Advent of Equinox by Skyblaze, Taranea

Chapter 6: Between A Rock and A Hard Place

Chapter 6: Between A Rock and A Hard Place

The sound of rustling feathers seemed obnoxiously loud in the cramped quarters of an air ventilation shaft.

Even folded tightly onto his back, the wings only barely fit, and they brushed up against the cold sides of the metal shaft, making their owner feel chilled and tense. (Shadow had briefly commented on the sheer ridiculousness that no matter how much effort and instant death evil geniuses put into their defence mechanisms, for some reason they always seemed to feel a need to put in some sort of giant, easily accessible air vent maze as well. Sonic had replied that perhaps even evil geniuses got lonely from time to time and this was their subconscious way of hoping for visitors). By now, though, the black hedgehog was wondering whether the convoluted mess of corridors could be a trap after all with intruders simply starving to death inside. They had been sneaking around in the shafts for what felt like hours and there had been so sign of the Doctor. His main control area and workshop had both been deserted. Shadow was beginning to wonder if they had the right base at all.

Furthermore, the only thing he could currently look at as they crawled forward on their hands and knees was the blue hero' front of him and for some reason, it distracted him way more than it should. And was it just him or was the temperature in these damned heating vents rising...?

“Hold up,” Sonic whispered as he peered down through a vent to spy on the corridor below, “I think someone’s coming.”

“It’s about time,” Shadow muttered irritably, fidgeting uncomfortably and trying to take his eyes off that twitching short tail. It wasn't the first time he had noticed how a part of his mind was uncomfortably drawn to look at the younger blue hedgehog's physique, but so far, they hadn't yet been forced into such close proximity to one another for such a prolonged span of time. And Shadow found his heart...unconsciously beating faster...

What the hell is happening to me? Is this also part of the transformation?  

Something metallic dashed by underneath them, the sound of an electronic motor whirring, wheels squeaking across the floor. Anther sound accompanied the vaguely rectangular bot as it hurried down the corridor towards an unexplored corner of the base – a series of popping noises.

Sonic peered closer, noting that the main body of the bot seemed to be made up of glass or clear plastic, the interior of which was filled with…

Sonic drew back suddenly, “You gotta be kidding me.”

“What’s wrong?” Shadow hissed.

“I dunno yet,” Sonic replied, turning his head to flash Shadow a sudden grin, “…but I plan to find out!”

With a couple of rapid movements, Sonic pulled open the vent and dropped down into the corridor below and immediately began to dash after the robot.

“Dammit!” Shadow spat, struggling to follow despite the encumbrance of his wings, “Why in the name of Chaos did I have to be stuck with this... him?! He'd need a dictionary to look up the meaning of the word 'inconspicuous'...”

He wriggled out of the tight vent, his wings stretched uncomfortably as he tried to pull himself loose. Finally, he half-jumped and half-fell down into the corridor and hurried after the blue speedster, muttering curses under his breath every step of the way.

Eventually, he arrived at a large, shadowed doorway where Sonic lurked, peering furtively through a thick velvet curtain into a dark room beyond. Shadow frowned, something not feeling quite right here. The décor was off – thick red velvet curtains were not exactly typical of the scientist’s taste. And the smell that drifted in from the room was not the one he associated with the Doctor, it wasn’t the smell of hot metal and solder, or strong chemicals. It smelled of dust, fabric and… butter?

“What’s going on?” Shadow demanded, his voice rasping as he tried to keep quiet.

Sonic pulled his head out from the curtain, a huge grin on his face, “Hey, Shads. Looks like its Movie Night in Buttnik-Land.”


Sonic moved the curtain slightly aside to reveal… a movie theatre. Complete with crushed velvet seats, state-of-the-art surround sound system and a full-sized cinema screen.

And, sure enough, Robotnik was half sprawled across a couple of the seats, his attention fixed rigidly on the screen as the images played out in front of him, the light of the silver screen reflecting from his dark glasses. In one hand he held a box of popcorn, which had apparently been provided to him by the rectangular, semi-transparent robot Sonic had followed down here. On the screen, a sort of battle was playing out, human-like robots battling fiercely for supremacy of the silver screen with what looked a bit like homicidal pepperpots at large.

“What… is he doing?” Shadow asked, completely baffled as he pulled back.

“Looks to me like he’s watching Doctor Who,” Sonic replied laconically with a shrug.

“I can see that,” Shadow said acidly, “But why? Surely he…”

His thought was interrupted by a crunching noise, sounding obscenely loud in the quiet corridor. Shadow looked over to see Sonic munching happily on a handful of popcorn.

It wasn’t difficult to figure out where it had come from, “Are you insane, Faker?” Shadow hissed.

“Hey, I was hungry. And it’s good popcorn!” the blue speedster protested.

Shadow just glared.

“Want some?” Sonic asked, totally unrepentant as he held out the box.

The black hedgehog’s eyes narrowed. “…what kind of popcorn is it?”

Sonic blinked, “Um… buttered. With salt.”

“Hm,” Shadow said as he took a handful and ate it, Sonic looking on a bit incredulously, as if he hadn't really expected the other to take him up on the offer.

“Now what?” Shadow asked after he had swallowed. Sonic shook his head as if to clear it, then his grin re-appeared.

“I guess I could try my usual thing – wind up Eggman until he spits out something useful.”

Shadow might have raised an objection to this, but since it would fall on deaf ears, he gave up. “Do whatever you like, Faker. Just don’t expect me to save you again.” Even as he said it, he knew that if Sonic did get into trouble, he would go in there… like it or not, (and he didn’t) he needed the blue hedgehog's help right now.

Sonic just flashed him a thumbs-up, and with a gust of wind that blew the curtain apart, the hero of Mobius was suddenly inside the cinema, sat casually next to Robotnik and eating popcorn.

“Y’know, Eggman, I would’ve thought Doctor Who wasn't your style – after all, dontcha just hate a show where the hero wins all the time?”

Popcorn was flying everywhere as the human jumped almost a (surprising) foot in the air with a startled oath, “YOU!” Robotnik yelled.

“Or, wait, I know. You're watching the show 'cause of them Dalek-robots that roll around in there all the time. After all, they want to kill everything and have trouble climbing stairs, bet you feel some kinship with them.”

What are you doing here?!” The scientist snarled, moustache bristling to twice its usual size at the hedgehog's barb, simultaneously grabbing for the Mobian's throat. His elbow hit the remote lying at the table to his side and it fell to the floor, the picture detailing the epic battle on the screen freezing.

“Oh, y’know Eggman,” Sonic said smoothly, dodging the attack without any visible effort as he instead leapt to crouch on the armrest of his seat, “just here to see what’s up with those clones you’ve been making and how you managed to cause that eclipse.”

Robotnik stared at the blue hedgehog for a moment, anger gone and a comically slack-jawed expression on his face. Then a slow rumble seemed to build up in the scientist’s chest. Sonic tensed, bracing for action… and then Robotnik burst out laughing.

For the second time in five minutes, the blue speedster was rendered completely nonplussed as his long-time nemesis almost bust a gut laughing, leaning his considerable bulk against a chair as he guffawed, almost crying with mirth.

“Oh ho ho! You seriously think I had something to do with that?!” Another round of belly-wobbling laughter followed, “Your little foxy friend isn’t nearly as clever as I thought.”

“What are you talking about, Eggman?” Sonic demanded, jumping to his feet, his amusement now replaced with wariness.

“Well, my dear spiky acquaintance,” the red-clad mass shifted in the puffy cinema seat and the mustachioed scientist got to his feet as well, even if his movements were nowhere near as energetic as the younger hedgehog's had been. “It seems to me that your latest trip to my domicile has been in vain. There's nothing here that you seek.”

“What?! But-!” Sonic started to protest, yet was interrupted when Shadow stepped inside the cinema as well, whisking the curtain aside so that the glaring neon light of the corridor fell harshly into the darkened room. The sudden illumination nearly blinded Sonic and made him squint while the obese human's eyes protected by dark glasses remaining unaffected – yet widened considerably when they took in the silhouette of the Ultimate Lifeform, outlined sharply against the frame, white feathers gleaming just as brightly as two narrowed crimson eyes.

“Quit fooling around, doctor. I am not in the mood for games.”

“Shadow?! Oh ho ho ho, this is getting better and better!” Robotnik exclaimed laughing, staring with fascination at the winged hedgehog, who glared. Sonic's features immediately twisted into a less friendly expression, the hollering laughter of the human grating on his nerves, but a part of him couldn't help but point out that for a split-second, the scientist had actually seemed surprised at Shadow's novel form. Did that mean...?

“Stop laughing or I’ll have to hurt you. And I am good at that,” Shadow's hissing voice cut through the guffawing of the human, the hedgehog's new appearance for once working to his advantage as he bared his clawed fingers and spread his wings ever so subtly to assume an even more threatening aura. Robotnik calmed down visibly as he perhaps remembered that neither of the two hedgehogs (and Shadow in particular) were such a great idea to challenge unprepared. Instead, he resumed a more nonchalant pose, one hand on his hip while the other stroked his moustache, the tall scientist peering down at his two Sapient challengers, a confident smirk twisting his upper lip.

“Coming to threaten me in my own base. That's interesting, Shadow, I would have expected such obvious stupidity from Sonic, but not from you.”


“I will pound your base into the ground if you don't tell me right this second what you did to me,” the black hedgehog snarled (ignoring Sonic's offended glare directed at Robotnik's back). The red-clad scientist's forehead creased up into a scowl.

“I haven't done anything to you, how often do you want me to say it? Though if you wish, I would gladly perform some experiments on you to find out what it is...” Robotnik offered with a sinister grin, the Ultimate Lifeform baring his teeth in a feral growl.

“You would find it to be your death warrant,” he informed him. “Cut it, Doctor. Sonic told me you captured him in some kind of contraption of yours right before he started to turn into a wolf mutant at night. I don't believe for a second you're uninvolved in this.”

“Wait, Shadow, I don't think it works like that. I mean, he didn't do anything to me this time, either,” Sonic piped up. Robotnik raised an eye brow.

“'This time'? So you're transforming again, too? Interesting...” he chuckled. “Well done, Shadow. Bring Sonic to me more often and I might even not need my surveillance systems any more to know what is going on in the world. A blabber-mouth like fox-boy, that one...”

“Wha- shut up!” Sonic shouted, obviously a bit flustered as the conversation had suddenly turned on him. The Ultimate Lifeform's stare turned several levels dryer as the blue hedgehog tried and failed to come up with a retort, wondering if he had imagined the other just faintly blushing.

Robotnik crossed his arms. “Makes me wonder why the two of you work together at all. Where did you leave the two-tailed wonder and the jewel-thieving bat-girl?” he asked (and Shadow thought he could detect a hint of relief in his voice that Omega wasn't here as well...)

“None of your business,” Shadow replied. “And if you won't tell us what your deal is in all of this, then we might just have to settle for your Emerald instead.” Immediately, Robotnik's face darkened again, his entertained expression gone.

“You won't get it.”

“Famous last words,” Shadow stated darkly, stepping toward the human, taloned hands flexing. Robotnik drew another remote.

“One push of this button, Shadow, and I will have enough robots in here to turn both you and the blue halfwit into casserole...chicken, in your case.”

Shadow looked at him with murder in his eyes, for some reason not even sure whether he felt more angered by the insult to himself or to Sonic – if anyone was putting down that hedgehog, it was him!

“Try it and you wouldn't leave this room alive,” Shadow growled, now locked in a staring-contest with the grinning scientist, their noses nearly touching as the other had bent down to sneer into his face. For a moment, both potential combatants simply glared at each other, both attempting to scare their opponent into submission before open warfare would follow. Robotnik had to have stepped onto the fallen remote again because the film started to play out behind them again, the grating, raspy voices of the aliens known as the Daleks screeching out:

We obey no-one! We are the superior beings!”

The tension lasted only a few moments, before something occurred to both of them.


“...where's Sonic?”

It was then, of course, that the explosions, alarms and general mayhem in the background started.

“What the-?!” Robotnik shouted, rearing backwards, but then the curtain of the movie theatre was already ripped from its frame as a blue whirlwind tore through the opening.

“HeyShadowgottheEmeraldletsgobye!” He called, before already grabbing the black hedgehog by the wrist and yanking him off his feet, dashing back for the door. The Ultimate Lifeform was only dimly aware of something grey in Sonic's other hand, shimmering even in the dim light.

“SONIC!” Robotnik's voice screamed after they were out of the door, immediately followed by “Exterminate! Exterminate! EX-TER-MI-NATE!!!” from the speakers of the movie theatre, possibly also illustrating the egg-shaped Doctor's state of mind in the process.

Shadow was just getting back his balance and rising from the blue speedster's grasp as he beat his wings, Sonic not slowing down in the least. From the other side of the theatre entrance already emanated the metallic bedlam of battle mechs in pursuit and now that Robotnik had to have called for reinforcements, the first alarms were starting to turn the battle fortress into a red-lit, cacophonous disco from hell.

Where did you get the Emerald?!” Shadow shouted, even as he was flapping his wings wildly in the confining corridor to avoid crashing into walls and still keep up with the blue speedster grinning up at him.

“I figured I wasn't much use while you two were in I Shall Taunt You-mode, so I thought I'd just go ahead and nick the thing from his lab while you kept him busy,” he winked. “You know, once you actually get down to it, he always uses pretty much the same map for all his fortresses, so it wasn't all that hard to find...”

“And the fact that you alerted his entire security system in the process?!” Shadow called back, narrowly dodging a projectile from one of the GUN-walker-like robots emerging from wall-vaults where they ran past. Once more, the black hedgehog couldn't help but think that Sonic the Hedgehog was to an organized battle plan what King Herod was to the Bethlehem Playgroup Association. The blue speedster shrugged.

“Meh. Seemed to speed things up, I thought.”

Behind them, there was the characteristic howl of an Egg-O-Matic's jet boosters pushed to their limits, indicating that the overlord of the fortress himself was hot on their heels at last.

“Yeah,” Shadow admitted with gritted teeth. “Most likely our violent demise.”

Flashes of grey, red and yellow flicked past his vision as Shadow shot through the corridors at top speed. The fading yellow trail of Gaia Energy behind him told of what was propelling him forward, his wings stretched out to their fullest extent, trying desperately to keep him stable. From somewhere further behind was the lumbering sound of metal against metal as dozens upon dozens of robots chased after them, their shapes ranging from classic models resembling a caterpillar or a laser-shooting crab to more modern forms, flying beetles, invisible spider-like abominations and Star Wars-like walkers with rocket launchers mounted onto their shoulders. Too many for even the two of them to take on.

“You worry too much, Shads,” Sonic replied breezily, but the black hedgehog wondered whether he might have also heard a bit of nervousness in the other's tone as their situation was rapidly changing for the worse.

"I’m saying that it wasn’t exactly the smooth infiltration I’d been hoping for," Shadow said acidly, the bird-like scratchiness of his voice putting a extra bite to the sarcasm.

"Can't win 'em all, buddy," Sonic replied, not looking up as he continued to dash headlong down the corridor. As if in passing, the hero of Mobius leapt up, curled into a ball and shot towards the laser cannon that had just popped out of the wall, destroying it in a shower of metal fragments. A second laser canon likewise met its demise at the point of Shadow's Gaia-enhanced talons. They kept going. They had no choice.

As they turned another corner, gaining a few more precious seconds from their pursuers, the Ultimate Lifeform began to shift his shoulders uneasily, a tremor running through his wings. Something felt…wrong.

"There's another exit around here someplace…" Sonic muttered desperately, green eyes searching the walls as they both dashed past. A laser blast streaked over Shadow's shoulder, almost singeing his feathers. He twisted out of the way, swooping down another adjoining corridor, Sonic close by.

“There!” the blue speedster shouted in triumph as he screeched to a halt in front of Shadow, curling up in a split-second and launching himself at a door in the wall. The metal hinges broke with a crack as the hedgehog impacted them, the gate crashing down – to tumble into oblivion. The door had been a small delivery entrance designed similarly to the main gate; only accessible by air as it was built into the steep, unforgiving mountainside. The wings of the steel door now audibly clattered down the rock onto the plateau more than a hundred feet below them. Sonic was launched into the cold outside air along with it, for a heart-beat suspended in nothingness - but didn't let that faze him in the slightest. Blue knees bent as he dropped onto the near sheer rock wall tilted at an almost 80° angle...yet when it came to running down walls, Sonic the Hedgehog could do perpendicular.

“Shadow! Follow me!” he called, as red sneakers dug into the granite and the blue hero shot down the side of the mountain, gathering speed as he went but never losing his footing once.

“I'm coming!” Shadow shouted from inside, even as a cold, itchy feeling was beginning to crawl up the black hedgehog's spine now. He angled his flight, tugged in his wings and swooped through the opening leading to the outside just as the blue speedster had – and the eldritch sensation coiled around his gut like a snake made of ice. His insides clenched up and he gasped. The flow of Gaia Energy that was currently driving him forward stuttered and died. Before the Ultimate Lifeform could even cry out, a phantom wind blew up around him, pulling at his quills and feathers. A horrible suspicion began to grow in him, blooming into a certainty when the jewel at his neck glowed brightly.

"No!" he gasped as his wings began to dissolve. Trailing black and white feathers like  smoke from a damaged airplane, Shadow plummeted helplessly towards the sheer ground, just as the last slivers of the sun outside vanished behind the jagged horizon.

'We're further north!' his mind screamed as the ground came up to meet him, 'Dammit, we're further north! I should have realised! I should have…'

There was a flash of white and a burst of pain… and then nothing at all.




Sonic turned at Shadow’s yell just in time to see the Ultimate Lifeform tumble from the sky. With a screech of rubber on stone he slowed his descent for just the heartbeat it took him to view the black-furred body impact on the mountainside with the dull, horrid sound of flesh hitting granite, bouncing off it to tumble further and into his death. Sonic's entire body tensed as he pulled himself to a sharp halt, then curled up, bounced and catapulted himself upwards with all his might to grab the falling black hedgehog in mid-air.

“Got you!”

Sonic gasped as the lifeless body fell into his arms and he cradled him securely, heedless of the sharp quills. Now they began falling again, the blue hedgehog's knees nearly buckling under the added weight as he came down onto the rock-wall once more, the hero of Mobius now forcing his leg muscles to start racing immediately before he could lose either his balance or purchase.


Praying that no bot had yet come out of the fortress and could shoot him into his back, Sonic tore down the near sheer ramp beneath his feet. Seconds before the foot of the mountain was reached and he would have smashed headfirst into the rock, blue legs tensed and propelled the hero and his precious charge into the air again, Sonic finally coming to land on another rock and, only then, permitting himself to collapse to his knees in earnest. The Emerald he had stashed into his quills as he had seen Shadow falling slid out of his spines and landed on the rock he was kneeling on with a small clink, the dull, grey stone looking just as empty of energy as Sonic currently felt. At last outside, with only the plateau between them and freedom, the hero of Mobius dared to breathe a small sigh of relief. They had made it.

But only by sheer luck...

The blue hedgehog glanced down at his injured companion.

I really should have known better.

“Hey! Shadow!” he tried to call out softly to the unconscious black hedgehog, quickly checking him over for any obvious injuries but found nothing bar superficial cuts and scrapes, the white-tufted chest rising and falling evenly. Sonic probably just had to trust that the Ultimate Lifeform really lived up to his name when it came to sturdiness. Now, how to get away from here and to a safe place...

Sonic tried to stand up again, stuffing the Emerald back into his quills and once more lifting the limp other hedgehog into his arms with a grunt.

Boy, is he heavy! Rouge sure wasn't joking when she said that...

By now it was also getting darker by the second, it seemed to Sonic, the sky already decorated with twinkling stars that reflected off the wet slush. The only other light came from the watch towers scattered across the plateau as their big-beamed searchlights scanned the landscape. Sonic shifted the comatose Shadow until he was draped over his back as best as was possible without being lacerated by the blue hedgehog's quills even if the speedster tried to flatten them as much as he could. He stood up properly.

“Right. Now I have to get us out of here before Eggy's bots arrive, with an unconscious tonne disguised as a hedgehog on my back, through a terrain that was hard enough to maneuver when I could actually see where I was going,” Sonic muttered to himself. “Could this day get any better?”

With the creaking, groaning, cracking sound of breaking rock, several boulders detached themselves from the mountainside above Eggman’s base and began to roll down the mountain and right towards him.


Sonic's first, paranoid thought was that it could be an avalanche… but then he realised that the boulders were… changing, growing steadily larger as they stretched out into huge hulking robots coated in armor identical to the rock that made up the mountain. More of them rolled off the other hillsides, effectively cutting off his escape route

Seeing no choice, Sonic quickly stashed the unconscious Shadow behind an outcropping of rock that he hoped devoutly would not prove to be another robot in disguise, trusting the Ultimate Lifeform’s darker colouring would keep him out of sight as it had his feral ancestors. Then he turned and faced the robots.

Several of the tower searchlights swung around, lighting up the area in a brilliant glare that dazzled Sonic for a moment. Blinking desperately, he backed off a couple of steps as he heard a grinding noise and the spots cleared from his eyes just in time to see a huge, rock-covered fist swing right towards his head.

He tried to jump out of the way, but the massive fist caught him in the hip and sent him flying, only for him to smash straight into another robot. His head ringing from the blow, he still managed to gather his wits enough to dodge as its arms came for him and nimbly twist behind its leg. They were humanoid-shaped, similar in design to the orange-painted Egg Pawns he had faced together with Knuckles and Tails when they had fought Metal Sonic over three years ago, but now he was all alone, and these larger, darker versions were much more deadly. Another rock-bot tried to make a grab for him from behind this time, but the blue hedgehog jumped over the grasping hand and up onto its arm to use it as a ramp, revving into a spin-dash right at its head.

He rebounded off it violently, not even making a dent on the robot.

The hero of Mobius landed hard, pain jolting through his back.

What are these things MADE of?! That felt like trying to smash through solid stone!

He yelped as another one of the bots moved with surprising agility, grabbing hold of his leg and hauling him up off the ground. Sonic fought to break free, but the mecha's grip was like a vice. The machine swung the hedgehog around its head like a lasso, then threw him over to one of its fellow bots, who simply dropped the dazed hedgehog straight to the ground, as if this was a distorted, lethal version of a sadistic ball game they played.

The robots began to gather, closing in on Sonic.

“Oh ho ho ho ho ho!” Robotnik’s peculiar laughter echoed through the mountains as he surveyed the scene set out before him, the egg-shaped scientist finally having caught up to them in his hovercraft, “Not quite quick enough to get away this time, hm, my spiky friend?” Robotnik asked in a conversational tone, silver light bathing the bald man’s shiny head as the moon rose above the peak. “Do you like my new inventions? I call them Rocklings. I find they make excellent guards. Let them break a leg of yours so you can't run away again, will you...?”

From the centre of the congregation of robots, a low, rumbling growl rose up. Robotnik frowned as the growl turned into a howl that rang through the mountain range like a bell. A robot was suddenly flung away like a rag doll, mechanical limbs getting crushed to pieces when it impacted against a boulder. Another of the Rocklings found itself smashed to the floor as a furious, transformed Sonic tackled it at knee-level, claws ripping at the rock-like armour and leaving oil-bleeding gashes in their wake. The wolf turned, green eyes flashing with fury. Two impossibly long arms stretched out to grab two bots, each held by one arm until they were violently slammed together. The wolf snarled as he repeated the manoeuvre again and again, metal heads colliding without mercy, until the two Rocklings were nothing but a pile of smouldering debris.

Robotnik’s frown deepened at this new development and he pressed a button on the console before him. With whirrs and clicks, more and more boulders detached themselves from the mountain until it looked like the entire rock-face had come to hissing, clanking, crawling mechanic life… more robots than even the wolf could fight alone.

Sonic seemed to realize this too, now, dropping into a crouch and snarling warningly at anything that approached.

Robotnik smiled in satisfaction, like a dog trainer who had his most difficult animal finally tethered and muzzled and was now approaching with a choke collar. “I’ve got you at last, you blue pest.”

The sudden touch of something cold against the back of his head wiped the smile from his face instantly.

“Hello, Doctor,” Shadow said, his voice deceptively calm.

“Sh…Shadow! I… ah…”

“Call them off,” Shadow ordered flatly, hover-skates creaking ever so slightly on the rim of the hovercraft onto which he had so silently leapt.


“Call off your army of overgrown domestic appliances, or I put a bullet in your brain,” the black hedgehog stated, his words as clipped and as cold as a knife in the dark, and just as easy to understand.

“You… you wouldn’t dare!” Robotnik blustered.

The click of the hammer sounded very loud in the human's ears.

“Believe me, Doctor, I have no problem at all with splattering your brains all over the mountain. The world would probably be much better off if I did,” Shadow said,  his  face entirely dispassionate. “Don't ever expect the same mercy from me as from Sonic, Doctor – it's not a mistake you would survive.”

“But I know things,” Robotnik wheedled, beads of sweat forming on his head, “I could help…”

“I’m not interested in your ‘help’, Doctor. You had your chance to talk to us. I doubt you would say anything that wasn't just a lie to get your head out of the noose. Now, call off your robots.” Shadow had never raised his voice; it was all said in an entirely calm, flat tone that was far more intimidating than any amount of shouting could be.

“Rocklings, stand down!” Robotnik finally called over his microphone, voice shaking from likely both fury and fear, beads of sweat forming and running down his neck where Shadow had the gun pressed against his head. The robots looked at him curiously, “Stand down, I say! That’s an order!”

The Rocklings backed away, then quietly went back up the hillside and returned to being apparently harmless bits of mountain, the wolf they had been threatening growling after them. The gun was withdrawn and Robotnik at last felt able to breathe again.

“You’re making a big mistake, Shadow,” he said to the hedgehog’s departing back after the now wingless Sapient had jumped down, but the Ultimate Lifeform didn’t even bother to turn around. “You have no idea what you’re involved in!” Robotnik yelled, “This is far bigger than you or that blue pest could possibly imagine! Why do you think fox-boy hasn't yet been able to find out anything?! What do you think is currently eluding those fools of GUN?!”

Shadow glanced over his shoulder, red eyes gleaming, “We’ll see. We have your Emerald for now, that shall be enough.”

With a snarl of frustrated rage, Robotnik pounded a fist against the edge of his hovercraft as both dark shapes of the Ultimate Lifeform and the hero of Mobius started to disappear into the night and he was powerless to do anything.


To be continued...

Chapter end notes:
Author's Notes: Well, this is our Christmas gift to all our wonderful readers. I hope you guys enjoy it. Look out for more new stuff in the New Year and everyone have a nice Festive Season.
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