Success was a freshly-baked pie after a mission.
A medal earned at the end of an extremely arduous, heated race.
The sweat of a yearly deed.
Success was the hacking Rotor performed that opened the underground vault, the Console Building that was sealed into the ground by some of the greatest minds of this age. All it took was the press of a button really. One small button and a DNA scanner to get the room shut off from the rest of the world, keeping out all access or so it seemed. And now, with minutes of diligent effort, Rotor the Walrus had cracked the seal and soon the vault would raise to their level. No one knew if this was a good thing or not, but they knew that Sonic & Sally were their friends, deeper than that even, and that they had to help them no matter what. The Freedom Fighters stood together, awaiting the building's ascent.
Bunnie took a fighting stance and her cybernetic legs allowed her to hop nearly as fast and as hard as Sonic could run. Tails knelt down and readied himself for a spinning dash, a move that Sonic taught him when he was little because it could bust through steel and greater if used effectively. Rotor pulled out a wrench, his trademark equipment, and Antoine pulled out a saber, his weapon of choice.
When the building surfaced at last, Tails and Bunnie opted to scout ahead in case of danger. They approached the doors cautiously, and after looking through them they signaled Antoine and Rotor to get closer. They entered the building normally and saw the oval area where a receptionist and a line of government workers should have been. There were none, and an eerie silence blanketed the room.
Someone made a noise.
Bunnie got ready to kick to them to high heaven when she turned and saw that it was just Antoine, stifling a sneeze.
"Antoine!" the three called him out.
"I am sorry! I have allergies in this time of year!" he apologized with his French accent.
They walked through the reception hall until they were at a flight of stairs that probably led to an important office. A hallway fed into a circular passage where flags from different nations were hung up. The flags of Acorn, Mushroom, Hyrule, Castlevania, Sarasaland, Tetris, Dreamland, and several others were all visible and well-maintained. Next to each of these flags was a portrait, or plaque, of that nation's current leader or leaders.
The central conference room was entered through a security console designed for two hands. Each hand grabbed onto one leg of the device and push two joysticks in multiple directions, and the "password" so to speak required that the joysticks be moved up twice, down twice, the alternate on and off from left to right, before two buttons, labeled B and A were pressed afterward.
This security had never failed. That, however, wasn't the problem.
"Guys, over here, look!" Rotor called.
It had been six minutes since they first entered and began their search, and their efforts were finally rewarded.
"The chamber... it's already been opened!"
"That means they're okay! Okay, we-w-we-we should go and look for them." Antoine said, stuttering.
"Come on Antoine, we've been here the whole time and we didn't see anybody!" Bunnie addressed, "We have to keep looking for..."
The rabbit's voice froze when she peered down the end of the hallway.
A red substance was plastered on the floor, and an outstretched arm laid over it. Bunnie and Rotor moved up first, and Tails tugged Antoine and made him come forward. When they saw it in full, there was no denying it. Dried blood caked on the floor and the walls, and the outstreched hand was severed from whomever it belonged it to.
Antoine shrieked and fled the room, and Tails tried to grab him but failed,
"Let him go Tails... we've got to find Sally and Sonic!"
"Whwhat happened here?"
"Some kind of... battle? I don't think this was some ordinary brawl... my god." Rotor examined the arm, "-Sonic would never be this brutal. Who else would have the strength to completely tear off an arm?"
"That's not the worst of it!" Rotor pointed elsewhere, to a mess of bones sitting on the floor.
Some had been chipped like someone was gnawing on them.
And that wasn't even the "room" yet. When they investigated further and reached the end of the hallway, they found the door slowly closing and opening back and forth, as the mechanism was jammed by what looked like another arm that was blocking the doorway. Bunnie kicked the door open, and one glance revealed the conference room was nothing more than a bloodbath.
Bodies decorated the conference room, and blood caked the monitors and the bones that were strewn over tables and in piles. Chairs were knocked over and spear weapons had been stabbed into the ground or discarded. They found what looked like Hylian guards, but their insides were decaying and their cavities and limbs were removed in 'intriguing' fashions. There were plenty of dead guards, bloody chairs, and signs of manslaughter. There was a festering, crunching sound over one of the bodies, and some scraps of a dress around the foot of...
...the princess of the Mushroom Kingdom, Princess Peach Toadstool.
"Holy cow, it's Princess Pea... peach!"
Her body was bent in an awkward position while she sat on her knees, cradling something against her chest.
"Pri... princess? We're the Freedom Fighters of the Kingdom of Acorn... we want to find our Queen and comrade... please, if we help you, can you tell us where they are, and what caused all of..."
Bunnie heard the sickening crack the princess made as she corrected herself. The princess's dress was tattered in places none imagined a princess would ever tolerate, and the way her body trembled as if starving she resembled a poor child surrounded by dead bodies and potentially disease. The back of her neck, and her arms themselves were gray, and she looked very thin, almost emancipated. Some bone was showing. Some of her fingers were missing, and part of her neck was melted. There were blood stains in her hair and, as she faced them in a mockery of her princess posture, white eyes spun at them.
And then the princess fainted.
Rotor rushed to save her from her fall, but he couldn't stop her from hitting the floor and producing another viscous crackle from her person.
"Princess Toadstool! Stay with us!"
The scream that bounced its way to the conference room was Antoine's undoubtedly.
"Rotor, tend to the princess! Tails, go and find Antoine and bring him back here as fast as you can!" the fox complied and took off at top speed. Bunnie looked at Peach, "Princess, why are all these bodies here! What is going on!"
The princess wearily moved her head, her lips shaking with flesh peeled back from them.
"He... hEhe... heeeHeee He hEh... hehE..."
"The hedgeeehog... he... said this would beeee to eeeassy."
Rotor let out a terrible wail as Peach took a huge bite through his stomach. Blood gushed out of him when she took her second bite, and her third, swallowing down chunks of the walrus as Bunnie watched. The rabbit tried to kick her, but another scream bellowed through the halls and this one belonged to Tails no less. But concern hadn't piqued Bunnie's attention. She ran, soaked in an indescribable adrenaline while her heart punched her chest.
The vision of Peach eating Rotor wasn't registering. How did things go from bad to worse like this, just a moment ago there were people dead and now... and now one of the sweetest rulers in the world was EATING people!
She was so scared she didn't even notice the body of Antoine sitting in front of the corridor she'd fled from, his head no longer on his shoulders and two eyeballs placed neatly by his shoulders.
When she made it to the reception hall, she stopped and saw what had caused Tail to scream.
Sonic was there by the entrance. And in his hand was a bloody hand that belonged to Sally Acorn. Her body, her corpse, was being dragged by the hedgehog as he neared the doors. Her eyes had been plucked out, leaving two gaping, empty holes filled with an unknown darkness that made their blood chill. One of her arms was removed, exposing part of her left clavicle, and the rest of her was mainly a rack of skinned red tissue.
And when Sonic turned his head around, he had part of Antoine's head jarred inside his mouth, a frozen expression of torture left on the poor coyote's face.
"What god-damned joke is this!" Bunnie finally exploded, her sanity slipping. "WHAT THE HELL IS THIS!"
She charged at Sonic, murder flashing through her eyes.
Tails watched her unsure of what to do when he felt pain in one of his tails. Peach gnawed into one and tried to bite it off, but Tails did a Spin Dash and trapped her underneath him. He skidded on her face with enough force to chew up dirt, bedrock, and especially flesh, and when he released, all that remained of the princess's face was the memory of a once envied beauty. Tails dashed downstairs, trying to intercept Bunnie and Sonic.
He was too late. Sonic reacted and stopped Bunnie dead in her tracks, widening his jaw enough so that he could catch her entire arm with his teeth.
Struggling in his jaw, Bunnie screamed at him and punched his head.
"YOU WANT TO EAT ME YOU GODDAMNED MONSTER! JUST TRY IT! JUUUST TRY AND EAT ME LIKE YOU ATE ALL OUR' FRIENDS! YOU MON-!"
Sonic ripped off her arm and pushed Bunnie through a storm of excruciating spasms. Her throes made the murderous hedgehog glare with content as he chewed along the rim of her arm.
"It must be my lucky dayyy!" Sonic growled at her, spewing blood and spit from his mouth, "I BIT YOUR RRR-RREAL ARM!"
He seemed to make sure that the blood splashed on Bunnie's eyes, and while blinded, Sonic dove into her with his nightmarish speed. Tails broke out of his spinning dash as the crunching noises returned, as Sonic consumed the screaming bunny, his very friend's own flesh while she was still alive, peeling off string after string, trying to pluck every liter of torment he possibly could. The horror only lessened when he bit into her eye and stretched it, and then the life finally slipped from Bunnie's eyes. Her life-support systems could no longer sustain the damage Sonic was inflicting, and she died in a terrible position.
Seeing this as the last surviving Freedom Fighter shelved whatever bravery the young fox had left in him. He snapped, and sped through the exit as fast as he could. The hedgehog whom he formally idolized was too busy eating the remains of Bunnie to notice that his old friend had left, and when the princess managed to hobble over to Sonic's current meal, she indulged as well.
Neither reflected any regret over this. The murders, the brutality, the betrayals.
They began reflecting some intelligence over this persistent hunger once they had devoured those inside the conference room. It seemed that in eating every single piece before a person had the chance to resurrect, that person nor their appendages could return to life.
Sonic devised a plan to lure their 'rescuers' into a false sense of security, and now both he and Peach had gotten their fill.
But still, they hungered. And it was due time before this hunger took over again.
The hunger was strong, but armies would be mustered to stop it.
Armies, and militaries, and even deities would be summoned to fight them.
Two could not battle the world, not alone as they were. They needed more. More like them. More hungry, hungry people. Allies, strong ones, who could understand their pain.
Sonic exited the Console building, and prepared for the craziest sprint he had ever sprinted in his entire life. He paused to look at his hand, now egregiously decayed from where he was bitten and wounded, and snickered.
'Or whatever the hell this is supposed to be...'
Sonic raced across the world gathering, or rather CLAIMING food wherever he could find. Using his extraordinary speed, he traveled from coast to coast seeking to satisfy his hunger. He did not eat all of his victims, saving the strong ones to be turned into allies. His numbers grew, and his tactics changed, and with every meal his forces grew stronger.
The world would never be the same.
In a laboratory hidden from the common eye, a man was sitting down with a microscope and examining an alien organism.
He waited, and waited.
He waited more.
He continued to wait.
There would be no results without waiting.
Patience was a virtue.
And his wait finally came to an end.
The sample was negative; he cursed his luck, given how long it had taken to retrieve this sample alone, but it had shown no signs of reversal or defeat.
"I guess you were right, Albert."
The man wore a lab coat and had a big white beard, not unlike what a certain holiday figure would have. He had stern, hopeful eyes that accomplished much in the field of science and technology. His greatest achievement was in Robotics, where he produced a form of artificial life determined to protect the vestiges of natural organic life. He called that success Mega Man, a true honor to the name of mankind. In Mega Man's stead, there was a line of other robots designed to accomplish many other complicated tasks. Guts Man, used for construction, and UFO Man, a satellite-type robot who could help repair and build space stations. Many others documented under the title of "Robot Masters".
This came under fire as being unethical, but the robots were built with three major rules. The first and foremost being that they should never harm a human being or, through inaction, allow any human to come to harm. While the masses accepted the robot workforce provided these policies were in place, it was easy to re-program these robots to do whatever the programmer wanted. As was the case of his colleague, a smaller genius named Doctor Wily, who commandeered Light's series of robots and programmed them for evil deeds. It was Light's second creation, the legendary Mega Man, who went out of his way to stop the rogue Robot Masters and shut down Wily's operations.
"How ironic this is, turning to me in this time of crisis."
"The Mega Man X project is far-off, and I cannot find an answer to this biological catastrophe. We are running out of time Doctor..."
"I am far more aware of that than you, Thomas." said the bitter colleague. "But your constant destruction of my genius creations has put me at a setback... I have only prepared 7 Robot Masters, and half lack their unique weapons."
"The creatures are right on our doorsteps. If we don't relocate, we'll be overrun and... consumed. Like the others."
"Death has far greater plans for the infamous Doctor Wily! I won't be cattle for a freakish twist on nature! Robot Masters, it's SHOW TIME!"
Wily pulled a lever and the hangar doors whizzed open. The wind blew the white tarps back... and the seven Robot Masters stood together as the doctors's last true line of defense: Air Man, Cut Man, Shadow Man, Gemini Man, Pharaoh Man, Needle Man, and Slash Man lined up and faced the direction of the open sea that was pulling away from them.
The battleship they were on was pursued by the Babylon Rouges on their hoverboards, and behind them were Buzzbombers, their armors partially cracked open.
A much, much bigger threat loomed over them. A gigantic shadow darkened the flying cannibals and the creature the shadow belonged to dwarfed them entirely. A slender, elongated beast that resembled a kind of flying serpent, and the scales or skin upon it fit the ancient nature of this winged beast as it chased after the battleship, possessed by a mysterious force. From afar, it was difficult to spot the creatures that lingered on the creature's back and the small tufts of fur that grew along its back, and there was a considerable amount of blood covering one part of its body. The enormity of such a beast made this injury insignificant, however.
Dr. Light had heard of such magnificent, and terrifying beasts. This was the thirteenth of a species called the Colossi, a species said to have been banished to a forgotten land.
And somehow, it was their luck was to find such a mythical monster ruling the deadly skies...