Silver tries to restore order to his ruined world.
And every night, I will make things right…
I threaded my way through the complex in our ruined world. No need to say which complex; Infinite had destroyed the others. Him, or Iblis. Between them, they wrecked everything…
I got near the end of the corridor that I was passing through without incident. Gold was waiting for me. She always was. The one person in the world who cared for me was my sister. At least that's better than if I didn't have any relations to care for me at all…
Enough of me moping. I said hi to Gold and sat down in one of the chairs, still moping. Gold must have noticed, because she sat down in the chair next to me.
What's wrong? she thought to me. We never spoke. Infinite would have heard us if we did.
The usual, I thought back. To put it more precisely, I thought that normally, knowing that she'd pick up my thoughts. She was the only one of the two of us who had telepathy, maybe the only one in the world who did. Maybe that was why we were still alive…
You're unusually quiet, she thought. There must be something going wrong.
I half-turned to her. Gold, what's going wrong is just that I'm tired of everything going wrong forever. No matter what we try to do, no matter how hard we try, every night, it just stays the same…
But it doesn't have to.
Gold looked surprised. I didn't think that, she thought. I think I'm transmitting the thoughts of another being…let me connect the three of us properly…
I waited as my mind was attached to another, an unfamiliar one.
Greetings, said this mind. My name is Mephiles, and I have come with an offer.
A being, the one whose mind I figured that we were linked to, stepped out of the shadows. He looked like a hedgehog, like me and Gold, but his spikes were a dark blue. It was easy to see how we hadn't seen him before. If Gold or I had tried to play that trick, we'd have been given away in a moment, as we were the color of our names.
Mephiles had paused his thoughts to allow us to look at him and see that he meant no harm. He did that in a rather literal way by putting his hands in the air. Now that I come to think of it, he had hands, but he didn't have any feet.
An offer, continued Mephiles, as though nothing had happened. If you were able, would you go change the past?
PAST LEADS TO PRESENT…PAST COULD BE CHANGED…PRESENT MIGHT NEVER EXIST…
I looked at Gold and Mephiles. I think we'd all reached the same conclusion.
Take us there, I thought. Please. We'll save the world for you.
Mephiles raised his hands over his head, causing the world around me to fade to purple. I have but one small task for you, he said. Find the Iblis Trigger…and kill him. If you do so, your future will be saved…
I awoke in a grassy plain. I knew what had happened, and I figured that I knew where I was. I even knew what the Iblis Trigger looked like; Mephiles had placed that in my brain too. In fact, I knew everything—
Panic momentarily overcame me—
This mission is too important. I need to stay focused. Find the Iblis Trigger…and kill him.
I mentally repeated the salute that I had made to Mephiles in acknowledgement, then set off to find the Iblis Trigger.
I walked for hours. Then I ran. Then I fell over, exhausted. This wasn't what the mission was supposed to feel like…
Something exploded nearby. And there he was, right in the thick of it.
I've finally found him! The Iblis Trigger!
I couldn't believe my luck. I ran towards him, extending my psychokinetic hold towards him to grab him, and—
He was gone.
Saddened, I sat back down again.
"What's wrong?" said a cheerful voice next to me.
I looked up. It had been ages since I heard a voice, and I'd never heard hers. I did not recognize this pink hedgehog.
I tried to respond to her, but I couldn't. I guess communicating via telepathy for years made my vocal chords stop working. On the bright side, it looked like I had at least some of Gold's telepathic abilities. Maybe it was because I was her brother, or because I'd trained, but somehow, it worked.
I'm Silver, I thought to her. And sorry for being in your mind. I seem to be mute, so I can't exactly talk.
For someone from 200 years earlier, she seemed oddly unfazed by this. "I'm Amy!" she said. "Nice to meet you! Are you looking for Sonic, too?"
I'm looking for this guy.
"That's my Sonic!" she said. "I've been searching for him for what feels like weeks!"
Me too. Only for me, it's more literal, and it's been hours.
"Anyway, we should find him before he leaves again!" she said, then cheerfully ran off after Sonic.
Sighing, I picked myself up and ran after her, using my telekinesis to boost my speed. I might not be the best with telepathy, but I'd like to think that my telekinesis was awesome.
It's the Iblis Trigger! Again!
I tried to repeat what I did earlier. I ran towards the Iblis Trigger—I mean, Sonic—and I tried to grab him, holding him still for long enough to—
WHAT WAS THAT FOR, AMY?
OW! STOP HITTING ME IN THE HEAD! THAT HAMMER HURTS! OW! STOP IT!
I finally got my wits enough to glide to the side of her hammer and hold her hammer still.
AMY, WHAT ARE YOU DOING?
"No one hurts my Sonic!" she said, putting an arm protectively around Sonic. "If you want to take on my Sonic, you'll have to take on me too! Now go away, you mean being!"
Amy left with Sonic, and I left not knowing what to do. It was only then that I really started realizing what I had signed up for. I knew that I was signed up to kill someone, but it wasn't really until that moment that I'd realized that someone had to die.
Was this the way, my path foretold? Then why was I living with my heart so cold?
I gotta admit it, I sometimes rhyme. That made me chuckle a bit. I was pulled back to reality shortly when I bounced off of Mephiles. For a guy who looked like he was made out of the cosmos, he sure was solid.
Have you yet succeeded in your mission? inquired Mephiles.
No, because I don't know if I should, I explained. Is it really good of me to take a life?
If you do not, thousands of others will die, thought Mephiles. No, millions. BILLIONS. Have you any idea how few people remain as of your time? Should you kill this one, you will spare them all.
I hung my head, defeated. Fine, Mephiles, I thought glumly. I guess maybe this isn't good, but it's the best I can do…
Indeed, thought Mephiles. I had thought that he would smile. That's when I realized that he had no mouth.
Now, on your way, young Silver. You may yet find Sonic before it is too late.
I wondered how he knew Sonic's name, then shrugged. Maybe it was common knowledge in the bit of the world that he was from?
The Iblis Trigger. For the third time, I have found him…and this time, I will not fail.
I grabbed Sonic with my psychokinesis. This time, he was going to die.
"WHAT?" said Sonic as I choked him with my psychokinesis. "I—CAN'T—BREATHE—"
"LET GO OF HIM, YOU DAMN MONSTER!"
I cartwheeled backwards, having the good fortune to land on my feet. A black version of the blue Iblis Trigger rocketed towards me, then punched me hard enough to make a repeat of the cartwheel occur. This time, I landed on my back. Using my psychokinesis, I tried to grab the black one instead. He grimaced. "CHAOS…CONTROL!" In a flash, he was behind me. "CHAOS…SPEAR!" I just narrowly avoided being impaled in the back.
What's your endgame? I asked him. Who are you, even?
"I'd like to ask the same of you!" he shot back, verbally this time.
I'm saving your world! I tried to point out. If Sonic dies, my terrible future will be saved! YOUR terrible future will be saved! Billions won't die!
"Don't think you can talk that rubbish into me," he said. "For all I care, you can go to hell in your future! CHAOS…CONTROL!" He warped behind me. I knew that would happen, I grabbed him, and everything went white.
"LET GO OF ME, YOU—"
We landed hard on a stone floor.
"MPHHPHH!" yelled the black being, whose mouth was now firmly pressed against the floor.
I stood up. That was one advantage to not speaking: when my mouth was obstructed, I could still think at full efficiency.
The room was small, but empty, except for the black one and me. The door was open, though. I walked through it, followed by the other hedgehog, who was under the very reasonable impression that ascertaining our bizarre location was more important than killing me. I liked him a bit better for that.
In the next room over, a blue hedgehog bent over a table. "I've almost completed it…" he muttered. "Aha!" he exclaimed. "Got it."
A red glow surrounded the device. "That's not supposed to occur…" said the hedgehog, looking worried.
"Of course it isn't," said the black hedgehog. "Red glows are never intentional. Are you an idiot or what?"
"I'm Jules the Hedgehog," said the blue one, looking rather confused. "And my device is malfunctioning for reasons beyond my comprehension…who are you?"
"Shadow. Shadow the Hedgehog," said the black one. "Now can we stop with the introductions and—"
Everyone got thrown to the far side of the room. An oddly familiar figure, enshrouded in a yellow glow and bearing wings, appeared in the center of the room. In a voice that sounded like it was on the verge of dying, the figure said, "Prepare to be destroyed, creatures."
Jules looked around wildly. "This was not in my plans!" he said. "I have no resources with which to destroy it! What can I do?" Then his eyes lit up. "Aha!" he exclaimed. "My new creation—the one that malfunctioned and brought this creature here—seals entities inside other entities, so perhaps I can—" Red foam appeared in his mouth, causing him to choke.
Being! Stop this! I mentally yelled at the yellow one, grabbing him with my psychokinesis. He let Jules go and turned to face me, giving Jules time to snatch up his creation and aim it at the creature.
Shadow looked annoyed. "Are you sure this will work?" he said. "I mean, it failed last time, so why—"
Jules fell over. "I didn't seal it!" he coughed. "It's…two…!"
Before our eyes, the yellow being split in half. I couldn't believe it…
One was Iblis, the monster who'd helped ravage my world, and the other was…
Was he here all along?
Jules was dying, and Mephiles had left the room before anyone could think fast enough to grab him. Only Iblis remained as a by-product.
…and Jules was still there.
"Somebody!" he gasped. "We need…to seal…the fire being…"
He waved the mechanism at Iblis, pushed the button, and Iblis was sucked into…
Jules fell over.
"Sonic…he is…the trigger now…should he die…I believe that Iblis will be released…but otherwise…my son…should…contain…him—"
Jules went still.
I checked his pulse. There was none.
"We have to take the kid to safety," said Shadow. He didn't look as disturbed as I did, and certainly didn't look as disturbed as the five-year-old whose father had just died.
Shadow slung kid Sonic over his shoulder, yelled, "CHAOS…CONTROL!" and was out of the room. In a moment, he was back. "You should get back to the present, too," he said. "It's where you belong." In a flash of white, we were there.
Mephiles came out of the same shell that Iblis did…
Does Mephiles really want me to kill Sonic to prevent Iblis? Or does he know, like Jules said, that killing Sonic will release Iblis?
DOES HE WANT ME TO KILL SONIC IN ORDER TO RELEASE IBLIS?
I landed. Not from Shadow's landing; that had happened ages ago. This was because I tripped and fell.
I got up and continued. It wasn't long until I saw Mephiles. He looked younger than the Mephiles I knew, but I could still tell who it was, so I waved at him.
Mephiles wasn't paying attention to me. He was paying attention to Sonic.
A beam of light shot out of Mephiles's hand and hit Sonic. Sonic was impaled through the chest by the light.
Then fell down and died.
Another Mephiles appeared—the one I knew—and the purple light appeared.
I didn't care.
My mind projected to every Mephiles, any Mephiles, anyone who would hear me.
Mephiles—still the same one I knew—looked up out of the chair in my living room, the room he'd dropped me in. My hands clenched into fists.
I ran at him, threw a hook to his jaw. The jaw that had no mouth on it.
Mephiles wasn't there.
I looked around for him. He was at the other side of the room, still drinking the cup of coffee that he'd been drinking when I landed. How he even drank the coffee with no mouth beats me.
Furious, I lunged at him again. This time, I tried to grab his cup of coffee with my telekinesis, just because it was closest.
I couldn't think.
Mephiles teleported away again.
Oh, Silver, you're so naïve, he thought. But you know, that's what I've always liked about you.
I don't care what you think of me! I yelled mentally. You tried to make me ruin my world, then you did it yourself, pretending that I'd save it! You're a LIAR and a TRAITOR and a BETRAYER, Mephiles! I couldn't even hit him any more. My arms were trembling too much. So were my legs.
That may be so, thought Mephiles, calmly drinking his coffee. That INFURIATING coffee. But you know why I did it, didn't you? Of course you don't. Let me explain. You're determined now, more than you've ever been and more than you'll likely ever be. You're channeling that against me now, but you'll channel it against Infinite and Iblis soon enough. Had you not gone through this, you'd never be determined enough to really save your world. Aren't you pleased, Silver?
I shook with rage. I couldn't even think articulately.
Oh, I suppose I'll have to explain some other facets of our little escapade as well, thought Mephiles. Had I not released Iblis, your world wouldn't be bad enough to make you save it. I saw your world without Iblis. Just as bad in my eyes, though it would have been better in yours. You never would have saved it. Infinite would have seemed weak to you, too weak to bother with. Determination of the strong, eh? He sipped his coffee. For effect. You'll take Infinite as a challenge, now that you feel you NEED to take him down. If he weren't so seemingly powerful through Iblis, you'd feel like it wasn't fair, and you'd never take him down. Oh, and did you really think that Iblis could be stopped? He's here, so how did you think that you could change that and stop him from being here?
Mephiles, I thought. All you're telling me is that everything you've told me is a lie. How do I know that your new statements aren't just lies too?
Can you try to calm down, please?
GOLD! I MISSED YOU!
That's very nice, said Mephiles as we hugged, but I believe you're still being angry at me, aren't you? More than you would have been if I'd sent Gold back with you, don't you think?
I turned to the door.
Gold, I thought, I'm getting out of here. You might want to come with me. When I come back, Infinite will be dead. And so will Iblis.
I could see Mephiles do the mental equivalent of a smirk. He thought he'd been vindicated, didn't he.
I'd never realized that taking down Infinite and Iblis would be so…messy.
Iblis shot a fireball at us. An entire block exploded. We were lucky that I had telekinesis.
Gold, you're still holding off Infinite's mental attacks and auto-surveillance, aren't you? I thought.
I am… she thought. It's working for now…
"Look at your little efforts, your little minds," said Infinite. "It's adorable." With a flick of his wrist, he unleashed a red wave that sent me flying away from Iblis. That meant that the fireball that was meant for me went at Gold.
And I could only partly stop it.
Gold didn't die.
In. Out. In. Out.
I was still breathing, and so was she.
Gold, we need a new strategy, I thought. If we can't stop them this way, perhaps we can…
TURN IBLIS AGAINST INFINITE!
When we work in harmony, we're unbeatable, I thought.
Let's hope, thought Gold. I'm out. You'll have to do this.
Infinite! I thought, walking between him and Iblis while waving to get Iblis's attention. Hoohoo! See me?
It worked like a charm. Infinite must be really stupid, I thought, as I dodged out of the way and let the fireball come at Infinite. Just one moment and…
Infinite unleashed a wave of redness.
The fireball shot back at Iblis.
"You really thought you could use my pawn against me?" said Infinite as the fireball hit Iblis, causing Iblis to shudder. "In a game of chess, a pawn is insignificant to the chessmaster. Sometimes, the chessmaster must let that pawn die when it has no longer served its purpose. That time…is now."
A flick of Infinite's wrist.
A wave of red.
No more Iblis.
Something in me wanted to rejoice. The dominant emotion was rage.
Iblis was just Infinite's pawn. Had he wanted, he could have destroyed Iblis at any time…
BUT HE LET IBLIS RUIN THE WORLD.
My teeth clenched.
I'm going to take you down if it's the last thing I do, Infinite.
"I look forward to seeing you try."
I rocketed at Infinite, faster than I'd ever gone. Infinite unleashed the wave of red. I stopped it with psychic force. He launched another, and another, and another. I just kept coming. He couldn't stop me.
Couldn't stop the end.
It was over for him.
Infinite lay on the ground. He was defeated, humiliated, broken. And he'd tried to hide it by changing his form, something that must have been a failsafe in his armor. There was no failsafe to hide the disgrace.
What could I do, now that I'd saved the world?
If you'll excuse me.
Of course it's Mephiles, I thought.
If you've quite finished with Infinite, I have plans for him, thought Mephiles.
I don't trust you, Mephiles, I thought. But you can't make this future any worse than you have, so go ahead. Just take me so that I see the end.
Mephiles nodded in consent. Then the purple glow surrounded him, me, and Infinite, and we had left.
Why did I recognize this room?
A hedgehog stood over his invention. It was Jules.
And I stood in front of him. So did Shadow.
"Prepare to be destroyed, creatures," said Infinite.
I'd never felt so much joy in my life. Infinite was gone from our time. So was Iblis. The people started rebuilding, the world began anew…
I'd dreamt of an absolution for the world, and it had come true. The world was better now.
Thanks to you, Gold, I thought. And, as much as I hate to admit it, yes, Mephiles, you helped.
You did most of it… thought Gold.
As long as the world is saved, I don't care who did what, I thought. It's better now, and that's what matters.