Stage 2: Back to the Past
Computer Room, Crisis City, Soleanna - September 14, X214, 9:07 PM UTC
Silver woke up with a start, eyes wide open and audibly gasping for air. It was as if he had nearly suffocated himself to death, he figured. He then turned to see that Solis had likely felt something similar, as she herself seemed to be breathing quite heavily, albeit not as much as the grey-furred hedgehog. In addition, they were no longer at the skyscraper where they had just defeated Iblis for the umpteenth time already; instead, they seemed to be in some kind of computer room - one that had been long abandoned.
“What happened?” the psychokinetic inquired as he rubbed his temples. “Where are we?”
“My sincerest apologies, child,” the darker hedgehog began, his expression still blank. “I have only recently learned that I emit a sort of miasmatic aura that causes discomfort to others. Rest assured, I have no ill intentions towards you.”
“Well, maybe you could start alleviating our suspicions with a name... if you’ve got one, anyway,” Solis replied with a distinct snark in her tone before letting out an equally-smug chuckle.
“Very well. I go by a number of names - ‘He Born of Darkness’, ‘The Living Shade’, ‘The Cunning Mind’, ‘The Mysterious One’, so on and so forth,” the mysterious one replied as he walked around the two. “I’ve even heard some call me the devil itself for some reason... but you are free to simply call me Mephiles.”
“Ah, like that guy from that old Faust legend. I get it,” the lioness commented, earning her a strange look from Silver. “...read it a scrap of an old file I found once. Anyway, so how are pulling this off?”“You’ve tried everything you could here already, yes? Now, as I implied earlier, the origin of Iblis’ unleashing must be erased prior to the point in time when it was released,” Mephiles began explaining to Silver and Solis. “Given that Iblis first began its rampage two centuries ago, you will have to travel several years back in order to sever that origin - the Iblis Trigger.”
“So, we have to travel right through time and destroy this ‘Iblis Trigger’ before the monster was even unleashed?” the psychokinetic sighed rather pessimistically. “If things hadn’t gone down the shitter in the first place, maybe it would be possible, but they did, so it’s impossible.”
“Not when I’m around, it isn’t,” the mysterious hedgehog responded. “For you see, child, I possess the power to bend the very fabric of time to my will.”
Upon hearing Mephiles reveal his capabilities in time manipulation, both Silver’s and Solis’ eyes widened with disbelief. At long last, they had a chance to truly put an end to the war against the infernal entity that had ravaged their world for so long! However, they were still missing one vital piece of information.
“You still haven’t answered my question though, Mephiles,” the psychokinetic chimed in. “Who was the one responsible for the destruction of our world?”
“Of course. Do any of you have a reflective surface I can borrow?” the mysterious one asked the two. Solis then examined the room, while Silver did the same, before finding what seemed to be a fairly small mirror, though it had seen some damage but was still perfectly usable. Upon being handed the mirror, Mephiles began to hover his hands around it as he began to recite a chant in a language that Silver couldn’t clearly understand while Solis simply looked on, not showing any reaction.
A few moments after the darker hedgehog began his chant, ripples suddenly began to form in the mirror’s surface, leaving both the psychokinetic and the heliokinetic in awe. “Now, look deep into the ripples of time and uncover the answer that you seek,” Mephiles declared as he backed a small distance away from the mirror, allowing the two to peer into its surface.
Within the mirror, they could see a roaring wildfire that heavily resembled the Flames of Disaster itself. Silver then briefly turned to the darker hedgehog for instructions, who silently and slowly nodded at him, signalling the grey-furred hedgehog to look further. He then turned back to the reflective surface and began to do so, eventually beginning to see what seemed to be a cerulean blue gale circulating itself well-within the flames - something that immediately caught his attention.
“Solis, are you seeing this?!” Silver immediately cried to his comrade as his eyes widened.
“That blue wind? Yeah, I see it too,” Solis replied quickly, her eyes still locked onto the mirror. The two continued peering through it and saw a tinier and gentler flame at the very center, before witnessing the blue wind slowly close itself on it and, like a bright flash of light, let out a massive burst of flame that encroached all within its infernal grasp. As Silver and Solis found themselves stunned silent at what they had just seen, the image in the mirror began to fade as the ripples on its surface gradually ceased
“That didn’t tell us a lot... but it’s something,” the psychokinetic began, as he pondered on the meaning behind the image before turning to the darker hedgehog. “Honestly though, I was expecting a more direct answer instead of some cryptic riddle.”
“My sincerest apologies, but my current condition prevents me from telling you more... and even if that weren’t the case, the forces of time are incredibly fickle,” Mephiles replied blankly. “As such, I believe that I’ve given just enough that you will know what to do without knowing too much right away. You’ll just have to iron out the finer details yourself, I’m afraid.”
“Either way, the bottom line is that if we find this ‘blue wind’ and take him down before he can cause all of this, then our world will be saved, right?” Solis inquired the darker hedgehog.
“That’s the idea, yes. However, committing yourselves to such a drastic course of action will likely yield some unexpected results,” the darker hedgehog replied to the lioness. “Again, time is a fickle thing, and it is very much possible that your antics may give way to something else that may occur sooner rather than later. Are you still willing to partake on this journey even after knowing that?”
The two fell silent for a few moments, only now beginning to think about the possible consequences of their actions. They had become incredibly desperate if they hadn’t even considered that, they had realized. However, there was also no other option available to them and not a whole lot for them to lose either. Having come to a decision, Silver then turned to Mephiles and answered, “If it means giving the world a chance at a future where not everything’s literally gone to hell, then I’d do it in a heartbeat.”
If the mysterious entity could smile, he would likely be doing so right as he responded, “Very well. We shall depart immediately.” A dark purple sphere of distorted time then materialized itself around Mephiles’ hands as he spoke, “Now, we travel two-hundred years back; mere days before the Day of Disaster occurred, and Iblis’ flames were unleashed upon the world!”
The sphere then quickly expanded itself, surrounding the three of them as time quickly slowed to a crawl as the mysterious one began to chant once more. Before long, they were engulfed in a quick flash of light and were no longer standing in the computer room.
Sunhigh Woods, Soleanna - September 19, X014, 1:38 PM UTC
The sun shone brightly in the lush woods in the mountain valleys of Sunhigh Woods as Silver lay on the grass, his unconscious form seemingly still. A few moments passed before the grey-furred hedgehog stirred himself awake, clearly having some difficulty breathing once more. As he sat himself upright, he spent some time examining the immediate surroundings around him, which couldn’t be any more different than what he had seen for much of his life.
“Is... is this the past?” the grey-furred hedgehog asked no one in particular before quickly turning his head towards several directions. “Solis? Mephiles!”
He received no response, however, as there appeared to be no else anywhere near him. Somehow, the three of them had ended up becoming separated from one another after being flung through time. “Probably an unfortunate side effect of time travel," Silver muttered to himself as he stood up and continued to examine his environment. He quickly stopped himself since he and Solis had a job to do, and not much time to do it, as he continued, “I gotta get moving. There’s a world to save.”
The grey-furred hedgehog then turned to the forest ahead of him and figured that his first move would be to make his way to civilization before quickly flying off into the distance. Until we meet again, Solis, stay safe, he thought to himself as he entered the forest.
Wave Ocean Coast, Soleanna - September 20, X014, 10:37 AM UTC
Solis leisurely strolled upon the strangely-soft ground below her as she took in the environment around her. It felt very much unlike any surface she had set foot on back in her time period. Not to mention, she had never gone through a day where the world looked so bright and full of life; fluffy white clouds floating along the clear blue skies, large patches of lush grass, a crystal-clear expanse of water - all of these were things the lioness had never seen before.“So, this is what the world looked like before Iblis?” she asked herself as she continued to look on. “I never would’ve thought that something this beautiful even existed...”
Feeling a brief hint of melancholy, she spent a few more moments breathing in the fresh air as she began to ponder on the image that they had seen in the mirror before being sent here. The Iblis Trigger... a blue wind... the lioness thought to herself.
Now that she was on her own and could have some peace of mind for once, she quickly began to have some doubts about the implications of what they would actually do; no matter how one would look at it, it was more than likely that they would essentially be murdering someone in cold blood.
“Is this really the answer to our problem?” Solis asked no one in particular as she continued walking along the coast. She looked back on how many Iblis-spawn she had slain prior and tried to argue with herself that they were mindless creatures - an extension of Iblis’ nigh all-powerful will - while the one the Iblis Trigger was probably just like them - an actual person; a human being, figuratively-speaking. “How could just one person be capable of bringing forth such worldwide devastation?”
On top of that dilemma, whether he could be trusted or not - and she honestly didn't for some reason that escaped her, Mephiles had a point - even if they did succeed, it was still very possible that things could end up becoming much worse somehow. The lioness wanted to continue pondering upon the situation, but time was sadly a luxury neither she nor Silver could afford. Whether she liked it or not, this was just about the only option available to them. It was why they had even gone through with it in the first place, after all.
“Might as well look around and gather some intel. Gotta start somewhere,” she said to herself before speeding across the beach as quickly as she could. “I hope Silver’s holding up alright. That boy can be too headstrong for his own good sometimes.”
Sunhigh Woods, Soleanna - September 19, X014, 2:03 PM UTC
The forest was much bigger than Silver had initially thought. Being unfamiliar with the vastly-different environment, Silver found the trees around him to look exactly the same. Then again, the environment back in his time period was similar in that regard; the main difference, however, was that he had over fourteen years to familiarize himself with the ruined landscapes found in his time period while he had only been in the woods for less than an hour.
Thankfully, his sense of direction was better than he probably gave it credit for, as he eventually found himself by the very edge of a large expanse of water that opened outward to his left and what appeared to be an old, abandoned temple just across it. He then took some time staring off into the distance, listening to the unfamiliar sounds that pervaded the woods. For the first time in his life, Silver felt like he could finally breathe for once. Normally, he’d remain tense and on guard for a sudden appearance of an Iblis-spawn or even the infernal entity itself.
As much as he wanted to simply let loose and relax, however, Silver simply couldn’t find it in him to do so. He and Solis were on a mission, and they didn’t have a lot of time to pull it off. If anything, he was more driven than ever to finish it, especially if it meant a chance at preserving what the world had lost long before he even existed. “When I find you, Iblis Trigger... you will answer for your crimes,” the grey-furred hedgehog, with a clenched fist, muttered to himself with tranquil fury before flying off further into the forest once more.
-Silver: Stage 2 - End-