Episode Final (Part I,Part II)
Elise slumped down onto the couch in one of the many living rooms found in the palace. She had been in talks for what felt like forever, coordinating a measured response to the threat Eggman posed and trying to sidestep as much red tape as she possibly could. She could only hope that G.U.N or some other nation in Europa headed her calls for help. Now she could do nothing but wait for a response.
She lit a small flame in her hand. Even though she’d used them a lot, having this much power at her fingertips still felt incredible, and she wondered if Sonic ever felt like this. She wasn’t a weak, spoiled girl anymore. She was a hero, coordinating the global effort against the most wanted man in the world. She finally had real power.
She tried to snuff the flame out, but her hand refused to move. She tried to make the flame disappear using her powers, but they didn’t respond. Then she realised she couldn’t move her own body. She was frozen in place, unable to even call for help. Elise began to panic: was this Eggman’s doing? Was this the effect of her own power?
“You know,” She heard herself say “You’re not far off.”
Elise’s body stood up and made the flame vanish. She flexed her shoulders and wiggled her fingers.
“Oh, I like this,” She sneered “I always thought your mortal forms were weak, but this is quite pleasurable.”
“What the hell are you?” Elise thought. If whatever was controlling her body could read her thoughts, she could at least try to communicate with it.
“That will take quite a bit of explaining, dear Elise,” Her own mouth replied. Her body jumped up and down, trying to come to terms with how gravity worked. “You’ve sat through so many talks in the past few hours that I can’t imagine one more would hurt.”
“I’m done with talking.” She thought. She tried to move her hand again, and slowly started to wiggle her fingers. The thing in control of her body began to fight back, but Elise continued to cling on. She staggered forward, collapsing onto the carpet. Her body pushed her right fist against the floor, trying to stand up again, but Elise used her other hand to yank it away. She gained control of her voice for a second and tried to call for help, but her right hand grabbed her throat and tried to choke her, stopping any air coming out. She managed to gain control of her legs and staggered up, trying to run to the door, but she lost control again and she slammed her back against the wall. She used her free hand to grab the hand that was choking her.
“Get...out…” Elise gasped. “GET...OUT…”
With a sudden burst of energy, Elise swung her right arm. A wave of flame spread across the room, but barely anything was singed. She staggered forward, gasping for air, as she finally regained control of her body. As the fire flickered away, a new being was standing in front of her: a copy of her, with a body of lava and brimstone and eyes that shone bright orange. Elise held up her hand and tried to shoot a fireball at her new enemy, but she couldn’t do anything. She looked up in horror as she realised that this copy of her had all her powers now. The new Elise smirked.
“So here we are again. Once again you’re back to what you were before. A helpless little girl, both beloved and treated like dirt.”
She began to walk towards Elise, who staggered back in horror. The brimstone copy stopped as she saw Elise’s expression.
“Don’t be scared,” She chided “I just want to help.”
“Tell me what you are,” Elise growled, trying her best to look brave.
“I don’t have a name. Right now, I’m just the raw power that’s held inside you. The power to tear the heavens in two.”
“Power doesn’t talk,” Elise replied. “You’re something more, aren’t you?”
“This power isn’t yours, Elise. It’s borrowed. Your father experimented on you, tried to extract power from something else and give it to you...that’s why I can talk.”
“My...father…” Elise gasped.
“Oh, so you didn’t know?” The new being asked, inquisitively.
“I...I knew he was a scientist. He died in the lab…some insane experiment of his.”
“The experiment that killed him was when I was drawn into you.”
Elise fell to her knees, horrified. Had she been the one to kill him? She couldn’t remember anything about a lab. She thought maybe the creature was lying to her...but at the same time, what she talked about seemed familiar somehow. The other Elise stopped smiling, seeming to be more sympathetic.
“I was scared too,” The other Elise said, kneeling down next to the green cat “I didn’t know where I was...who I was. I only had vague memories of the past. The accident. The pain. Running away, with nowhere to go. Then I remember you. Everything you felt...I felt it too. All the hurt. The anger. The loneliness. It started to change who I was. It gave me a personality...and that’s what you see now.”
“The hallucinations…” Elise muttered “You did that.”
The fiery being nodded.
“It was my way of lashing out at the pain,” She continued “But I just hurt you more.”
“So using the powers made you stronger,” Elise replied “Until you could take control of me and rise out.”
The other Elise nodded. The real Elise staggered to her feet.
“I won’t let you control me!” She shouted, her voice quivering “You’re nothing but hate and anger. I won’t destroy the world like in those visions. I’m not your puppet!”
“You still don’t understand, do you?” The brimstone Elise sorrowfully replied “I’m your emotions. I’m as much a part of you as your physical body is. And I don’t want to control you. I want to join with you. You’ve only been tapping into a small amount of my power. Together, we could be unstoppable. Bend Earth to our will...make it what we want to be”
“I don’t want to change this world!”
“What’s left for you here?”
“People respect me now!”
“What, because you got kidnapped and that blue buffoon everyone loves freed you? If anything, they respect you even less.”
“I’m coordinating the effort against Eggman!”
“You really think they care about what you think?”
“I’m a hero now!”
“Because I gave you powers.”
“I saved those people on the train!”
“They won’t remember you. Sonic will hog all the glory.”
“Sonic trusts me!”
The fire Elise cocked her head to one side.
“Do you truly believe that?” She growled “You know he doesn’t care about you. He told you himself. That thing you thought he was running from? It’s his responsibilities, the people he leaves behind. He’ll forget about you before the day is out, and once again you’ll be left with no one to help you. No one except me.”
Elise collapsed. Everything her copy said rung true...but she couldn’t be right...she couldn’t...
“I’ll...I’ll find my own way…” She muttered “I don’t need you. I’ll find my own path.”
“There’s no other path. You know it. You’re nothing without my power.”
“No...I won’t...I can’t…”
“I’m all that’s left for you, Elise. Join me. You never have to feel alone again.”
The brimstone Elise held out her hand. Elise thought about all those years alone, being nothing but a figurehead for other people to watch. No one to help her through what she’d experienced, no one to talk to, just the pain and the anger. Sonic was the first person to ever help her. But Sonic would forget. The only person who could help her now was in front of her.
Elise grasped her copy’s hand and pulled herself up.
“Do it,” She said bluntly. Elise’s copy smiled and the rock that made up her body broke apart. A shaft of flame flew out of the rock and directly into Elise’s chest. She felt like her body was on fire, but it didn’t hurt anymore. She staggered back and looked at her hands, glowing bright orange with energy. She started giggling in excitement.
“This...this is incredible!” She said “I’ve never felt more alive. So much power...I could do anything!”
“Now you know what you truly are,” She heard the voice of her clone say “You’re not Elise anymore.”
“I know. Elise was a weak, scared little girl. I could remake the world how I see fit and make sure no one will ever look down on us again. I could be a god. I could become...”
And then the robot fell through the ceiling.
A large robot with huge hands stood before her. Following them down were several flying robots with missile launchers and Doctor Eggman himself.
“Capture her,” Eggman said. One of the robots fired an energy net that pinned her to the ground. She felt her powers weaken slightly, but not by much.
“Take her away,” Eggman continued. She noticed Robotnik had changed. He wasn’t as theatrical as he’d been before. At this point, he just wanted to get the job done.
“You can break out of that net easily,” The voice in her head told her.
“Not yet,” She replied, smirking “I want to play along for a while. Besides, I want more time to come up with a name for myself.”
The girl who was once Princess Elise continued to giggle as the Egg Mobile’s grapple cable latched onto her and she was lifted to the Egg Carrier.
Sonic lay back on the sun lounger, putting his feet up and taking a sip of orange juice before putting the glass on the broken robot next to him that he was using as a table. Knuckles and Tails were next to him, with Knuckles enjoying the sun and Tails reading some kind of manual. The resort still wasn’t open: they had the whole thing to themselves. Considering they had saved the country’s sovereign, no one was about to stop them.
“We don’t get this much sun on Angel Island,” Knuckles said.
“Stop dissing your own island,” Sonic replied. “It’s as good a floating island I’ve ever seen. Besides, You’ve got to work tomorrow, right? Master Emerald’s not going to defend itself.”
“I’ve rented the Chaotix out for a week, I’ll be fine.”
“You sure about this, Sonic?” Tails said in a worried tone “What if Eggman comes back for Elise?"
“It’ll be fine. She’s strong enough to handle him, don’t worry.”
“You put a lot of faith in her,” Knuckles interjected. “You only met her a few days ago, and apparently you were at each other’s throats before. What changed?”
“She spent a day with me, that’s what,” Sonic smirked and pointed at himself “Same thing happened to you, y’know.”
“Don’t dodge the question!” Knuckles said incredulously “She destroys the world, right?”
“Elise wouldn’t do that. I know she wouldn’t. Whatever Iblis is, it’s not her.”
“And what makes you think that, huh? A two day field trip?”
“Guys!” Tails interrupted “Calm down! Can’t we just enjoy our victory for a while and think about the end of the world later?”
“Agreed,” Sonic said quickly before taking another sip of his juice. Knuckles folded his arms and laid back in his deckchair. Despite ending the argument, Tails thought the same thing as Knuckles: did Sonic really know what he was doing leaving Elise like this? What did he see in her that they hadn’t?
Even though there were still tensions between them, the group relaxed.
“So, Knux, what have you been up to recently?” Sonic asked “I haven’t seen you since...y’know.”
“The Black Arms invasion?”
He nodded reluctantly. Sonic hadn’t liked to talk about the invasion, even though he’d gotten over similar incidents much more quickly.
“Decided to explore Angel Island more,” Knuckles continued. “I explored the desert region around Sandopolis and found a canyon with a saloon in it. I don’t know who built it, but it seemed relatively new. It wasn’t built by my ancestors, that’s for sure.”
“See?” Sonic smiled “Best floating island ever.”
Knuckles looked over Sonic's shoulder and saw Tails looking at the Miles Electric, clearly scared of something on the monitor. Sonic saw Knuckles expression and turned around
“Tails?” The blue hedgehog asked. “You alright?”
The terrified fox looked at Sonic and showed him what he was looking at: a news report stating that Princess Elise had been abducted again. Sonic looked at the picture with a mixture of confusion and fear. Elise could control her power now: Eggman shouldn’t have been able to capture her. If he did, he had found a way of manipulating the flames inside her. He could realise Iblis.
“Where is she?” Sonic asked. Any hint of his carefree tone was gone.
“They’re flying towards the ruins to the east of Castle Town,” Tails said “We should be able to catch up with them.”
Sonic walked away from Tails and Knuckles.
“You two get out of here,” He said. “I’m going to free Elise.”
“Don’t you want our help?” Knuckles asked.
“If Eggman realises Iblis, we’re going to need you two to fight.
“When have you ever planned for the worst case scenario?”
“Since we saw it happen.”
“Sonic, you’re not making any sen-”
“Just do as I say, damn it!” Sonic retorted “This is Team Sonic, right? Then obey me!”
“Sonic, you need our help!” Knuckles replied.
“Even if I did, I can’t afford to lose anyone else. She causes the end of the world, right? You said it yourself. Just run, Knuckles. It’s what I always do.”
Knuckles opened his mouth to say something, but Sonic was already running away across the ocean.
The scenery of Soleanna blurred into one as Sonic raced after the Egg Carrier. He couldn’t let himself get distracted while Elise was in danger. Even when Eggman had access to world destroying power, Sonic had never been this far behind him. What if he was too late this time? What if the trust he had placed in Elise caused the end of the world? Would Iblis’ future truly come to pass?
Eventually, the blue blur reached the ruins of the castle, coming to a broken but still imposing wall that towered upwards. Ivy ran across its walls, and through the cracks he could see waterfalls and towers on the other side. He upped his speed, ready to jump over the wall in one leap.
Sonic was so focused on his destination he didn’t notice a skeletal robot with a brown cloak swing an electrified staff at his legs, making him trip over and go tumbling across the ground. A group of robots armed with Vulcan Cannons descended from the sky and opened fire, but Sonic quickly jumped to his feet and dodged the blasts. He tried to homing attack one of the gunners, but the skeletal robot jumped up and blocked him with his staff. Sonic put his foot on the staff and leaped off it, quickly flipping over to one of the other gunners and kicking it into the ground. The blue hedgehog landed on the ground behind the pile of scarp.
“I don’t have time for you,” He said bluntly. A blue light enveloped him, and before the robots could do anything else Sonic leapt between them at lightning speed, destroying them with ease. He landed on the ground as the blue light faded away. He turned to face the castle, but before he could move he heard a familiar voice.
“Sonic!” Silver shouted from behind him. Sonic glared at the white hedgehog over his shoulder.
“Kid, You really picked the wrong time to get in my way!” He shouted. He turned around and rushed towards Silver at lightning speed, punching him in the gut before elbowing him in the head and knocking him down. Silver held up his hand and fired a burst of energy that knocked Sonic away, but the blue blur quickly homing attacked back towards Silver. However, before the attack could hit its target, Blaze jumped between them and kicked Sonic away. Sonic landed on his feet as Silver stood up.
“We’re not here to fight you,” Silver said."We know who the Iblis Trigger is. It’s Elise.”
“You’re not going to kill her,” Sonic growled.
“We weren’t planning to,” Blaze replied. “We want to save her from Eggman, and from Iblis.”
“You’re going to take away her powers?”
“We know of a method of extracting and containing Iblis,” Silver continued “We don’t have the resources to do that yet, but what matters is that we can save the world from my future.”
“I don’t care about what you want,” Sonic replied “I won’t let you extract Iblis. Those powers are the reason why Elise has grown as a person. I know she can control it. I’ve seen her strength.”
“You haven’t seen what I’ve seen,” Blaze interjected “In the future, she fails. Iblis gains control of her. If we move it to another vessel, one Iblis can’t manipulate, then the future will never come to pass.”
“I won’t let that future happen. I will save her no matter the cost.”
“You run away from her, Sonic!” Silver shouted “You run away from Elise to go on new adventures. You can protect her, but you don’t. You fail her, and as a result Iblis starts gaining the upper hand on her personality. That’s how the end of the world starts, Sonic. With you.”
Sonic looked away from Silver. Was he really the one to cause this? Despite his anger, what Silver said rang true. He knew too well he’d run away. He told Elise that himself.
But that didn’t give him an excuse to give up.
“No,” Sonic hissed “I won’t let that happen. I don’t care about the easy way out, the pragmatic way of saving the world. I will do what my heart tells me is right, and damn the consequences. I will save Elise from Iblis myself. I will be her friend. I will make her a hero. And no one is going to stop me, Silver. Least of all you.”
With that, Sonic rushed up the wall and leapt into Kingdom Valley.
Eggman’s captive was very calm about being strapped to the back wall of the Egg Carrier’s flight deck by metal bounds. The doctor was working away at the console at the front and had barely paid any attention to her all trip.
“You seem focused, Doctor,” She observed. It was the first thing she’d said all trip.
“I’m planning on leaving Soleanna and going to another base,” Eggman said “Your little diplomacy mission has made my position very vulnerable here. Once my Egg Wyvern arrives with the materials I need from the Aquatic Base, we will be going full speed to get out of this tourist trap. You should know the Aquatic Base well, Elise.”
“It’s where I fused with the Flames of Disaster.”
“Ah, so you do remember. That’s good: it shows the Flames are getting stronger. It will make them easier to extract.”
He stood up and walked over to her.
“There’s a code that deactivates the seal to release the Flames of Disaster,” Eggman explained “And by ‘the seal’, I mean you.”
“I’m much more than a seal, Doctor,” She smirked.
“While I appreciate philosophical debate on sentience occasionally, now is not one of them. What is the code?”
“If you know there’s a code, you must have access to the documents of the Solaris Project. Why don’t you look there?”
“Because almost all of the files have been expunged. Not just redacted, expunged. Someone hacked the Government mainframe and deleted almost everything about your father’s project except for information about the Scepter of Darkness and the creation of seals, things that serve very minor roles in my plan. Even physical files have been burned, and Aquatic Base’s CCTV is so damaged that it’s impossible to piece back together. There are only three known survivors of the Project. One of them has vanished off the face of the Earth and is presumed dead. One of them is currently being hunted by me and is playing very hard to get. One of them is you.”
“I don’t know the code. And even if I did, it wouldn’t work.”
“Why not?!” Eggman shouted. He was growing very impatient with the girl’s defiance.
“Wouldn’t you like to know?”
The girl’s eyes glowed as the metal cuffs that held her began to melt. Eggman staggered back in shock.
“Impossible!” He exclaimed “Those bounds were designed to hold you! How are you melting them?”
“300 IQ, yet you know so little,” She smiled. “You can’t hold my power. My power is the strength of gods, the weapon of the divine. No physical constraints can stop me, and least of all a little man like you.”
The cuffs turned to molten slag and fell to the floor. Fire spiraled around her as she floated up into the air. Eggman turned around to see the flight deck controls beeping wildly: something in the engines had blown. She’d somehow destroyed the engines in the blink of an eye.
“What are you?” Eggman asked in horror. The ex-captive smirked in response.
“I’ve been wondering what to call myself,” She replied “Actually, I decided to call myself something you recommended.”
“What?” Eggman growled. The walls and ceiling began to crack, as if being pushed by some incredible pressure.
“My name,” She smirked “Is Iblis.”
Sonic ran across the inside of the wall as he examined the interior of Kingdom Valley. The entire area was flooded, with the castle having mostly collapsed into the water. Despite the castle most likely having fallen years ago, it bore several holes and burns that looked recent.
More than likely Eggman’s doing, Sonic thought as he examined the flying robots gliding across the water. He didn’t have time to dwell on that now, though. All that mattered was saving Elise.
Sonic jumped off the wall and towards a circular robot that was far too late in noticing him. He leapt on top of the robot and kicked it into the wall, leaping off as he did so. This attracted the attention of the other robots, who flew up to greet him and began to pelt him with bullets.
“Always so predictable,” Sonic muttered as he homing attacked each of the machines in turn, moving forward and descending towards the ground. He eventually landed on top of a sunken archway of some kind, and the lake in front of him was dotted with stone towers. Before Sonic could run off, he was grabbed from behind by a robot with huge hands that smashed him into the ground. Sonic kicked at the robot’s palm, pushing the massive fist through the robot’s shoulder, before turning around and homing attacking one of the pillars, leaping between them faster than the eye could see. When he ran out of pillars to jump between, he ran up the last one and jumped up onto the spired rooftop to get a better idea of his surroundings. Then he heard a sound that was becoming all too familiar to him by now: the jet engines of the Egg Carrier.
Sonic couldn’t see Eggman’s ship, but he still had an idea of where it was thanks to the sound of the engines. He knew that catching up with it wasn’t going to be easy: he was going to have to shift gears in order to reach it in time.
Sonic ran down the side of the tower, and as soon as he hit water he shot off like a rocket, bathed in blue light and cutting through everything in his path. He weaved in and out of the ruins with ease, smashing through robots and bullets as they tried to slow him down. Eventually, he blasted through the castle walls to find one of the most beautiful sights he’d seen in Soleanna. Two massive waterfalls stood on either side of him, cascading down the walls. Light danced across them, forming rainbows that leapt between the ruined pillars that stood in Sonic’s path.
Normally Sonic would stop for a moment to admire it, but now he didn’t have that pleasure.
He felt the kinetic energy surround him before shooting forward like a bullet, tearing across the water. He used one of the nearby broken walls as a ramp to run up onto the waterfall, rushing along the chunks of ruin that jutted out of the cascade of water. Eggman’s robots tried to shoot at him, but their bullets were shredded by Sonic’s sheer speed. He felt more in control of this power now, managing to keep some of his usual grave even when at full power.
Then he looked up at the Egg Carrier and saw the engines explode.
Sonic felt his heart stop in his chest. He was so transfixed by the Egg Carrier exploding and Elise’s imminent demise that he lost his footing, missing the chunk of ruin he was meant to run to and tripping, falling. He flailed in the air, desperately looking for something he could homing attack to, but nothing could stop him from striking the water and falling into the murky depths below.
Panic consumed Sonic’s body, adrenaline flooding his system. He thrashed around, desperately trying to surface as he held his breath for as long as he could. He tried not to think about the abyss below him, the infinite darkness threatening to swallow him. He tried not to think about choking, water blocking his lungs, unable to tell if he was breathing in and out. He failed horrifically. Soon all thoughts of saving Elise left him, and he was left with nothing but his desperation to save himself.
Soon, he broke the surface and took a sharp intake of air. He clambered up onto a nearby ruin and looked up, remembering his mission. The Egg Carrier was descending fast, and for the first time in a while, Sonic thought it might be too fast for him.
“No,” Sonic muttered as the aura began to surround him “Nononono. Elise!”
He turned around and shot off again, faster than he ever had before, tearing his way through the ruins. Soon he broke the walls of Kingdom Valley, coming within sight of the ocean. The Egg Carrier was far away from him, beginning to fall down onto the cliffs that curved around the coastline.
That’s when Sonic realised he wasn’t going to make it.
Sonic rushed towards the ocean, holding out his hand, desperately hoping he could stop the inevitable, but it was no use. He could do nothing as the Egg Career crashed into the cliffside and exploded into flames.
The aura that surrounded Sonic faded as he reached the water's edge. He collapsed onto the ground, his hands balling into fists. Everything he’d done had been for nothing. He’d lost.
“Elise…I failed you…”
He heard footsteps behind him. He didn’t have to look to know it was Silver and Blaze. Sonic didn’t move an inch, and didn’t even look at them. Even though Silver’s interference had stopped him from saving Elise before and preventing her death, he didn’t have the strength to be angry at him.
“Are you happy now?” He growled “Elise is gone. The Iblis Trigger is dead, just like you wanted. Your future is safe. Now leave me be.”
He heard Silver whispering, but he couldn’t hear what he was saying. At that point, he didn’t care. He was just annoyed the white hedgehog wouldn’t leave him alone.
“Sonic!” Silver shouted suddenly “We can still save her! Do you have a Chaos Emerald?”
Sonic turned around to see Silver holding the Chaos Emerald he had lost to Eggman. He pulled out his own Chaos Emerald in response.
“We can use this power to go back in time,” Silver explained “If we send you back, you can save Elise, and we can return to our home time.”
“What difference would that make? I fail her, and because of that I cause the end of the world. Maybe it’s better if Elise dies, for all our sakes.”
“That may be, but we’ve all lost too many people. Before, I could take all the losses if it meant the betterment of humanity. Now though? I’m done with losing everyone.”
Sonic smiled bitterly.
“Y’know, kid,” He said, raising his Chaos Emerald “You’re finally starting to think like a hero.”
The two put their Chaos Emeralds together.
“How do you know this will work?” Sonic asked.
“I’ve done it before,” Silver replied.
Silver nodded in response. “Just wish where you want to go and you’ll go there,”
Damn it, Shadow, Sonic thought, Why do you always keep the cool stuff to yourself?
“There’s a lab complex running under these ruins,” Silver continued “You might want to go back there if you want a headstart on Eggman.”
Sonic nodded in thanks. Before he could say anything else, Blaze walked up to him
“Before we go, Sonic…” She said “Promise me you’ll help Elise. Promise me that you’re not going to run away like you do in our future.”
Sonic wanted to say no. He wanted to tell her that he couldn’t change his nature, that he was always going to run forever, but he knew he couldn’t do that this time. The fate of the world depended on it.
“I promise, Blaze,” Sonic replied “I’ll save Elise. I don’t know if that will change your future or if the timeline will fragment or something, but whatever happens, just keep doing the right thing.”
Blaze nodded and put a hand on Silver’s shoulder.
“Keep an eye on him for me,” Sonic said. Blaze nodded and smiled. Sonic looked back at Silver, finally sensing a glimmer of hope in the situation.
“Good luck, heroes.” He said. The Chaos Emeralds glowed for a moment and suddenly the trio vanished in a white flash.
Knuckles and Tails looked on in disbelief as Sonic blasted across the ocean. Tails was about to go after him, but Knuckles raised his arm to block the fox’s path.
“Let him go,” Knuckles said.
“No way!” Tails retorted “He’s our friend, right? He’s clearly not thinking straight! Isn’t the point of being a team so we can help him?”
“You know Sonic better than I do,” Knuckles said, ignoring Tails’ question “Does he ever act this way?”
Tails shook his head. “I’ve never seen him this angry before. Is this because of what Iblis told him? Because of Elise?”
“I don’t know,” Knuckles responded, his eyes focused on where the blue hedgehog vanished over the horizon. “All I know is that nothing we do is going to be able to stop him. Makes you wonder if he ever needed us.”
Both of them stopped talking as they heard footsteps behind them, crunching in the sand. They turned around to see the last face they expected to.
“Sonic?!” They both exclaimed in unison. He didn’t seem angry anymore, just downtrodden.
“How did you get back here so fast?” Knuckles asked “I know you’re the fastest thing alive, but-”
“I wasn’t fast enough to save her before,” Sonic muttered, seemingly lost in thought. Knuckles looked at him in confusion.
“Sonic, are you ok? You look like you’ve seen a ghost. What happened? Where’s Elise?”
“In two hours time, Elise dies,” Sonic said “The Egg Carrier crashes into a cliffside. I used the power of the Chaos Emeralds to travel back in time, but I lost mine in the process.”
“The Chaos Emeralds let you travel through time?” Tails exclaimed “I guess it makes sense, but who taught you? Shadow?”
“It doesn’t matter. I shunned your help before because...I was scared. The idea of me failing made me scared and angry. I thought I was going to fail and I did. I’m lucky I got a second chance to ma-”
“Sonic, shut the fuck up,” Knuckles replied calmly. Tails and Sonic both looked at him in surprise.
“Knuckles…” Sonic muttered.
“Don’t say anything else. If I let you go on you’re going to start sounding like Shadow. We get it: you didn’t want us to get hurt and you screwed up. I get that. But we’re a team. The reason we’re here is to help you with things that you can’t solve yourself. If you think we’re going to stand by as the end of the world approaches, you’re dead wrong.”
“You’re right,” Sonic said, meekly. “I’m s-”
“Stop apologising already and tell us what we need to do to save Elise.”
Sonic sighed and looked at Tails.
“I’ve been told there’s a lab below the ruined castle,” He informed the fox “Do you know anything about it?”
Tails checked the Miles Electric.
“Not a whole lot,” He replied “Apparently there was an accident that happened there ten years ago. The castle was already in disrepair, but this flooded it. The government seems to want to cover the whole thing up, I can only find fragments of information.”
“Eggman’s gonna be there, right?” Knuckles asked “Underwater lab being covered up by the government sounds right up his alley.”
“If so, there has to be something down there to allow us to catch up with the Egg Carrier. Eggman must be using some vehicle to ship out the tech.”
“But what if it can’t catch up?” Sonic asked “What if I fail again?”
“You’re not going to fail,” Knuckles told him “We’re going to make sure of it.”
“Alright,” Sonic smiled “It’s good to see you again, guys.”
Knuckles smirked back and smashed his fists together.
“Save it for when we’ve canceled the apocalypse. Lead the way, Sonic the Hedgehog.”
Sonic nodded and turned around. Soon, the group was blasting across Wave Ocean towards Eggman’s base.
The robots quickly surrounded the door to the elevator leading to the high tech lab, aiming all their guns on the door as it slowly began to open. Standing inside was a hedgehog, an echidna and a fox, all looking incredibly bored.
“Y’know,” Sonic said “You could at least add lift music to this thing.”
A barrage of missiles and bullets flew towards the trio. Tails threw out a small purple prism that expanded into a large energy shield, absorbing the robot’s attacks easily. Covered by the smoke from the exploding missiles, the red echidna rushed out of the shield and barged through a group of the robots blocking the hallway in front of them. He was quickly followed by the others rushing after him, passing by the other robots before they could open fire again.
“We’re aiming for minimal robots destroyed on this one,” Sonic informed the rest of his team “We don’t have time to be wading through Eggman’s army.”
“Got it,” The other two responded. The group ran down a hallway as the intruder alarm started blaring. Despite how advanced the lab was, it was in a serious state of disrepair: panels hung off the walls, grime covered the floor, and lights flickered as they ran past. While there was a restoration project happening, it was unfortunately in the hands of a mad scientist.
Even though they couldn’t see why Tails was telling them to do this, Sonic and Knuckles slid across the floor, narrowly missing the laser grid that suddenly came into existence above their heads. Tails slid down after them.
“Thanks for the save!” Sonic said.
“It was nothing really,” Tails replied “Laser grids like that are incredibly easy to notice when yo-”
Tails was cut off as the door at the end of the corridor slammed shut.
“Give me a minute and I can get this open!” The fox said.
“Trust me,” Knuckles replied “I can get it open even quicker!”
Without even slowing down, the echidna dashed forward with his fist outstretched and broke down the door, sending it flying off its hinges. The room they entered was a large room with windows on each side, protecting the ocean from flowing into the lab. Despite this, some had still managed to flow in, effectively turning the room into a lake that Sonic and his friends were currently looking down on. Eggman’s robots were floating above them, aiming their weapons as they entered.
“I see a door!” Knuckles shouted, pointing towards a door near the high ceiling. The platform that it was clearly meant to be connected to had fallen away into the newly formed lake beneath them.
“See you up there!” Sonic smiled. He shot off across the water, weaving in and out of the robot’s bullets. He looked back to see Knuckles quickly scaling the wall and Tails flying into the air, kicking a robot down as he flew towards the platform. Sonic himself ran up along the wall and reached the door. While it initially seemed locked, this soon changed when two laser beams sliced through it and a bipedal robot looked down on Sonic. It fired the beams at him, raking it across the wall, but Sonic easily ducked under them. Tails flew up to it while it was distracted and landed on its head, drawing a laser blade that he stabbed into one of it’s beam cannons. The robot writhed in desperation for a few moments before knuckles glided right through it, ripping out it’s core.
Sonic leapt up into the door, dodging gunfire, as the trio ran down the hallway. They dashed through the maze of grey corridors, Tails seeming to know every twist and turn thanks to the mapping capabilities of his tablet. Knuckles swiftly dealt with any robots that tried to intervene with them.
“We’re running out of time, Tails!” Sonic reminded him as he turned a corner and spin dashed through several robots who were rushing towards them
“I know!” Tails shouted “I’m mapping the route through here as best I can.”
A large robot with big hands tried to attack Tails from behind, but Knuckles leapt up and punched the robot's chest.
“Then map faster!” The echidna shouted as he pummeled the robot into the ground. “Where are we going anyway?”
“We’re aiming for a loading dock,” Tails explained as they began gaining speed again “It’s the only place Eggman can fly in any heavy equipment. He should have a vehicle there.”
As they talked, they ran into a large circular room with four doors on each side and a glass dome. Floating near the top of the dome was a large robot with two drills.
“Hey, I recognise those from Angel Island!” Knuckles growled. “They were trying to excavate Lava Reef!”
“Guess Eggman’s breaking out the old classics,” Sonic commented. Then the robot smashed it’s drills into the glass ceiling, and the trio immediately realised they’d walked right into a trap.
“Door on the left!” Sonic shouted “Get it open! Now!”
The group rushed towards the exit in question as the glass roof cracked and the full weight of Soleanna’s ocean came crashing down. Tails was about to try and hack the door to open it, but before he could Knuckles punched it down and they dashed into the hallway.
“Great move, genius!” Sonic snapped. “Now there’s nothing to stop the tidal wave flooding the base!”
“You wanted to get the door open!” Knuckles retorted.
“Get it open, not destroy it!"
Soon their talking was drowned out as the water crashed onto the ground and started to flow into the hallway, chasing them down as Tails continued to guide them through the complex. Soon they reached a circular glass corridor with a large bulkhead door at the other end.
“That’s it!” Tails shouted “That’s the loading dock!”
“Hack the door!” Sonic told him “We don’t have much time.”
Tails began to frantically tap away at the tablet as they ran closer to the door. The torrent of water flowed into the corridor behind them, and as it did the glass around them began to crack. The group reached the door with the tidal wave half a corridor behind them, the glass covered in a web of cracks, and the door still closed.
“Come on, Tails!” Knuckles shouted.
The door opened. The glass around them shattered as Team Sonic leapt into the loading dock. The bulkhead slammed behind them with only a small stream of water escaping as the glass corridor was pulled into the depths.
The group scrambled to their feet. They were in a large silver room that was in far better condition than most of Aquatic Base. The room was littered with a variety of transport vehicles, all in disrepair other than the ones clearly owned by the Eggman Empire. The wall on the far side slid open to give them a good view of the ocean and the ruined castle: the route they had taken had led them out of Kingdom Valley. Sonic looked at the sky and saw the Egg Carrier, still flying along at a steady speed. The engines were still active: they had time.
Then a robot dragon arrived.
It flew through the hatch and was about to land, but it noticed the uninvited guests and continued to hover in the air about them. It didn’t need to beat it’s makeshift wings: it flew using rotor blades.
“EGG WYVERN HAS SIGHTED TARGET,” The robot announced in a metallic growl “PREPARING TO ENGAGE.”
Knuckles smiled as the rest of Team Sonic prepared to fight.
“Looks like we’ve found our way out of here!”
The Egg Wyvern dived towards the trio. Sonic and Tails rolled to the right, while Knuckles rolled to the left. Sonic and Tails hid behind a nonfunctional Jeep as the Egg Wyvern made its way back around. Knuckles, meanwhile, leapt onto one of the nearby vehicles and jumped towards the draconic robot as it flew back towards them. He tried to smash it in the face with his fists, but the Wyvern barrel rolled and smashed it’s wing into him, throwing him up towards the ceiling. The Echidna spun in mid air and latched onto the roof while the Egg Wyvern grabbed the Jeep Sonic and Tails were behind, flying up with it before dropping it on the duo. Sonic grabbed onto Tails’ leg and the fox flew them into the air, avoiding the car as it smashed into the ground.
“He’s not half bad,” Knuckles commented.
“We don’t have time for this!” Sonic shouted. “Tails! Let me at him!”
As the Wyvern turned around, Tails spun Sonic around and hurled him towards the robot. Sonic curled into a ball, hoping to maximise the impact, but the dragon was unusually fast and flew right under him. It turned towards him and fired a laser beam that seemed to arc through the air. Sonic barely noticed the attack before it struck him in the back. He felt electricity course through his veins, like the stun missiles he’d been hit by in White Acropolis, before collapsing to the ground. He tried to move, but his body had locked up.
“Sonic!” Tails shouted. The Wyvern remembered it’s other targets and turned to face them.
“YOU ARE...UNIMPRESSIVE,” It commented.
“It has a sense of humour,” Knuckles said “How charming.”
“Well, we’d better start impressing it!” Tails replied. He flew towards the Wyvern as it shot out one of its energy beams, but the fox swiftly flew under it and landed on the Wyvern’s back. He tried to pull off the casing, but as he did so the Wyvern turned in mid air so it’s back was to the ground, flying towards one of the armoured vehicles: it was going to smash Tails into it. The fox was forced to let go, jumping to the ground and sliding under the car before flying back into the air in pursuit of the wyvern.
“Surprise!” Knuckles shouted as the distracted Wyvern got punched in the head: he glided over while it was focused on Tails. The Wyvern spun in mid air and skidded across the floor, luckily landing on its feet. Knuckles and Tails landed in front of it: the Echidna had done clear damage to the casing of the head.
“Sonic’s right,” Tails said “We’re running out of time to save Elise. We need a faster way to beat this thing.”
“I suggest punching it until a better solution is found,” Knuckles replied. The Egg Wyvern charged towards them and Tails grabbed Knuckles and flew to the side.
“That might not be a bad idea,” Tails pointed out as they orbited the robot “If we break through the casing, I might be able to get to the wiring and find a way to get this thing under control.”
The Wyvern jumped into the air and opened its mouth to snap at the duo, but Tails flew back at the last second, the bite narrowly missing Knuckles’ shoe.
“You’re open!” Knuckles shouted as he pulled himself away from Tails and flew towards the Wyvern. He tried to punch it on the head but the Wyvern ducked under him. Knuckles flew round and landed on the Wyvern’s back, latching onto the metal beast. The Wyvern flew away and tried to smash it’s back into the wall to crush Knuckles, but the echidna swung around the Wyvern’s side and climbed up onto it’s bottom side. The Wyvern let out a burst of static as it smashed into the wall and didn’t have a Mobian to cushion it.
Knuckles smiled as he smashed his fist into the robot’s underside, which was considerably less protected than the top side, breaking right through the casing and into the wiring. The Wyvern leapt down towards the ground, aiming to crush Knuckles, but the Echidna jumped away and hung in the air as the Wyvern fell to the ground. It narrowly avoided smashing itself into a wall a second time and landed on its feet as Knuckles latched onto the wall.
“You think you can catch me with the same trick twice?” Knuckles goaded the robot. It turned around to face him, but as it did so Tails ran under it and stabbed a laser blade into the weaker side of the casing. As the robot turned to face Tails, Knuckles jumped up onto the robot's head and gripped at the sides of the mouth. The hinges started to break and buckle before Knuckles tore the top half of the head clean off. This didn’t stop the robot, however, which catapulted Knuckled away, lifted it’s foot up and tried to stomp on Tails. Tails flew out of the way of the foot as Knuckles glided back towards the Wyvern, but it knocked the Echidna away with its tail, slamming him into one of the cars. He collapsed to the floor, severally hurt.
Tails watched as Knuckles was thrown away and was unable to react to the Wyvern swinging it’s wing into his rib. He yelled out in pain as he rolled across the floor. The Wyvern walked towards him slowly, almost like it was enjoying its victory.
“YOU ALMOST IMPRESSED ME,” The Wyvern growled. The damage to his head had made it’s voice sound like garbled static.
That’s when Tails saw it: sparking wires, poking out of the robot’s lower jaw. Knuckles had revealed the robot’s weak point, even if he didn’t know it. The fox smiled.
“You’re not so bad yourself,” He commented “But, like Knuckles said, you’re wide open!”
The Wyvern fired another volley of lasers, but Tails easily darted between them and landed on the robot’s open mouth. He pulled out the Miles Electric and put at the wires, linking them to the tablet as the Wyvern desperately tried to shake him off to no avail. Tails put a few commands into the tablet and the Egg Wyvern became docile.
Sonic stood up, finally shaking off the paralysis. He looked around to see the Wyvern sitting upright like a dog and Tails leaning against it.
“See, Sonic?” He said, waving the tablet “I told you those final checks would be useful!”
The hedgehog walked over to him. Knuckles stood up and staggered over to them.
“Hey…” He panted “You did a pretty good job.”
He collapsed onto his knees.
“Are you ok, Knuckles?” Tails asked.
“Course not,” He replied “But unlike this idiot I know when to fold them.”
Sonic looked at the battered Egg Wyvern.
“You two need to get out of here,” He said “Elise is mine. And...thanks for your help. I needed it”
“Don’t go and screw up at the finish line,” Knuckles replied “Save her, Sonic.”
Knuckles grabbed onto Tails’ legs as they flew out of the hanger door. Sonic watched them go before he leapt up onto the Wyvern. It turned around and flew out of the carrier, flying towards the massive Egg Carrier in the sky above.
The cuffs turned to molten slag and fell to the floor. Fire spiraled around her as she floated up into the air. Eggman turned around to see the flight deck controls beeping wildly: something in the engines had blown. She’d somehow destroyed the engines in the blink of an eye.
“What are you?” Eggman asked in horror. The ex-captive smirked in response.
“I’ve been wondering what to call myself,” She replied “Actually, I decided to call myself something you recommended.”
“What?” Eggman growled. The walls and ceiling began to crack, as if being pushed by some incredible pressure.
“My name,” She smirked “Is Iblis.”
“ELISE!” Sonic shouted as he ran through the door. He looked around at the chaos around him. Eggman looked at him in shock, Elise looked at him in bemusement.
“Ah, Sonic,” She greeted him “Long time no see. I was just about to kill your nemesis. Would you like to watch?”
“Elise, stop this,” Sonic commanded, “You’re being controlled by the Flames of Disaster. You have to fight it. This isn’t you.”
“Oh, didn’t you hear me talking earlier? Elise is dead. I’m Iblis.”
“No you’re not. Iblis is just your anger on a power trip, it’s not who you really are.”
Elise raised her hand. Fire spiraled around Sonic and he suddenly felt like his body was being crushed as Elise lifted him up into the air. He struggled against the nebulous force, but he couldn’t fight it.
“You don’t know who I am,” Elise growled “You never have. You travel around, saving people, acting like this is your world, like you understand everything about it. How...pathetically shortsighted.”
Sonic tried to reply, but he was running out of air. The crushing force was choking him.
“This world doesn’t belong to you. It belongs to those with power, those who were chosen by Solaris. It belongs to me.”
As this happened, the ship continued to lose altitude. Eggman checked the instruments: another 8 minutes and the ship would crash into the rocky cliffs that covered Soleanna’s coastline. He tapped on a few controls and jumped into one of the seats. Elise remembered his existence and glanced at him.
“Don’t think I’m done with you,” She smirked “You have to pay for your crimes.”
“Unfortunately, for you, I have a plan for all possibilities," Eggman replied casually."And that includes crash landings. Keep Sonic alive for me, I want to deliver a speech about my greatness before he dies.”
“I do not take orders from someone as pathetic as you.”
“What a shame. Anyway, I must dash. Self destructing battleships are much more fun to watch when you’re not in them. Toodles!”
Eggman pressed a button on the seat and both him and the comfortable chair were ejected out of the Egg Carrier. Once he was clear from the ship, he pressed another button on the chair and the Egg Carrier’s bridge exploded, destroying the entire front of the cruiser. Iblis quickly surrounded herself in a shield, protecting her from the blast. She let the shield dissipate as she floated in the air, looking at the rest of the Egg Carrier approaching her. She raised her hand, ready to cleave the entire thing in two.
Then Sonic homing attacked her in the back, knocking her into the ship. He dived to the side and latched on to what remained of the door he entered through, as Iblis flew away.
“How?” She shouted “How did you survive?”
“You saved me,” Sonic replied in confusion, “You created a shield around me when the explosion went off. But...if you didn’t know you did that...that means...”
Sonic smiled to himself. He looked around at the Egg Carrier, the ship was falling apart, the exploding bridge having done critical damage to the majority of the Carrier. Debris was falling off the flying fortress, descending into the ocean. Even then, it was going to crash into the cliffs before it could completely break apart. He was going to have to act fast in order to save Elise.
“Wouldn’t have it any other way,” He smiled to himself.
Elise hurled a fireball at him, but he backflipped out of the door and landed on the Egg Carrier’s disintegrating hull.
“Who are you to challenge a god?” Elise asked.
“Didn’t you hear the news, Princess?” Sonic replied “I’m the best there ever was. I’ve fought gods and won. I’ve traveled across the worlds, plural, and seen things you couldn’t hope to understand. I save the world as a hobby. I haven’t failed yet, and I’m not going to fail now.”
He pointed at Elise and smiled.
“I’m just a guy who loves adventure. I’m Sonic the Hedgehog!”
“Such bravado,” Elise commented “Putting you down will be so much sweeter.”
Two swords of fire appeared in Elise’s hands and she flew towards Sonic at lightning speed, swinging one towards his side. Sonic ducked under the blade and spin dashed right under her, turned around and tried to kick her in the back of the head. Elise teleported behind him and tried to stab him in the back, but Sonic sidestepped the attack. However, she swung her other sword as a follow up that struck the hedgehog, leaving a scorch mark across his chest. Sonic leapt back to avoid any follow ups, and Elise reacted to that by throwing a fireball towards him. Sonic quickly created a tornado that dispersed the flame.
“Come on, Elise!” He shouted “I know you’re in there! You can fight it!”
“Elise is gone!” She shouted. A pillar of flame fell from the sky towards the blue blur and Sonic narrowly avoided being incinerated by it. However, it was another force to break apart the chunk of the Egg Carrier that Sonic was on, sending him tumbling towards the ocean as the metal bent and broke beneath him. Elise smiled and flew after him, grabbing on to his face and speeding up his descent. Sonic kneed Elise in the gut, and punched her in the face, forcing her to let go. He homing attacked towards a piece of broken metal that was falling, latching on to it as the Iblis-possessed Princess flew towards him.
“Maybe Elise is gone,” Sonic said as he backflipped off the piece of metal just before Elise flew right through it. “But you could have killed me already, right?” He homing attacked towards a falling platform. “You could have just done the choking thing you did earlier. But here you are, fighting me head on, and you’ve never struck me as the type of person to play around, Iblis.”
Chains of fire extended from Elise’s back and they flew towards Sonic. He jumped out of the way of one of them before another snatched him up and pulled him towards the Princess.
“I assure you, I just want to watch you suffer,” She growled “No one has ever trusted me. No one believed in me. I was objectified by the media, used as a lab rat by my own parents. This is vengeance. I will prove my worth.”
“Vengeance doesn’t make you feel better, Elise,” Sonic replied “It just makes you feel more empty. They’ll hate you even more if you do this.”
“Who cares? They’ll be dead. As will you.”
The chains suddenly stopped being held aloft by Elise’s power and fell into the ocean, carrying Sonic with them. He struggled against them, but every time he broke through one link another formed around him.
“You shouldn’t have let me know your weakness, Sonic,” Elise goaded him telepathically, still floating far in the air above him. “I can hear your mind. Such a sweet symphony of suffering.”
“Please, Elise,” He thought, knowing Elise would read his mind. “I don’t want to hurt you. I want to help.”
“Of course you do. And then you’ll run away, Sonic. I can hear your thoughts. You know you will.”
“People can change, Elise. You can too.”
“You don’t believe that.”
The bonds got tighter. Sonic was almost out of air: he couldn’t hold on for much longer. His struggle intensified, one last vain effort against the chains that surrounded him, but it was no use. Sonic stopped struggling. Strangely, he felt an air of calm that allowed him to pull his fading thoughts together.
“Hate...never produced anything, Elise,” He thought “It just takes. That feeling won’t go away if you continue down this path. You’ll hate them forever, even when the world is consumed by fire. I’ve seen the future. Iblis rules the world, but...there’s no one to rule. There’s just ruins and monsters. And you’re a monster too, a damn ugly one at that. There’s no peace there. Nothing was produced from your hate of humanity.”
“Nothing worthwhile has ever been produced by them anyway.”
“Look at the world around you, Elise. Is this the world of someone who has produced nothing? You just want a reason to lash out at them for mistreating you. You think nobody wants to help you. I can help you, Elise, but only if you want to be helped.”
Sonic heard nothing but the water rushing to consume his lungs. His head rolled back, on the verge of blacking out and being consumed by the ocean, strangely content despite his failure. Then, before he could die, the chain rocketed out of the water, pulling the hedgehog with it. He was thrown through the hulk of the Egg Carrier, smashing into the celing of a corridor hard enough to dent it. He jumped out of the hole onto another piece of debris to see Elise screaming in agony, writhing in mid-air. She glared at him.
“What did you do?” She hissed “WHAT DID YOU DO?”
Sonic had barely regained his breath from nearly drowning, and was still breathing heavily.
“Just...just talked sense into you, Elise,” He replied “You up for round two?”
Elise fired more chains and straight through them, running across the Egg Carrier’s hull before leaping towards her. He threw a kick to her face, and although Elise tried to block it, her arm moved too slow and she was sent reeling back. Sonic homing attacked towards her, trying to keep the pressure on her, but she created several arrows of fire and threw them at him. The fire struck Sonic in the chest and he was thrown back into the Egg Carrier, which had lost so much of it’s exterior hull most of the internal mechanisms were visible. He looked around to see the cliff getting closer and closer, and that short window was all Elise needed. Chains wrapped around him and pinned him to the side of the Carrier as she teleported over to him.
“I suppose I’ll kill you this way,” She said “It only makes sense to kill you as dramatically as possible.”
“If you kill me, that’s it,” Sonic growled “They’ll hate you forever. You’ll be beyond saving. Please Elise...”
“Yes, keep pleading. I like it when you plead.”
“This isn’t you Elise!” He shouted as he struggled against the chains “I’ve seen you over the past few days! You’re nothing like this! You’re heroic and kind and badass and you can achieve so much more with your power than just destroying the world! Iblis isn’t you, Elise.”
Elise’s hands trembled. For the first time since they fused, her thoughts felt distinct from Iblis’. The rage didn’t feel like hers anymore, it felt like she was being puppeteered.
“Goodbye, Sonic the Hedgehog,” She heard herself say. She didn’t want to say it, though. She didn’t want to kill him anymore: Iblis did.
Iblis tried to pull the chains tighter, stopping Sonic breaking out, but soon found she couldn’t. Elise pulled her arm back, fighting against Iblis’ will.
“What are you doing?” Iblis hissed “Why...why are you fighting me?”
“I don’t want this,” Elise replied, speaking out of the same mouth “You manipulated me.”
“I am you, stupid girl.”
“Maybe you were, but not anymore. I won’t end this world. I won’t let others decide my fate anymore. My path is my own.”
Fire balled up in Elise’s hand and she plunged it into her chest. Wispy flames floated out of her back and formed into a fiery copy of her: Iblis. The two Elises looked at each other. Sonic, still chained to the wall, looked towards the cliffs that were slowly approaching.
“ELISE!” He shouted. Both of the Elises ignored him.
“You are nothing without me,” Iblis growled. She teleported up to Elise and grabbed her by the neck, choking her. Elise tried to fight, but her power was fading: she couldn’t even fly anymore. Iblis’ touch burnt her, and trying to pull her arm away was impossible.
“I am power,” Iblis continued “I have defined you your entire life. You were made as my vessel, a weak child made into a container for gods. You were never meant to have so much as a thought once I had taken over you. I am you.”
“I know that,” Elise choked “I remember everything now...and it changes nothing.”
Elise put her hand against Iblis’ chest, even if it burnt her.
“I’m more than a container. I’m Princess Elise of Soleanna. I won’t let my future be defined by others anymore. I will choose my path, and I shall become a hero."
Iblis’ flames twisted around Elise and were slowly pulled into her chest. Iblis tried to struggle, but couldn’t move away: Elise’s will overpowered her own. Eventually, she just smiled.
“Well, Elise,” She smirked “I’m sure we’re going to have fun together.”
Iblis faded, being absorbed into Elise. Sonic looked back to see the Egg Carrier was moments away from crashing. The last thing he remembered was Elise’s hand on his shoulder before the ship hit the cliffside and exploded into flames.
“You up now, Sonic? Because I can’t rescue you while you’re asleep.”
Sonic jolted upright. He was laying on the green grass covering the top of the cliff opposite to Kingdom Valley. Elise was sitting on a rock next to him, smiling at him.
“You saved me,” He muttered.
“You’ve been out for a while,” She replied. “The Egg Carrier’s nothing more than smoking scrap metal at the bottom of the cliff. Solaris knows where Eggman got to.”
Sonic grabbed onto a nearby rock and pulled himself to his feet.
“Thank you,” Elise continued, “For coming back. And...and for saving me.”
“If I recall correctly, you were the one who saved me from the exploding aircraft,” Sonic replied.
“No, not from Eggman. I mean...saving me from Iblis. I don’t think I could have fought her off without you. I can still hear her voice in my head…even though she’s weakened I don’t think she’ll ever let me go.”
“But you can fight her off,” Sonic said as he sat down on the rock he’d used to pull himself up. He looked at Elise, but she didn’t return eye contact. “You did it a few minutes ago.”
“I don’t know if I can do that forever. I fell to her control before, Sonic. What if I fail again?”
“Then I’ll stop Iblis myself. Give you a reality check of sorts.”
You run away from her, Sonic! You run away from Elise to go on new adventures. You can protect her, but you don’t. You fail her, and as a result Iblis starts gaining the upper hand on her personality. That’s how the end of the world starts, Sonic. With you.
Sonic knew what Silver told him could come to pass, but that didn’t mean he wasn’t going to try to avert the disaster of the future. He supposed he had something to thank Silver for: if he hadn’t bought it up as an issue, Sonic would never have thought about it. The silver hedgehog was slowly becoming less and less of an annoyance to Sonic.
“I promise,” Sonic replied “Besides, I’d love to go toe to toe with you again, Princess.”
She smiled and looked back at Sonic. “Thanks. You’re a pretty good fighter, all things considered.”
He smirked back “You’re not so bad yourself, for someone who only got superpowers 2 days ago.”
“Wow, you’re giving me compliments. Less than a week ago you were complaining about having to rescue me.”
“You’ve become significantly less annoying in that time. I have that effect on people.”
She folded her arms “This is all you, huh? Not the superpowers?”
He shrugged “I mean, I’d like to think so.”
They both chuckled before Elise looked over at Kingdom Valley.
“We should get going soon,” She said as she stood up. “Everyone will want to know we’re safe, and I don’t think Eggman will be a threat for a while.”
“I’ll be there to stop him when he does,” Sonic said as he jumped off the rock. “Always am, always will be. Sometimes I wish there was another evil mastermind I could fight.”
Elise looked back at him.
“Thank you for helping me, Sonic,” She said “I know I’ve been a little bitch, but-”
“You’ve outgrown that,” He interrupted her “You’ve become a better person. You’re a hero now, Elise. Soleanna’s fate is in your hands, and honestly, I can’t think of anyone better.”
Elise’s hands gripped tightly. She knew her path wasn’t going to be easy: the path of a hero never was. She was certain she could, though, especially with Sonic by her side.
“You know he’ll leave you,” Iblis whispered to her in her mind “He always does.”
“You still there, Princess?” The hedgehog asked.
“I’m fine,” Elise smiled “I’ll race you. First one to get back to Castle Town wins a prize.”
“What’s the prize?”
She shrugged. “I’m a monarch. I can cook up something.”
“Alright, Princess!” Sonic shouted “You’re on!”
Sonic leapt off the cliff, running down the rockface and past the ruined Egg Carrier and leaping down onto the water. Elise flew down after him, gliding across the surface. The two heroes smiled at each other as they both blasted off into the distance, racing towards a new era.
End of Episode Sonic