Ah crap I'm drowning.
For someone who was wary of water at best and afraid of it at worst, Sonic's line of thought was surprisingly calm. This wasn't the first time he'd come close to drowning, having had enough rotten experiences in the labyrinths of South Island and in the purple...stuff that had been pumped into the ice caves below it (was it the same mega mack that had been in the chemical plant? Something told him he didn't want to know.). And unless Robotnik was defeated for good on Westside Island, a proposal that didn't sit entirely well with the hedgehog's sense of adventure, there was no doubt that he'd come close to drowning again.
Ok, but that still doesn't change the fact that you're still drowning.
If the tense music that started playing hadn't given Sonic a hint, the big number 5 appearing in front of him did. Just like in the labyrinths, only this time chop-chops were after him instead of jaws badniks. Nothing too serious, but couple that with springs that sent him backwards, arrows firing from pillars engraved with the doctor's ugly mug and collapsing architecture and one faced a serious of delays. And right now, with the number having become 3 and the music picking up speed, those delays were about to cost a supersonic hedgehog dearly.
Shit shit SHIT!
His mind working as quickly as he could move on land, Sonic quickly looked at his surroundings. There was a spring that would send him upwards about ten feet ahead of him, one that Tails was closing in on and would probably be his best bet also. It would be a long jump, not to mention a slow one, but without any pockets of air in his immediate vicinity, the hedgehog didn't have a choice. And with the number of doom having become the only even prime number in existence, decreasing in quantity while the music increased in tempo, Sonic didn't have much of a choice.
Well, here it goes...
If Sonic had the time, he might have counted to three. But with less time than that available, he simply jumped. Jumped through water. Jumped for life. And seeing a large bubble appear near where Tails had been, through it to get precious oxygen before being propelled to the surface to get the real thing.
"Sonic! Are you alright?!"
Spluttering and gasping for breath, Sonic barely heard the fox. Somehow, against the odds, he'd made it to the surface. A realm where oxygen was free for all rather than compressed in bubbles that smelt like...like...
Wait a minute...
"How'd you do it?" the two tailed fox continued. "I thought the music was playing for you and-..."
"I got an air bubble," said Sonic slowly, still putting the facts together. "It appeared just before you hit the spring."
"Huh? But there wasn't any air pocket down there. The only bubble would have been from...oh..."
Tails fell silent. Sonic fell silent. But as one of them would have to break that silence eventually, Sonic decided to be the one to take the plunge.
"...is methane poisonous?"
The use of the lowest form of humour aside, I suppose it's worth mentioning the nostalgia aspect of 'inspiration' for this. While I'm recriprocal to both old school and current generation STH games, I will point out that the chance of drowning is, for whatever reason, seemingly non-existant in the latter. No tense music, no numbers of doom...not that that's necesarily bad, depending on your preferances, but still, I still remember the 'good ol' days. The Aquatic Ruin Zone didn't give me much trouble, but the second act of Hydrocity Zone in Sonic the Hedgehog 3 and the Labyrinth Zone of the original games...ah, good times.
Anyway, nostalgia over.