he who makes the Dark Gaia free.'

The doctor reached into his pocket for the Chaos Emerald. He eyed it and the stone figure. 'Could this be a "Spirit Stone?" I wonder…' His assumptions were correct. When Eggman placed the stone into the palm of its hand, the Emerald began to glow a menacing red glow, and the chamber began to shake and crumble.

The fingers from the outreached hand formed a grip around the gem. Its color drew darker and darker until it was the blackest black. Slowly, the stone statue became pale flesh and clothing with dark color. Its wings, as dark as the night.

Eggman laughed exultantly, feeling more proud of himself than he had ever felt before. "Rise, Dark Gaia! Rise for your new master!"

When the transformation reached its face, two black, soulless eyes opened. The piercing red pupils quickly caught sight of the human dictator. "You!" he growled in a dark, crackled voice. The way he spoke made Eggman quickly lose his confidence. "You and I have unfinished business." Using the power from the now corrupted Chaos Emerald, he threw Eggman into a nearby wall, restraining him with the power.

"What is the meaning of this?!" shouted Eggman, knowing nothing about what the other meant. "Release me! Obey me! I am your master!"

"SILENCE!" The dark one roared so loud that stalactites cracked and fell from the ceiling. "I am Makuta, firstborn of Mata Nui. Los nimunro aar. I serve no mortal. As for you… unless you want me to destroy you, you are going to give me what I want."

The elder doctor could see there was no sense to reason with him. Seeing no alternative, he surrendered out of fear. "What… What do you want from me?"

"You will bring me your kiindah – your creation."

"I'll… I'll see what I can do. Just let me live." As though it were on cue, the Chaos energy restraining him had disappeared, and Eggman fell to his hands and knees.

"That's better…"

Eggman quickly collected himself as he dusted himself from the fall. "First thing's first: we need to get out of here. Now, I suggest–!"

Before he could finish, Makuta raised an arm – the same one with the Emerald. A surge of power blasted from the stone, carving through the stone until the daylight shone into the tomb. He hissed loudly. "The light of the morning star… so blinding after so many years…"

"Your eyes will adjust. Now, let's go."

After finding Orbot and Cubot, the four proceeded to the island fortress. Eggman lead Makuta to one of the robot assembly lines. There, he temporarily turned it on to allow for a brief demonstration. "Transformation 101: Elements to Electronics," he stated. "Boom! Instant army, and it's all yours. I hope you find it to your satisfaction."

Unfortunately for Eggman, Makuta was furious. "Is this meant to be HUMOROUS?!" he shouted. "Ni hin kiindah! These things are not your creation, for they have no souls!"

"Hey!" Orbot was displeased.

"He be right…" his edged counterpart sighed.

The confusion accumulating within the old man was overwhelming. "I-I'm sorry, but that's-!"

"Enought of your foolery! Where is your creation? Where is the man of black and red?!"

"'Black and red?' I have no idea what-!" Finally, it clicked. Eggman could think of one being that fit Makuta's description. "Shadow... that traitor who works for the G.U.N. You're after him?"

"Do not fool with me, Professor. Where is he?"

Eggman grinned, showing his teeth. Now he understood why the dark lord seemed to recognize him. "I am Doctor Eggman. The 'Professor,' my grandfather, died decades ago. But I think I can still help you." Approaching a nearby computer, the doctor pulled up a picture of a certain Mobian. "Is this him?"

"Finally…" Makuta hissed.

"He is commonly referred to as 'Shadow the Hedgehog.' A super-soldier created to carry out my grandfather's wishes. Like you, I released him from a state of suspended animation about a decade ago, but the blasted rodent rebelled against me. He's been a thorn in my side ever since." Eggman pointed to Makuta. "I will help you find him, but in return, maybe you could provide my Empire with something… useful, shall we say?"

Makuta knew exactly what to offer. Using the Emerald, a large number of dark monstrous creatures emerged from the ground, surrounding the four. "Behold, the Dark Hunters. This is but a small number of the infinite I already possess. Perhaps they could be of use to you."

"Intriguing…" Eggman replied. "With these things, I wouldn't need my badnik assembly line anymore. The extra energy could be used to power my Empire for ages. We have a deal!"

"Then you are the first of few to be my grah-zeymahzin – my brother in arms." Makuta grinned evilly. "We will need more brothers to destroy the man they call Shadow."

Eggman shrugged. "Tell that to the Black Arms."

"But we and many others have what they did not… experience. Together, we could bring an end to not just Shadow, but all others who oppose us. This will be the start of our alliance… of the Dark Destruction Legion."

"Indeed… except it shall be called the Egg Emperor Legion."

"I am the master. Dark Destruction Legion."

"I freed you. Egg Emperor Legion."

"Dark Destruction Legion!"

"Egg Emperor Legion!"

"Dark Destruction!"

"Egg Emperor!"



Silence fell… For a moment, they stared, lost in thought. Then they grinned and shook the other's hand. "Dark Egg Legion!" So from then on, whether it was a mere county jail or an elite G.U.N. prison, the two would travel to and fro collecting all enemies of the Freedom Fighters.

Before then, they were still short-handed. By combining Eggman's badniks with Makuta's Dark Hunters, they would be able to create the ultimate army. With the Freedom Fighters absent, they had no fear of limitation or interference.

Eggman was already in work of a mighty flying battle station. He would finish the design, while Makuta planned the internal defenses, until finally… their enormous station was complete.

It was said that the fortress was large as a mountain, and looked like Robotnik's face. The Dark Egg Legion watched in admiration as Eggman and Makuta approached it. "At last… time to christen the Death Egg! Care to do the honors, milord?" The doctor asked and handed him a bottle of champaign.

"No… you may christen the Dark Star," Makuta insisted.

They glared at each other once again. After a few seconds, the old man came up with another compromise. "Dark Egg?"

"Dark Egg."

Robotnik smashed the bottle against the ship. "I christen thee the Dark Egg! Now, onto the next phase of our incredibly brilliant plan." After they boarded and the ship launched, Eggman and Makuta reached the bridge of the Dark Egg. "Now then, let's continue looking for Shadow."

For the next few weeks, Eggman's badniks and Makuta's Dark Hunters secretly patrolled the Earth. Should they find Shadow, they would bring him to them or at least alert their bosses. But no matter how hard they searched, it was no good. One day, two weeks later, Orbot and Cubot came to the Death Egg's bridge. "Do we have the black hedgehog's location?" asked Makuta.

"No," Orbot replied, "but I think I found the right voice chip this time." He then inserted it into his edged companion. "I hope this works… how are you feeling?"

"Ah feel rather strange. Dis may not be me right voice chip y'know?" Cubot answered in a very bad Scottish accent.

Eggman palmed his face out of frustration. "So unprofessional… we might as well be searching for the Ark of the… Wait! That's it! Of course!" He then approached the ship's database. "Computer, access the security surveillance system for Space Colony ARK."

"One moment…" the computer replied. Eggman and his geometrical bots waited patiently. Makuta, on the other hand, was confused about the current plan. "System accessed. Displaying images…" Soon, many live recordings were being broadcasted to the four. They scanned the images in order to find the Ultimate Lifeform...

"Sweet Mother o' MacDonald!" Cubot uttered in shock and pointed to the screen he was looking at. On that picture were Shadow and a blonde Mobian hedgehog snuggling in bed.

Eggman nearly threw up in his mouth, he was surprised... and furious. "He was bad enough as it was! First, he betrays the Eggman Empire, and now he's sleeping with my daughter! My Daisy!"

"You're descendant is the same as Shadow? Yet you are human?" Makuta asked.

The old man quickly calmed down to explain. "Yes and no. She's an artificially created life form, made possible through my genius and available technology dating back to my grandfather's time," he said as he pulled out the inventor's log book. "But don't take my word for it. Here. See for yourself."

The dark commander hesitated, but he did as told. He received the book from the doctor and opened it on the blueprints of the cloning machine. However, assuming it was not the start of the research, he flipped back a few pages. That was when he noticed an old and very detailed illustration of a green crystal on a string. He then started to read aloud.

"This crystal is the last leftover fragment of the Master Emerald. It is called the 'Soul Stone' or 'Soul Catcher' by an ancient Echidna race. They used these to bring their warriors and more special members back from the dead…"

Eggman raised his eyebrows in wonder as his new ally continued.

"All attempts to cure Gerald's beloved granddaughter, Maria, have so far failed. We still haven't figured out a way to transfer Shadow's immune system to her. I sadly witness her conditions getting worse each day that pass; I can tell it torments my boss that he can't do anything. I therefore decided to use an alternative to save her, if Gerald can't cure her in time.

"I recently learned some history about the ancient Echidna society, and among the tales, I have learned their secrets of reincarnation. In my travels to Mobius, I have finally managed to obtain a Soul-Catcher. A reminder: these majestic emeralds possess the ability of capturing the soul and spirit of the person who carries it if he/she dies, and transfer it to a new suitable body.

"I have followed the instructions closely and analyzed the calculations on how to create a machine that can fabricate a soulless body. It is very important that the host is alive and at the same time empty. Unfortunately, there is an error which I have yet to purge from the system. While the machine can fabricate a new body for the subject's life force, there are some inexplicable issues with retrieving the subject's memories."

At first, Eggman thought this newfound knowledge was a joke. "That can't be right. Give me that." He snatched the book back and quickly flipped through the pages he had heard. When he was finished reading, he froze, and the book slipped from his fingers.

The old man sat down for a moment and just stared in the empty air, trying to gather his thoughts. "She's back… she's back," he whispered, stunned.

"Boss?" Orbot asked.

"I, uh… I'll be right back…" The elder doctor shakily exited the room. As soon as the door closed, the remaining three heard a loud, long, bloodcurdling scream.

Makuta faced the other two. "Strange… One would think that he would be pleased to know his sister was alive."

"Cousin, actually," Orbot corrected, "but yes, it is rather peculiar."

"Well, at least someone's pleased," Cubot added, referring to the black hedgehog. "Ah mean the laddy hasn't seen her in fifty years."

"What?!" Makuta asked.

"Exactly fifty years ago, Miss Maria was supposedly killed by accident in the event of saving Shadow's life," Orbot started to explain. "It's a rather invigorating tale. If you like, I could–"

"No! Leave me be!" the dark lord demanded.

"But, Master Makuta–!"

"That's an order!"

The two robots hesitated, but they slowly vacated the room, leaving the commander alone to think. He glared at the image of Shadow and Maria cuddling in bed. All the while, they began piecing the facts together about the two unaware lovebirds. A man of black and red… a woman of gold and blue… reunited after fifty years in a city above the Earth… It was them. He was no closer to finishing them now than he was years before...

Makuta watched in anticipation as his Dark Hunters filled the ARK. One by one, victim by victim, the inhabitance were converted into the savage beasts that invaded. Soon, their leader's ultimate triumph would be at hand.

Then, the dark lord saw something out of the corner of his vision. It was Shadow and Maria running for their lives. Seeing how much of a challenge the boy had proven himself to be, he decided to take care of them personally.

Suddenly, somebody had appeared before him. A Kendov, just like him. Makuta grinned in pleasure! *Takanuva! Brother! Let us finish them together!*

*Silence, you fool!* Takanuva aimed his staff toward the ARK, and all at once, the Dark Hunters had vanished. *Lewa, take us now!*

A bright flash later, the two brothers were back home, in the castle of their father. Surrounding them were a number of Kendov. *Why have you done this?*

*Do you not know what you have done, Makuta?*

*I was showing my might and worth!*

*You were slaughtering innocent mortals like a grohiik among gokhos! This is against the sacred law of the Kendov!*

Makuta argued back, saying, *The mortals must learn to fear me, for fear brings power in Mundus!*

*That's pride I hear from your voice, not leadership. Have you forgotten the leader you once were, in the time before the Spirit Stones?*

*The brother of the past is no more. The old ways are done! This is how one must be ruler, by showing your power is unmatched!*

*You know the Kendov are not all powerful. The Great Spirit gives and takes away. He is all powerful!*


The realm of Mata Nui fell silent. All of the others Kendov muttered amongst themselves. Takanuva felt the most hurt. *No... Father was the fool... to have thought you deserve this...* He didn't want to do this to his brother, but he had no other option. *Makuta, firstborn of Mata Nui, you have betrayed the realm of the Kendov and the Great Spirit. Through your own foolishness, you have exposed these peaceful realms and innocent lives to sin and DEATH!*

He struck the bottom end of his staff down to the floor. A large magnitude of energy flew from his staff and restrained Makuta.

*You are unworthy of this realm! You are unworthy of your title! YOU ARE UNWORTHY... of the family you have betrayed...* Tears of regret emerged from Takanuva's eyes. What he was about to do, he really didn't want to. *I now take from you your power! In the name of Mata Nui and the name of the Great Spirit, we cast you out of the realm that was once your own!*

Makuta could feel the energies he once had being withdrawn from him, like venom from the bite of a serpent. Behind him, a black hole emerged. It began to pull him in.

*You are banished, Makuta! We expel you from this realm to wander the stars until the Great Spirit returns from His realm!*

*Curse you, Takanuva!* Makuta shouted. *This is not the end! Mundus will be mine! I will return! I WILL RETURN!* With that, the elder brother was pulled into the black hole, which closed immediately.

Silence swept through the area. The tyrant had been sent away forever, but was he truly gone for good? Even with him defeated, the darkness that plagued Mata Nui still remained.

*What should we do, my king?* asked Gali in worry.

*Pray that the Great Spirit will protect us... that's all we can do,* replied Takanuva.

"The realms shudder, Mata Nui," Makuta said though nobody could hear him. "The hearts of the Jul Kendov have united once more. Again, the prophecies of the Great Spirit oppose my will." Makuta then approached the control panel. He waved his hand over it, and it plotted the course for the ARK.

But before he could have the Dark Egg begin for its destination, he heard a voice. "Enough..."

Makuta look around to ascertain the source. "Who said that?" he asked. "Show yourself!"

"I am He whom you are persecuting," replied the voice. "You will not have Mundus. The Jul Kendov will fight you. They will overcome you. Mundus is not yours to control."

Makuta stood silently. The voice was unmistakable. "So you come to me after all this time... you care not about me. Only them..." He looked up at the ceiling. "It matters not. Mindok hin kes. I know your limits."

"You know nothing."

"I know that Shadow and Maria are the only two who can defeat me. I know what it will take for them to find your true strength. And I know that fear will prevent them." He pressed the button, and the Dark Egg began for the ARK. "I will have my way. Their unity shall be poisoned. Their duty will be broken. Their destiny… I must shatter." On that note, he left the room, ready for his revenge on the Great Spirit.

Shadow the Hedgehog 2: Part 1 - Chapter 12
Author's note: Dialogue surrounded by asterisk (*) is spoken in their native language.

All Rights to SEGA and Lu-Raziel for characters and story.

Previous: Shadow The Hedgehog 2: Part 1 - Chapter 11



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