A Sonic the Hedgehog story
All characters (C) SEGA, Archie and SP Davis 2005 (unless otherwise noted)
Used without permission
New readers (post-2004) should be advised that this story does not immediately follow Project Mobitropolis. There are several years in Sonic's life in between. The events of these years were, at one time, written down, but the stories (to put it bluntly) sucked. I will be rewriting them eventually. I know this is a confusing way of doing things, and I'm sorry for that. I've tried to write this in such a way that, hopefully, it won't matter.
My older readers (with whom this tale is already infamous) should be advised that these chapters have been changed since they were last public. Some of them have been changed very little. Others (like this chapter) have been re-written almost completely. It's probably best that you read the whole thing again, or you'll almost certainly miss something crucial. The soul of the tale is the same.
In a few ways, this story is intrinsically connected with Project Mobitropolis. They share similar storylines, but explore unique concepts. I hope that fans of Project will enjoy this too.
I am aware that there are grammatical errors in this story; To risk sounding like a cop-out, they're probably not my fault. This website's upload facility seems to randomly remove full stops, question marks and quotes from documents upon submission, and all I can do is try to replace them where I see them. Also, the originaldocument did contain some HTML code, especially italics tags, which are scrambled on upload. As the editing tools at this site seem to become less user-friendly every day, please understand that it is perpetually more difficult to edit my work again specifically for this site. I can however advise that this story is being published on other Sonic fansites on the web, if it is difficult to read here. There is an illustrated version published at www dot netraptor dot org.for reasons of bandwidth I am restricting this and other versions to text-only.
P.S. One more thing, the character of Kardot Mori was very generously donated by NetRaptor for a cameo appearance. She and many of the characters and concepts she mentions are naturally fully copyrighted by K.M. Hollar, used with permission. One of the morals of this story is that Sonic's reality (and ours) is so much bigger than any one person could ever comprehend. If you're confused about the role in this tale of characters penned by some other author, then hopefully it will become clearer in that context.
Whose woods these are I think I know.
His house is in the village though,
He will not see me stopping here To watch his woods fill up with snow.
My little horse must think it's queer To stop without a farmhouse near,
Between the woods and frozen lake,
The darkest evening of the year.
He gives his harness bells a shake To see if there is some mistake,
The only other sound's the sweep Of easy wind and downy flake.
These woods are lovely, dark and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.
Into the Antiverse
Deep inside of a parallel universe,
It's getting harder and harder to tell what came first,
Underwater where thoughts can breathe easily,
Far away you were made in the sea,
Just like me.
- Red Hot Chili Peppers
I am about to tell you the story of a hedgehog who outran his own shadow.
This world was almost destroyed, once upon a time. Evil comes in many forms and uses many different excuses, but many times its intentions can be distilled to a single desire: Power. The presence of great power invested in a single will is almost always disasterous, and the presence of great evil in the world is always a source of misery. This is what happened when these concepts collided.
The story you are about to hear has been passed down throughout the ages. It was a source of inspiration for me when my father told it to me as a child. My father's father told it just the same as my father's father's father had told it. Now I am telling it to you. It is a true story, although you might not believe all of it - that an entire city can float suspended in the clouds, or that something made of metal and wires can have a soul, or that the power to erase the universe can lie dormant in five ancient stones. But it all happened, every word, and the weave of existance was very nearly undone by a single being who simply wanted it all.
More importantly, it was saved by a hero so legendary that his name has been passed down from generation to generation right up until now, when I pass it to you. His name was Sonic.
Sonic was haunted for seven days and seven nights by the apparition of his transdimensional 'twin', an entity from the antiverse who he called Cinos. The dark hedgehog's slippage into Sonic's world always seemed to be preceded by images of atrocity, pain and violence. Sonic would experience horrible nightmares and awaken in the night, drenched in sweat. Occasionally he would even wake to find Cinos standing in his hut, grinning like some deranged cannibal, enjoying his twin's ongoing torment. Sonic would blink and shake his head, and the image of Cinos would be gone. But there was one thing he knew for sure. He gritted his teeth, clenched his fists, and waited for the inevitable. His evil twin was coming.
And sure enough, seven days later, he came.
It was the first few days of the monsoon season, and you could set your watch by the coming of the rain in the Great Forest of Westerica. The clouds broke and spilled forth the cool, rejuvenating nectar of spring over the thirsty foliage. Nature's quiet orchestra played all night in the forest, always stopping short of pouring but never quite letting up. It was a steady, constant shower. But the sound of the rain couldn't fully obscure the sounds of whispers in the caves south of New Knothole.
An opening in the rock gave out a flickering yellow light that danced across the rock surface. The candle-light projected a shadow upon the cave wall, the silhouette of a spiked figure standing near the entrance.
A closer view would reveal that the rocky walls of this cave were amass with carved symbols. The dark figure inside ran his hands over the surface like a blind person reading braille. He read the inscriptions aloud as the light danced over them.
"...and so... a pact... together devised in harmony... to separate evenly... the lands from the lands... the peoples from the peoples... the flow of time itself... so it was devised... so it shall be done... yes, yes, but where are they? Where are they"
There was a crash of thunder. The spiked whisperer clawed at the wall with his already tattered gloves. "Drat," he rasped, "Out of time"
He picked up a notebook onto which he had been scribbling down runes and heiroglyphs from the wall of the cave, and shoved it into a knapsack. Then he paused for a moment, standing silently. He turned his head to look out the mouth of the cave, as though searching for somebody. There was nothing but the sound of the rain dripping onto the foliage and the forest floor. Nevertheless, he narrowed his eyes and scowled.
"Sonic," he rasped.
The figure took the knapsack and strapped it onto his back. He then blew out the candle and draped himself in complete shadow, before stepping out into the rain. Taking a few initial steps, he began to jog, then finally broke into a sprint.
He cut past the trees at such a speed as it might kill him if he were to misjudge and collide with one, but he knew how to run like most people knew how to breathe. The raindrops stung as they hit his face at this high velocity, but he gritted his teeth and did not slow. He was a bullet in the night, this stranger. The true gold medalist of the forest - he could race the cheetah and the jackrabbit and leave both in the dust. A dark blue bolt of lightning. But there was one thing that he couldn't see coming. Another dark shape emerged from the night, hauling steam just as fast as he was, and in the opposite direction. There was only enough time for him to swear loudly into the rain before the two shapes collided and both were thrown into the mud, winded and bruised. The knapsack left the figure's shoulders and flew somewhere into the black forest.
"Idiot, learn to run," he said.
Sonic the Hedgehog grunted and pulled his face out of the mud. He spat out a mouthful of it with a disgusted face, and rolled over onto his back. "I've been running all my life," he gasped, "You learn to run"
Two blue hedgehogs lay together in the rain, making no effort to seek shelter from the wet and the cold, both panting and groaning. The scene wasn't reminiscent of a reunion between bitter enemies. After all, they knew each other too well to be uncomfortable in each other's presence. But neither was about to help the other to his feet or display concern for the other's health. Both hedgehogs picked themselves up, leaned against trees and wiped the mud from their eyes. Anybody standing further back might swear that there was a mirror between them.
"What are you doing here, Cinos?" Sonic demanded, "I've got enough troubles without having to put up with your crap. Why don't you just create some mischief in your own darn universe"
"I'm not doing anything you need to concern yourself with, dear brother," Cinos replied, "You know, believe it or not, I have a life outside of tormenting you"
"Not in this world, you don't. There's only room for one Sonic per Mobius. Any more and you cramp my style"
"Oh poo, Sonic, you know you have no style," Cinos snapped back. He was searching the forest floor for something, brushing his feet through the shrubbery and squinting in the darkness.
"What are you looking for?" Sonic asked.
"None of your freaking business, that's what." He found his knapsack with a sigh of relief. "Well, I guess I should be off then. Nice talking to you and all that. Ta-ta." He backed away with a false smile and wave, fading into the darkness as he went. His body took on an eerie translucent quality, shimmering in and out of visibility, like one imagines a ghost might look.
"Oh no you don't!" Sonic shouted, and tackled the apparition. A powerful crack of static electricity zapped Sonic's body as the hedgehogs made physical contact. Cinos went down with a muffled thud and was torn back into full reality. "Let go of me, Sonic, you're an anchor!" he cursed.
"I want to know what you're doing here," Sonic replied, "You're not going anywhere until I do"
Cinos clawed and kicked at him in a snarling tantrum, but Sonic held fast.
"Let go, Sonic! Let go, or I'll take you with me"
"Do what you want. I'm staying with you"
The dark hedgehog grunted and lay still under the weight of his twin. "You're a fool," he said.
Sonic was aware that the world had begun to shift around and melt before his eyes. The rain had stopped, and the trees faded into mist. Other trees appeared out of nowhere, solidifying from the air itself. A different forest was manifesting to replace the one that was retreating into the nothingness. His stomach churned, did somersaults in his gut. His resolve dropped - Cinos really was pulling him out of time and space, dragging him into the antiverse. Had he always been able to take people with him? Or had his bizarre powers strengthened since the last time they had crossed paths?
Sonic was too steadfast to let go of his otherworldly twin (and more than a little afraid to test what would happen if they broke contact before the process had completed), so his grip around Cinos' waist remained solid, but he closed his eyes and refused to look at the reconfiguring world until it was done changing.
"Get off me you idiot," Cinos grunted, and Sonic opened his eyes. There was a pungent smell of pollution in the air, and he was assaulted by it immediately. These trees were withered and unhealthy, and the atmosphere was so opaque with smog that their tops weren't even visible beyond a point. There was no mistaking the half-rotten Mobius on the flipside of the universal coin. Welcome to the antiverse, can't wait to leave.
While Sonic wasn't paying much attention, Cinos gave a mighty thrust that threw the other hedgehog off his back. Several of Cinos' spines punctured his skin in doing so, and Sonic cried out in pain and rolled over, points of blood forming on his chest and belly.
Cinos picked himself up and wiped the mud from himself again, looking at Sonic with contempt. "I hope you're happy with yourself," he snarled, "I'm going to leave you here forever, Sonic. Better get used to the place. Rot and die, please"
With that, he spun around and made like the wind. Sonic was too slow getting to his feet, and all he saw was his twin's dust.
"I hate this place," Sonic groaned, and made off in the same direction.
Chagrin Las Mortis stood as the antiverse equivalent of Mobitropolis, and although the cities shared the same location, they had very little in common. In fact, Chagrin L.M. was much more similar in outward appearance to Robotropolis. But this city was not populated by robots. Brigands and thieves, yes, but all of them flesh. A brutal dictator sat on the throne, his leadership remaining unchallenged by any mad professor. It was understandable, too - Robotnik might actually have been quite comfortable here.
Sonic was crestfallen upon stepping out of the forest into the city, and prepared himself for a bad day. Nobody ever had a good day in Chagrin Las Mortis. That was like having a cool day in Hades.
The place was just as he remembered it. The streets were overflowing with the garbage that nobody could be bothered cleaning, and one had to walk in the gutters because the footpaths were overcrowded with the homeless. The buildings dilapidated and unkempt, the sky blackened with pollution. Grime covered everything like paint.
People had a habit of finding themselves stabbed and mugged when they spent too long in the streets, so Sonic ducked into a bar - a run-down looking tavern called the Crow and Corkscrew. He was too young to be on the premises by the law of his own land, but nobody gave much thought to the law in Chagrin Las Mortis. Nobody in the tavern even turned their head when Sonic walked in. He disturbed a cloud of flies who were contentedly buzzing around the bench, doing whatever it is that flies do. Who knows what real purpose flies serve anywhere? They were all just flies, even in the antiverse.
An obese boar in a grimy singlet tended the bar, and he grunted at Sonic as his way of asking what the hedgehog wanted.
"Just a lemonade, thanks," Sonic replied.
The boar burst out into a fit of laughter, and waddled away. When he returned a few moments later, he slammed a pint of dark, cloudy beer in front of Sonic, who gave an insincere nod of thanks.
The hedgehog sighed and stared at the lager with his head propped up on his fist, and for a moment he considered drinking it. His situation was certainly bothersome enough to consider intoxication as a viable alternative to reality. He changed his mind quickly when he decided that, if it tasted as bad as it smelled, he was probably better off drinking a mug of insecticide. He screwed up his face and reached for a bowl of nuts, but stopped his hand when he saw that they were green and furry with mould.
"This entire world should carry a Surgeon General's Advisory," he muttered.
Cinos' whereabouts eluded Sonic completely, and he began to grow very concerned about his dastardly reflection's activities. Cinos was as sickened by Sonic's world as Sonic was by his, he would feel uncomfortable in any world where it was considered taboo for recreational murder to be regarded a hobby. From what little Sonic understood about the process of 'sliding' from one universe to another, it was also apparently much more difficult for Cinos to slip into Sonic's world than it was to return to his native realm. As far as Sonic could figure, Cinos had no reason to make the journey unless he had some kind of mischief on his mind. It wasn't as though he was on holiday.
But why had Cinos been avoiding him? That was something new, something unprecedented. Whatever his reflection was hatching this time, he didn't want Sonic knowing about it, and that was disturbing.
"Hey!" somebody shrieked from elsewhere in the bar, and Sonic turned to see what the commotion was about. He figured that he was probably about to witness a pub brawl, but choked up when he saw that it was he who was the centre of attention.
A gang of youths were approaching him, all of them dressed in the height of antiverse fashion, which only appeared bizarre and ludicrous to Sonic's eyes. The apparent leader was a ginger cat with a patch over his right eye. A silver chain connected his left ear to his upper lip by way of a number of piercings, and his one good eye was adorned with long, black false eyelashes. Attached to his left hand were five metal claws like knives. The image was completed by a tattered pinstripe suit and a top hat. His three companions were wearing similar garb. Sonic looked down at those metal claws and gulped.
"Thought I says you," the cat said, "never to come round here again"
"Uhh," Sonic stammered, "You're mistaking me for somebody else"
"Like dickens I am!" the cat snapped back, "You isn't too good at hearing, methink. I says to you just yesterday that you isn't welcome here no more. Now I going to have to cut you bad"
"Can't we talk this over like reasonable gentlemen?" Sonic asked.
"Oh, mercy!" The cat grinned, he had a mouth full of buck teeth that pronged out between his lips, and he looked at his companions. "The blue spinebag wants to talk! I tell you what we talk about, blue spinebag. I show you the language we speak here in Chagrin Las Mortis." He raised his metal-clawed hand and wiggled his fingers about in front of his good eye.
"I knew this was going to be a bad day, I just knew it." Sonic lamented. He stood down from the bar stool and approached the cat and his gang as though gearing up for a fight. All of a sudden his eyes flared, and he pointed to the door and cried out, "Everybody get down! It's the fashion police"
The gang members, clearly none too bright, followed his gaze with some degree of confusion, and it was all the distraction that Sonic needed to pour on his famous speed and bolt from the tavern. The cat let out a shriek of anger, and Sonic could hear him shouting after him.
"Run, spinebag! Run away, I get you later"
"He who fights and runs away," Sonic muttered as he ran. It was clear that Cinos had made his fair share of enemies even here, and it didn't work well in his favour that they shared the same face. He found himself almost yearning for the dark and webbed streets of Terantulopolis, where he would be if he were in the right world. "I don't think I like cities anymore," he said to himself, "If we ever get rid of Terantulopolis, I'm voting we replace it with a fast food joint"
This place would have to do for now, but he wasn't even going to entertain the very real possibility that he would be here for a long time. After all, Cinos guarded the exit to the antiverse, and it was he who Sonic would have to consult with to gain passage to his homeworld. This he knew, but was loathe to admit.
The dark hedgehog did not make his dark plans alone. His company, dark too, sat with him in shadow, somewhere in the dismal underworld of the city that the denizens of the antiverse often referred to as the Crust of Abhorrence. Then again, this entire world was horrid. The grass was always browner on the other side, if you called the antiverse home.
Cinos scowled as he handed the other his notebook, and the companion took it and looked it over.
"This is what you wanted," the hedgehog rasped, "Now, can you do this, or am I wasting my time with you"
"Oh, I can do it, I can do it," the other replied, "Don't you concern your blue spikey head over whether I have the talent, because brother, I have the talent." He lifted his head and gave a grin that looked as though it came from the verge of madness.
Cinos did not have the tendancy or the inclination to make friends, and so the creature he now consorted with was bound to him through an arrangement of mutual benefit, a kind of perverted business deal. He was a porcupine, a member of a forgotten and dead race left behind by the world. Above the waist, he was decorated with the tattoos, ribbons and rings that honoured an ancient pagan theology long since buried by modern civilisation. Below the waist, he wore a pair of brand new jeans still rigid with crisp blue denim, and expensive brand-name sneakers relatively untainted by the grimy underfoot of Chagrin Las Mortis. His fingers were callused and lethe; almost every one adorned with a valuable ring or two, or three. The odd exception was the middle finger of his left hand, on which he wore a cheap and tacky-looking mood ring with a colour-changing bulb on top of its plastic frame. At this moment it was bright blue, which, according to the archaic lore of novelty rings, meant that he was proud.
"Well, what do you need, then?" Cinos asked.
"Toothpaste," the porcupine replied, still studying the hedgehog's notes.
The porcupine looked up. "I crave... minty... freshness," he said.
"I imean/i what do you ineed/i for the irecipe/i, Rasputan"
"Oh, that. Well, I should have everything I need here, I think. Uh, I think. Wait, let me check"
The abandoned building where they conducted their business was littered with a mess of objects, from candles to herbs to vials of ambiguous liquids and animal parts. The porcupine rooted through the array of articles (nervously and chaotically, like someone perpetually overcaffeinated) and gave a cry of victory.
"Ha-ha! All set, K"
"Great," Cinos replied, "Why don't we get started. While we're young." He leaned back and crossed his arms in a way that showed clearly when he said 'we' he meant 'you'. The porcupine pulled on an oversized pair of white gloves without removing any of his rings, and picked up a large bag of salt. He began pouring it, creating a large salt circle on the dusty and grimy floor. He then started rifling through his herbs, selecting certain ingredients carefully and pedantically while the hedgehog watched.
The nature of life in this dreadful city almost reminded Sonic that he, too, had once been in a similar situation to many of these homeless unfortunates. The difference was that he had made a life picking pockets for spare change, whereas many of these vagrants looked at him as though they would just as soon cut his throat and bleed him in an alley. Sonic was thankful that the sun had risen before he arrived in the city, giving him a full twelve hours before he had to worry about nighttime. It was just a feeling, but looking into the hate-filled faces of those he passed in the street, he didn't think that many people such as himself survived in Chagrin Las Mortis past dark.
"All I have to do," he muttered to himself, "Is find Cinos and talk him into taking me back home. Yeah. Easy"
Easy as nailing jelly to a tree.
Before he could even complete the thought, he perceived a great commotion toward the main square of the city. It struck him as logical that it would be the safest option to consider, to be around a large number of people, but then again, logic wasn't logic in the antiverse. The real fact was that anything could happen at any time.
In the square where the main streets intersected, a gathering of people were moaning and shouting, some even throwing things. Sonic tried to see the object of their fury, and he saw that the dissenters were congregated around a mobian (his race indeterminate) draped in filthy, flowing robes and standing atop a wooden crate in the middle of the road. He was waving his arms around with vivacious enthusiasm, pointing to the populace and shouting ardent and somewhat urgent-sounding information, although his words didn't seem to be popular. Sonic mingled in with the crowd to try and hear what he was saying.
"And where will you be when death comes to knock on your door?" the mobian demanded, "Where will you be when the world opens up to swallow you whole? The fires are coming! The fires are coming, don't you ever doubt it! Time is short, my friends, and the end of times is right around the corner! You know not the day, nor the hour. There will be a great clamor, like the explosion of a billion suns at once. The angel of death will descend from on high and blow his trumpet, and Mobius will be dissolved in the fires of the awakening. I have seen it"
"Seen it with the help of a gallon of ale sloshing around your gut!" somebody shouted, and a hearty, cruel laugh rose up from the crowd.
"Mock me not!" the mobian shrieked, "It is you who will be asked to stand before the highest authority when time has run out for this world. The time for repentance is now, for the Lord of All Things will offer no mercy when the fires come. You"
Sonic looked up and saw that the ranting mobian was now pointing directly at him. He saw the fanatic's wide, glaring eyes, and saw that they were milky with cateracts, whitened and unseeing. And yet, it felt as though those blind eyes were staring right into him, cutting through his body and burning a hole into the centre of him.
"You will have four Awakenings before your quest is complete, and then you will take his place," he thought he heard the fanatic whisper, "When the two of you stand before the fires of the underworld, it is you who will take on his sins. You will take his place, and it is you who will bring on the end of all things"
"Excuse me?" the hedgehog asked, but the mobian's gaze was once again blind, and swept over the crowd without discrimination, never settling on any one person.
"The fires are coming!" he shrieked, "The fires are coming soon, so it is written and so it shall be! I have seen it! Repent! Repent"
Sonic turned and saw that someone in the crowd was staring at him intently. This bizarre figure was a young fox, and Sonic figured that it could almost be Tails. The kid was short and dumpy, hair mussed up and unclean. He was dressed in a torn shirt and pants so dirty that they could have originally been any colour in the rainbow, but now they were as brown as the soil. Disturbingly, there were bloody rags tied around both of his forearms. His face was heavily pimpled, and on his forehead there was a symbol. Carved into his flesh, as though with a razor blade. It looked like a capital 'M'. The kid's eyes were wide in an expression very much like awe. Sonic was taken aback at the sight of him.
"M-m-mas-" the kid stammered, "Master? I- I can- I- I see, master"
"And what's your problem?" Sonic demanded, "What is this, did someone leave a door open at the nuthouse or something"
The kid seemed scared out of his wits the moment Sonic began to speak, and ran from the crowd into the shadows of a nearby alleyway. In the darkness he stopped, turned, and resumed staring at Sonic with that venerating (and somewhat spooky) gaze.
"I hate this place so much," Sonic muttered, and turned away from the fanatical preacher, the rioting crowd and the leering fox-kid. Before he could get far, somebody approached him from behind and put a hand on his shoulder.
"Now what?" he asked, and turned around. The figure behind him, unlike most in this city, was clean and neatly dressed in thick robes. A wolf, with a stony expression that Sonic couldn't read.
"He wants to talk to you," the wolf said.
"Who, the kid"
The wolf appeared confused. Sonic looked to where the strange fox had been standing, but he had vanished. The wolf followed his gaze, but, seeing nothing, turned back to Sonic and spoke again.
"He's seen you wandering around, he wishes to speak with you. Come, there isn't much time"
"Who?" Sonic demanded, "Who wants to speak with me"
"Thaldymort," the wolf replied, "Come. Please"
"Whatever." Sonic followed the stranger, judging him to be a safer choice of company than anybody else around here. The eerie kid with the symbol cut onto his forehead like a cattle brand stuck in his mind, and he hoped not to come across him again. As the wolf led him toward the buildings, he heard laughing from the shadows, and looked to see an elderly vagrant under a blanket of newspaper, cackling as though he had heard some fabulous joke.
"What's so funny?" Sonic asked, but the vagrant didn't reply. His laugh tapered off, and he rolled over and went to sleep.
Sonic's strange guide took him to a building that looked as though it may have been abandoned, and he still half expected that the wolf was going to pull a knife out of his immaculate robes and demand money, or just stab him for the fun of it, and Sonic braced himself to run at the first sign of trouble. Once inside, however, the hedgehog saw that the building was actually a relatively well-kept church. The pews were unpainted and wooden, and the altar was crude, but the place was clean and homely.
Sonic's first shock was the fact that a clean and undesecrated place of worship was rare in Chagrin Las Mortis. Few people in the city had time for such concepts as faith and spirituality, being too preoccupied with thieving and debauchery to be worried about their souls. But what shocked him more, and what hadn't occurred to him at first, was the fact that he recognised the symbols that adorned the church. They were symbols from his own world. He had never heard of one religion being shared by both worlds, being that the antiverse had developed its own cultures and beliefs that had always been completely alien to him.
"I have brought him," the wolf said, and closed the door behind Sonic. The church was quiet and comforting. It may just have been the only comfortable place in this wretched city, and Sonic was compelled with a great urge to stay.
"Come closer, my child," somebody called from further inside, and Sonic saw now that there was somebody standing in front of the pulpit, back towards him. The other figure was wearing similar robes to those of the wolf.
Sonic approached this tall figure now, and the wolf walked behind him, as though this were some kind of ambush. But there was no way that these two could stop him if he decided to leave, neither of them looked as though they could put up a fight even if they had to.
"You are the original," said the taller figure.
"I've seen you wandering the streets," the figure replied, and turned around. Sonic saw that he, too, was a wolf, though a much older one than the stranger who had led him here. This mobian's fur was turning silver, and there were crow's feet in the corners of his eyes. "You are far from home, yes? You hail from the otherverse"
Sonic's heart flipped. Few people in the antiverse were aware that another reality existed parallel to his own, just as few people in his own world knew of the antiverse.
"How do you know about that?" Sonic asked.
The elder wolf smiled. "I have been there"
"Who are you"
The stranger's smile faded, and he stared past Sonic to the wall. Sonic followed the gaze and saw that he was looking at a holy symbol.
"My name is Father Thaldymort. This is my charge, Yale"
Yale, the younger wolf, nodded without offering any expression whatsoever.
"What do you know about all this?" Sonic asked, "What do you know about me"
Father Thaldymort sighed, the sigh of one on whose shoulders the weight of the world frequently rests. "I know of the otherverse, the uni-verse as it is known. I have seen it, I have walked there, prayed there. A few are privelaged with the ability to slip between the sheets of reality, to see the other side, but I haven't been there in a long time. A very long time." There was a kind of sparkle in his eyes like he had been granted the briefest glimpse of heaven once upon a time, and was left only with the memory. Sonic considered that, compared to the antiverse, his homeworld probably did look like heaven.
"But how do you know about me?" he pressed.
"I see it all over you," Thaldymort replied, "You have the look about you. At first, naturally, I thought that you were him. But you have that look about you... when you have seen, you don't forget the look of it"
"You thought I was who? Cinos"
Father Thaldymort nodded. "When you spend too long in a world where you do not belong... your immortal soul, it leaves behind a kind of residue. Like a photo negative; like the reverse image you see on the backs of your eyelids after you stare at a light source for too long a time. He is that residue, he is a being who shouldn't rightly be. I do hope that is why you have come. I hope that you are here to deal with him"
"That's right," Sonic replied, "That's exactly why I'm here"
"Good. I mean no disrespect, but he is after all somewhat your responsibility. You are, to some degree, kindred. And he is very dangerous, my son. Very dangerous"
"What is he doing"
The priest frowned, and looked up at the holy symbol again, as though he were innately praying, for strength or for faith or whatever else. "He is trying to unlock the secrets of the Old Ways"
"The old ways of what?" Sonic asked, "Listen, don't speak in riddles with me. If you know what's going on here, just tell me"
"No riddles. The Old Ways... they are the link between our two worlds, my son. They are the fork in the road that divulged us on our seperate paths. This world, you call it the antiverse, and the other, your own world, the uni-verse. They were once one and the same"
"I don't follow"
Thaldymort sighed again, and made a gesture to his apprentice, who approached promptly. The priest whispered something to him, and he nodded and hurried away. Thaldymort leaned back on the pulpit and nested his head in his hands like a philosopher deep in thought.
"Not too long ago," he said, "I began to notice that my congregation was thinning. I used to hold a modest weekly service in this holy place. I reserve that it is only through the intervention of a power higher than us all that we remained undisturbed in the centre of this fallen city. This is a terribly wretched world, and most are too settled in their sins to be bothered by it. But a few did find their faith, and they came to me for guidance. But these troubled souls... many of them found a new source of comfort. A new teacher. He introduced them to a long forgotten doctrine practiced when mobiankind was young. He introduced them to the Old Ways"
"Cinos," Sonic murmured, "But Cinos is a murderer, he cares about nothing and he's no older in spirit than I am. What the heck does he know about these Old Ways"
"The one you call Cinos... Around here, he is known as Kinnos Sharpe. Over a year ago he left Chagrin Las Mortis and vanished, nobody knew what had become of him and few cared. But recently, he returned. What he had brought back with him... not only a vast knowledge of ancient lore, but an actual practitioner of the Old Ways. A porcupine alchemist, a descendent of those who settled Mobius when our worlds were one. Together, they formed what has become known as the Cult of the Awakening. Half of my congregation defected to him and now listen to his every word, they believe he will cleanse the world"
Yale returned with a kind of rosary on a chain and a holy book, and gave both items to the priest, who touched the rosary to his forehead and closed his eyes.
"So, he's running some kind of cult," Sonic said, "How is that dangerous"
"The Old Ways were buried for a reason," Thaldymort replied, "As I said, our worlds were once the same. It was the Old Ways that diverged them, and it is the Old Ways that hold the key to reuniting them. What Sharpe has discovered... What the Cult believes he has discovered... is the recipe to break the ancient incantation that keeps our worlds seperate, a wall constructed of an inconceivable amount of mystical energy. In doing so, the legend claims, he will take all of the energy into himself, and gain the powers of a deity. They believe our worlds will join together to form the Megaverse, and he will rule it all"
Sonic groaned. "Cinos always did think he was God," he said, "Sounds like he just wants to make it official. You don't believe any of this garbage, do you"
The priest opened his eyes. "I've travelled the world from sea to sea, my son," he said, "I've seen remarkable things. Things that defy anything you know about reason and logic. Things that have tested my faith. Things that have strengthened it"
"And this stuff about Old Ways and the end of the universe," Sonic said, "Has this strengthened your faith or tested it"
A wry grin crept up on the priest's face, although it didn't seem to be so much a grin as a kind of wince. "A lot of both." He paused, and then asked, "Do you share the faith, son"
Sonic took a step back and appeared flushed. "Hah! Uhh, not really. I mean, I don't go to church if that's what you mean"
"But do you believe in God"
Sonic was noticeably uncomfortable, and hoped that this was not about to turn into a sermon. He told the truth, but he was noncommittal. "I think so. I mean to say that it kinda makes sense, but that's as far as I... Uh... I just can't"
"Can't commit," the priest said, "To something you can't know for certain"
Father Thaldymort nodded. "I can relate to that"
"So why are you... you know"
"Because one day something dawned on me," the wolf replied, "And that is that we never know anything for certain. Faith is inherent in every decision we make every day"
"There's a difference between believing in God and believing that Cinos can be one," Sonic replied, "There's a difference between having faith and being gullible. After all, if what he's doing is really possible, then his cult isn't really a cult, is it"
"All I can say," Thaldymort said, "Is that Kinnos Sharpe is a creature who doesn't belong. I have seen into his eyes and I have seen an abyss that stretches to the edge of time. He doesn't quite have a soul... he has something like a soul, but it isn't right. He can only bring misery and suffering wherever he goes. When you share my faith, you see that whether or not his claims are truly legitimate is scarecely relevant. He has the initiative to destroy everything he touches. If his initiative turns to ability for even a moment... God help us all"
"I see what you mean," Sonic admitted, "He's killed people before, just to see the colour of their blood. Whatever he's looking for, he probably means to kill again. And in that case, I guess he has to be stopped"
"At all costs," the priest replied.
Sonic nodded. "Yeah. Okay, thanks. Uh, so, do you know where this cult of his assembles"
"I can show you the way. And I will pray for you to be shown the right choices"
"But choices are a matter of faith, right"
"You can only be shown choices. It is up to you to make them."
There was another set of eyes watching the priest and his one-hedgehog congregation in the antiquated church that morning, and another set of ears listening to the sermon. The wolf Yale led Sonic outside, and the priest was left alone. Only then did the unseen visitor speak.
The priest appeared momentarily startled, but regained his composure quickly.
"Sharpe," he said, and a dark figure dropped from the rafters behind him, though he did not turn to face the intruder.
Cinos, or Kinnos Sharpe, smiled at the sound of his name, and the smile looked like the maw of a shark all jagged and hungry. His eyes blazed and he netted his fingers together in his unwashed and shredded white gloves.
"My ears were burning, old dog," he said.
Father Thaldymort still did not give the hedgehog the pleasure of eye contact, and stood with his back to Cinos. The hedgehog's fiery gaze still burned holes in his back, and his eyes crept up the wall to fall upon the holy symbol that adorned it. He wrapped his rosary so tight around his palm that his fingers hurt.
"It'll be a lot more than just your ears that will burn, where you're going," he said.
"See, that's where you're wrong, feller," Cinos replied, "My time is just beginning. The runes are practically mine already, all I have to do is snatch 'em up. It'll be the party of the millennium, Thal, but... I dunno, you haven't been very good lately so I'm not sure you're invited"
"I would like you to leave," Thaldymort said, "You desecrate this place with your foul presence. You've made your point, now have off with you, take your sinful business elsewhere"
"Aw, come on Thaldymort"
"That's iFather/i Thaldymort to the likes of you"
"Sure, Big Daddy Thal, whatever you say. Those are some pretty tough words, hombre, ain't you scared of me? People in your situation don't come out of it alive real often, especially when I get to feeling a little... stabby"
"I'm not scared of dying and I'm certainly not scared of you," the priest snapped, "I for one don't fear entering the house of God"
Cinos' shark-bite smile faded, and with a flash of blue wind he grabbed the priest from behind and pressed the blade of a knife against his neck. The weapon glinted in the light, and Thaldymort's hands trembled as he grasped his holy trinket.
"Your God is about to be evicted from his house," Cinos whispered in his ear, "I'm moving in, rent-free, the best bachelor pad in the entire Megaverse, Big Daddy. And hey! Good news! I'm going to let you live today, but only because I want you to watch when I burn your Heaven to the ground. I want to see what the face of a preacher looks like when he sees that he has nothing left to hope for. And I hope you don't think that my handsome young doppelganger from the otherverse is going to save the day, because his little adventure is already ending"
He slashed Thaldymort from his chin to his ear, leaving a bloody gash that the priest grasped at, his rosary dropping to the ground.
"That's to remind you that I'm coming back," Cinos rasped, and sprinted from the church in a gale of shrieking laughter.
Sonic stared up at Hawke's Manse from the shadows of the backstreets of Chagrin Las Mortis, its boarded-up windows and smog-blackened paintwork working to make what was once a sort of gothic castle even more imposing. Father Thaldymort the priest had directed him to this forgotten piece of dark architecture, for it was apparently the base of operations for Cinos' bizarre cult. He almost considered ending his journey here, for to step foot inside this building felt like the polar opposite of stepping inside Thaldymort's church. There was no safety here, it was as though an aura of evil hung like drapes over the entire place.
Hawke's Manse was once somebody's home, a mansion in the black heart of the city, but it had been abandoned to fall apart and rot like everything else on this most wretched version of Mobius. Gargoyles like sentinals guarded the mansion from the corners of its collapsing roof. Dead trees in the yard cast tentacles of black shadow across the mouldy walls.
As Sonic hesitated before the dark house, somebody approached him from the empty street, and he turned to see a delinquent youth (the absence on his face indicated he was either drugged or inexperienced) holding a knife in a threatening manner and staring in his direction.
"GimmeallthemoneyorI'llkillyouI'llkillyou!" the youth shrieked almost incomprehensibly.
"Hey," Sonic replied calmly, "Hey man"
But the youth's eyes flared even wider as he looked over his victim, and he dropped the knife onto the street and screamed. "It's you! It's you! I'm sorry! I'm sorry!" He sprinted back from whence he had come.
Sonic sighed and turned his gaze once again to Hawke's Manse. Looking like his evil twin came with its benefits in the antiverse, it seemed. Sonic's own abilities and exploits had gained him fame and celebrity in his own world, so it stood to reason that Cinos, his abilities the same but his morality reversed, would gain him infamy and notoriety in the antiverse. Cinos, or Kinnos Sharpe as he was apparently known here, was probably the king of atrocity in a world where atrocity was the chief currency.
Another voice yelled at him from the other end of the street, a voice which decided for him what he was to do next.
"Hey blue spinebag! Not finished with you yet! I viddy one dead spinebag soon to be hurt bad!" The gang from the bar, led by the slang-speaking cat bladed from head to toe, were rushing towards him howling and laughing like a pack of hyenas surrounding their prey. Cinos had evidently made his share of enemies as well. Sonic, not wishing for an encounter with these thugs, jumped the steel fence of Hawke's Manse and rushed towards the house, grabbing hold of a drainpipe and scaling it.
The gang watched him from the other side of the fence, laughing and shouting abuse at him. A bottle flew through the air and smashed against the wall beside him.
"Climb, spinebag, climb!" the cat shouted, "Nowhere to go from there! We catch you later"
Sonic reached a boarded-up window and kicked his way through the rotting wood barrier. He gripped the windowsill and swung inside the dilapidated mansion. Looking about the place, old broken furniture covered by moth-eaten and rotted sheets, collapsing walls and cobwebs like curtains, he couldn't help worrying that the place might fall down around him.
Why hadn't vandals burned or torn this old house down long ago? For that matter, he could hear the hollering and laughter of the gang outside and wondered why they didn't pour over the fence to flush him out? The dark peoples of Chagrin Las Mortis may have embraced the darkness, but they seemed to be able to sense when an evil much greater than themselves was afoot, and they feared it just as much as anybody else would. Hawke's Manse was a black spot, like a bruise on the flesh of an apple, except that it was a rot on the flesh of the world. Sonic had sensed it when he had looked upon those snarling and broken gargoyles, and the people of Chagrin Las Mortis could sense it as well. They might not know exactly why, but nobody would step foot in this place. Nobody but Sonic's evil twin and his twisted followers.
As Sonic turned to descend deeper into the black house, something moved quickly alongside him, and though he was fast enough to raise his arms in defense, he wasn't quite able to fend off the attack. Somebody beat at him with what appeared to be a plank of wood, beat him in a frenzied, half-insane manner, shrieking all the while. Sonic yelled too, in pain and in shock, desperately trying to get an attack of his own in.
Just before his attacker beat him unconscious, Sonic saw the face of a young fox with something like an 'M' carved into his forehead.
"You can only be shown choices," the disembodied voice of Father Thaldymort echoed through his head, "It is up to you to make them"
Sonic's head exploded with pain and he groaned. Something poked him in the eye, hard, but the pain wasn't nearly as bad as the agony on the side of his head. He could feel blood cooling on that side, dripping onto his neck. The crazy kid with the carved symbol may have fractured his skull with that hunk of wood. He wished now that he had tried his luck with the gang in the street.
Something poked him in the eye again, harder, and this time that pain was more significant. He opened his eyes and squinted until the blurs started to make sense. Someone was kneeling in front of him, laughing. An orange-furred mobian wearing jeans and sneakers, his upper body adorned all over with strange symbols painted in some kind of blue wax. The mobian was laughing, the snorting-chortling laugh of an idiot, and poking Sonic in the eye with one outstretched finger. His fingers were covered in rings.
"His eye's squishy," the mobian chortled.
Sonic bit the finger. The mobian's laugh cut off immediately and was replaced by a cutting scream, and he pulled back and started to dance, shrieking and grasping at his bleeding finger. Sonic's teeth had removed one of the rings when his victim had reclaimed his digit, and he turned and spat the trinket onto the ground. The mobian returned to him, snarling with rage, and slapped him hard. Several of the rings gashed him, and now he was bleeding from both sides of his head. Sonic moved to stand up and proceed to beat this person within an inch of his life, but found that he was held down by heavy chains. Like it or not, he was at the mercy of his captors.
Who or what was the half-mad figure standing over him? His race was unknown to Sonic, appearing as perhaps something halfway between a hedgehog and an echidna, and all at once it dawned on him that Father Thaldymort had mentioned a companion that Cinos had brought back from his travels in the antiverse. A porcupine, a member of a buried and presumed extinct race from Mobius' history. This living fossil was ancient above the waist, all ribbons, rings and wax designs, but modern and even somewhat trendy below. His new blue jeans were slightly smeared with the blue substance he had used to paint his upper body. His fingers were dressed in more rings of different shapes and colours than Sonic was able to count, and the biggest was topped with the bright dome bauble of a mood ring. It was red, and it was easy to presume that red meant anger.
As Sonic's sight returned to him, he began to sense that there were others nearby. He could see a number of blurred shapes in the dim light. As he squinted, the shapes coalesced and he could see faces. At least a dozen mobians cloaked in ragged clothes, their faces absent of expression, sat cross-legged in a half-circle around the room.
Each one had a symbol carved into their forehead, something like a capital 'M' but with an extra tick on the end of it, like an afterthought or a punctuating mark. They all looked fatigued and impoverished, but content.
The porcupine had retrieved his spat-out ring and moved to beat Sonic again, but a familiar raspy voice held his hand.
"Rasputan, that's enough"
The porcupine scowled and moved aside, and Sonic could see the room in full. It appeared to be the basement of Hawke's Manse, all exits boarded up and nailed shut long ago, but it also carried the signs of recent use, like the Manse had awoken and begun to weave its dark mischief yet again.
There was a circle of what appeared to be salt on the ground in front of the seated cultists, and it was ringed with lit candles. Standing in front of this circle was Cinos, alias Kinnos Sharpe, Sonic's otherworldy nemesis, baring his usual sharky grin and fiery bloodshot eyes. He was wearing a leather jacket, half-zipped, and either side of him was a bulging suitcase. By all appearances he looked as though he was about to board a train and chug off over the horizon. Cinos approached Sonic and kneeled before his twin, who tried his best at giving an intimidating glare, although he knew that they were both far beyond the ability to intimidate each other by now.
"You know," Cinos said, "They have an expression in Chagrin Las Mortis. It goes something like this: 'If your enemy should cross you once, applaud him. If your enemy should cross you twice, destroy him.' I've given you enough chances, oh brother, but you're so insistent with your moral crusade that you just can't say die. I can't say I didn't expect you to keep looking for me, after all, I do know you just as well as you know yourself." He sighed and flicked Sonic's nose, and the physical contact produced a spark of energy. Sonic flinched and bared his teeth.
Cinos sighed. "But I'm not going to destroy you, Sonic. After all your exploits and heroic adventures I really don't think you deserve to meet your end chained down in some basement while I cut you up like a savage. Besides, time is short, and I have so much to do"
"You realise I'm just going to keep chasing you," Sonic said, "I'm going to stop you, one way or another, wherever you go"
"No, brother, you won't," Cinos replied, "Because where I'm going is out of your reach"
Sonic looked up at his twin, looked over the travelling cases, and came to a shocking realisation. Cinos was about to catch a train, all right. The non-stop express train to the otherverse.
"You're going back to my world," he muttered.
"Bingo!" Cinos explained, and clicked his fingers. "This world is, after all, the artificial one. Much as I loathe to admit it, your world was the first, Sonic. The porcupines, the mother-race of Mobius, cast all of their enchantments in the uni-verse, and it's your world that's the conduit. I'll only have to suffer it long enough to snatch up the runes, then all of existence is my playground. Isn't that cool"
"Runes, runes, what... runes?" Sonic spluttered, "Have you gone absolutely bonkers, Cinos"
"Five stones," Cinos said, "Scattered across Mobius, each marked with an insignia, one fifth of the code that breaks the barrier between this world and the other. You put them together, you read the code, you awaken an ancient energy that's been dormant since the dawn of civilisation. More energy than you can possibly imagine, the energy to shake worlds apart. Really, Sonic, after all you've seen and heard, is it really that hard for you to believe"
"You'll never be a god, Cinos," Sonic said, "And besides. You can't slide into my world from here. You'll land right in the middle of Terantulopolis, and they're none too fond of blue hedgehogs, even the crazy sadistic kind"
"Fear not, dear brother!" Cinos announced, and he picked up his suitcases. "I know what I'm doing. I've planned this little vacation every step of the way"
Carrying the cases, he stepped inside the salt circle. The porcupine, Rasputan, gave a twisted grin and a salute to the captive hedgehog, and stepped in as well. The cultists surrounding them all raised their hands and began whispering in frantic, awed voices.
"Don't do this, you rat!" Sonic shouted, rattling his chains.
"Farewell, brother!" Cinos said, "Look after the place until I get back! The next time we meet will be the end of the world"
Cinos, the porcupine, and everything else inside the circle began to fade and dim. Their bodies took on a waning translucence. They were sliding.
Sonic shouted after them, but his evil twin had departed reality to such a degree that he probably couldn't hear. After a while, the barely-visible ghosts of Cinos and Rasputan turned and walked across the room. A few of the cultists reached for them, but touched nothing but air. The dimensional travellers walked right through the wall of Hawke's Manse and vanished from sight.
Sonic swore and rattled his chains again. Now he truly was done for. Stuck in the antiverse and the last train back home had just departed without him. Stranded in a hostile and bizarre dimension, chained to the floor in an evil house, surrounded by maddened cultists. Just fantastic.
"You guys are completely ridiculous, did you know that?" he asked.
"Master Sharpe has departed for the otherverse to make a better world for us all," one of the cultists said.
"Yeah, yeah," Sonic replied, "So can you take these chains off me, please"
"You are the devil-twin," another cultist announced, "And you shall remain bound until Master Sharpe returns to banish you from eternity"
"That's the plan, huh"
The cultists appeared to close their eyes and pray to whoever it was they worshipped, and Sonic had the sinking feeling that they were praying to Cinos, the poor sick idiots. He closed his eyes too, but only to imagine home.
Sonic sat for a long time, picturing his homeworld and wishing to be anywhere other than where he was. He imagined his friends... Tails, Knuckles, Sally, Amy... yearned to be back in New Knothole fighting the usual enemies, the enemies who stayed put in the one universe and fought back in the traditional style, without mystical weapons and runes and old religions. While he focused on this image, something strange happened in his mind. His homeworld clarified, a picture as sharp as a photograph, and he felt like he was slipping into sleep. He was tired and fatigued, but there was something else. He had felt almost as though he had actually been going somewhere. When he opened his eyes, to his shock, the basement of Hawke's Manse appeared as though it wasn't entirely there, like there was the undercurrent of another reality just underneath its surface. The shock dragged him back into full reality.
Had he been sliding?
Sonic knew that Cinos found it easier to slide into his native antiverse than out of it. He had also taken for granted the idea that Cinos was the only entity who possessed the ability to move between worlds at will - that was, until Father Thaldymort had mentioned that he, too, had slid before.
Could it be that Sonic also had the capacity to skip back to his homeworld under his own power? If sliding home was easier than leaving it, could it have been within his power to return to his own Mobius all along? But how?
Of course. Sonic had closed his eyes and seen his world, all he needed was to will himself there, to cross the stream between realities with his mind. After all, a baby doesn't learn to walk until it really believes it can. All that really seperated the ability to travel in three dimensions and the ability to travel in four was a barrier of faith.
Sonic squeezed his eyes shut and pictured home. "I can do this," he whispered, "Come on, Sonic, do you want to die in the antiverse? Slide home, Sonic. Just slide home"
The feeling came over him, the sensation that he was leaving his body and falling into a deep sleep, spinning around in his mind and entering his own mental image like it were a real place. He could hear Cinos' cultists speaking in tones of alarm and confusion, but he couldn't hear what they were saying. "The devil-twin is ascending!" it sounded like. For a moment he felt as though he was exerting effort and trying to push through some tough membrane, though he didn't feel it against his skin, it seemed like a kind of pressure that built up and released, pushing him out the other side. It felt similar to ascending a hill and then rolling down the other side. In the end he felt a little dizzy, but static.
Sonic's rear end was suddenly wet, so he opened his eyes and saw that he was in a garbage dump.
"Hey, what the..." he muttered, and looked around. There were buildings all around the dump, black pointed constructions that he recognised as Arack architecture. He'd never been so happy to see the Empire, for it meant that he was definitely home. How deceptively simple it was to slide back home, just a matter of mental exertion. If he had known this the last time he had been stranded in the antiverse it would have made things a lot easier.
Thunder cracked in the sky and it began to rain.
It seemed that Cinos had planned his escape from the dark dimension with a degree of shrewdness. Though Chagrin Las Mortis existed parallel to the equally hostile (or arguably moreso) Arack city of Terantulopolis, Hawke's Manse stood parallel to an unpatrolled patch of landfill backing onto the Great Forest. He probably supposed that, should anybody try to follow him, they would slide right into the clutches of the Empire. A kind of interdimensional booby-trap that would ensure he wasn't followed.
As the rain fell upon the stinking refuse of the spider city, Sonic perceived footprints travelling to the east. Not spider prints, but two sets of feet that seemed to have materialised from nowhere and trampled through the mud and away. But Sonic knew where those feet had come from.
His first instinct was to return to New Knothole and alert the Freedom Fighters as to the trouble afoot, but he realised that wasn't a good plan. His only clue as to where on Mobius his evil twin was headed were these footprints, very soon to be washed away by the rain. The dark hedgehog and his crazy companion could not be far ahead, but he would lose them if he lingered.
"I'll contact Sally from the road," he decided, and hoped she would understand. If she didn't, it would only be because she hadn't experienced the strangeness of his day.
Sonic looked down at his hands and saw a strange thing. He had taken the metal handcuff on his left hand with him when he slid out of Hawke's Manse, but the right one had stayed in the antiverse. Two and a half links of chain were still attached to the cuff - the half-link severed through the centre as though sliced off with a clean cut. He didn't understand how sliding worked, but counted himself lucky that the dimensional tissue hadn't cut across his neck just as it had across the chain. Some things were beyond understanding, he decided. Some things just were.
Sonic the Hedgehog wandered into the Great Forest to persue his evil twin, and none of his friends heard from or about him again in over a year. Those who he knew only in passing considered his death after about a month of his absence, but his closest friends lingered onto hope for much longer before they, too, conceded that the hedgehog was gone from the world forever. In that way, most people had already decided that Sonic's adventure was over, before it even truly began.
The story of Sonic's travels in the next year would come to be legend.
The First Interlude
I've travelled the world from sea to sea and seen remarkable things,
The falls of empires, the rise of mountains, the legacies of kings,
But never again in all my life have I been able to find,
A being so insane with life, with such a twisted mind.
So mad was he, so crooked, he lived solely for himself,
In persuit of power, and in persuit of wealth,
He had no friends, not a single one, for he betrayed them all,
And not a single reason had he to justify his fall.
I met him on my travels once, a creature full of greed,
His mind twisted with insanity, a grisly sight indeed,
He would stab you in the back to steal your pouch of gold,
Not a trace of emotion, his heart was frozen cold.
I asked him, "What was done to you to twist you all around"
He said, "Life's pleasures are a thing to treasure, I have found.
But happiness is fleeting, something to fight battles for,
And the devil's bargain of this mirth is always wanting more."
I said, "But Twisted Mind, is not happiness from within?
Does not the outward search for such a thing, become the biggest sin"
He replied, "Nothing convinces me that this theory is sound,
For as long as more is out there, there is more to be found."
I've travelled this globe all over, oh the lessons I have learned,
The cultures I have visited, great empires overturned,
But what a lesson I have learned from one without sympathy for his fellows,
Who was content to seek his fortune and to always be so shallow.