1Yes, I'm here and well. I've been grounded for a month, so that is why you have seen very little productivity from me. I promise, I shall work hard to try and make up for this, but it shall take time, so please be patient and I'll start of with one I have neglected for too long.

Chapter 21: Well, ain't this a bitch?

Kagome didn't care where she was headed, all she knew was that she was to blame for the destruction of her home. She had no desire to return to her time now. Because Naraku had been defeated, this would was probably already dead in the future. It was all because of her. She collapsed, ironically, right next to the god tree. She sobbed loudly next to the ancient oak where her adventure with Inuyasha had truly started. She cried unceasingly, thinking back to the start of their quest, the good and bad times filtered through her mind as if the memories had just been made seconds ago.

She felt a hand on her shoulder and looked up, trying to choke her sobs as she saw Inuyasha staring at her. "I-Inuyasha... what are you doing here?" she asked softly.

Inuyasha frowned and kneeled beside her. "You run off and just expect me to forget it and leave you be? Kagome, you're sad..."

Kagome nodded and looked away. "Of course I'm sad, Inuyasha! I was the one who insured the fate of this world. I sentenced it to death."

Inuyasha shook his head and took her up in his arms, gently carrying her back towards the village. "Kagome, that doesn't matter. If we hadn't defeated Naraku, who's to say that this world and the future would be any better off than it is now?" he asked gently. "We didn't know that this... Ragnarok corporation even existed until a few minutes ago. We'll find a way to stop them, Kagome. We can't allow this to stop us."

Kagome wanted to doubt his words, wanted to say that there was no hope, but she found herself unable to. Here in his arms, nothing else seemed to matter, she felt like she could accomplish anything. "Yes... you're right, Inuyasha. I'm sorry about all this."

Inuyasha smirked. "Save it, Kagome. No more apologies. Only action."

Kagome nodded. "Alright, let's go then."

ELSEWHERE

Shadow stared over the lake outside the village, eyeing the trees on the other sides. It had all been a lie. His memories, his ambitions, his very existence had been a lie. He was a tool, an invention with no use beyond collecting power and sending it back to those who created him, my they rot in hell. He spat out into the lake, his fists clenching. "Damn them all."

Shadow heard footsteps behind him and turned to see Chaos approaching. Chaos stepped up next to him, but didn't look his way. "Are you saddened by what you learned?" he asked, crossing his arms.

Shadow sighed a bit and looked back at the lake. "Of course I am. I spent several years trying to find out exactly what I was, but... now that I finally know I'm nothing but a vessel... it hurts..."

Chaos shook his head. "Don't take their words to heart. We are what we choose to be, Shadow. That is why we are here, still alive today. We are strong, we have broken free of the principals they programmed into us."

Shadow frowned. "But... were weren't made this way, Chaos. We were made for them, to be their own personal capsules."

Chaos sighed. "What's your point? So we were created that way, that does not mean that we have to live the rest of our lives that way." He looked up towards the sky. "We will find and destroy this Ragnarok place and we will destroy them utterly. Then, no creature will suffer the cruel fate of being created for the soul purpose of dying."

Shadow followed his gaze to the sky and clenched his fists. "You're right, Chaos. Apocalypse will rue the day he conceived me in that twisted head of his... this I swear."

Chaos nodded and pointed opposite to the lake. "However, the fact remains that we still have no idea how to get to Ragnarok. They proclaimed our doom a week from now, but we don't know where they are located either. This poses a problem to our cause."

Shadow nodded. "I know... but we have time... one week. I am sure we'll find some way to reach them."

Chaos nodded in agreement and turned back to the village. "I'm going back to the village. Are you coming or will you be staying here?"

Shadow shrugged a bit. "I think I'll stay here a little while longer, actually. This place is... very tranquil compared to the chaos that will ensue from us trying to figure a way to get to Ragnarok... no offense meant of course."

Chaos chuckled. "None taken, rest assured." He started to walk back towards the village.

Shadow looked down at his reflection in the water. He smirked at his own reflection. "Heh, never thought I'd be happy to see that face in this lifetime..."

IN THE VILLAGE

Eggman furiously crumpled another piece of paper and threw it across the room, growling a bit. "No, that won't work either!"

Tails sighed gently and looked up at his new partner in this. "Exactly what was wrong with that plan?"

Robotnik looked down at the fox and crossed his arms. "Although that type of metal is in vast supply in this time period, it wouldn't stand against the pressure of space and the heat of the atmosphere. He sighed and held his head, grabbing a fresh sheet of paper. "Let's face it, even with the chaos emeralds and master emerald as a power source, with this level of technology at our disposal, it will almost be impossible to construct a vehicle with the capacity to get us into space."

Kagome looked up at the two geniuses. "What makes you so sure that they'll be in space?" she asked.

Tails stood up and brushed off his legs, closed his eyes, and crossed his arms. "He contacted us with a hologram. Unless there is a machine nearby to project the hologram, which there wasn't, then the hologram would need to be projected live from a distance minimum of about 300 light years from the planet. Holograms, no matter how advanced the technology, cannot travel through the space-time continuum."

Kagome nodded, understanding what he was saying since she had taken some study of space in school, but Sango, Miroku, Inuyasha, and Shippo all gave them blank stares. Eggman sighed. "It's simple science, my friends."

Knuckles and Rouge walked into the room, Rough wiping the sweat from her brow and Knuckles ignoring the sweat that dripped from his own fur. "Well, we've managed to construct a semi-convincing shrine for the chaos emeralds and master emerald."

Rouge nodded gently. "It should allow us to keep closer watch on them while we're assessing this situation."

Cream was sitting in the corner, humming to herself with Cheese, Shippo, and Kilala. They were playing a small game of Jacks that Kagome had brought over from her time. The four of them seemed so carefree, despite the current situation.

Sango watched them with slight admiration. "Where did our innocence go to?" she asked wistfully.

Miroku shrugged. "Who knows, Sango... then again, we have each other to be thankful for, so I guess leaving our innocence behind wasn't such a bad thing."

Chaos walked in, followed by Tikal, who looked rather concerned for him, though he looked fine. "Chaos, are you sure you're alright? I mean, after what Apocalypse said..."

Chaos nodded and turned to her, placing a comforting hand on her shoulder. "I am fine, rest assured... as is Shadow." He chuckled a bit. "Nothing is wrong. We'll figure something out eventually."

Tikal smiled and nodded. "You're right..." She looked around at those present. "Has anyone seen Sonic, Big, or the chaotix?"

Tails looked up from his paper. "I think that the Chaotix took Kanna and Kohaku out to the forest for some sort of scouring trip. Big is fishing in the river with Froggy, and Sonic is in the woods with Amy, getting firewood."

Tikal nodded a bit. "I hope everything works out alright... this has everyone a little shaken up, I think."

They all had to agree.

IN THE FOREST

Espio examined the ground around them, scanning it hard. Kohaku yawned and stretched hard, looking around as well. "Exactly what is it that we're looking for?"

Vector looked up at the boy. "Ore deposits. Eggman and Tails say that the Ragnarok headquarters is located in space somewhere, so they're gonna need metal to make something to get us up there. We're gonna find the metal."

Kanna tilted her head. "But all we're doing is looking at the ground."

Charmy yawned a bit. "It's boring." He complained.

Espio didn't take his eye off of the spot he had fixated it on. "Here... there is ore... a lot of it."

Kohaku frowned and stared at the patch of ground. It looked just like the rest of the ground around him. "What? How are you so certain?"

Espio pointed to the grass. "The grass here is a few inches taller than the rest. Untempered ore possesses several nutrients that help plants grow quicker if it's located near the surface." He picked a small blade of grass from the spot and chewed it thoughtfully. "It also gives the plants growing within this vicinity an interesting taste. Almost metallic, but not unpleasant."

Vector cracked his neck a bit and nodded. "Alright, stand back!" he ordered. Espio did as he was told, crossing his arms. "Trust Espio, kid. He knows these things." He reached down with his large jaws and took a huge scoop out of the ground easily, depositing it to the side. In the hole he had dug was a very large deposit of metallic ore spreading in all directions.

Charmy did a back flip in air. "Yay! We found ore stuff! Let's grab it and get outta here!"

Kanna smiled a bit, looking over at Espio. "You certainly are adept at this, aren't you?"

Espio shrugged. "It isn't hard to find that which you are looking for if you have a good knowledge of where it can be found." He pointed to the ore. "Unfortunately, we didn't think to bring bags or buckets to haul this back with us, but that is probably the best. Let's take a sample back to Tails and Eggman and asked them if they can use this type of metal first. That way, all our physical labor will not be in vain."

His companions nodded and Kohaku carefully selected a fairly large chunk of the ore, taking it back with them as they headed back towards the village.

ELSEWHERE IN THE FOREST

Sonic sighed a bit as he and Amy walked through the seemingly endless trees in the vicinity of the village. "Boy, this is more serious than anything Eggman threw at us before."

Amy nodded in agreement. "I know... I'm not sure if I'm up to something like this."

Sonic looked over at her and smirked. "You'll manage, Amy. You're strong. You don't give up easily. If I know nothing else, it is the fact that you don't give up easily. Trust me, I know from experience."

Amy giggled a bit and nodded. "I guess you would know best, wouldn't you?" She looked up through the trees. "Do you think that we'll really be able to stop this Ragnarok thing?"

Sonic nodded gently. "I have no doubt in my mind, Amy. We've managed through everything else up to this point, haven't we?"

Amy nodded. "Yeah, but that was in our own world, wasn't it?"

Sonic shrugged. "What makes this world so much more different from ours? It's another world that needs our help, so we need to give them help."

Amy nodded again. "Right, let's go back to the village and see if anyone else has come up with anything... before we can do anything about Ragnarok, we need to get to them, right?"

Sonic nodded. "All too true. Let's go." They both turned and started walking back to the village, the path now familiar to them.

NEAR THE RIVER

Big reeled in his fishing line for the fourteenth time. "Looks like nothing's biting, Froggy."

Froggy hopped up and down on the large cat's head. He seemed to agree with Big's sentiment. Still, Big cast out again, not really one to give up. Even if they didn't bite, it was still very relaxing to cast out a line and just let it sit there, bobbing in the water.

He heard something clank up next to him and turned his head a bit to see Omega standing there. "Hi! You wanna fish with me?"

Omega looked down at big and shook his robotic head. "Negative. I am here to simply observe and calculate what we should do about the situation."

Big chuckled a bit and started to reel his line in again. "I'm not worried." He told Omega. "We're gonna stop the bad guys before they blow everything up."

Omega looked down at the cat as he reeled the line in fully. "Our means of victory at this point are calculated at 3,523,586 to 1."

Big stood up, slinging his fishing line over his shoulder. "But that is all we'll need, even though I don't know what that means." He started to walk off. "Come on, Froggy, let's go find a better fishing spot."

Omega watched the two as they walked off. "Observations concluded. Final thesis statement: ignorance truly is bliss."

END CHAPTER

Hoo boy, I've been out of the game for a while, so I'm not sure how well you'll all find this chapter... if you enjoy it, just let me know and I'll update again soon.