I'm not even going to apologise this time. I took you updates wouldn't be regular.

Anyway this is the beginning of Shadow's story. I really like how the dynamic between Rouge and Shadow ended up.

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Chapter 4 – Darkness and Shadow

Somewhere in the mountains behind Soleanna lay a huge metallic base. Large, bright spotlights shone onto the deep snow surrounding the base, blinding anyone stupid enough to look directly at the spotlighted ground. The walls of the base were surrounded by Robot Guards, armed and ready to take out any intruders.

How pathetic, thought Shadow as he pondered the best way to enter the base.

Simply warping with Chaos Control would be too easy. Shadow waited for the right moment and slid in under the lights and behind a stack of large crates.

"Ok I'm in", said Shadow into a Radio

"Excellent Shadow. The captured agent should be just north of your position. Be careful Shadow, the last thing we want is a fight with…." Said a voice over the Radio

"Who do you think you're talking to? I am the Ultimate lifeform! He is no match for me", said Shadow.

"Still we can't lose you. Be on your Guard", said the Voice.

Shadow sighed and warped as far north as he could see. As he came out of his Chaos Controlled warp he was ambushed by a large group of Robot Sentries. He could see the entrance to the base ahead of him and he wasn't going to give up that easily.

"Ok enough Stealth. Time for some action" said Shadow Smiling

ACTION STAGE: WHITE ACROPOLIS (SHADOW)

Shadow defeated the Robots with ease and raced towards the base entrance. An Alarm Siren went off and more heavily armoured robots came to capture him. Shadow wasn't phased by this and destroyed everything in his path.

Meanwhile, within the base the sirens were music to Rouge's ears. She was temporarily detained inside the base, unable to find a way out. Perhaps the guards outside her cell had something to do with that. Anyway now she was out, after blowing open her cell door with a cleverly placed bomb, the path leading to the exit was more or less bare,

She made a quick stop at the armoury to get her bombs back. After all there were only so many she could hide without them being detected. She passed the security room and decided to check out the monitors to see what was going on. She saw the black rogue hedgehog smashing robots and speeding through the many traps laid down to stop intruders.

"Shadow! Why did it have to be you? I'm never going to hear the end of this", said Rouge with a depressed tone.

Rouge caught up with Shadow in the clearing outside the main core. Shadow had jumped into an armed Jeep, complete with dual rocket launchers attached to the sides.

"Hey Shadow. Wait for me", shouted Rouge

"Rouge? Why her?" asked Shadow under his breath.

Rouge jumped into the jeep as Shadow turned on the ignition.

"Thanks Sugar. Now let's get out of here", said Rouge.

"So you're the agent I'm here to rescue. I should have known. Only you're dumb enough to steal something from the Doctor's private stash", said Shadow.

"Hey I was hired to get this thing," said Rouge holding out a sceptre," Personally I couldn't care less. That Jewel is hardly impressive"

The Sceptre Rouge held out looked sort of like a silver claw holding a small purple orb, surrounded by purple glass in a sort of flame shape. Almost like a candle, with the claw holding the flame.

"Hmm! I don't believe you. It may be small but it's still a Jewel", said Shadow.

"Whatever, let's just get out of here. I need to make the rendezvous in the old castle as soon as possible", said Rouge.

Shadow didn't respond. Instead he drove towards the exit, only for the giant doors to be sealed shut.

"OK, any ideas?" asked Shadow.

"I can get these doors open. Just give me some time", said Rouge

"Right, I'll keep these annoyances off our backs", said Shadow.

Rouge raced towards the door trying to find the way to open them. Shadow meanwhile concentrated on the seemingly endless assault of heavily armoured machines. Everywhere he went he was followed by a bright spotlight. He then had an idea.

"The Spotlights! Let's see if you can still follow me in the dark", said Shadow.

The clearing was hit by a fairly fierce blizzard, weak enough to drive through, but strong enough to make it difficult to see. Shadow focused on the spotlights, destroying them with the Jeep's Rocket Launchers.

Soon after the last spotlight fell the doors opened and Shadow, picking up Rouge on the way, drove through. They were now in a small arena with the Road to Soleanna in plain sight. As they approached the big doorway a massive machine smashed into the ground, flipping the Jeep onto its back. Shadow and Rouge only narrowly got out in time.

They tried to get back up but were knocked back down to the ground as a large metal foot slammed into the ground beside them. Shadow looked up to find the face of a huge dog like robot staring at him.

"Well well, look like I found a couple of thieves. Hand back what is rightfully mine and I won't hurt you, much", said a familiar voice.

"No way Eggman. I was hired to get this from you and I always complete my mission", said Rouge

"Always? What about the time…" said Shadow smiling a little.

"Now's not the time Shadow. If Eggman wants a fight I say we bring it to him", said Rouge

"Agreed. Doctor get out of our way or else?" said Shadow.

"Or else what? I'm not letting you leave my base. Egg Cerberus, ATTACK!" Shouted Eggman.

BOSS: EGG CERBERUS (SHADOW)

The Egg Cerberus immediately started charging at Shadow. Shadow wasted no time and began attacking the machine anyway he could. The Machine's armour was too tough and despite his best effort Shadow couldn't even scratch it.

Rouge too couldn't make a dent in it either. Her Drill Drive attacks just bounced off the armour and she ended up hurting herself more that damaging the Egg Cerberus.

"You're going to have to do better than that to damage the Egg Cerberus, if you can damage it at all", said Eggman, "I'm quite proud of its armour"

"Hey Shadow, What about that big glowing Ariel on top of his head?" said Rouge, "Maybe we can use that to our advantage"

Shadow attempted to warp to the Ariel using Chaos Control but the Egg Cerberus had rushed off to the edge of the arena. Shadow couldn't get a clear warp to the Ariel and kept falling.

Lifting his face from the snow he noticed the shape of the Egg Cerberus' back. It looked like, if he got his balance right, he could grind up the armour and grab the Ariel that way.

Shadow warped to Rouge using Chaos Control. Rouge was running away from the Egg Cerberus to a safe distance.

"I have an idea on how we could reach that Ariel", said Shadow running with Rouge

"I'm not flying you up there. It's too risky", said Rouge

"Well I didn't think of that but that isn't my idea anyway. I need you to keep distracting him so I can sneak around the back", said Shadow.

"No Problem Sugar", said Rouge winking.

Shadow warped to the other side of the arena after nodding in approval. Rouge brought out the Sceptre and started waving it about towards the Egg Cerberus.

"Hey Eggman. This is what you're after isn't it? Come and get it!" shouted Rouge.

The Egg Cerberus immediately charged and jumped towards Rouge. Rouge had to fly into the air to avoid the shockwaves of the massive robot's landing. Shadow then charged towards the back of the Egg Cerberus and began grinding up the armour. Meanwhile the Egg Cerberus kicked Rouge against the wall knocking her out.

"Well that's one down, what the…?" exclaimed Eggman as Shadow grabbed hold of the Ariel.

Eggman began losing control of the Egg Cerberus and Shadow managed to lead the beast like machine into a wall. This smashed open the Canopy's armour. The Cockpit was now vulnerable and with a quick warp shadow smashed the cockpit to pieces.

The Egg Cerberus collapsed and Shadow picked up Rouge and the Sceptre. Then as soon as he could he warped both of them to safety. Shadow laid Rouge next to a wall before taking a lie down himself. Even Ultimate lifeforms get exhausted after all.

After a while Rouge regained consciousness.

"Good you're awake", said Shadow.

"Ow! What happened? I remembered trying to get the attention of that big robot and then nothing", said Rouge rubbing her head.

"You were kicked by the Egg Cerberus into a wall, knocked out in one hit. I thought you'd be stronger than that. So this sceptre…" said Shadow

"Hey you're not the one that got kicked but if a kick's what you want", said Rouge angrily jumping to her feet.

"So this sceptre, what is it?" asked Shadow, "And more importantly why were you hired to get it"

Rouge prepared to kick Shadow but soon stopped to think.

"You know what, I don't really know. All I know is that GUN want it and it contains some sort of dark power they don't want Eggman to have", said Rouge

"Hmm, I don't like the vibe I getting from this thing either", said Shadow staring into the Dark Purple jewel in the centre of the crown.

Release me….

"Wait what was that?" said Shadow.

"What?" asked Rouge confused

"I heard something say Release me", said Shadow.

"Strange, I didn't hear anything. Perhaps it was your Ego talking to you, wanting to escape due to lack of space in that big head of yours", said Rouge

For the power to change time, Release me….

"There it is again. Ok where is the Rendezvous point. The quicker we hand this over the better. It's starting to creep me out", said Shadow

"You're crazy. I didn't hear a thing but your insane ramblings. Got to say though you certainly seem spooked, too many voices in your head or something", said Rouge,

"Too many voices outside my head more like", said Shadow, "Now the Rendezvous point?"

"Oh yeah it's some old castle on the other side of Soleanna's Jungle area. I think it's called Kingdom Valley", said Rouge.

"So we have to go through the city, then the cut across the Jungle. No Problem. You ready to go then?" asked Shadow.

"Lead the way Sugar", said Rouge.

Shadow and Rouge headed towards Kingdom Valley without getting into too much trouble. A few stray mechs here and there and a couple of Soleanna's locals asking for help were all that stood in their way. They stood in awe as they admired the castle as far as they could see. It blended nicely with the valley and the lakes and looked absolutely stunning.

It was such a shame that Eggman's mechs were littering the area.

"What are the Doctor's mechs doing in this area? I don't think these are strays", asked Shadow.

"Well at least we can have some fun along the way" replied Rouge winking.

Shadow smiled and took the lead through Kingdom Valley.

ACTION STAGE: KINGDOM VALLEY (SHADOW)

Eggman's mechs didn't create too much of a threat. Most of the Danger came from the terrain and the castle ruins. Most of it held up well but on the odd occasion a large chunk would come loose, giving the two rogues something to avoid.

As they progressed through the area it seemed to become more and more beautiful. The end was soon in sight and it didn't take them long to reach the rendezvous point. It was a fairly secluded area of the castle, perfect for a private meeting.

But neither GUN nor The Rogues could see that Eggman was actually in control of this area. Expecting to see a small army of GUN soldiers the two Rogues were instead greeted by Eggman and a small army of his mechs.

"What took you so long? I didn't think you two would keep me waiting this much?" asked Eggman.

"Well after your guard dog was beaten so easily we kinda figured you'd still be no match for us", said Shadow, "So we took it nice and slow and had some fun"

"I am impressed that you managed to take down the Egg Cerberus though it was the weakest of my main weapons", said Eggman, "However playtime is over. That Sceptre is not a toy, please hand it back".

"Give me one good reason why I should betray my client and give up on this mission", said Rouge.

"That Sceptre contains a power no-one can truly comprehend. Except me of course. If that power was to be released, well there would be no way I could rule this world. The dark power will destroy everything. I will not allow GUN to experiment on it", said Eggman.

"What makes you think I'm going to just hand that power over to you then Eggman. Sorry I'm keeping this Sceptre", said Rouge.

"Then you leave me with no choice. GET THEM!" ordered Eggman.

As always, Eggman's mechs were no match for Shadow and Rouge but it was never Eggman's intention to destroy the two rogues. Instead Eggman tried to take the Sceptre from rouge himself, using his mechs as a distraction.

Eggman swooped down and grabbed the Sceptre. He tried to pull it from Rouge's grasp but he couldn't. Rouge was holding onto it so tightly the two could only struggle. Rouge managed to kick out at Eggman but could only hit the controls of the Egg Mobile instead.

Rouge had hit the ascend lever and the two were now high in the air. One of the remaining mechs Shadow didn't get around to destroying managed to shoot the sceptre right out of both their hands.

Things seemed to go into slow motion as the sceptre fell to the floor. Shadow was busy fighting the mechs while Rouge and Eggman tried their best to catch the sceptre again.

It was no use. The Sceptre smashed into the ground and the dark purple jewel smashed into several pieces. Dark purple smoke emanated from the broken Sceptre and a maniacal laugh could be heard throughout Kingdom Valley

"I'm Free, at last", said the dark voice.

"No, now look what you have done", said Eggman

Shadow had just destroyed the last mech as Eggman looked around and escaped. Rouge descended to the floor to investigate the dark cloud.

"What the? The Sceptre was a prison?" asked Shadow

"You should know, you trapped me inside that thing for ten years Shadow", said the Dark Cloud

"How do you know my name?" asked Shadow angry and confused.

"I'll never forget that face. See…." Said the Dark Cloud.

Just then the Dark cloud took a new form. It transformed into a replica of Shadow. Instead of the flaming red stripes though there were only grey depressing stripes. It formed the darkest eyes either of them had ever seen and when it spoke, no mouth opened. It also had a much slouched posture and whenever it stared at you your heartbeat quickened.

"Who are you?" asked Rouge, "and how come you look like Shadow?"

"I can take any form I like, I just doing this for the Irony. I am Mephilis the Dark, master of time and destruction. I've waited ten long years for this", said the Shadow Replica.

Mephilis charged up a dark purple portal which sucked everything nearby inside. Mephilis laughed as Shadow and Rouge got sucked into the portal.

"Welcome to your new prison Shadow. Now you're going to know what it feels like to be trapped", said Mephilis before joining them in the dark portal.