Rocket, Shadow, Sonic, Tails, Frost, Leaf, Chip, Cosmo, and Merlin all looked at Maria after she had volunteered to give her own life to help Rocket return to Mobius.
"Maria, you can't go. I lost you once already and I'm not about to lose you again," Shadow said.
"It's for a friend of yours, Shadow. I must go. Goodbye," Maria said as she walked up to the portal that'll send her to the afterlife. She walked through and Rocket was brought back.
"Shads, I'm sorry about what happened. A life had to be given up either way," Rocket said before Shadow brought him to the ground. While Rocket was lying on the ground, Shadow placed his right Air Shoe on his neck.
"It's because of you that Maria's gone! You just had to lose your goddamn life, didn't you?" Shadow lifted his shoe and ran off while Sonic and Frost helped Rocket to his feet.
"No problem, Rocket," Frost said.
"You're a true friend, Frost," Rocket said.
"So are you."
Meanwhile, Sonia was in a secluded part of the Great Forest, mourning Josh. She was weeping quietly when she heard Manik call out to her.
"You okay, sis," he asked.
"I am. I'm just remembering Josh and how he disappeared before my eyes," Sonia responded.
"What if I told you he wasn't gone?"
"That's impossible. He's gone."
"Wanna bet? Look down, beautiful," Josh said in his own voice. Sonia looked down and saw Josh standing right under her.
"Josh," she asked.
"The one and only." Sonia leaped down from the branch she was on and hugged Josh tightly.
"Oh, Josh. I can't believe you're back."
"I might be back only for a little while if you keep this up," Josh said before Sonia detached herself. Josh took the time to catch his breath after being squeezed so hard.
"I'm sorry about that, Joshie. I was just excited that you came back to me," Sonia said.
"It's okay. Just show your love on a lower scale next time."
"I will. It's just great to see you again."
"I'm sure it is," Josh said before wiping away a tear off Sonia's face. "We should be getting back, Sonia. Let's go." Josh then walked off with Sonia following close behind. Upon walking back into the city, Josh and Sonia made a quick stop at the hospital to check up on Shade. When they walked through the doors, they were surprised to see Shade walking around.
"Shade. You should be recovering," Josh said.
"Well, turns out the hospital made an incorrect estimation on when I'll be discharged. Originally, it was three days' time that I would have been discharged, but they checked again and I was just released," Shade said.
"That explains it."
"So, you're back. Good. I was thinking you were gone forever, Josh. The rest of us couldn't handle not having a leader."
"Sooner or later, we have to show everyone who we become later on. Isn't that right, Josh," Sonia asked.
"Yeah. Sooner or later we'll have to show them," Josh responded. Seconds later, Manik, Lara, and Dominic came into the hospital and saw Josh had returned after being erased from history.
"Jo, you're back," Manik said.
"Of course I am. I won't be gone forever, Manik. You should know that."
"Yeah, I should've known that. So, what were you, Sonia, and Shade talking about?"
"Just that we have to show everyone in New Mobotropolis who we are," Shade answered.
"We do. They have a right to know. They just need to wait for the right time to find out," Lara said.
"Until then, we need to keep our secret under wraps," Dominic said.
Meanwhile, Rocket and Blaze were in the Great Forest, making up for lost time.
"I really missed you, Rocket," Blaze said.
"I missed you, too," Rocket said.
"I couldn't deal with the fact that you were gone, but now you're back. Hopefully, you won't brag about how invincible you think you are."
"Don't worry. I won't, not after what happened. I now know that I'm not invincible. No one's invincible, Blaze. I thought I was until now."
"Good. I don't need you risking your life for anything," Blaze said.
"You have nothing to worry about, darlin'. I won't be risking my life for anything or anyone. I've lost my life once and that won't happen again. I promise you that," Rocket said before he pressed his lips against Blaze's.
Do I tell her about the feelings Sally was having for me? Nah. I shouldn't. I need to keep that a secret, Rocket thought to himself as he and Blaze continued their private moment. Today, Rocket had lost his own life on a mission and another life had to be given up for him to return. Today, Rocket learned that A Life has to be given up for a Life.