IN THE END
Chapter 1- Painful Truth
An ebony and crimson hedgehog stirred slightly, his face contorting from being waked prematurely, before his eyes opened, revealing inferno-mimicking orbs dotted with obsidian.
Blinking to get some moisture into his dry eyes, the hedgehog looked around unsurely at his surroundings, all the while still laying on the pitch black ground that seemed to stretch around him endlessly.
The rest of this place was no different, totally dark save for a dull light that illuminated the small space the ultimate life form occupied.
Grunting slightly, the ebony warrior raised his arms and pushed his body up, using his knees as a support. He was about to stand up to his full height when a voice interrupted him, causing the ultimate life form to freeze on the spot.
"Look at you, you're pathetic..."
"Who are you?" Shadow asked groggily, his eyes scanning the surroundings.
The voice laughed wickedly, sending shivers up the dark hedgehog's spine, a feat not so easily accomplished.
"Elise really did extinguish the flame then, didn't she?"
"What are you talking about?" the ultimate life form questioned again, wearily standing to his full height with a push of his legs.
"Hm hm hm hm, you shall see soon enough, my dear Shadow..."
The dark hedgehog blinked at the voice. Was this character mocking him? Rage washed over Shadow's features in an instant.
"Reveal yourself!" the ultimate life form commanded with a roar.
"As you wish..."
The black and red hedgehog searched the surrounding area once again for any sign of the phantom. But, once again, there was only a deep, endless abyss of darkness.
"I said come out!" Shadow shouted again, his head twisting and turning right and left in search for the invisible menace.
"I'm right here," a voice from behind the hedgehog drawled, his voice now nonchalant.
Shadow's eyes went wide. Why hadn't he been able to detect him? The phantom didn't let a single strand of energy leak out. Whirling around to face his adversary, Shadow's breath got trapped in his throat.
Before him stood an exact mirror image of himself.
The surrounding darkness would not show the phantom's true colors, but he could tell that he had highlights just like himself. There was only one major difference between the two that Shadow could spot at the moment:
The fake hedgehog had slitted, green, snake-mimicking eyes.
The ebony and crimson hedgehog tilted his head slightly, with the doppelganger copying his exact movement.
For a second the ultimate life form really wondered if he was staring into a mirror or not.
"Who are you?" Shadow asked, standing back up straight, with the phantom hedgehog mirroring his movements again perfectly.
"I don't believe there is a need for an introduction Shadow, since we have met in the past," the copy answered.
Shadow offhandedly noticed that the phantom didn't have a mouth.
The charcoal-colored hedgehog snorted slightly, "I don't remember ever meeting you."
The dark creature in front of Shadow chuckled sinisterly, "There is much you do not remember, at least not the truth."
The black hedgehog narrowed his eyes, "What do you mean?"
"You remember that Maria was shot on Ark by G.U.N., don't you?" the mystery creature asked, waving his hand into the air much like a magician would.
Shadow nodded slightly, "Of course, but that doesn't explain who you are or why I'm here."
The phantom raised a finger in amusement, "Ah, but it does."
Shadow's ruby-red eyes narrowed even further, his brows furrowing.
"What if I told you G.U.N. had absolutely nothing to do with the death of your beloved Maria?"
There was a sudden silence that washed over the scene, but it only lasted a few moments. Shadow managed to chuckle slightly, "I would call you a fool."
The copy raised its right hand as a small light began to pierce through the darkness, "Then prove my claims false, Shadow the Hedgehog, as you look into your true past!"
Shadow did not move, but only directed his gaze towards the source of the light, resisting the urge to close his eyes from the intruding brightness of the piercing light. The light grew and manifested, until it consumed the entire area, the two hedgehogs included. The ultimate life form never budged as he was lost in the sea of the divine luminosity.
"Brother, where are you brother?" Shadow called.
The small black and red hedgehog ran swiftly through the metallic halls of space colony Ark, occasionally passing by a few bewildered scientists.
His voice was a higher pitch than usual, making it obvious the small hedgehog had not fully matured yet. In fact, going by the date of his creation, Shadow was only seven years old.
Turning into a corner, the small hedgehog came to an abrupt stop when he ran full-force into something. Thrown back, Shadow landed on his rump.
"Ow," the seven year-old Shadow mumbled, rubbing his lower back.
Looking up at who or what he ran into, his face brightened.
"Brother, I found you!" the young hedgehog yelled with a smile, hopping back onto his feet.
Before him stood a white hedgehog with silver highlights in his quills, on his arms, and on his legs. He was wearing white and silver hover shoes that mimicked the ones Shadow would soon own down to the last detail. His piercing silver eyes looked down upon Shadow with quiet nonchalance.
On his arms were two bulky, silver cuffs that most likely acted like the power restrainers Shadow would own soon.
He looked almost exactly like Shadow save for the fur color, eyes, and the two bottom quills on his head that pointed down instead of up, like Shadow's. He, unlike Shadow, seemed fully developed, both physically and mentally. The tall hedgehog was fifteen years old.
The taller hedgehog before Shadow smiled slightly, "How are you, Shadow?"
"I was looking all over for you," the ultimate life form said with a smile, grabbing his older brother's hand, "Gerald just told me that I could train in the Gravity Chamber, but that I have to have a partner, can you help me train?"
Shadow gave the white and silver hedgehog before him a sweet smile along with big red, puppy-dog eyes. The other hedgehog's icy silver eyes softened under the gaze of his brother's innocent large ruby orbs.
The older hedgehog nodded, "Sure."
Shadow yelped in victory and grabbed his brother's hand, dragging him into the direction of the Gravity Chamber.
"All right Shadow," the white and silver hedgehog exclaimed with a small smirk, holding a hand full of tennis balls, "Try to dodge all of these."
The young Shadow nodded enthusiastically as his brother lightly tossed a ball at him, which suddenly accelerated to incredible speeds. The young hedgehog just barely managed to duck out of the way as the ball whizzed over his head, hitting the white wall behind him with a loud clank.
Before the young ultimate life from had time to recover, another ball came whizzing at him. Shadow jumped this time to avoid it before he was hit square in the face with another.
Dropping to the ground, the red and black hedgehog held his right cheek, which was turning a light pink color.
"Ow brother, you threw that one too hard!" Shadow accused, standing back up to his feet.
The white hedgehog shrugged with a small smirk, dropping the rest of the tennis balls onto the ground,"You're the one who wanted to train with me."
The white hedgehog knew there was no way Shadow could have dodged that ball, but his smaller brother was always so enthusiastic about training with him. He had to make it a challenge.
Shadow smiled, "Yeah, I guess you're right."
The door to the large white metallic room suddenly slid open as an old, bearded man in a lab coat stepped in. The silver-tainted hedgehog's small smirk immediately reversed into a scowl at the sight of his "father".
"Gerald," the white hedgehog mumbled, squeezing his hands into fists.
The scientist all but ignored Shadow and had his full attention on the hedgehog's larger counter-part as he spoke, "We have to talk, now."
The eyes of the tall hedgehog narrowed, "What about?"
Gerald stepped aside to reveal two armed guards that cocked their guns obediently, "It's best if we discuss it in private."
Shadow looked on confused as his brother walked towards Gerald and out the door after giving his younger brother a small but reassuring smile.
What was that all about?
"Man, I'm tired!"
Shadow wearily slumped down against the side of the metallic wall that surrounded the Gravity Chamber. He had been training for almost three days now, catching only a little amount of sleep.
"I wonder what brother is doing?" Shadow asked to no one in particular. He had not seen his older brother since he left with Gerald that day in this very same training facility.
The young hedgehog shrugged, standing back up.
"I think I should go and see Maria, she's probably worried about me," the young ultimate life form mumbled before running out of the door.
Much to the young Shadow's surprise, the station was completely silent and dark.
'Strange,' Shadow thought, 'It's not that late, where is everybody?'
The only sound in the eerie environment was the soft clanking of Shadow's shoes against the metallic floor. Usually at this time, this place bustled with life. Scientists were everywhere. The black hedgehog ignored the thought and began heading towards his and Maria's quarters.
It was the same everywhere Shadow went. Complete silence and darkness. Absolutely no one was in sight.
Speeding up his pace a little, Shadow went into a full-fledged, panic-fueled sprint as he tried to make it to his room as fast as possible.
The darkness surrounding him with the ghostly silence was scaring the young hedgehog. His big red eyes scanned his surroundings frantically, the young hedgehog's imagination and mind plagued with monsters jumping out of the darkness at him.
Finally stopping before the familiar door that was his own, Shadow sighed in relief and opened it with the press of a button next to it, entering the room, which was also completely dark.
"Maria?" Shadow asked in a small frightened voice, the door behind him closing with a hiss, "Where are you?"
The room was completely barren, no soul in sight.
"Maybe they went to the observation room," Shadow mumbled, thinking of the large room with a giant window that was used to look down upon the Earth. Maria loved it there, and went there often so it was the obsidian hedgehog's best bet.
Opening the door and running back out of the room, the ultimate life form sprinted in the direction of the observatory at top speed.
Shadow gulped as he stood before the door that lead to the observatory. Something just didn't seem right, where was everyone? Why was it so dark, why was there not one single sound on the entire station?
The ultimate life form shook his head, pulling a small switch that would open the door.
The large door slid open with a loud hiss as the young hedgehog entered the giant room. The glow from the Earth below was the only thing illuminating the room.
Shadow stepped into the room, the door sliding closed behind him. His eyes scanned the room, finally resting on the central platform. And what he saw almost made him vomit, cry, and scream at the same time.
There, lying in a puddle of her own blood illuminated by the eerie glow of the moon, was the young Maria Robotnik, her grandfather Gerald protectively sprawled over her lifeless body in a last attempt to protect her.
Both were completely motionless. It was not a hard task to figure out that the two were no longer alive.
Tears started involuntarily flowing from Shadow's eyes. How? Why?
A sudden movement made Shadow perk up, standing in a defensive position, still scared to death.
His ruby-red eyes picked out a silhouette that stood against the eerie glowing window of the room, his outline making it obvious that it was a hedgehog, one taller and probably older than Shadow. His stance was statue-like and his fists were clenched at his sides. The head of the shadow was turned to the side.
"Who are you?" Shadow managed to ask timidly through chocked sobs.
The young black hedgehog pushed back another sob, the corner of his eye still drowning in the image of Maria and Gerald laying before him, slaughtered. The phantom turned towards the young hedgehog after a small pause, eerie silver eyes glowing through the darkness and focused onto Shadow.
Young Shadow's eyes widened. No, it couldn't be, it was impossible!
The stranger lifted his foot, stepping closer to the two corpses and Shadow. Waves of shadows and moonlight rolled over his expressionless face, revealing it completely under the glow of the Earth below.
"Brother?" Shadow asked in shock, not wanting to believe in his idol's presence "What are you-why are you"-
"Foolish brother," the older hedgehog interrupted, his voice cold and nonchalant.
Shadow's teary red eyes widened but he managed to choke back a sob and speak,"What happened brother? Maria and Gerald, they're both dead."
The white hedgehog's face remained expressionless as he raised his right hand. It was completely covered in a deep, red liquid, so much that drops of it were rolling off his glove.
It was blood.
More tears streamed down Shadow's face, "No...no, you didn't. Why?"
There was a heavy silence after the young hedgehog's question. The taller hedgehog did not move at all, his unblinking eyes still focused intently on his younger sibling.
"To rid myself of these attachments and rules. I had been bowing to someone inferior than myself for long enough, it was time to end it. I have a higher purpose in life than this, I am meant to be more powerful, as are you."
Shadow squeezed his eyes shut and shook his head as his brother continued.
"They were not expecting it, so it was quick."
"Where is everyone else?" Shadow managed to ask through more tears and chokes, opening his eyes.
The tall hedgehog directed his gaze towards the window, with Shadow following.
And the sight before him made the young hedgehog step back out of fear before vomiting onto the cold steel floor. In the vacuum of space, dozens of human bodies littered the area around the colony.
They were all floating in no precise order or fashion. Their faces were all blue, due to the sheer coldness of the place they were in and the lack of oxygen. There was no doubt that they were dead.
Shadow fell to his knees when he heard his brother's voice again, "They on the other hand, saw my attacks coming, so to save precious energy, I simply shot them into space."
Shadow's ruby eyes suddenly flared with fury and hate as he shot up and charged for his brother.
How could he do this? Why would he do this? Shadow didn't care, the young hedgehog only saw red.
"You bastard!" Shadow cried as he lunged at the more powerful hedgehog.
The murderous hedgehog's nonchalant, almost lazy gaze never wavered. His smaller brother posed no real threat, and Shadow knew that better himself. Yet, he was still charging at him.
The taller hedgehog simply jabbed Shadow in the stomach with lightning-fast precision to cause his assault to cease. Shadow collapsed onto the floor in a heap, his breath ragged and torn.
"You are so weak, it disgusts me," Shadow heard his brother say from above him.
Out of pure terror, the young hedgehog managed to scoot backwards, his gaze traveling to the one of the hedgehog standing above him, never breaking it.
"There is one simply reason I will let you live," the homicidal hedgehog explained, his eyes traveling from Shadow and towards the two corpses of Gerald and Maria, "You have the power to surpass me, to kill me."
Shadow continued to retreat when his brother appeared before him in a silent wisp of air and picked him up by the neck, raising him to eye level.
"When you have awakened the powers that reside within you, seek me out. Until then, you aren't worth my time."
Shadow shook his head, unwilling to believe what his brother was saying. This had to be a dream, it had to be!
"So, foolish brother, hate me, envision yourself standing over my fallen body, and once you have awakened, come before me."
The young ultimate life form didn't even have time to scream before he felt a sharp pain in the back of his head. The last thing he saw were the cold and emotionless eyes of his older brother, the one he had loved, the one he had looked up to, and the one that took everything from him.
Then everything went black...
The full grown adult Shadow was once again in the strange real of complete darkness with the phantom hedgehog that had just shown him that horrific memory standing above him.
The ultimate life form was on his hands and knees, gasping for air and sweating effusively. That illusion felt so real...was it?
"Why...did you show..me that?" Shadow asked between heavy breaths.
"The reasons are my own to know," the phantom answered, "But after that incident, G.U.N. retrieved you and gave you that false memory in order to protect themselves and the world from your brother, hoping they had seen the last of him and making sure that you would not seek him out."
"Where is he?" Shadow asked, standing back up, although still completely mentally fatigue.
"I do not know," the copy answered, "But you will need to get stronger if you want to defeat him. At your current level, you won't stand a chance."
"At least tell me your name," Shadow demanded, his breath still raged.
The dark creature in front of him chuckled lightly.
His body began evaporating into the surrounding environment, just like water into the air. Before the creature disappeared completely, Shadow heard it utter one more thing.
"Mephiles the Dark."
Before the ultimate life form could ask another question or even regain his footing, the phantom completely disappeared and the realm around him began to crumble at the absence of its master.
The last name that crossed Shadow's mind before returning to the real world was the one of his brother:
Disclaimer: I do not own Sonic the Hedgehog or any of the related characters in this story. Some of the characters however, are fan-based and owned by myself. The plot is copyright of Mystery001(I'm just putting that there so no one will copy this and present it as their own, I've worked too hard on this).
This story takes place after Sonic the Hedgehog, so make sure you play it or at least understand its story before reading this. It also happens after Sonic and the Secret Rings but that game had no real main-story involvement in this so understanding it is not necessary.
It has many inspirations for the plot. Star Wars, Spider-man 3's Sandman and the animated series Bleach and Naruto are just a few. I'm just putting this up so people don't start crying: "This is like Star Wars!" or "This is like Naruto!" There may be a few instances when this happens. The plot is ninety percent original though.
I began working on this when I was still writing An Ultimate's Legacy. The exact date of started production is February 1st, 2007. I really have been working all this time, and this story is exceptionally long, that's why I needed a head-start in order to update regularly.
This story includes many, many characters. Some were created by Sonic Team, some were created by myself. If you do not like OC's, then please don't read this story, as there will be quite a few.
Also (Yeah, I know this is long), the "speaking" form is not precisely to-book, meaning that it is slightly different from other forms. I just hate writing in the other forms though, but I hope no one will be bothered by that.
Warning: Shadow's past will be screwed with (again) so if you don't like, don't read.
One last thing: Tails will be considered Sonic's adopted brother in this story, not having the title of best friend. That will belong to someone else. If you like the whole "I'm Sonic and Tails is my best friend forever, not my little bro" thing, you might not like this story.
Sorry for the long wait, but here it is, my grandest story to date.
This is just the introductory chapter, so don't freak out if you don't like it yet! See you next time for chapter two!