Author: dib07 PM
A final war is ushered, but not between two armies. Between one overlander and a small, brave hedgehog. This final fight will dictate the end and nothing will ever be the same again.Rated: Fiction T - English - Adventure/Suspense - Sonic - Chapters: 17 - Words: 48,604 - Reviews: 25 - Favs: 11 - Follows: 3 - Updated: 08-23-11 - Published: 07-15-11 - Status: Complete - id: 7184672
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Chapter 17: In the End
Sonic was past caring.
The power ring must have done something to the generator and the power fluxes to the Master Emerald. Now it was delivering a vaster energy amount each time through the tubes, and Robotnik seemed to be having problems controlling it.
Sonic would have tried to cut into those pipes that served as a circuit to consume power, but the metal it was made out of was too hard for him to pierce. It was granite. It cut the human's agility and manoeuvrability, but why have that when you had the power?
Robotnik missed his target again. Sweat slithered down his greasy brow. Blood fountained foully over his throbbing wrist. The ugly pain of it all made him light headed.
But how could this be happening?
He had everything planned from every little detail!
Why was the hedgehog still alive? How?
This wasn't how things were supposed to go!
Why did nothing ever go as planned?
"Curse you!" His remaining fist smashed into a wall where he thought he would be able to catch the fucking fly in mid-air. He missed.
Chunks of wall and rubble fell down and banged against his precious generator. The Master emerald, disrupted by the power ring, was overheating. Soon if it continued, it would explode.
Sonic's spinning blur cut down from above and ripped two tentacles in half. The other ten tried to follow his sharp movements, only to bash into each other and damage themselves.
Unable to tolerate any more pain, Sonic relaxed from his ball and fell into a bloodied heap on the floor. The blue emerald shot across the room and hit the Master Emerald that radiated violently.
The stresses from the high energy field caused a long crack to splinter up a wall. It spread out into the ceiling like a spider web, and a lassitude of cracks followed.
"You devil!" Robotnik almost plundered onto the floor himself. His eyes glowed madly. Foam and rabid spit curled and gnashed at his teeth. The thick blubber under his belly wobbled and swayed. "How dare you hur…" His eyebrows fused, "…injure me like this! We're both going to die down here, you despicable rodent!"
Sonic raised himself up on his arms, fresh blood spreading out from his wounds. He could barely see anymore. "It's not the question of who dies…" A spurt of pure agony seized his maimed side, "it's the matter of who lives to see the other die first…"
Robotnik faintly laughed and held up the bloody stump of what was left of his hand. "Ah. I see."
So hate was strong after all.
"If that is how it ends, I shall enjoy relishing upon the last seconds of your life." Robotnik did not need to move. The tentacles covered ground for him as fast as hawk in full flight. "You must remember though, when you spiral into your next life, that heroes are nothing but a smear under someone's boot."
Sonic was no longer afraid. He had been through so much, and the only thing keeping him going was to see the tyrant die before his eyes.
Nothing else mattered.
Not Shadow. Not Knuckles.
Not the winter and the summer he would miss.
Not the princess that stood waiting for him, pregnant with his child.
Not the friends he had made and vowed to protect.
Because he was already doing this for them.
The tentacles attacked in their predicable routine, and Sonic instinctively tried to get up and run, but could only run in his mind.
Faintness overcame him. He felt like he was turning over on the floor of a cave in a cliff face with a war waging outside the hole. He felt like he was lying on bitter snow in a blood-choked land without refuge.
He didn't feel the initial crack as Robotnik threw him against the wall. He didn't see the Master Emerald glow a zealous display of white-hot light. He didn't hear the walls and ceiling groan and shudder.
But he saw Robotnik's face through the lime green curtain. His mouth was pulled back, aghast and helpless.
Perhaps even horrified would have been a good word to describe it.
Finally, he was thrown into a corner where he gladly rested, mind numb from all the pain and corruption.
"I'll see you in hell, Robotnik."
The warlord made the most unnatural of sounds. Screaming he was. Slobbering great guttural noises that fitted more of a pig than a man. Then again, what had Robotnik turned into? Did he stay a man? Or had he become an obsessed genius who had fused himself with machine?
Maybe he was a maniac? Consumed with killing the innocent and slaughtering those who were considered 'weaker' than himself?
Or was he an animal? Had he become what he so loathed? After all that he had strove for?
Sonic could answer none of these questions, because he no longer knew himself.
In the end, nothing goes as the story tells it.
In the end, as all good stories go, the hero saves the world and defeats his enemy.
In the end knights defeat dragons.
Damsels are saved.
Disasters are stopped
The hero is remembered and hailed long after his death of old age.
But this time, Sonic knew, as he had in the beginning, that his end would be somewhat different.
He also knew that only through sacrifice, would he gain the destruction of Doctor Robotnik and ensure the safety of his children, and of his friends, and of the animals of Mobius.
Seeing Robotnik dying, and knowing that Mobius was going to be free of his monstrous tyranny was all that he wanted.
There would be no more fear.
No more shadows haunting a bedtime story late at night.
No ghouls in the dark.
No more androids feasting upon animals.
No more slavery.
No more cruelty.
Sonic's love for freedom, and his love for Mobius had ended all wars.
He had stopped Doctor Robotnik.
In a way, if seemed like their destiny.
Ironically, Robotnik was going to die by his own hands. It was he who had hooked the Master Emerald up, thinking that he could control it, as humans generally thought when something was out of their principle of logic.
And that was his downfall, in the end.
The glow was so bright it engulfed the room. It made the cracks peel out white and stark. All shadows were devoured. Nothing stood protected as the fiendish lambent energy consumed everything.
Robotnik had collapsed onto the floor. His own weight so great, it was almost impossible to get back up.
But he wasn't going to.
The full energies of power running from the tubes and wires had made him sick, and instead filled him with toxin instead of subtle irresistible elixir.
He was finished.
Sonic had won.
The hedgehog lay his head down on the turf floor, and smiled without pain. Without trouble. He had always been a creature that had been blessed from inhibiting self-doubt. He was carefree. Adventurous. A creature that always kept his eyes on the horizon.
"Sal, I'll always be with you…" A metal pipe burst, sending hot rancid air seething into the chaos of the room. Wires snapped. Robotnik's generator flickered with the beginnings of a fire. An initial explosion rattled the chamber, and shrapnel blew out everywhere. Something hot and sharp pierced Sonic's ribcage. He winced, barely registering it. A secondary explosion flurried up a raging fire, and everything became black.
Knuckles and Shadow scrambled over the dead echidna robot, almost slipped on its oil and surged on as if they had black demons approaching them fast from behind.
They had found an outlet, leading them back down the corridors from where they came. They had forgotten about where the android echidna might be, but when they saw it crumpled on the wall, the two of them stampeded over it and continued without stopping.
Their haste, though blind and hasty, did not go without purpose.
The walls were crumbling.
A giant sigh riveted down the complex, and Knuckles felt the ceiling shudder under a sullen massive weight that could bring the walls crashing down upon them. They had to get out.
Together, after making a collective decision without speaking (they could sense it in one another without need for words), they started heading back along the rooms and chambers of a mad human's world.
The grumbling and ear-splitting shrieks coming from the walls made it sound as though a giant creature outside was slowly and loudly eating the metal of Robotnik's hideout.
"I think they must have either destroyed themselves or left the place."
Around the bend of a sick, twisted metal warren was a single hunter, but it walked cautiously, and peered up at the ceiling as if seeking the design for cracks or imperfections.
Knuckles yelped tightly at the back of his throat, his leg bleeding steadily.
Shadow was beside him, the black emerald in his hand. Then, he did the unexpected.
He threw Sargus at the hunter.
Knuckles cursed and hid back round the corner, breath hissing out between his teeth.
"I'm gonna nail you to my door you fucking useless hedgehog! Now we're doomed!"
He listened, and sure enough a blast of explosive discharge rang out. Shortly after, Knuckles could smell toxic fumes from the lazer round. That and burning fuels.
Shadow smirked despite the aversion and general idea of getting them spotted and killed.
"It destroyed it."
"Sargus. The hunter destroyed the black emerald."
Knuckles peered back round the corner, his pained leg making it all the harder to concentrate and focus at one object.
The charred remains of an emerald lay smoking in ruin. The hunter stared at it closely for some time, and did not pick up the animal smell close by. Maybe it was the singing walls and creaking ceiling that stifled its sensors.
The hedgehog took a deep, full breath and chuckles despite their dark situation. "I am free." He said.
Knuckles was confused. "Free? Free from what? Speak sense, confound you!"
Shadow kept his cool, and answered as patiently as a snake awaiting a meal, "that emerald was my poison. It sapped my power, made me vulnerable to disease and illness like you normal creatures. Now my death sentence is over and the Doctor has no hold on me."
Knuckles kept an eye on the hunter who was still intently studying what it had just blasted. "So, would you have possibly killed Sonic rather than face death?"
"No. Not me." He shook his head, expression lax and resolute. The grinding of the walls dimmed and then hollered into something worse. A pipe somewhere in the wall exploded. Steam poured from a vent over their heads. "The thing was, Sargus was a part of me."
Now was no time to really sit back and chat. Knuckles reluctantly stepped forward, causing more pain to rush up his leg.
The hunter in front suddenly made a dash, and it headed straight towards them.
Knuckles didn't have time to shout a warning.
He braced himself, muzzle leering in a dangerous snarl. But the android simply rushed straight past, as if they were never there.
Shadow turned to watch it sprint as fast as a human could.
"It must be because of this place." Knuckles cried. "It's falling apart! Come on! We have to get out of here!"
"But why is this place falling apart?"
"I don't know! Stop looking at me and run! You have legs! Use them!"
They didn't stop to look out for enemies. They simply ran as fast as they could.
Shadow led the way, though he had only some idea where he was going. Animals have an instinctive sense to send them back out above ground, or into an open place from deep caves or cavernous areas.
It wasn't long before Shadow, after transgressing several corridors that all looked the same as the last few dozen, found the door they had come in through.
They pushed it inch it open, and they more or less tumbled out like bolting rabbits.
Knuckles was first into the tight crevice of rock that Shadow had initially found while climbing the mountains. It was slow going. Something exploded behind them, and that only pressed Knuckles to go as fast as he could go.
Finally they faced the sheer vertical mountain face where they had to start descending if they wanted to get out of the area quick.
Shadow looked from the narrow stone corridor and trembled at the landscape blotched out before them in hues of amber, green and violet as the sun rose gently from the east.
It was sunrise.
They had been in that horrible cold artificial base all night.
Knuckles nearly slipped and almost fell to his doom when he reached out to rest a foot on a rocky platform, only to have it break away like dry bone under his shoe.
Shadow lurched forward, his quick reflexes propelling him into action before he had even realised it himself.
He gripped Knuckle's wrist hard, allowing the echidna to strike for another chance.
He hitched onto the sheer cliff wall with his knuckled spikes (which was easier without any gloves), and began the climb downwards.
Shadow was not as well equipped, but without Sargus moulding into his bloodstream and shooting whispers of dark, rich poison into his system, his head was clear and his energies boundless.
He was confident that he could make the climb back down to Mobius. Besides, the height no longer terrified him. It was the unsteady, unpredictable decent itself.
Their progress was steady and swift. The danger from above, though dampened somewhat by the covering of rocks concealing the hidden base beneath, still sounded like a behemoth was tearing down partitions, doors and pillars.
Terror was twinkling in Knuckles' eyes.
Shadow, not more than a few feet above him, shouted hoarsely in the dawn air, "what about Sonic?"
"He may have already made it out by now."
He could only hope. There no time left to go and look for him. There was about a million rooms in that place.
"Do you think he found Robotnik?"
"I'll ask him." He replied humourlessly.
When they made it at the bottom, they ran on and up a hill by the river, which was still overflowing.
At last, Knuckles could take no more and collapsed quite happily under a belt of hawthorn and dogwood. Some of the ground was boggy where the river water had swept in, and some flowers had drowned in muddy shallows and puddles.
Still, here was perfect respite for a wounded warrior.
Shadow didn't sit. He was much too tense. Instead he stood watching. Perhaps hoping he would see a certain young blue hedgehog picking his way down the mountain face as they had done? Or perhaps he was already around somewhere, waiting to jump up and surprise them?
They looked on. Knuckles was panting, but all the while happy they were out of that dreadful place. And the Master Emerald? The thought made him return back to his wall of pain and the bitter failure he had not perceived.
He had not done what he had come to do, after everything.
"What?" He enunciated hatefully, not wishing to be troubled unless there was a doctor around.
Shadow didn't speak. He was looking out straight ahead of him. Knuckles followed his gaze, and slowly, without being conscious of it, his jaw hung open.
At first, it was without sound.
The sky fell to black, as if the sun had been carried away.
The wind grew harsh, sharp and cold. A tower of bulbous smoke rose up like a tower on the mountain top, then the sound carried and a huge explosion rattled the landscape, above and below, so that it was felt everywhere.
The cloud continued upward, still to reach its apex, the zenith of its peak.
It billowed out, creating a mushroom cloud.
"Oh my…" Knuckles couldn't stand up now. The forceful winds were keeping him down. Shadow however, fought to remain vertical. He crossed out his arms in front of him, zealously fighting the massive gales that hurled and cut at anything it touched.
"He may have made it out…" Knuckles shouted above the thunderous wind and heated explosions still going off somewhere in the mountains.
"No…" Shadow's bright red eyes, now silky and alert, was no longer misty with illness. "No… He's gone…"
They stared on, at the cloud rising. At the thick black sky where once it had been dawn.
At the catastrophe.
Tails saw it first. He pointed and screamed. His sudden cry made some of the animals jump and look about for danger.
Sally took Tails into her arms. Amy Rose, with Bunnie and Dulcy turned to gape at the cloud, not quite knowing what to make of it.
"Well, 'tis a good thing it's far off." Commented Bunnie.
Sally was holding Tails tight and stroking the locks if spiky fur on the top of his head. "What is it sweetie?" She whispered to him, "it's not going to do us any harm…"
"Sonic…" The fox whimpered gently, eyes hazy behind a veil of tears, "Sonic…"
It was like he knew something. But knew what?
She turned and looked back at the cloud. It grew still. The sky was tainted a deep mauve, then red. For some reason, tears reached her own eyes, and still, she could not place why.
Everything else went quiet. She couldn't hear Tails sobbing beside her.
Something inside her heart stirred.
"Sonic…" She let go of Tails and ran a little way forward, gripping in a confusion she could fathom. What was she feeling? Why was the cloud of pilling smoke so important?
Then, little by little, it began to dawn on her.
The mushroom cloud was in the east. Wayland was in the east.
So did that mean…?
Mobius was under an uncertain darkness. The trees rocked and groaned. All who saw the bright light and saw the towering cloud stopped to see. To feel what it was.
Sally stood in a small forest, compelled to know what was going on. But in her heart, she already knew. She didn't want to, she guessed. The hard truth always hurt.
The forest fell into a peaceful gathering.
No one moved.
Everyone watched the cloud, a block of solid smoke puncture the heavens and flow onwards still, without limit.
Some families huddled together and whispered mute prayers. Others clasped their paws tight. Tails still wept.
The darkness sifted after a time. But the darkness in Sally's heart did not.
The sky was red that day.
Dib07: I enjoyed this so much that I just did not want to finish it! I felt that once I had ended it, it would be over. No more Sonic adventures. No more tales of Mobius. No winter songs, so summer secrets or ploys of the unknown.
Writing this story taught me a lot. About us as individuals and what being a hero truly means. Sonic is above all of the most strongest characters out there that leads, is not afraid to fight oppression and above all, does one thing we all would run towards.
Humans are evil in one form or another. I read about it every day and it's always there. Many do not see it, or do not want to see it.
But here, in this story, it shows the prevalence of animalkind over man.
As I said, it was hard to end this story, but everything after a time, has to end. Putting Sonic through hell was incredibly hard to write. And the destruction of Knothole was something I thought I was never capable of doing. But I had to project the situation of man and beast and how they can never coincide without some kind of conflict.
Anyone can be someone. But it takes courage, and selflessness to become a hero.
And I think there is a little bit of him in every one of us.
We just don't know it.
The next instalment is Panacea.