"Invisible Smile"


There he was, standing before him…

After so much effort, so much grief, so many defeats, it had finally come down to this. Since he had arrived in this time, Mephiles could sense its presence; feel its power pulsing through the air, beckoning him closer. It teased his very sanity to the point of snapping, mocked him even, and he absolutely loathed it.

Oh, how he longed to answer that call…

But he needed to wait…and wait… and wait…

With his new freedom, he had arrived in the future and wondered across the fiery wasteland of a city for some time. He felt its power everywhere, but deep in his conscious he knew it was no good. At this point there was nothing he could do. The flames had devoured everything and had already manifested itself into a physical form. He witnessed it rise from the city ruins numerous times, surrounded by swirling winds. He stared into that miniscule green eye, and he hated it. It made him furious that even though he had undergone the test of time and had seen its face, he could not take the flames for his own, even with the power of the chaos emerald he found in the ruins.

But he had heard a voice, a voice crying out against the flames. It didn't take him long to find the source: a hedgehog with a white mane, gray body and glowing markings on his boots and gloves. He watched the hedgehog fight against the flames countless times along with his feline companion, using his power to push back the demon time and time again. He was strong, certainly, but his limited strength would never be enough to extinguish the fire. They both must have known this, for he could hear their voices fall back to despair after each temporary victory. It was sad and pathetic, but he still listened and watched them closely day after day. Then the hedgehog asked himself a particular question, one that lit up his eyes. He saw his determination, and immediately an idea came to mind…and he felt himself smile, despite the lack of a true mouth.

Well, if he wanted to play hero, then that's what he was going to give him.

He spoke his words carefully, drawing the hedgehog and cat in. He took them to a database with a working computer and showed them everything…at least, everything they needed to know. He played on the hedgehog's pain, his anger, and his determination, and saw the hedgehog's golden eyes spark with the information he gave him. With the purple chaos emerald he showed him a vision, the one responsible for the destruction, and could see his mind click as it all fell into place.

He smiled again. Silver the Hedgehog was now his… After all, he did tell him the truth…for the most part…

He took them to the past, to his time, purposefully separating the two so that the cat wouldn't possibly sway Silver away from his goal. He watched him closely, making absolutely sure he followed through with his plan and was pleased at what he saw. It didn't take long for him to make his way toward his target: the so-called "Iblis Trigger." And just as he had hoped, the Princess of Soleanna was with him. He so desperately wanted to strike the blue hedgehog down himself, but he needed to pull the princess' heartstrings further. Silver then made his move… and failed.

His feral green eyes narrowed. He didn't count on other people like that annoying girl intervening. But it didn't matter, for this was what he needed anyway. There would be another chance for Silver, that was certain. He followed the blue hedgehog, watched his futile attempt to rescue the all-important damsel again and again. Even though things had worked in his favor thus far, he still had a nasty feeling that there was an obstacle that could turn the tables against him. That hunch furthered when Silver returned to him, annoyingly doubtful about his task. To make matters worse, he felt a powerful presence far away from him, in another timeline. With a few last convincing words, he planted the seed in Silver's mind once again, pleased at the fool's obedience.

How naïve…

He traveled back to the bleak future and had arrived near the point where he had felt the energy, distraught at what he saw. A small flame that he knew too well flickered before him, slowly fading away. At first he wondered who had done this, considering that Silver was in the past, but he answered his own question when he felt an all-too-familiar presence nearby. He slowly turned his head to the left, spotting a vanishing time-rift and he felt his mind seethe with rage as his eyes fell upon a creature he equally loathed to another.

Well, if it wasn't Shadow the Hedgehog…

The two stared at one another for several long moments. A thought suddenly struck him, one that could turn things once more in his favor. Shadow stepped toward him, his intentions quite clear. He smiled, and glided away as Shadow gave chase, just as he wanted him to. He led him deeper into the volcano, taking him to a very particular place. When they arrived, he spoke calmly to him, quickly realizing that Shadow was more intelligent than the other fool. He played on his strength, his spirit, and his past, going so far as to show him his inevitable fate. But Shadow still refused to join him, and engaged in a battle of power with him. He transformed into his true form, and Shadow was much stronger than he anticipated, but not nearly strong enough. But then a hulking robot arrived with a chaos emerald, tipping the battle into their favor. Thanks to that nuisance, he had to flee back to the past, and they followed him.

He had felt ashamed at his defeat as it was a reminder of why he needed the chaos emeralds and the flames. But that hunk of metal trash also played a large role. Now was the time to play helpless. He gained its attention, leading it toward the beach. Naturally, the robot found him, using its artificial power to attempt to strike him down. He explained the robot's role in Shadow's demise, sowing another seed in the past. The robot responded with futile gunfire, and he faded and fled to the desert to where there just happened to be another chaos emerald. Naturally, Shadow and his incompetent allies followed.

With the yellow chaos emerald in his hands they eventually arrived. Even though his allies had made things more complicated, there was still a chance to make Shadow heed his words thanks to the robot. He tried again, but the creature was still as rebellious as ever. A pity. Why couldn't he see the futility of his choice? Why was he so stubborn? He was doomed no matter what, and yet he was still intent on stopping him. It would be in his best interests to join him, not to mention that things would have gone much more smoothly than they had. But it didn't matter. He had made his decision, and he would suffer the consequences.

How unfortunate…

But even with the emerald's powers, he was once again defeated by Shadow. Armed with that wretched Scepter, he attempted to seal him once again. Fool! Did he honestly think he could pull the same trick as before? Especially with his limited power? With little effort he destroyed the Scepter and threw the three of them back with a wave of force, making Shadow drop the chaos emerald he carried. With its added strength, he surrounded them with an army of himself, but Shadow still seemed unfazed, and once again surprised him with a blast of powerful energy. How aggravating…

But it still didn't matter. He had bought enough time. Even though he lost two of the chaos emeralds, he still had one in tow, and that was all he needed. He had had enough of this little game of theirs, enough of their resistance, enough waiting for the pieces to fall into place oh-so-painfully slowly. Enough was enough…

The blue hedgehog and the princess were walking through the open forest with the smiles of victory upon their faces. Mephiles watched his prey closely, studying their interaction with each other. It took all of his willpower to keep himself from completely mutilating the hedgehog right there, but he resisted and kept his energy low. He needed to make absolutely sure that all his efforts had paid off. They stopped suddenly and talked among themselves. He looked closely and saw the way the princess looked at the hedgehog, with a sickening spark of light and admiration in her eyes. He tilted his head to the side, like a curious child witnessing something for the first time.

How sweet…

And that was exactly what he wanted…

With the chaos emerald he distracted the two, drawing away their attention as he materialized behind them. Mephiles glared fiercely at the one called Sonic, and felt years of frustration build up inside of him. He then unleashed that frustration with a beam of dark energy, striking the pawn in the center of his back. He retracted the beam and watched him collapse slowly to the ground, the scent of his blood clouding the air around him. The princess gasped and fell to her knees, pathetically crying out his name.

Mephiles laughed…and laughed…and laughed more at her pain and sorrow. Humans were so weak…

The tears streamed from her eyes, and a powerful force erupted from her body. Flames shot up into the air and snaked around her, finally free from their vessel. They rose slowly into the air, swirling and pulsing furiously as they tasted freedom for the first time in years. Mephiles' eyes widened with satisfaction and glee, as an invisible smile spread across his face.