Nothing much to say, so here's the epilogue.

CHAPTER 20: Epilogue

"Well, guys, you know I need to get back to Angel Island." Knuckles told Sonic and Tails, who were following him to the front door. "Oh, and… Tails?"

"Right," he replied, handing over the Master Emerald shard that he had had for so long. "Now the Master Emerald will be normal again, right?"

Knuckles nodded.

"Thanks for helpin' me," Tails said.

"It's no big deal – but it's not going to happen every day." The echidna added.

"I know, I know," Tails said. "I'm glad today was one of those days, though."

"Thanks, Knuckster," Sonic said, holding out his right hand.

"I helped this kid save your life, and you still can't call me by my actual name?" Knuckles asked, pretending to sound irritated. He reached out and shook Sonic's hand firmly. Then, as a sign of gratitude, Sonic embraced him quickly – and Knuckles, astonishingly, didn't cringe or refuse, but returned it. "This is not going to happen every day, either," he made clear.

With a quick wave of his hand, Knuckles turned and took a running start to the edge of the porch before jumping into the air. He glided gracefully with the wind. Sonic and Tails watched him until he appeared as nothing more than a red speck staining the sky.

"So, Sonic," Tails began, breaking the silence. "Do you think you're going to be able to run as fast as before?"

"Of course. It may take a while – after all, I've been off my feet for weeks – but I'll be back up to par before you know it." Sonic replied.

Tails smiled and stared off into the distance. Just earlier today, he and Knuckles had been fighting for their lives – now he was standing outside next to his best friend peacefully. It certainly was an odd transition, but wonderful all the same.

"The sun is setting," Tails stated. "What now?"

Sonic chuckled. "Well, I certainly don't want to sit around doing nothing," he said, turning and looking at the house behind him like it was his enemy. "I know."

"Hm?"

"What d'you say we go kick some egg?"

Tails chuckled. "If he's still where he was this morning, then the mountain is that way!" He said, smiling determinedly.

"Lead the way!"

xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

"KNUCKLES! TAILS! I'll kill you bastards if it's the last thing I ever do! Or I'll die trying!" Eggman hollered to the air around him. This was around the tenth time he had shouted something of that sort. He had spent the rest of the day trying to figure out where his wonderful plan went wrong.

Then he realized something – he still had a plan B. "Oh, yes… I must get back to the Dome Base as soon as I can. Unless I'm incorrect, which is highly improbable, I still have my latest creation waiting to be used." Well, unfortunately, it has already been used once when it disobeyed me by going to shatter the Master Emerald several weeks ago – but that will not happen again. "Be ready Tails… with Sonic disabled, you're still an easy target. You were just lucky last time."

Eggman discontinued his egotistical speech upon hearing the familiar sound of steady, fast rotations.

The sound of spinning tails.

Why in the WORLD is HE back here!?

The golden furred fox came into view slowly. He appeared to be struggling to keep his flight, and Eggman wondered why. Then he saw the reason – and it was holding onto Tails' feet. It was blue. It was grinning. It was—

"SOOONNNNIIIIIIIICC!!"

"Hm hm hmm…" Sonic laughed wickedly under his breath. He released Tails' feet and landed inside the rocky arena. Tails stopped twirling and landed next to him lightly.

Eggman watched the pair nervously, standing stock-still. Sonic glared straight back at him, ready eyes containing a glint of malevolent satisfaction. Tails folded his arms slowly and grinned at the overweight man. The light from the setting sun shined in behind them, as if presenting them to Eggman.

The slightest hint of a grin appeared on the blue blur's face as he took a single step forward and said with a threatening undertone, "Hey, Eggman. What's up?"

Well, A New Hero Rises is now officially over. I know this last chapter was nothing much, but I wanted it in here. Please review – thanks a lot for reading! Stay loyal readers, the sequel (titled "Beyond the Chaos") will be up soon! I've gotten a start on it and all the chapters are pretty much lined up – I just want to get going in case I decide to change something later. Won't be too long!

Once again, thank you – I appreciate the thousands of hits I've gotten on this story, and especially my reviewers (they are listed in no special order, just the order I found them in on the page):

Maverick87 (thanks for reading the series for so long)

Shelfkid91 (you've probably reviewed this story the most - thanks)

Ember Rock

sassy

Tucker's Mayflower

buggy500

MarzBunni

Karasua

Kiara

Tails and Cream

Tailse

Samantha27

m&m (unregistered user… still a reviewer!)

mmmm (another unregistered user)

amethyst the hedgehog

Wingless Rain (harsh, but a few useful tips)

Blueberry91

chatterbaby

Very good (unregistered user again)

K Twenty Two

Raziel777

That's all of y'all (no, I don't really have a Southern accent…)! Thanks again and see you soon… D.C.111