Sonic the Hedgehog 2006 – Redux

A Trial of Shadows

The Herald of Darkness, Mephiles the Dark

The sounds of robots being blown into scraps could be heard everywhere from a small part of the jungle on the outskirts of Soleanna. By a small shrine of sorts, what amounted to a small mountain of bits and pieces from certain robots easily pinpointed a certain red robot's whereabouts for Rouge the Bat.

"What a charming place…" Rouge noted dryly, as she looked at the pile of scrap metal, before glancing ahead, where she saw a large, red robot tearing apart a smaller, grey robot. "…could use a little interior work, but overall, a clever place to hide out." As she spoke, the red robot turned around to face her. "Omega. It's been far too long."

"…Rouge the Bat." Omega nodded, as he walked towards Rouge, getting in front of her in a relatively short amount of time. "It truly has been too long. We haven't met since the Black Arms Invasion."

"Indeed…" Rouge said, as she folded her arms. "Listen, there is a situation I need to fill you in on…" At that point, she began explaining the whole story to Omega; how she and Shadow got the Scepter of Darkness, how its host had sent them flying across time, how they met Sonic and his friends, how they found Omega in standby-mode, and what Shadow's current situation was.

"…I understand the situation." Omega nodded, as he folded his arms. "How would you like me to assist?"

After he said that, Rouge pulled out the green Chaos Emerald, before handing it to the robot. "I need you to deliver this to Shadow. Don't let anyone else get to it, you hear?"

Grabbing the emerald, Omega nodded, as a small compartment in his chest opened up. "I have initiated my system reactivation countdown…" he said, before his arms pumped upwards, as if he reloaded his weapons. "My backup power source and spare magazines have been secured…"

"Good." Rouge nodded, as she smiled a bit. "Now, what's your mission, Omega?"

"…my mission is to bring Shadow support in the future." Omega said, as he began turning away from Rouge. "I have placed a lockdown on my system core; no one can reprogram my mission protocol apart from me, now." After saying that, he began walking away.

"I'm counting on you!" Rouge said, as she waved the red robot farewell. Alright, Shadow… just hang in there, alright?

Shadow stopped. After chasing Mephiles, he found himself in a completely different part of Flame Core, in a large arena of sorts that was surrounded by nothing but lava. The arena itself was a massive platform of rock, with a few spires with purple spheres on their tips jutting out here and there. Where did he go…? he thought, as he glanced around him, trying to find any trace of Mephiles.

"Decided to void your return ticket, did you?" he heard a dark voice chuckle, as he spun around to see Mephiles standing on one of the spires, his arms hanging loosely by his side. "You're braver than I expected, Shadow… or perhaps just foolish."

"…what are you doing here, Mephiles?" Shadow uttered, as he folded his arms, looking up at the dark hedgehog. "Are you the cause of this world's destruction?"

"…the answer's yes…" Mephiles began, as he chuckled. "…and no." Seeing Shadow's clueless expression, the dark hedgehog couldn't help but laugh. "How deluded you are… it would be better to show you…" At that point, Mephiles snapped his fingers.

In an instant, Shadow saw some form of stasis field appear next to Mephiles, containing a certain black hedgehog within it; himself. "…what…" Shadow uttered, as he reeled back in surprise.

"Yes… that is indeed you." Mephiles chuckled, as he stretched his arms out, looking out towards the horizon. "After Iblis' flames brought the world down on its knees… what do you think happened?" As Shadow looked at the stasis field, one could swear that Mephiles smirked, if it hadn't been for his lack of a physical mouth. "…a search for the guilty."

Shadow blinked; this information took some time to process. "…search for…"

"You see, Shadow…" Mephiles continued, as he looked back at Shadow, just to properly see how baffled the hedgehog was over this revelation. "…humanity wasn't just jealous of your powers… no, they feared it." As he spoke, Shadow looked away, down at the ground. "After Iblis' initial attacks, humanity began hunting you down, pinning you as a scapegoat for this entire ordeal."

Shadow was still looking away from both Mephiles and the stasis field, as he closed his eyes. …that's what my future's going to be like…? he thought.

"…Shadow. Come with me." Mephiles eventually said, as he held an arm out to Shadow. "Together, we can punish this foolish world of humanity… after all, is it not fair, to give back what was intended for you?" Then, he chuckled. "After all, you have every right to want justice."

Shadow slowly opened his eyes, as he allowed what Mephiles had said to run through his mind a few times. At that point, however, the black hedgehog began chuckling, before breaking out in full-on laughter. "You know… if you came with me with that kind of offer earlier, I might have accepted…" Shadow began…

"Why? Why can't you understand that these humans are the parasites of this world? Absolute power is the only way to bring order to the planet... The humans must be eliminated! Shadow, open your eyes. Realize, that sympathizing with these humans, has all been a mistake!"

"…however…" Eventually, Shadow glared up at Mephiles with a serious look. "…you're one invasion force too late for me to fall for talk like that. So whatever it is you had in mind, you can do it on your own."

"…so you would forgive humanity this folly, then?" Mephiles uttered, as he motioned back towards the stasis field, where Shadow's unconscious body was still hanging.

"…humanity does not determine my destiny." Shadow muttered, as he looked down at his hand, before clenching it into a fist. "…that's my job." he said, before glaring back at Mephiles.

"…such foolishness." Mephiles muttered with a truly disappointed look, as he stretched his arms out. At that point, a brilliant dark glow engulfed him, as his entire body structure changed. Once the glow vanished, Shadow saw that Mephiles' entire body had taken a crystalline form of sorts, and his nose and feet were gone, with some dark mist replacing his feet. The white in his eyes was also completely red, and his green eyes seemed even more demonic than before. "…very well. Let's see if you can entertain me!"

At that point, Mephiles leapt from the spire, as the stasis field vanished from sight. The instant he landed, a wave of darkness appeared from underneath him, which managed to summon forth an entire legion of Mephiles clones, all of them rushing at Shadow at top speed.

"…is that all?" Shadow scoffed, as he clenched his fists, watching the horde of clones rush at him. "As if that's going to be enough, Mephiles; you'll need an army to hold me down!" At that point, he warped right in the middle of the clones, before he began kicking every single clone he could get close to out of the field.

"Don't try to resist." Mephiles chuckled, as the clones tried ganging up on Shadow, but the black hedgehog was simply too agile to be held down by any of them, knocking them away from him every time they got in kicking distance of him.

As he kicked the Mephiles clones, they seemed to shatter and melt into black ooze, which splattered all over the arena they were fighting on. "I know who I am; deceiving me will never work, Mephiles!" Shadow said, as he began warping around a lot more, taking out multiple clones with one kick at a time.

"It's futile, no matter how many of them you defeat." Mephiles chuckled, as the clones kept reforming from the ooze, showing no sign of ever letting up their assault on Shadow. "You cannot stop it…"

Even though he didn't show it, Shadow was beginning to tire from relentlessly attacking every Mephiles clone. …no end in sight… he thought, as he looked around him. If I could only find their source of origin…

"Trying to find me?" Mephiles chuckled, as all of a sudden, the clones leapt right towards Shadow, intending to dogpile him. "You cannot touch me… I'm your shadow."

Blinking, Shadow looked around at all the clones, before he glanced down at the ground, which led him to notice something. …shadow…? he thought, and sure enough, his shadow seemed fairly abnormal compared to normal. …that's it! At that point, all of the clones suddenly crashed down on Shadow, seemingly crushing him…

At that point, however, a massive explosion of Chaos Energy blasted all of the clones away from where they hid, as Shadow had removed the rings on his wrists, releasing an excessive amount of Chaos Energy from his body. "Wha- Shadow… you…!" At that point, Mephiles emerged from Shadow's shadow, crossing his arms in an attempt to shield himself from the massive energy surge.

"The game is over, Mephiles." Shadow said, as he warped right in front of Mephiles, before slamming his fist right into Mephiles' abdomen, knocking him back a good deal. Before Mephiles could recover, however, Shadow began warping all around him, delivering kick after kick, augmented by the Chaos Energy seeping from his own body, actually wounding Mephiles a great deal.

"AARGH!" The constant barrage of kicks eventually knocked Mephiles straight into a spire, shattering it immediately upon impact. "Guh… my shadows… dance for me!" At that point, the Mephiles clones rushed right at Shadow once again, but Shadow was quicker, warping away from the horde of clones, and reappearing in front of the source. "You-" Before he could even finish the thought, Shadow mercilessly kicked Mephiles in the face, sending him crashing straight into the ground. "…agh…"

"It ends now, Mephiles!" Shadow called, as he warped right above Mephiles, preparing to drop kick the dark hedgehog as a finishing move. After this, I have to figure out-

"No!" Just then, Mephiles shot a dark sphere right at Shadow, and as he hadn't expected Mephiles to do that, it knocked the hedgehog a great distance away, causing him to crash-land on the ground. That, combined with the stress of maintaining such an amount of Chaos Energy, along with fighting the clones, nearly knocked Shadow unconscious. "…how pitiful… you were this close, and you failed… farewell, Shadow." At that point, the clones leapt towards Shadow, intending to crush him to death.

Before they could do that, however, a hail of bullet fire suddenly cut all of the clones to shreds, spilling dark ooze everywhere on the arena. Needless to say, both Shadow and Mephiles were awestruck by this turn of events, as they turned to the source of the gunfire. "…no way…" Shadow uttered, as his eyes widened. "…Omega?"

"The designated time is now." As it turned out, the gunfire came from none other than E-123 Omega, as his arms had morphed into gatling guns, before they shifted into a pair of hands. "I will assist you, Shadow."

"…tsch…" Mephiles scoffed, as the ooze began forming more clones, which were all glaring at Omega. "…you're nothing but a nuisance… robot." At that point, all of the clones rushed right at Omega, ready to tear the machine apart.

At that point, however, Omega's hands retracted into his arms, as he began firing explosive energy blasts at the clones, taking out several with each and every shot, keeping the clones at bay. "…ungh…" Shadow groaned, as he weakly got on one knee, looking towards the robot. "…how… you were in standby mode…"

"Rouge asked me to lend you support in the future." Omega said, as he was walking towards the crowd of clones, all the while blasting each of them out of the sky. "I prevented anyone from accessing my mission protocol; this mission took priority over anything else." As he spoke, soon, the clones were nothing but a mass of dark ooze again, as Omega flew towards Shadow. "And she wanted me to deliver something to you."

"Stay away from him!" At that point, Mephiles began firing dark spheres at Omega, who quickly stopped, before turning to face these spheres, taking them head-on, with relatively little damage. "I will not have you disrupt my plans, robot!"

"…you must be this Mephiles Rouge talked about." Omega said, as his arms turned into gatling guns. "The name is E-123 Omega. You will learn to fear it." At that point, Omega let loose a hail of gunfire aimed at Mephiles, but the dark hedgehog was quicker, outrunning Omega's attacks.

"Oh, I think someone else will learn to fear you, Omega…" Mephiles chuckled, as he continued firing dark spheres at Omega, but they were shot down before they could reach the robot. "But it does not matter. You've already played your part in this story!"

"We shall see about that." Omega said, as he glanced at Shadow, without stopping his assault on Mephiles. "Shadow, what Rouge wanted me to give you is in my chest compartment. Hurry and use it!"

It took Shadow a short while to realize what Omega was talking about, before he nodded. With the robot keeping Mephiles busy, Shadow got on his feet, before stumbling towards Omega, breathing heavily as he did so.

"What could you possibly have brought from the past that would help Shadow in any way, robot?" Mephiles chuckled, as he eventually floated up in the air, as a massive dark sphere began forming over him. "There is nothing you can do, but to sink into darkness!"

"I don't think so." Omega scoffed, as he kept firing at Mephiles, but no matter how relentless his own assault was, a horde of Mephiles' clones were quick to fly in between them and intercept the gunfire, stopping Omega from actually hitting Mephiles.

Mephiles then began to laugh at this display, as the sphere grew in size. "A valiant effort, but ultimately futile!" he laughed, as he looked down at Omega. "There will be no salvation for you, robot! Allow me to eliminate you once and for-"

"CHAOS SPEAR!" At that point, a bolt of energy suddenly passed right through Mephiles, shattering the massive sphere of darkness, and dispelling all of the clones. "…don't threaten my teammate again." As it turned out, Shadow had gotten the green Chaos Emerald back from Omega, and having used its power, he launched a surprise attack on Mephiles.

Predictably, the dark hedgehog was sent hurling right into the ground as a result of this attack. "G-gah…" he uttered, as he held the part of his body where the energy bolt had gone through him, whilst glaring at Shadow and Omega. "Y-you…" he uttered, as he weakly got back on his feet. With a grunt, he created a dark vortex which he was immediately sucked into.

"Omega, don't let him get away!" Shadow yelled, as he and the robot both rushed right towards the vortex, leaping into it before it could close on them. Once they passed through, the vortex vanished, leaving the arena empty once more.

When the vortex reopened, it was in a completely different time and place; namely, the plaza in Soleanna, around daytime. Now, people were actually walking about, and seeing Shadow and Omega just drop out of the portal from nowhere was quite the wakeup-call for most of the town's citizens. "…damn… where is he?" Shadow muttered, as he glanced all around him, seeing how shocked the people around him were. …I doubt that they know anything… he thought.

"Mephiles is no longer in the area…" Omega muttered, before he glanced towards Shadow. "Shadow, if you need my help in finding him, just say the word."

"…that would be great. Thank you." Shadow said, before he and Omega began pushing themselves past the crowd. "First, let's regroup with Rouge. She could know something we don't…"

After a while, the two managed to get to the harbors, where they happened to find the bat, who was impatiently walking in circles, until she noticed Shadow and Omega approach her. "…finally." she said with a sigh of relief, before walking towards the two of them. "Shadow, I've been gathering some information around the town… and apparently, Eggman's robots have been spotted in numerous places, hunting for you. Any clues about why that is?"

"…I suspect that they're hunting Mephiles." Shadow muttered, as he folded his arms. "It'd be easy for machines like them to make that mistake; we look practically the same."

"…just what is Eggman planning this time around?" Omega inquired, as he glanced at Rouge. "What are his intentions, if he is hunting this Mephiles character?"

"Well, I-" Rouge began, but at that point, Shadow began walking away. "Ah- Shadow! Where are you going?"

"…I'm going to get some information out of Eggman, himself." Shadow said, as he glanced at Rouge. "If you could focus on finding Mephiles, that'd be great." With that, he walked away.

"…that's Shadow for you." Rouge sighed, as she folded her arms. "Leaves before even saying hello, forgetting to thank me for figuring out how to help him out…" Then, she glanced at Omega, who looked down at her as well. "Well, at least he hasn't changed from being away for a while."

"Why would it change him?" Omega inquired, as he shook his head. "Shadow is Shadow, no matter what happens to him."

"…yeah, you're right, Omega." Rouge chuckled, before she turned away from the robot, pressing down on her wrist communicator. "Agent Rouge calling in. Am I speaking with GUN HQ?" she said, as she placed her free arm on her hip. "Listen, I need you to give me all available information, regarding the artifact known as the Scepter of Darkness…"

"Finally back…" At the moment, Silver and Blaze had managed to get back to Soleanna, and fortunately for Silver, no one who had seen him attack Sonic from the day before seemed to be around. "Now, we need to find Mephiles, and get answers from him." Blaze said, as she closed her eyes.

"But we haven't seen him since he sent us to the past…" Silver muttered, as he scratched his head. "It could take us quite a while to…" He stopped himself, as he happened to glance ahead of him. Sure enough, Mephiles stood in the plaza, looking just like he did when Silver and Blaze had last seen him. "…Mephiles!"

"…you two…" Mephiles uttered in a cold tone, as he merely glanced at Silver and Blaze, before looking down at the ground. "…how goes the search for the Iblis Trigger?"

"Actually, I wanted to ask you about that." Blaze shot in, as she walked past Silver, looking at Mephiles. "…just who is the Iblis Trigger? What's his motivation? Why does he want to destroy the world?" she asked, though Mephiles seemed more or less disinterested in her. "…hey! I'm asking you a question!"

"…why does that matter to you?" Mephiles uttered, as he looked up, without looking at Blaze. "Unless you complete your task, your future will remain the same… forever."

"Don't give me that!" At that point, Blaze suddenly grabbed Mephiles' shoulders, turning him so that he was forced to look at the cat. "This whole thing reeks! We think of a way to be rid of Iblis, and you conveniently show up to tell us how to do so! You even send us back in time, so we can get rid of him before he unleashes Iblis!" As she spoke, she shook Mephiles. "But how did you learn about it? What do you gain from letting us kill him? What are you not telling us?" Still, Mephiles didn't answer. "…you son of a-"

"Blaze!" Before Blaze could try and harm Mephiles, Silver placed a hand on her shoulder. "He's not going to answer if you grow hostile…"

"Silver, don't you get it?" Blaze said, as she glared daggers at Mephiles. "He knows too much!"

"…it's up to you, if you choose to believe me or not." Mephiles shrugged, as he began walking away. "The Iblis Trigger is currently at the terminal station. It's now or never, if you want this." As he spoke, he motioned towards the city, before he walked off.

"…if I want this…" Silver began, as he closed his eyes. For as long as he could recall, his future had been nothing but devastated by Iblis and his flames. …a future like this… would be nice…

"Silver!" Blaze snapped him out from his little daydream, as she folded her arms. "What do we do now? Are you still thinking of killing the Iblis Trigger?"

"…if I absolutely have to…" Silver muttered, before he glanced at Blaze. "…but I'll try and talk to him first. If I can figure out why he wants to unleash Iblis… maybe I can persuade him not to do it?"

he's still so naïve… Blaze thought, as she shook her head. "…the terminal…" she sighed, as she glanced ahead of them, seeing that Mephiles was long gone. "…as much as I don't want to trust him… we should at least find him." With that, Blaze began walking towards the terminal, with Silver following her.

"…and here I thought that you would be too tired to keep it up…" Eggman chuckled, as he looked down at Amy and Elise, who were both surrounded by heaps of scrap metal. "That's the third wave I've sent down, and you've taken care of it with ease, my dear Amy. You've certainly grown since I first captured you."

"Can it, will ya?" Amy snapped, as she was holding her hammer ready, glaring at Eggman. "I'm not letting you take Elise away, so get lost!"

"…Amy…" Elise uttered, as she looked at the pink hedgehog in awe. "You…"

"Oh, give it a rest. Leave the heroic business to the heroes." Eggman scoffed, as he pressed down on a button aboard his hovercraft, which fired a spherical object at the two girls. When it hit the ground, however, it dispelled a blanket of gas, which quickly covered both Amy and Elise; as Eggman was hovering well above the ground, he was safe from its effect.

"Wha… what is…" Amy coughed, as she fell to her knees, losing her grip on her hammer. "Knock-out… gas…" At that point, she collapsed, out cold.

"…Eggman…" Elise coughed, as she glared up at the scientist. "…you…" Before she could finish, however, she collapsed as well.

"There; that takes care of that." Eggman chuckled, as a couple of robots that Amy hadn't destroyed picked Elise up, before they and Eggman flew off. "Get ready, princess; we have a train to catch!"