Chapter 13—Who Can Be Against Us?
Be on guard. Stand firm in the faith. Be courageous. Be strong.—1 Corinthians 16:13
In His unfailing love, my God will stand with me. He will let me look down in triumph over all my enemies.—Psalms 59:10
Stand—having done all this
Stand—with no analysis
Even when you don't understand
Put your armor on
Stand on the foundation
The strength that has always been there
Sonic braced himself, his shield activating almost without conscious effort mere moments before Mephiles rammed him. The strength of the attack made Sonic's head buzz, partially dazing him.
Mephiles laughed wickedly, his hands glowing briefly as a black void formed within them. He tossed the sphere carelessly towards the dazed hedgehog, hitting Sonic's shield so hard that the hedgehog lost his footing and fell.
Sonic's shield deactivated.
"Pathetic," Mephiles sneered, another black sphere appearing in his hands. He tossed it at the now-unprotected Sonic's head.
All this had happened in less than five seconds, before Mephiles' opponents could even think of retaliating. Sonic, still dazed from the force of Mephiles' blows, couldn't even think of dodging the deadly blast that was hurling towards him. All the cobalt blue hedgehog could do was close his eyes and pray that it wouldn't hurt as bad as it looked like it hurt.
It didn't hurt at all. He didn't feel a thing. Which was strange; because even though he didn't want to feel pain, he was fairly certain dying should feel like something. Confused, Sonic opened his eyes to see Shadow standing in front of him, having blocked the fatal blow.
Mephiles' lime green eyes practically looked red with hatred and fury at seeing the person he currently hated more than any other dare to defy him yet again. With a scream that could barely be considered human, Mephiles tore his sword from its sheath and charged Shadow. The ebony furred hedgehog hurriedly raised his own weapon and just managed to get it to a defensive position in time to block Mephiles' blow.
The two adversaries glared at each other for a while as they each struggled to gain the upper hand in their deadlock.
"Sonic," Shadow managed to hiss through clenched teeth when he realized his friend was just staring at him numbly. "Sonic, get up!"
Sonic started, then he scrambled to his feet, grabbing his swords in either hand and taking a defensive position while Shadow and Mephiles broke away from each other and began their attacks in earnest.
Even though Sonic was able to perceive things quicker than a normal creature (a quite useful skill for one who enjoyed racing around at supersonic speeds without going splat on anything), he had trouble determining who was who. Shadow and Mephiles were fighting so furiously at such speeds that the two blurred together into what appeared to be a shapeless mass.
And while it was hard for Sonic to distinguish the two, it was impossible for Amy to do so. Shadow's friends felt quite helpless as they stood to the side, weapons at the ready, desperately searching for some way to aid Shadow during this fight.
Amy half-way lowered her Shield in her determination to find some opening in which to attack. She peered anxiously at the battle, trying to deduce which participant was Mephiles.
She got her answer a fraction of a second later as one of the blurs managed to backhand the other and Shadow collapsed backwards, slowing enough for her to distinguish his features.
"Look out, Amy," Sonic warned, his eyes managing to catch Mephiles' latest trickery before Amy Rose ever could. Amy, trusting her friend, raised her shield instinctively and heard the tell-tale plink of a sword bouncing off of it. Still relying on her honed instinct, Amy swiped blindly with her own weapon.
Mephiles hissed and stumbled back, a small trickle of dark mist leaking from his forehead where Amy had managed to nick him. "Not bad, girl," he said approvingly. "You know Lucifer could use one so cunning as you."
Amy felt her stomach twist with disgust at the idea, and her lips drew back in a snarl. "No thanks," she told the Dark. "I'm happy where I am."
"Good girl," Mephiles said callously. "Not many people are happy to die."
No sooner had the last word escaped him than Mephiles was a blur again, his weapon aimed at Amy's heart. This time, however, he was made to pause when Sonic's swords interlocked with his own. The cobalt blue hedgehog glared at Mephiles accusingly, then Sonic tensed and pushed his arms outward. His swords had interlocked with Mephiles' in such a way that the movement easily disarmed him. Mephiles' sword bounced away from him and landed, discarded, on the ground.
Sonic twirled and moved in until his swords were mere inches away from Mephiles' neck. He paused there, still glaring at his enemy dangerously.
Surprisingly, Mephiles' response was laughter. "Showing mercy? How tacky." The Dark's hands moved like lightning, grabbing Sonic around either wrist and yanking them backwards, while at the same time his knee came up into Sonic's midsection.
Sonic gasped as the blow knocked the air out of him and his traitor knees buckled under him. Mephiles laughed again, then quickly dodged to the side. A small whoosh of air whizzed past the Dark's ears, and he turned and gave a malevolent glare to Shadow, who was trying to regain his balance now that his attack had failed. Mephiles chuckled at the attempt and another black void appeared in his hands. The Dark took aim at Shadow and released his sphere.
Shadow's eyes widened as he realized he was too close to the sphere to dodge it in time. His body tensed, but Amy's Piko Piko Shield was in front of him in a moment.
Amy swung her hammer at the sphere the same as one might swing a bat at a baseball. She connected with the black void and sent it hurling back in the direction of it's original owner.
Mephiles' eyes widened. "Oh…" the epithet he was about to utter died off as the Dark threw himself to the ground in order to avoid his own energy attack.
Shadow, not taking his eyes off of Mephiles, extended his hand and helped Sonic get back on his feet. Mephiles likewise stood; the amusement in his eyes fading to be replaced with cold, calculated hatred.
"I'm done with these tiresome games," Mephiles hissed, his body starting to glow.
His three tired opponents stood side by side, watching Mephiles warily.
"Shadow, we've done everything we've been taught to do," Amy panted. "What do we do now?"
Shadow's eyes never left Mephiles. "We stand."
"And you die," Mephiles added, his body pulsating brilliantly as a humongous black void began to appear. Sonic's eyes widened; there was no dodging that.
"Oh, help us, my King," Amy half whispered as her eyes watered.
Sonic gulped, looking around. There were no swords falling from the sky to slay Mephiles; no angels appearing to block his attack.
The only thing there was, was a small white dove fluttering down from the heavens and flying between the three exhausted hedgehogs and their enemy.
"Shadow," Sonic whispered, not believing his eyes. "Is that…"
Shadow nodded. "That crazy bird that keeps showing up."
Mephiles gave a hoarse cry as he released his giant sphere; it came closer to them, swallowing up anything that got in its way, leaving behind a barren, lifeless husk as it continued towards them.
The bird did not move; nor did the hedgehogs. There was no point, because the sphere was moving towards them so fast they could not have dodged it, not even with Sonic's super speed. The sphere came closer and closer…it enveloped the bird…
…And it froze.
All three hedgehogs—as well as Mephiles—stared at the void, which started to glow from the inside. The glow grew hotter and brighter, growing outward until the whole sphere was a brilliant white; the four witnesses had to look away because of the sheer intensity.
There was a small popping noise, and the void seemed to implode in on itself, destroying itself.
The dove remained behind, its body glowing brilliantly, almost as if it was on fire. The dove turned its gaze on Mephiles, who shrieked in pain and dropped to his knees, clutching his head.
The dove opened its mouth, and a voice emerged. The sound was as if thunder was rumbling down the hills a thousand times over; the ground shook with each syllable.
Mephiles howled again in sheer agony as his body began to smoke.
The dove was now definitely on fire, but it did not burn.
"How is this possible?!" Mephiles shrieked as he felt his body disintegrate. "How are you doing this? Who are you?!"
Mephiles let out one final howl, and then his body evaporated into smoke. The Dark one was no more.
"Is…is it over?" Sonic asked uncertainly, clutching his weapons nervously.
The bonds that held Knuckles fast faded to nothingness and the echidna quickly jumped to his feet, eying the others worriedly—although most of his attention was on the dove.
"Knuckles," Sonic's heart skipped a beat. Here was the perfect opportunity to save Knuckles! "Knuckles, listen. I—"
But the echidna was shaking his head wildly, bewilderment and panic framing his features. "No, no, no…it can't…I don't …" Then, before Sonic or his friends could stop him, Knuckles darted off into the woods and disappeared.
Sonic sighed and lowered his head. He had been so close; he had just KNOWN that if he could have spoken to Knuckles… But this wasn't the time for 'what ifs.'
The dove turned and looked at Sonic, the fire dissolving. Sonic felt its eyes boring into his, and suddenly he felt dizzy and lightheaded. It was an odd sensation; and a vaguely familiar one at that; that of moving although he was standing still.
Sonic felt himself start to drift off to sleep; but not before he heard one final statement; a whisper really, but still audible.
What…where was he? Sonic's head felt heavy and he hadn't opened his eyes yet.
Who's voice was that? It sounded familiar…
"Get up you bum!"
This time, the voice was accompanied by a small kick to Sonic's side. The hedgehog's eyes snapped open, and he looked upward to where a very peeved Knuckles the Echidna was glaring at him.
"Knuckles?!" Sonic jumped up. "You came back!"
"Uh…yeah…listen, Sonic, about what I said back at Tails' workshop…" Knuckles' face looked redder than usual as he rubbed the back of his head.
For a second, Knuckles thought something really bad must have happened to Sonic, judging by the blank look his friend was giving him. Then Sonic's eyes widened and he looked around. "I'm back on the hill," he muttered, almost to himself.
"Say what?" Knuckles asked.
But Sonic wasn't doing any explaining. "Knuckles, how long was I gone?"
"Uh…you ran off about ten minutes ago," Knuckles admitted.
Sonic looked stunned. "Ten minutes? Ten minutes?!" The hedgehog grew contemplative. "Then what happened?"
Knuckles looked at him like he'd grown an extra head. "How should I know? It looks like you fell asleep on this hill."
"Asleep?" Sonic suddenly appeared crestfallen. "I was asleep?"
"Either that or you were impersonating a hog rooting for truffles," Knuckles replied, rolling his eyes as he referenced the fact that his friend snored rather loudly. Then the echidna sobered as he remembered why he'd come. "Listen, Sonic, I shouldn't have yelled at you like that. I'm glad you've found something that you're so…in...too, I really am, it's just that…"
Sonic gave Knuckles a small, almost-sad looking smile. "Don't worry about it."
"No, really," Knuckles insisted. "I wanna make it up to you."
"Does…that mean you'll come with me to church Sunday morning?" Sonic asked hopefully.
Knuckles gaped at the hedgehog, then he started to laugh. "You're incredible, you know that?" he said, when he could draw in breath to talk. Then he shrugged. "I'll think about it. But don't get your hopes up or anything," he warned, walking off.
Sonic grinned as he watched Knuckles go, then he yawned, stretching to awaken his legs, which had fallen asleep. "I'm going to pray that God'll chase Knuckles down from now on," he said aloud to no one in particular. "Because if God can catch me, ol' Knucklehead doesn't stand a chance!" The hedgehog grinned at his own joke, then he frowned and grew contemplative. "That was a weird dream I had, though. I could've sworn…oh, well."
The hedgehog shrugged and his gaze fell upon his leg. Sonic gasped and his face went white. "No way!" he whispered in amazement.
A long jagged scar traced his leg, signifying that perhaps, just perhaps, Sonic's dream wasn't a dream at all…