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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


Chapter 11

The Prodigal Granddaughter

Angel slowly opened her eyes, awakening from her unconsciousness. She wasn't sure where she was, but she did know this: she felt… stronger for some reason.

All around her, the most bizarre beings were kneeling before her. Each one looked like a really tall human with wings, and each had a staff with an Emerald. She was unfamiliar with any of them, she knew that much. "Where am I? Who are you?"

One of them raised his head and approached the girl. "I am Takanuva, and we are the Kendov, the protectors of the Mundus. We we have waited long for your return, woman of light."

Angel looked around at the Kendov. Her head held many questions, but no answers. "Woman of light?" she paused and rubbed her head. "What do you mean?"

"Nid eldraag til," one of the Kendov rolled his eyes.

"A great evil is rising, and you are here to defeat it," Takanuva explained.

The hedgehog girl was confused, and rather afraid. She knew nothing about battle.

As she stepped forward to ask them another question, the Kendov suddenly stood ready to fight. "Back, you heartless savage!" But when she took a step back... "Not you! I mean those Dark Hunters behind you!"

Angel quickly turned her head. There, closing in fast, came a number of monsters. Each of them had their own unique weapon. She would have run to the Kendov for safety. But the Dark Hunters were too swift, and they surrounded her.

Fortunately, she was not defenseless. The Kendov, quickly thinking, charged at the creatures. The Dark Hunters proved a noble challenge, but they were defeated. Once it was so, they dissolved into shadows, never to return and exact revenge.

The hedgehog girl was about to thank them for saving her, but Takanuva spoke with worry. "There has not been a Dark Hunter on the realm of Mata Nui in some time. This can only mean that Makuta has returned." He held out his hand to her. "Come. We have no time to waste."

Angel was confused and rather frightened. She wasn't sure what to do. But come to think of it, they did save her. In addition, they obviously knew something about her that she didn't. She smiled, knowing she could trust them, and she took Takanuva's hand.

With their wings spread out, Takanuva and the Kendov began to fly rather quickly. Not too far from where they began, a small squadron of eight flying Dark Hunters appeared. Upon seeing the Kendov, they immediately opened-fire with spears of dark energy. Takanuva dodged the oncoming projectiles, and Tahu pulled out his flame sword, slashing three of the monsters to oblivion.

Two of the remaining five charged at the one carrying Angel, but Gali and Lewa speared them before they were too close. And Pohatu summoned a giant hammer, which madeAngel think of Amy, and he pounded another two to smithereens.

The last of the Dark Hunters, who happened to the largest by far, proved to be more of a threat. Blasting the other Kendov aside, he tried to attack the hedgehog girl. Takanuva, however, raised his staff at the beast. A large, laser-like projectile flew from the gem on its top, blasting straight through the Dark Hunters, and it dissolved into a shadow.

Soon, they arrived at a large crystal palace. Upon landing within, Takanuva held out his staff toward the pedestal before them. "This Ring contains the power of the Spirit Stones, or Chaos Emeralds, as you call them. We have been given the task of giving it to you. Place it on your finger, and your true self shall be revealed."

The hedgehog girl reluctantly agreed and did as instructed. Suddenly, she felt a great suction in her head and chest. Strange images and feelings overwhelm her. She was frightened at first, but then… the girl recognized the images as her own memories. Angel turned to the guardians, each with a small smile. She grinned in thanks as she was pleased to remember who she was and who her images were. "I… I should be on Earth. Why am I here?"

"To fulfill the prophecy," Pohatu said, "It is just as the Great Spirit foretold… 'The lost Jul Kendov - "Protector of Man" - would return to the living on the Year of Gold.' You are destined to save all worlds from Makuta, the Dark Lord."

"Jul Kendov werid!" they all shouted in unison.

The hedgehog girl was confused. She had no idea what they were talking about, though one thing was clear. "The Year of Gold? Wait… H-How long have I been in that stone for…?!"

"Fifty of your realm's revolutions…" another said out of despair. "I regret to inform you, mortal, that almost everyone you once knew now dwells with the Great Spirit in eternity."

This didn't take long to sink in, and when it did, small tears escaped from her eyes. The intense sadness she felt from knowing her grandfather and all her friends were gone was too much to handle. "Wait… almost?" That caught her attention, and for just a moment, she stopped crying and waited for what the guardian had to say.

"Yes, you are not the only Jul Kendov, nor are you alone in your quest. There is another survivor from your youth, and I'm sure you know him well. I shall send you back to him, but first, one final gift for you." Streaks of light flew from all around Takanuva, many of which came over to her. Once a large number of streaks encircled her, the girl rose into the air, dissappearing into a light that blinded her. All the while, Angel heard one last time from Takanuva. "Now, return to your home realm. Use the strengths of the Kendov, and fulfill your destiny."

When she opened her eyes, she was faced with faded stars and a moon. She sat up and looked out a window. Outside she saw a big, blue and green ball surrounded by black. 'Am I… home?'

Then she felt something by her hand. The hedgehog girl pulled it over to find a very familiar toy cat. She tightened her grip on the old toy, as she now remembered how she met the black hedgehog and how much he meant to her.

"Oh, you're awake," said a voice from the side. Sonic showed up with some food for her. "You alright? Nothing broken?"

She looked up at her brother and smiled. "Sonic… I remember now. Everything."

In another silent room on the ARK, Shadow sat with a wrench and socket. Tails was there as well, configuring some programming. Each was working on upgrading on Jack the robot, and they were almost finished. All that was missing was the legs.

"So wait," Shadow. "The blonde hedgehog is a clone of Sonic? But how is it that she is female instead of male?"

"We're just as confused as you are, Shadow," replied the fox.

They reactivated the project, and it woke with a shock. "That was a neat dream I had…" Jack looked at himself in the mirror nearby. The formerly damaged robot was completely remodeled as Metal Shadow. He saw that he was black with gold stripes on his head. He had green optics and his left arm contained a cannon. His power gem was embedded in his gold chest. The robotic hedgehog gave a smug smile and said, "…or maybe I'm still having it."

The black and red hedgehog rolled his eyes.

"I could get these recovered Metal Shadow parts to work on their own," Tails added. "But once they've joined to your matrix, your new self-repair function incorporates them faster than I can modify them."

"Well, either way, you certainly know your way around a wrench." Jack then heard a slightly depressed sigh. He turned to Shadow. "You alright, buddy?"

"Well, I…"

Before he could say anymore, a familiar laugh started to echo through the halls. To him, it sounded like Black Doom, but he was still uncertain of it. He knew he wasn't the only one onboard, since he brought some company.

"Hello?" he asked, but nobody answered. "Is someone there?" Still nothing. Sensing a probable trap, he pulled out his Chaos Emerald, ready to fight. Slowly, he left the room.

Inch by inch, Shadow moved toward the source of the sound, his senses at full alert. Soon, he came into a rather dark room with faint light. From it, there appeared to be a number of shapes, each of which was indeterminable to see what it was. Shadow stepped in, clenched the Emerald, and threw the light switch on.

"SURPRISE!" multiple voices shouted loudly.

"CHAOS BLAST!" the black hedgehog shouted, and a huge mass of Chaos energy exploded from his body. He landed on the floor, ready for a battle. "Huh?"

It was all the other Freedom Fighters. More of the shapes included a now broken table, splattered food, and a torn banner with the words 'Happy Birthday' printed on the front. All of those were destroyed when he used his attack.

"I told you guys a surprise party was a bad idea," Knuckles said, annoyed.

Shadow palmed his face, mostly annoyed at himself. "First of all, you know better than to surprise me like that. Secondly, how did you know it was my birthday?"

"Well," began Rouge, "you seemed a bit depressed today. We were all curious as to why, so we did some snooping." Everyone looked at the bat with narrowed eyes. She sighed. "Alright, I did some snooping, and I found out that you were created on this day many years ago."

"And we decided to throw you a party to celebrate." Cream jumped in.

"We put up tons of decorations," Chris said.

"Cream and I baked a delicious cake for you," Vanilla added.

"And I ordered a custom piñata, shaped like Sonic," Knuckles chimed in. "You know you want to hit it with a stick."

Shadow was a bit uncertain if he wanted a party right now. "Well, thanks, everyone. I really appreciate it, but I'm not really in the mood right now. I kind of trashed the party, anyway." He then turned around to the door. "I'll get some stuff to clean up this mess," he said as he walked away.

Most of the others were glancing at each other, asking what to do. Clearly, something was wrong. "I'll go talk to him," the bat said and then went after him.

As Shadow left, Jack stopped him, his legs now fully assembled on their sockets. "Where are you going? The party's that way."

Rouge was quick and able to find him down the hall. "Alright, what's wrong?"

The black hedgehog stood there, not turning back. "I just… don't like surprises," he replied.

"C'mon," Rouge shrugged. "We went through all this trouble to make you happy. So are you going to at least try to enjoy yourself? Will you tell us what's wrong? Or do I have to get all sappy and invoke Maria for the hundredth time?"

It took everything inside of him not to yell at her at that instant. He shut his eyes tightly, fighting the tears that overwhelmed him every time his late friend was mentioned. And as painful as thorns to the throat, the words came out of him. "It's… It's been fifty years… today."

The white bat stopped there, feeling sorry for him. She could tell how much he was hurting, and she knew that Shadow was the type of person to put up defenses around his feelings. So in a way, she knew this conversation wouldn't last long.

But Rouge still tried her best to somehow make things better for her comrade. "S-sorry, Shadow. I didn't know. If there's any way we could make you feel better, I'll…"

"You can't. Nobody can," Shadow banged his fist against a wall. It cracked open from his strength.

"Yeesh… someone needs a hug," Jack muttered. "And yet, it's so strange. I know there was something about this Maria that nobody was supposed to know yet, but… I just- I can't remember what it was... OH! A mind is a terrible thing to lose!" the robot made a sound like crying.

All the while, Shadow noticed something. In the crack in the wall, he saw a piece of machinery. It was just barely close enough for him to reach it. As he studied it, he remembered one of the missing pieces from Jack's old body, and…

"Jack, I think I just found your mind. Hold still." The robot did as told. Tails stood behind him and entered the drive into an outlet behind his neck. "And… download."

The robot shook and stuttered. Data flowed into his main computing unit until the download was complete. "Uh… What just happened? The last thing I remember was..." Jack paused and smiled. Then he laughed. "It's all coming back! All my memories! Right up to the surprise plan to resurrect Maria in the form of a Mobian Hedgehog!"

Suddenly, another voice echoed through the empty halls. It was a voice the hedgehog and robot knew exceedingly well.

"Speaking of which…"

Shadow turned around to a nearby corridor with the same concept in mind. Without a second thought, Shadow bolted away, leaving Rouge behind. As he continued down the hall Shadow noticed the Ring he received from the Kendov began to glow brighter.

The hedgehog followed the sound of the voice though the halls and labs until finally, he came to the Green Hills Park. Not far into there, he saw two figure under the tree on the hill, the last place he saw Maria before the attack. He stepped forward slowly, trying not to make a sound. Once he was close enough, he froze. His eyes widened in surprise.

The figure he saw was indeed the blonde-haired hedgehog he rescued from the graveyard. She looked out over the horizon, her arms crossed in loneliness. She somehow knew she would find someone here, like she could feel it inside of her.

Suddenly, she heard the voice call out to her. "M-Maria? Is that you?"

The girl froze at the spot. 'That voice…' She slowly turned around to see the black and red hedgehog at the bottom of the hill. Her heart was overwhelmed with joy when her blue eyes met his crimson ones. "You… it's you... Shadow, you're alive!"

Without a single hint of hesitation, Shadow and Maria ran toward the other, not stopping until their sight was reached. They wrapped their arms around the other and held each other tight.

The soft scent from her hair caused a few tears to fall from Shadow's eyes. "You're real… You're alive. I thought I'd never see you again!" And for the first time in what seemed like an eternity, Shadow was so happy that he began to cry. He didn't care how pathetic he looked. All that mattered to him was his beloved Maria had returned.

His friend tightened her grip around him. "Oh, Shadow! I missed you so much…! I don't think I've ever been as happy as I am right now!" Maria completely broke down, weeping into his soft, white chest. "Don't you ever leave me again, Shadow the Hedgehog!"

Unknown to either one of them, Rouge was watching them from behind a nearby tree. She was amazed to know Shadow's best friend had survived, and she was pleased… but why did she feel so upset? She ran the opposite direction.

After a long half-hour of mixed laughter and tears, they settled down and calmly held each other in their arms. Shadow then squeezed a little too hard, and Maria quietly yelped in pain. "Oh. Sorry," he chuckled and loosened his grip to the point where they could look the other in the eye.

"I almost forgot how strong you are," she said and noticed a droplet on his cheek. "Whoa, what? You have tears? I don't think I've ever seen you cry before," she teased.

"I wasn't crying," The black hedgehog chuckled as he dried his eyes. "I-It's liquid joy. THere's a difference. It's subtle, but there's a difference."

Maria giggled. Then she saw someone coming behind Shadow. "Sonic..."

The blue hedgehog grinned cheekily. "I've heard that love couldn't be killed, but this is rediculous." Seeing the red accumulate on their cheeks, he laughed. "I'm talking about the 'best friend' sort of love.

Then Maria saw a robot coming toward. She jumped in shock. "It's Metal Shadow! Run!"

"Whoa, whoa, whoa!" the machine told her before she could retreat. "Maria, it's me!"

The blonde hedgehog froze at the sound of his voice. She recognized the gem in the machine's chest. "Jack?"

"You… you built me. Remember that?"

"And you're still alive?"

"I'm a robot. I can't die, because I have no soul." An awkward silence filled the air. "Yeah… that sounded better in my head." Everyone laughed.

"But seriously," Shadow asked Maria. "How is this possible? How did you survive?"

"It's a long story," she replied.

"Well, I doubt we'll be leaving soon, so we have plenty of time," Shadow said.

As they started back to the door, Sonic and Jack started to explain. The robot told of how her life energy was stowed away in the Emerald, while the hedgehog laid out the tale between her sudden growth and now.

Shadow didn't respond apart from the occasional question, and when the story was over, Shadow was almost silent. "Alright, I get it. Professor Andersen had a backup plan for if Gerald couldn't find a cure. But... why didn't you guys tell me? You could've saved me from a lot of grief."

"Remember that surprise I mentioned that day?" Maria replied. "This was that surprise. The idea was we would use the machine that day. I didn't know I was gonna be stuck in there for this long."

Shadow stared. Then, he chuckled. "You know what? Nothing surprises me anymore." Everyone laughed again. Then the coal hedgehog noticed a tear in Maria's eye. "You sure you're alright?"

"Oh. Nothing's wrong," she replied with a small yawn. "I'm just so happy… that you're still alive…"

Shadow smiled as his friend nearly fell asleep on him. "Here. I'll take her to bed," he said to the others, who nodded in response. He then started carrying the drowsy girl away. Before he left, he chuckled as he heard the blue Mobian say what sounded like, "Wait 'till I tell Chris."

Fortunately for Shadow, her room was not far away. When they got there, Maria was set down on her bed, Jack removed her shoes, and Shadow tucked her in. "Goodnight, Maria… and welcome back," he whispered. He and Jack started to leave when she opened her eyes and saw them.

"Sh–Shadow, wait," she said, stopping the other Mobian in his tracks. "Um... Could you… stay here for the night? We just got back together, and I don't want you to leave me just yet."

Shadow stared at Maria for a moment with a serious expression, but that broke into a small grin. "Sure…" The black and red one then looked around. "I know there's a chair in here somewhere…"

"You're sleeping in a chair?"

"I've done it before, so don't worry about– Oh, here it is." He pulled out a folding chair and started to set it up.

The girl glanced at it, and then at him. "You realize it'll be cold, right? This thing's made for humans, so there's enough room for us both."

Shadow's cheeks burned at the thought. "I-I think I can handle it," he said nervously as he took his shoes off.

"What's wrong? You didn't seem to mind when we were kids."

Back in the day, they would often have sleepovers in each other's rooms. Since mattresses were hard to move, even for him, they would sleep in opposite ends of one, and only their toes would touch.

"Have I said or… done something?" she asked in a slightly sad tone.

The male hedgehog reacted with a little shock. "N-no! Not at all. It's just…" he stood up. "Well… we aren't children anymore, or at least I think that. I was just..."

"Shadow, it's okay. Nothing's going to happen," she said calmly. "I trust you, and you trust me, don't you?"

The ebony hedgehog thought for a second and sighed in a pleasant way. "Well, alright… but just for tonight." He then lifted the sheets and carefully laid himself next to her. There was only one duvet, so they had sleep close. As he started to relax, Shadow whispered something into his friend's ear. "Hey…"

Maria turned to look at him.

"Never alone, always together…"

The girl giggled as she slowly closed her eyes. "…Shadow and Maria, best friends forever."

Shadow watched her for a while. When he knew she was asleep, he smiled and took her hand into his. Even for his birthday, it felt like the best day of his life. Reunited with the girl he cared for the most, and of all things, she was now a Mobian Hedgehog. It was the craziest wish came true he could ask for.

Then he looked out at the starry sky, thinking of the wish he made earlier. Perhaps there really was someone out there looking out for him... Someone who watched over all of creation and loved all things equally and unconditionally. "Thank you… Thank you for the second chance…"

Suddenly, a bright light emerged from their hands. He quickly let go, and the light subsided. When it settled, Shadow looked at his hand, then at Maria's. There on her finger was the same piece of jewelry he had on his… The Spirit Ring...

"On Yuvon Eruvos – the Year of Gold,' a voice echoed in his head, "the man of dark and the woman of light will descend to their realm from a land lost in time…"

Shadow's eyes widened. He remembered it was the fiftieth year of her supposed death… the Golden Anniversary. This year must have been Yuvon Eruvos. Maria was the woman of light. She was the other Jul Kendov! Takanuva and the Kendov had told him this would happen, but this was far beyond his original expectations. Perhaps her being a Mobian had something to do with this Makuta thing?

For once in his life, Shadow was scared. What if Maria was to die again before or even during the battle? What if…? 'No. Not again,' Shadow thought to himself. 'No one should suffer being killed once, let alone twice.' On that night, in that spot, he made a solemn and determined vow to protect Maria, whatever the cost. If he had to die so that she could live, so be it.

A small yawn sounded from the other side of the bed, and Maria rolled closer to him. The sudden reaction caused the hedgehog boy's heart to skip a beat. When she found herself nuzzling up to him, she laid her head on his shoulder, laid an arm on his chest, and breathed a blissful sigh.

At first, Shadow felt a little nervous about this. On the other hand, it was she who had invited him to sleep next to her. And it was as innocent as it was comfortable. What could be wrong with a little snuggling? He smiled, slowly rolled over and slid his arms aroung the girl's waist. "Good night, old friend…" He then leaned in and gave her a small kiss on the cheek.

Once Shadow fully closed his eyes, Maria looked at him and smiled. 'Sweet dreams, my love…' she thought to herself.

All the while, a certain white bat was watching them through the security system. She was rather unhappy at such a sight. Part of her was pleased to see Shadow with a smile, but simultaneously…

"You are agitated," a voice said. She turned to see Omega coming in. "Usually, I am the one on overnight sentry duty. You are not awake at this time."

Rouge kept silent. She did not dare speak.

The robot looked to the image of Shadow and Maria, his head tilted. Even though he didn't have any facial expression, it was obvious he knew what was happening. "You fear that we may lose Shadow to her, do you not?"

She kept her back turned on him, not knowing what to say.

"I have already made the calculations. There is a chance we will see him less often than we do now, but he will not leave our team," he assured her, but to no avail.

"Bah!" She shoved the robot aside and stormed away, frustrated.

"Was it something I said?"

Shadow The Hedgehog 2: Part 1 - Chapter 11


All rights to Lu-Raziel and SEGA for story and characters, respectively.


Chapter 10
Brawl at the Boneyard
The sky was colorless and devoid of all life. Apart from the faint sobbing, all was quiet as family members and friends alike sat before the casket that held Maria Robotnik. In one of the mother's arms, a young infant was sleeping, completely unaware of the event. He was the deceased one's cousin, and one day, he would become the infamous Doctor Eggman.

By unanimous request, Shadow was allowed to attend the funeral, provided some soldiers kept an eye on him. Since he knew her so well, he was asked to give her eulogy. He stood before the podium, tapped on the microphone, and sighed. "Where to begin…?" he muttered to himself. Given the short time, he wasn't prepared.

"Maria was," he began, "the kindest and bravest girl I've ever met. She dreamed to come down here from the ARK and meet all of you. But she gave up her dream so that I may live… That's a debt I'll never be able to repay..." Shadow started to sob as he continued. "I miss her very much…"

After a few hours, he and a few others remained. A G.U.N. soldier placed a hand on his shoulder. "I'm sorry… but it's time to go." Shadow silently nodded. Before they could get a chance to restrain him, Shadow took a rose from the surrounding bouquet and placed it in Maria's cold, lifeless hands.

As they headed back to the G.U.N. transport, they were stopped by someone. The black hedgehog looked up to see a man and a woman. "Are you Shadow?" the woman asked.

"Yes," he replied. "Do I know you?"

"No, not officially," the man said. "But you just gave the eulogy for… our daughter."

Shadow's eyes widened. Fear almost consumed him right there, right then. He looked away, afraid of what they would say. He could almost hear it in his head.

'You irresponsible fool! How can you be trusted?'

'We lost our only daughter because of you!'

Shadow's heart sank. Maria's mother lifted his chin and pulled his sight back to them. 'Here it comes…' he gulped. But much to his surprise, they were both smiling.

Maria's mother was the first to speak. "Thank you for taking such good care of our little girl. We're so grateful."

The oddest combination of relief and confusion came over him. "Grateful? But… she died because of me."

"No… she died because she loved you," the woman's husband replied. "You were her only friend, and she saw the good in you when no one else could. We couldn't be more proud of her."

The mother grabbed him in a hug, tears emerging from her eyes. "What happened up there was an accident. It wasn't your fault."

Mere moments later, the soldiers forced them apart, insisting they departed for his specially built prison. He wanted to earn their trust, so to him, he had no choice. As they climbed into the vehicle, Shadow looked back at the coffin. He had just the right view to see Maria, lying within. He started silently shedding tears as he knew this would be the last time he would see her in the flesh.

Angel stopped to rest under a shady tree. She turned around to see if any robots were following her. Thankfully, she was alone. Exhausted, the hedgehog girl looked around in order to find some shelter, since she had no energy left to run back to the house.

In the distance, two dark shapes appeared. They stopped in front of a square object and laid something down there. As Angel studied them, it seemed they were praying or talking to this object.

Unsure if she can trust them, the blonde hedgehog left the tree and slowly neared the two. But before she could reach them, they left. She kneeled down in the grass and looked down at the square object. She then realized it was really a tombstone, and behind it was a church.

As she was about to stand up and go to the building, something immediately caught her attention. A part of the stone that wasn't covered by old vine was written 'Robotnik.' She pulled away the rest of the plants. Her eyes widened when the rest of the carvings were revealed.

Maria Robotnik
Cherished Granddaughter and Friend
Faith, hope, and promise keep you alive

For a moment, she just sat there and stared at the stone. "Where have I heard that name before?" She looked down to see a single red rose on the grass. "Did I know this Maria?" she mumbled to herself.

All of a sudden, she heard a loud crack. She turned around to see a certain robot a few yards away, who broke a fallen branch under his foot. "Target re-acquired," it said as it approached her.

"You... stay away from me!" Angel stuttered and shuffled toward the church.

"This unit only obeys Dr. Robotnik," Metal Shadow said, coldly. "You will come with this unit to Dr. Robotnik. You will comply immediately."

Terrified, Angel quickly ran to the church, her heart beating furiously, adrenaline rushing to all the corners of her body. When she got to the door, she discovered it was long abandoned, unused since who knows when.

Metal Shadow lunged at the girl, but she was gone in a bright flash when he tried to grab her. "Searching…" He looked around.

He then looked up and relocated his target. She had warped to the tower of the church. "Sonic! Chris! Anybody! Help me!" Angel yelled as she clung for dear life.

"Data entry: Subject's current position allows for limited defense capability, zero retreat capability." The robot then took aim.

Just as Angel reached the top of the tower, something struck her back. She screamed with the full strength of her lungs as a form of electricity surged through her. The girl fell several feet to the ground. Dizzy and weakened, Angel tried to stand up on her unstable shaking feet.

Metal Shadow was now merely inches away. In a last attempt of defense, she tried to hit him with a faint punch. But she missed. She barely had any control over her body.

The evil robot simply glared at the girl's failed attempt to defend herself. Then he grabbed her by the neck and picked her up, like she was a lifeless doll. "This is your final warning," he said in a very angry and threatening tone. "You will return with this unit to Dr. Robotnik. You will comply immediately."

"I can't tell you how frustrating this is, Shadow," Jack said as they were leaving the graveyard. "That name is just nagging at the back of my head."

As they passed the gate, they ran into Rouge and Omega, who were headed for a nearby restaurant. They invited the two to come along. Just as they were going to reply, a loud scream caught their attention at once. In a heartbeat, Shadow ran for the source, and the other three followed.

The group of four appeared on a nearby hill. The members of Team Dark mistook the robot as Metal Sonic. Jack noticed the unconscious hostage in its grip.

The coal hedgehog jumped off the hill, landing feet away from his metallic counterpart. "I'm only gonna say this once: drop her!"

Metal Shadow heard the voice and turned his head. "Designation: Shadow the Hedgehog, organic copy. On file as traitor to Eggman Empire."

"Copy?" asked Shadow. "I think you're the copy around here. You're comparing yourself to me? Ha! You're not even good enough to be my copy."

"Big words, but only words," it said and dropped the unconscious Angel, who landed face down. "Postpone current objective. Priority one: destroy resistance."

"You won't even get the chance!" The hedgehog drove into the robot with a Spin Dash. But the robot was quick to dodge. "Monster! I'll tear you apart!" Shadow shouted as it kept attacking. "No living creature on Earth is as powerful as I am!"

Metal Shadow zoomed around him. "This unit is not 'living.'" Before Shadow could respond, he was kicked in the jaw, and flew through the air, landing on his feet.

The bat then attacked with a Spin Kick. "My partner. No touchy." Metal Shadow threw his fist at her, but Rouge was quick to dodge. "That's no way to treat a lady. Weren't you programmed with any manners?"

He growled. "This unit's enemies deserve no mercy." Using his arm cannon, he blasted her wing, making her vulnerable. He turned to Jack. "Threat assessment: unknown, considered immediate." Metal Shadow grabbed him around the neck, just like with the hedgehog girl.

"Can't we talk about this over a quart of oil?" he asked as he struggled to break free.

Shadow was about to launch a Chaos Spear at the metallic beast, but he froze when it held its hostage in the Shadow blasted the black hedgehog with his cannon. Weakened, he tried to get up, but then his head was under its foot. "You are good. This unit is better. This unit is superior."

"Wait! Please hear me out!" Jack began, stopping Metal Shadow. "I-it doesn't have to be this way. Take it from a fellow robot: there's more to life than just your primary function. You've got the same inner spark, right? You can be more than a tool, or in your case a weapon."

Metal Shadow stood silently, processing what he said. "I think it's working," Rouge said.

"L-Look, you can process and feel as well as I can. You're a thinking machine, like me. Don't be lead astray as my buddy Shadow was." He then smiled and held out his only arm to the dark robot. "Let's end this in a peaceful manner. Come with us. We can help you."

"Perhaps… you are right. This unit might-!" The kill-switch Eggman installed kicked in. He turned on and glared at them menacingly. "Death to Dr. Robotnik's enemies."

"There's no good in you, is there?" Jack sighed, now depressed. "This Robotnik fellow robbed you of it. You'll… You'll probably kill us all if we don't destroy you, right?"


"Well, then… good thing I made a plan B," he grinned. "Now, Omega!"

Metal Shadow turned around. Behind him was the rogue robot arsenal, aiming all of its weapons at him. The robot dropped Jack (who quickly shuffled away with Shadow and Rouge), and he tried to attack, but it was no use. Before he could move a finger, the robot double was bombarded with rockets and bullets until Metal Shadow was down for the count.

"I enjoy Plan B."

The black Hedgehog grinned at Omega, who then picked up the remains of Metal Shadow. He then turned around to the unconscious girl, whose face was blocked by the tall grass. From this distance, she looked a lot like a human girl, like... Maria.

Not getting his hopes too high, Shadow tried to remain cold and approach her. Yet still hoping, he bent down next to her and turned her over to reveal her face. While he stared at her, the same emotion returned from his encounter with the little hedgehog girl he encountered the week before. He didn't realize that it was the same girl. But he did notice that she was a golden hedgehog girl in blue. Perhaps this was the girl the Kendov told him about the other night?

What also caught his attention was she was holding a Chaos Emerald in her hand. For a moment, he looked puzzled at it before he made up his mind. He sighed and picked her up.

Soon he heard more footsteps. They turned to see a partly roboticized boy coming toward them. It was Chris. "Guys! You saved her!"

"You know this girl?" Rouge and Omega ask at the same time.

"I'll explain later. Right now, we need to find a place for her to recover… somewhere Eggman can't find us."

"I think I know just the place," he said and pulled out his Emerald. "Chaos Control!"

Later that same day at dusk, Eggman stopped to rest under a shady tree. He had been searching all over for 'Daisy' and Metal Shadow, but he had no luck.

He turned annoyed at Cubot. "Are you sure they went this way?" He asked out of anger.

"Actually, pardner," Cubot answered, "I reckon it was y'all who said they went over yonder."

"Well, I 'reckon' it was one of us, 'pardner,'" the doctor replied. "Where is your new voice chip?!"

That's when Orbot showed up with a small piece of machinery. "Got it right here, sir. Just need to install it." He then opened the back of the square one's head, pulled out his old chip, and inserted the new one. "That should do it."

"Finally," Eggman sighed. "No more of that redonkulous cowboy chatter." But what the bot said next proved to be more annoying.


The old man jumped, landing on his back.

"I'm feeling shipshape with me new voice chip, I am! I beggin' yer pardon, Squire, but me and me matey are gonna sail off and shanghai the princess from that lubber, Sonic. Argh!" With that said, he took off… in the wrong direction.

"I think that's the wrong chip," Orbot pointed out.

"Really?" the elder man asked sarcastically. "Are you sure he doesn't normally speak like a pirate?"

"On the bright side, he's much more exotic now."

"Just go find him and fix that chip!" Eggman shouted, and Orbot hurried after his edged companion. The elder man sighed as he looked around.

Then he noticed and approached the church. Trying to avoid the broken shards of window, he carefully clambered through. When he was on the other side, he was surprised. All he could find was a large hole at the altar.

The old man noticed something else. There was something on a crossbeam dangling over the abyss. "A Chaos Emerald…" He carefully approached it to retrieve the stone of power, but then there was trouble. The wood was weak, and Eggman was too heavy. With a creak and a crack, the beam snapped beneath him. The evil genius fell into the abyss.

Shadow the Hedgeog 2: Part 1 - Chapter 10
All rights to Lu-Raziel and SEGA for story and characters, respectively.

Previous: Shadow the Hedgehog 2: Part 1 - Chapter 9

Next:… (Spoiler alert: That's the legitimate birthday for Shadow the Hedgehog)


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