At long last, here it is, the final chapter of this story. And in case you were wondering, yes it is a cliffhanger. The conclusion to both tales will be written in the Last Story, coming soon. And now, without further adieu, the conclusion to Shadow Adventure 2: Dark Story. Disclaimer: I am not saying it.

Day X, 11:32 PM

Rouge hummed a little tune to herself, happy. She was a little surprised by her feelings for Knuckles, after all, they had only met a couple of days ago! She had thought the whole love at first sight thing was just a fairytale. Then again, it was more like she had fallen in love with him during that intense fight, one she had almost lost. She hoped he would call her later. She hoped even more that she ran into him before either of them left the colony. In a corner of her mind though, she felt a little anxious about forming a relationship with Knuckles. She could just imagine two cartoon angel and devil versions of herself arguing about the problem of this possible relationship. This is how the argument went.

ANGEL ROUGE: She shouldn't associate herself with Knuckles. DEVIL ROUGE: Why? ANGEL: There are lots of reasons. First of all, he has a prior engagement to the Master Emerald. He has to spend his life guarding it. He shouldn't take time away from his duty for any reason, it is his job after all. DEVIL: Yeah, but his ancestors must have taken time from guardianship. How else could their line have been continued for all these centuries? ANGEL: Hmmm, good point. However, we have to think about how Knuckles' people would feel. I hear the echidnas value their traditions, and it's hard to tell how they would take Knuckles going out with a bat of all people. DEVIL: How come? ANGEL: As I said, tradition. Knuckles said the first male born to the Guardian of the Emerald would become the next Guardian. And since it has always been an Echidna as Guardian, having a bat as the firstborn son would break the tradition. DEVIL: Yeah, but tradition's probably been broken lots of times. I heard once that there was an old tradition preventing the echidnas on Angel Island from ever leaving the Isle, but they opened up to trade and tourism decades ago. There are lots of echidnas of Angel Island descent all over the world, meaning they had to leave, right? That's one tradition broken and nobody really cared. Besides, it's Knuckles' choice who he wants to go out with, not the leaders of the Island. If he wants to go ahead and break tradition, good for him. ANGEL: I admit that's true. But you are forgetting the most important reason of all why Rouge should leave well enough alone. DEVIL: What's that? ANGEL: Among many things, Rouge is a jewel thief. Settling down would mean the end of her career as a criminal. Does she want to do that? DEVIL: If she loves Knuckles enough, then of course she wants to. Besides, he protects the biggest jewel in the world. If Rouge were to become, say, Mrs. Knuckles, she would also protect the jewel. It far outweighs all of the other jewels she could steal in value or size, therefore she would have no more need to steal jewels. ANGEL: You know, you're right. DEVIL: Wait, you're actually agreeing with me? ANGEL: Yeah, I only argue with you because I, the representative of Rouge's good side, am supposed to always disagree with you, the representative of Rouge's bad side. But you're usually right, so why bother arguing? DEVIL: I see. So what do you think of Knuckles then? ANGEL: He's a total hottie! DEVIL: Do you think his Angel and Devil figments are as sexy as he is? ANGEL: Ooh, I certainly hope so!

Rogue shook herself from the imaginary antics of her conscience and entered the control room. She had a mission to accomplish. She could be frivolous after it was over. She went up to the computer cylinder and climbed up, reaching for the red Super Emerald. "Step away from the Emeralds." Said a cold voice behind her. Rouge turned around and saw Scales. "Scales? I didn't see you there!" Scales took a few steps forward. "I can hide myself quite well when need be. Now I'll say this again, leave the Emeralds alone." Rouge smiled and shrugged. "Sorry Scales, but these jewels are mine. I helped steal them, I get them." Scales grimaced. "You only got four of the Emeralds for us. Your logic makes no sense. Tell me, are you taking the Emeralds because you want them for display in whatever cavern you keep your jewels in, or are you taking them because you were ordered to?" Rouge tried not to flinch. "Wh-what are you talking about?" Scales took another step forward. "You know very well what I'm talking about. President Chao-lin told you to take the Emeralds, didn't you Rouge? Or should I say.Agent Crimson?" Rouge was quite evidently startled, her cover blown. "H-h-how did you know?" Scales shrugged. "Hacking into the CIA database was child's play for someone like myself. I know you as Rouge, prime jewel thief, wanted in many countries, but you are also Agent Crimson, part-time spy for the president in exchange for jewels and amnesty for your crimes." Rouge frowned. "Well, I would call that an invasion of privacy." Scales snorted. "That's rich, coming from you Rouge." Rouge blinked. "What do you mean?" Scales shook her head. "I know you were in here only a little while ago, looking up the data on me and my brother. I bet you know all about the results of Project Ultimate, don't you Rouge?" "H-how did you-" Rouge stammered. Scales stepped forward some more, almost at the base of the computer. "You must understand Rouge, there is nothing on this space colony that I cannot see. Now one more time, I ask you to step down and leave the Emeralds where they lie." Rouge frowned. "I'm not going to let millions of people die." Scales chuckled. "Nobody is going to die who doesn't deserve it. They've had it coming for years. The planet will be better for their loss." Rouge eyed Scales skeptically. "I read all of your mother's notes, how she wanted you and your brother to make people happy. How can mass killing make the citizens of Earth happy?" Scales cocked her head. "Well, I don't have the time or the desire to completely explain my reasons Rouge, but I will say that the people who live will be happier without the ones who will be annihilated by the Eclipse Cannon." Rouge was understandably still skeptical. "How can letting Snively take over the world make anybody happy?" Scales grinned, her sharp teeth showing. "Who said anything about letting Snively rule the world? After the cannon fires, he's going down as well." Scales frowned at Rouge's surprised expression. "Oh don't look surprised Rouge. He was going to kill us anyway. I'll be doing the world a favor by killing him. You have to admit that." Rouge was starting to feel a little confused. Scales seemed to be talking sense, but her motives didn't match up. "I still don't understand all of this. Why are you allowing people to die?" A very cold, harsh look came into Scales' eyes. "Because of what they've done to me, to my family. Because they ruined hundreds of lives and are planning to ruin hundreds more. Because, in the end, they aren't much better than Snively." Rouge couldn't help getting a little scared. "And what did you plan for me? Another killing so nobody would know you are behind all this?" Scales chuckled darkly. "Actually Rouge, I was hoping we could be friends. I don't want or plan to hurt you, but you must understand that if you remove even one Super Emerald from its socket, I will have no choice but to take it back from you by means I may regret later." Rouge hesitated, then got down from the central pillar. "Thank you. Oh, and can you please give me the Chaos Emerald you took from Security Hall?" Rouge was shocked once more. "How did you know I stole it?' "I can sense it on you, the Chaos energy radiating around your body. That Emerald does not belong to you. Please hand it over, or I will have to take that as I threatened to take the Super Emeralds if you stole them." said Scales. Rouge reluctantly gave the lizard the green Chaos Emerald. "Thank you." "My boss won't be very happy with this." Muttered Rouge. Scales noticed something on the monitor. Currently a map of the ARK was displayed, showing where all the living organisms on board were. "Hey Rouge, there's something going on Observation deck B!" said Scales. A little curious despite her worry about what would happen if the cannon fired, Rouge came over. "Almost everyone is in that room. I wonder what's going on there? Too bad the security net is down, or we could take a look." Scales strode forward. "If you will move aside for just a second, I can show you how I perceive all on this colony." Rouge moved away from the control panel. Scales raised her left hand, the one not holding the Emerald, over the control panel. Cables suddenly shot from her hand, interfacing with the computer. There was much blinking of lights and whirring sounds, but eventually Scales withdrew the cables. "There. I have just repaired every security camera on the colony. Please show what's going on at the observation deck." A little impressed, Rouge obeyed. A window popped up, showing the dramatic scene with Shadow's last words to Amy. When Shadow had finished his speech, Snively shot Robotnik, Eggchao, and the Chao egg, then launched Shadow to his doom. Rouge gasped. "Oh God! I didn't think Snively was that heartless!" "I can do nothing for the egg or the Chao, but I can save Shadow." Scales said, knowing there wasn't much time. "How?" Rouge asked, not wanting the world's greatest hero to just die on her watch. Scales held up the Emerald. "Chaos Control!" The green Emerald flashed and disappeared. A few seconds later, they looked back to the camera footage to see Shadow's escape pod blow up. "There. He's safe now." "What do you mean he's safe? HE JUST EXPLODED!" yelled Rouge. Scales smiled smugly. "No, he didn't. I just sent the Emerald to him, providing a way out of his predicament. I'm sure that if you check the map, you'll see his bio-sign still remains." More than a little apprehensive, Rouge checked the colony map and saw two life signs near an entrance into space. After a moment, one of the signals exited the colony and the other wandered around aimlessly. "I'm not saying whatever you did worked, but something is heading for the Eclipse Cannon." Said Rouge. Scales smiled. "Well, I'd better go down there and make sure my old friend doesn't mess up everything I've been working for. I'm going outside." She turned and started heading for the exit. "Do you want me to turn off the defenses?" asked Rouge. Scales paused. "No, I would prefer to have a bit of a workout before my inevitable meeting with Shadow." She almost went through the door, then turned around. "Oh, and remember not to take the Super Emeralds. As I've shown, nothing happens on this colony that I don't know about. I have a wireless connection to the security cameras as of my rebooting the system, and I'll know if you take them." She hesitated. "When next we meet, I hope we'll be on better terms." Scales walked out of the room. Rouge looked longingly at the Super Emeralds, but gave it up. She took another look at the map of the ARK. Despite the two missing life signs in Observation deck B, most of the life on the ARK was still there. She hadn't seen Knuckles in that shot from the security camera, which led her to believe he was one of the two near that exit from the colony. And if Scales was correct, and Shadow was the one who had used that exit, then Knuckles must be the other one. She saw the life sign that had to be Knuckles wandering aimlessly, nearly falling into a huge ventilation shaft. Poor thing. Rouge had a sudden desire to go after him, to see him, to touch him; maybe to kiss him.She smiled and left the room.

Stage 13: Final Chase. Mission: Hurry to the Eclipse Cannon.

Scales was in battle mode and on a catwalk outside in space. Right past the end of the catwalk was a huge spinning green vertical drum. She ran towards the drum and jumped. The drum was actually a gravity generator, and pulled the lizard on to its surface. She ran up the drum as it rotated, jumping to one of two platforms on either side of the drum. The platform had a spring, which she bounced on to reach a catwalk at the top of the drum. She took a step forward and was hit from behind by a laser blast. She yelped and turned around, seeing an Artificial Chaos on the stable top of the drum. Scales killed the Chaos with a Homing Kick, then jumped back on the catwalk and started going down it. She ran down the catwalk and across a horizontal gravity drum, killing the floating Artificial Chaos hovering above it. She jumped off the drum and onto another catwalk. She followed it ahead and found a spring pointing up and to the left. She bounced off the spring and landed on a higher catwalk. She ran down the catwalk and bounced off another spring, landing on a higher catwalk on her left. She ran down the catwalk and onto a horizontal gravity drum. She ran across it and onto a platform. A Beetle hovering off the platform hit her with its gun. She hit it with a Homing Kick and used another one to get to the higher platform behind the Beetle. She used another pair of Homing Kicks on the next Beetle and landed on a catwalk with an arched cover, making it a sort of tunnel. Straight ahead was a Shield Hunter, who started firing its laser gun. Scales ran towards the Hunter and smashed its shield with a single kick, then shattered the robot itself to pieces with a Tail Whip. She proceeded forward through the tunnel, coming out at the end of the catwalk. To her right was a horizontal drum. She jumped on it and ran along its length, jumping to another drum. She ran across that one as well and jumped to a third horizontal drum. After running and jumping onto a catwalk from that drum, Scales killed a Shield Hunter ahead of her. Taking only a second to rest, Scales jumped off the end of the catwalk and onto a vertical drum. She ran up the drum and jumped on the top, bouncing off a spring and landing on another catwalk. She killed a Hornet and ran along the long catwalk, jumping off the end to a horizontal drum on her right. She ran to the end of the drum and onto another horizontal one, running and jumping onto a catwalk that extended into a steep hill. She ran down the hill and jumped off the end before she could fall, landing on a catwalk below. She killed a Shield Hunter, ran down the catwalk and jumped on another horizontal drums. She ran around the spinning cylinder and jumped off the end, landing on another one. She ran down this one and jumped to a third, jumping from the end of that drum to a catwalk. She ran down the catwalk and entered an alcove with a vertical drum and an Artificial Chaos. She killed the Artificial Chaos and ran up the drum, jumping from the top to a deeper alcove guarded by two more Artificial Chaos. She killed the robots and jumped down a blue hole in the floor, dropping out into space and landing on a rail. She grinded down the rail, going through various speed rings and avoiding enemy fire and asteroids for a few moments before landing on a catwalk. She killed a Hawk that assaulted her and ran to the end of the catwalk, jumping to a vertical drum. She ran to the top and was almost knocked off when an Artificial Chaos tried to grab her with its tendrils. She hit the robot on the head with her tail, destroying it. She jumped from the top of the drum to another vertical drum and ran to the top, killing another Artificial Chaos that attacked her up there. She jumped to a green platform and from there she jumped to another vertical drum and ran up its length, avoiding shots from some Beetles. She got to the top and jumped to yet another vertical drum, killing an Artificial Chaos at the top. She jumped to another platform and from there to a vertical drum and got to the top, killing another Artificial Chaos. She saw she was just above the midpoint of a double vertical drum, this one with an electric field in the center. She used a Homing Kick to get safely over the field and ran up the side of the drum, dodging enemy fire. At the top, she killed a Hornet and jumped to one more vertical drum. She ran to the top of the drum, killed an Artificial Chaos, and jumped to a platform. She grinded down a long, twisting rail leading from that platform and landed on a catwalk extending into a hill. She ran down the steep hill and landed on a long catwalk with a Shield Hunter. She killed the Hunter and ran to the end of the catwalk, bouncing from a spring. She landed on a rail and started grinding down its length, past buildings, meteors, and Artificial Chaos blobs before reaching the end. She jumped from the rail and landed on another one, grinding down its equally long and dangerous span before launching from the end and landing on a small green platform. She dropped from the platform and onto a dual green platform lined with vertical drums. Scales used a Homing Kick to get on one of the cylinders. She ran up it and jumped from the top to the top of another drum. She hopped across the tops of the drums and found a spring at the end of her row. She bounced from the spring and landed at the top of a catwalk that extended into a long and steep hill. She ran down the hill and launched into a gap filled with horizontal drums at various heights. She used a Homing Kick to get to the nearest drum, and used another Homing Kick to get to the highest drum beyond that. From there, she jumped and Homing Kicked to a ledge on her right, where she found a spring. She bounced off the spring and landed on a catwalk that extended into a hill. Scales ran down the hill, enjoying the run, and dropped from the bottom, landing on.nothing! There was no catwalk or platform! Scales was falling, falling between two wide walls with multiple horizontal drums strewn about. Scales needed no drums, though. She used her jet anklets to maneuver down the pitfall, moving past the drums to avoid getting caught in their gravity, and landed on a green catwalk past where the walls ended, out in clear space. She mused that there was nothing to keep her from falling to the planet far below if she took a wrong step. Nothing but her Chaos Control, of course. She looked around and saw a series of horizontal drums leading away from the platform. She carefully jumped across the drums, dodging fire from the always dangerous Artificial Chaos. She leapt from the last drum and landed on a catwalk that sloped into a steep hill. She ran down the hill, picking up lots of speed, and fell from the end, landing on a catwalk below. She ran down the catwalk, killed a Shield Hunter that accosted her, and jumped on a rail at the end. She grinded down the rail, passing through several speed rings. She passed asteroids, Artificial Chaos, and Hawks, some of which fired, some of which didn't. The rail twisted around buildings and walls before finally stopping on a catwalk. She ran down the catwalk and jumped onto a horizontal gravity drum. A floating Artificial Chaos shot its lasers at her. Scales killed the blob with a Homing Kick, then jumped to another horizontal drum. She ran along its length and jumped onto a catwalk. She killed a Hornet before it could fire its homing missiles and ran down the catwalk, jumping onto a rail at the end and grinding down its length. She passed through speed rings, moving too fast to get hit by the asteroids and enemies floating about. She stayed on the rail as it twisted around and around, spiraling downward and finally curving up and stopping. She shot off the end of the rail, the speed she had accumulated from the ride shooting her across a wide gap and onto a horizontal drum. She dropped from the horizontal drum and onto a platform with a spring pointing away. She bounced off the spring, hurtled through the air, and landed on a rail. She started grinding down the rail, passing through speed rings and speeding past lots of obstacles that would normally be dangerous. This rail was quite a lot longer than most and a bit fun as well. As she passed through more and more rings while crouching down, she soon got so fast that anything that saw her thought she was a blur. The rail ended abruptly on a platform, sending Scales right into a dash panel immediately followed by a jump pad. The extreme speed she had now gained launched her an incredible distance. She felt like laughing. It was almost like she had imagined flying would be. But she had no time to play around, she had to finish her mission. After flying for a while, she started to fall. She activated her anklets and descended to a ledge and an alcove. She ran into the alcove and found a door leading to a room guarded by a pair of Artificial Chaos. She killed the robots and jumped down a hole in the middle of the room, landing on a catwalk. She ran down the catwalk and ran down a steep hill. Instead of simply dropping from the end, she found herself going through a set of dash panels and running through a record-breaking seven loops before launching from a jump pad and landing on a platform far away. She saw a horizontal drum in front of her and jumped to it. She ran to the end of the drum and jumped to another drum. She ran down it and jumped to a platform with a Shield Hunter. She killed the Hunter and jumped to a horizontal drum on her right. She ran along the drum, jumped to another one on her right, and was attacked by a Hornet. She killed the Hornet and got to the end of the drum, jumping to another one on her left. She ran down the drum and jumped to another one straight ahead. She got to the end of the platform and was attacked by a floating Artificial Chaos hovering in the gap between Scales and the next drum. As it fired lasers, Scales killed it with a Homing Kick, then used another Homing Kick to get to the drum. She ran to the end of the drum and saw there was nowhere else to go. Then she noticed a pulley. She ran back around the drum and jumped, grabbing the pulley. It lifted her to the bottom of a vertical drum. She jumped to the drum and was caught by its gravity. She ran up the drum and killed a waiting Artificial Chaos before bouncing from a spring the Artificial Chaos had been sitting on and landed on a long platform. She ran to the end and found a rocket. She grabbed the rocket and was launched towards a vertical drum in the distance. She let go as she got close and was pulled in by the cylinder's gravity. She ran up the drum, killed an Artificial Chaos, and jumped to the first in a series of horizontal drums. She hopped from drum to drum, eventually reaching the last one. She saw a hanging pulley and grabbed it. The pulley raised her up to another vertical drum. She ran to the top of the drum, killed an Artificial Chaos, and looked for a way off. She saw a pulley hanging only a foot or so from and a few feet above the top of the drum. She jumped off and used a Homing Kick, grabbed the pulley. It raised her to a platform with a very long chain of hovering Beetles leading to an extremely tall vertical drum. She took a few moments to catch her breath, then started across the line. She Homing Kicked from Beetle, to Beetle, sending the flying robots falling in pieces to the planet below, where they would hopefully burn up in the atmosphere before they could hit something. After half a minute of pure Homing Attacking, Scales used one last Homing Kick to get to the bottom of the really big drum. She started running up the drum, racing around the sides to avoid the shots from various enemy drones. After a long run, she got to the top of the drum and found a Shield Hunter waiting for her! Even though there wasn't any room to fight, she narrowly managed to kill the Hunter, but not without a hit in return. Wincing a little in pain, Scales jumped from the top of the drum to a catwalk leading to a door in a large building that extended down quite a ways, to a separate set of rails and catwalks she was sure Shadow was using right now. She ran down the catwalk and into the building, coming into a big rectangular chamber. At the other side of the room from Scales was a ladder going up to a ledge with a door on it. Hovering in the air above her were three dozen blobs of Artificial Chaos. A little wary, Scales took a step forward. Immediately, the blobs convulsed and regurgitated all their water from them, dropping it to the ground and forming the little Chaos blobs. As the huge army of small blobs started making for Scales, she quickly ran across the room and climbed up to the ledge before the blobs could get her. She tried to get through the door, but found it was locked. She looked down and saw the whole floor was covered in bloodthirsty baby Artificial Chaos. There was only one possible way to open the door. She curled into a spiked ball and started spinning in place, as if for a spindash. Lights started to race around her. After a few seconds, she got up and started glowing. "This is for you, Mother!" she yelled as she unleashed her Light Attack. She was in the air for a whole minute, moving at the speed of light as she smashed through every Artificial Chaos in the room, a spinning ball of death leaving a trail of green light. She dropped to the ground as the last enemy was destroyed. She clutched her chest and panted, a little winded. After a minute, she got up and headed for the door, which slid open as she approached. She went down a hallway that led to an elevator. Hovering in front of the elevator was the Goal Ring. Scales stepped through the ring, finishing the level.

(STAGE CLEAR. RANK A.)

Scales retracted her spines as her eyes turned back to yellow. She stepped into the elevator and went down the shaft. Soothing elevator music started playing, a welcome relief from the rigorous trials she had just faced. "Some workout." She said, closing her eyes and relaxing as the music rolled over her, reminding her of better times. She sobered up, not wanting to be reminded of those times. After a little while, the elevator reached the bottom. The doors opened, and Scales stepped out into the back of a long green hallway leading out to a bridge in space. She saw Shadow immediately, who took a step back, a little surprised. Shadow tensed, ready to attack if she made any threatening moves. The cyborg lizard smiled. "I thought I'd find you here, Shadow. I commend you on making it through the last section. It was almost as hard as what I had to get through to arrive here." Shadow frowned. "What, you couldn't just warp here with Chaos Control?' She chuckled. "I could have, but I wanted a little warm-up before our battle." Shadow cocked his head. "So, how did you know I would come here?" Scales shrugged, deciding to be honest. "Let me put it this way. There is nothing on this colony that I cannot see, if I wish to see it." Shadow sighed and looked down the hallway. "Look, I'd love to talk, but I have a planet to save." He started to walk down the hallway. Suddenly worried, Scales called out to him. "Shadow, wait!" He turned around. She walked over, standing beside him. "Go out there if you must, but please listen to me first." She said, hoping she could convince him not to go through with this. "I don't have much time." said Shadow. "I know, this will only take a minute." She said. Shadow sighed and folded his arms, listening. "Right now, you are at a crossroads, Shadow. You have a choice to make. You can either go out there and try to stop the cannon from firing or you can stay here and talk with me." "Great, I'll just go now." Said Shadow, taking a step forward. "Hear me out!" said Scales, a little desperation leaking into her voice. "If you go out there and stop the cannon, you will undo something that I have been waiting fifty years for, and allow hundreds of people who do not deserve to live to keep going on with life." She said, anger for her past starting to well up. Shadow blinked in surprise. "And if I stay here?" he asked. "Then I will make good on my promise of explanations. I will tell you everything, Shadow. Why this place seems familiar to you, how the Chaos Emerald got into your escape pod, how you got to be in the cryogenic capsule you were discovered in, how we know each other, why I am doing all of this, who made you, and most importantly, why you were made. I will tell you all of this if you just stay and listen to me. Please, Shadow," said Scales, her eyes filled with desperation and hope. "Please don't do this. Grant me this one favor, and don't try to stop what I'm doing." She watched him agonize over his choice. She knew what he had to be going through, dying to know what had happened but also dying to do what he thought was right. She pleaded to the heavens, begging Shadow to listen to her. Shadow looked up slowly. And Scales immediately knew what he would say. "I'm sorry." He said. She was crestfallen, but she had expected him to say this. After all, would he really be Shadow if he had said any different? "I have to at least try to save those people. I do want to know the answers to those questions, but when last we fought you promised you would tell me after this was over. And I'm holding you to that promise.' Scales got very sad. "I was afraid you would decide to do this." She said truthfully. She looked up, her sadness receding into the background, a fierce look in her eyes. "But I cannot let you succeed. The cannon has to fire Shadow, it absolutely has to. And to that end, I will do everything I can to ensure it will, even if it means hurting you." She closed her eyes for a moment, opening them again and staring directly into Shadow's. "You can Chaos Control if you fall of the edge of the bridge ahead, right?" "Uh, yes." Said Shadow. "Good, I will do the same." She closed her eyes again, making up her mind. She stared into Shadow's eyes again, trying to pound into him how serious a mistake he was making. "As I promised last time we met, I will not kill you Shadow." She flexed her muscles, and suddenly blades shot out of concealed folds on her body. Three shot out of the back of her neck, three appeared on both her upper and lower arms and two more appeared on each back-bent leg. Her eyes went red, and she stood before Shadow in full battle mode. "I may, no, will hurt you Shadow, but I will not kill you." She said, not really wanting to go through with fighting the black hedgehog. Shadow hesitated. "And I will try to extend the same courtesy to you Scales." She nodded. They walked to the beginning of the green hallway and crouched down, getting ready to run. Shadow turned to the lizard. "Just out of curiosity, how do we know each other? Were you an old girlfriend of mine or something? Because if you are, I have to warn you I'm with Amy now." Scales stared at him for a second, startled. Then she burst into laughter. "Okay, I'll take that as a no. We were not boyfriend and girlfriend." Scales wiped her eyes, which were tearing from the laughter. "Heheheh. Woo, that was a good one. I haven't laughed like that for a very, very long time. Thanks Shadow. No, we were not boyfriend and girlfriend." Shadow nodded. "All right then. Are you ready?" She nodded. "I'm ready." "Then let's-" he started. "GO!" she yelled. They took off, running down the hallway and onto the bridge ahead.

SHADOW

They started running down the length of the bridge. It was a very long bridge, going about half a dozen miles in distance before stopping fairly close to the Eclipse Cannon. Even with the speed of these two runners, it would take a little while to reach the point of the cannon. "Before this is over, I will show you the ultimate in Chaos Control!" Scales shouted at him. "Speaking of which, what's with the Emerald in your back? I thought there were only seven Chaos Emeralds!" Shadow yelled back. Scales smiled a little smugly. "All I know is this thing's what keeps me going, and there's some legend behind it. That's all I can tell you now, Shadow. I suggest you start watching yourself." "Oh? Why is that?" he asked. "Because of.THIS!" Scales instantly launched into a Homing Kick, hitting Shadow with the talons on her feet and blades on her leg. She knocked him over with the attack and kept running down the bridge. Shadow grunted and got up, running after her. When Shadow caught up to the lizard, he thought for a moment then slowed a little, letting her move ahead. Then he launched into a Homing Attack, striking her life support. She stumbled, nearly falling down. Shadow ran past her, intent on his destination. Scales ran after him and hit him in the back with a Homing Kick. She ran past him as the hedgehog got up. He curled into a ball and started spinning. No, lights did not swirl around him. He shot forward in a spindash, racing towards Scales. She heard the whine of his rolling and jumped up, allowing him to pass underneath her. When Shadow stopped and uncurled, Scales hit him from behind with her bladed tail and kept going. Shadow growled and ran after her, launching into a Homing Attack. Scales jumped up, deflecting Shadow in midair and nearly sending him off the bridge. Shadow started his spindash again, but he did not roll right towards her, but rather beside Scales. She watched, bemused, as he slowed his roll to match her speed. That's when Shadow suddenly veered to the left, slamming into her. She caught herself before she could go over the edge and watched, a little angry as Shadow sped off, still rolling. She curled into a ball as well and started spinning. Her spikes stayed out as she launched forward in a spindash that was arguably a little more dangerous than Shadow's. She caught up to him, a rolling black ball leaving a trail of yellow light besides a bigger red-orange ball leaving a trail of green light. She rammed into Shadow, her spikes sparking upon impact with his sharp quills. He leaned back into her, trying to move her over. Sparks kept coming up from the contact of either opponent's sharp protrusions to each other. Shadow moved a little away from Scales, then slammed back into her, causing her to forcibly change course, rolling right towards the edge. Shadow kept going. Scales couldn't uncurl in time and rolled off the edge. She uncurled and quickly yelled, "Chaos Control!" There was a green flash, and she reappeared on the path just ahead of the rolling Shadow. Before he could stop rolling, she swung her tail, knocking him off the bridge. Shadow uncurled and quickly pulled out his Emerald. "Chaos Control!" he vanished in a flash of green light, reappearing on the bridge just as Scales ran by. He ran after her, quickly catching up. She smirked at him. He scowled back and clutched his Emerald, summoning a variation of his usual technique. "Chaos Control!" he yelled. He vanished. Scales instantly used Chaos Control as well, freezing time and allowing her to see Shadow, who was quite astonished that she had managed to follow her into chronological stasis. "How did you do that? You're supposed to be frozen!" Shadow yelled at the approaching Scales. "I know everything about Chaos Control that you do, Shadow! All I did was take myself temporarily out of synch from the time stream, like you did!" She launched into a Homing kick, hitting Shadow in the chest. She started running down the bridge. He got up and ran after her, freezing in place as the Chaos Control effect wore off for him. Knowing she only had seconds left before she too returned to real time, Scales ran back, delivered a hard kick to the chest of the immobile Shadow, then turned around and started running again as the Chaos Control wore off. She turned around and saw Shadow holding his chest, his face clenched up. "Hey Shadow, how about we don't mess with time freeze techniques and just try to knock one another senseless?" Scales called at him cheerfully. Shadow got up, recovered. "That works for me!" He ran towards her. She went back to running away, down the bridge. He stopped moving and aimed his Chaos Emerald at her, charging up his special attack. "Chaos Spear!" A massive bolt of green lightning burst forth from the Chaos Emerald, hitting Scales in the life support system. She gasped and fell to her knees. Shadow ran past her, taking the lead. Scales picked herself together and stood up. "Two can play at this game, Shadow!" she yelled. She ran after him, charging up her own special attack. She caught up with the hedgehog, running by his side. She cupped her hands and thrusted them at Shadow. "Serpent Strike!" She shouted. A huge green energy blast shaped like a serpent's head shot forth from her hands, hitting Shadow and driving him off the edge of the bridge. Shadow immediately warped back onto the bridge, surprised by the strength of the attack. "I'd better be more careful." He muttered to himself. He ran after her, charging up his Chaos Spear as he went. When they were once more side by side, Shadow aimed his Emerald at Scales as she aimed her hands at him. "Chaos Spear!" "Serpent Strike!" The attacks ran through each other and hit their intended targets, knocking both off of the bridge. Both quickly warped back on the bridge and went back to running. They charged up their attacks again, both of them trying to see who could do it faster. As they unleashed their Chaos- fueled attacks once more on one another, it seemed they could both do it at the same speed. They fell of the bridge and warped back on once more. As both of them started charging their attacks again, Shadow stopped running, allowing Scales to go past while still charging up her move. Scales kept going, thinking nothing of it. When Scales turned around and fired the Serpent Strike, Shadow let loose the spindash he had stopped to charge and ran forward, rolling under the Serpent Strike and hitting Scales, knocking her off her feet. As she tried to get up, he uncurled and hit her with his fully charged Chaos Spear. As she screamed in pain, Shadow started running past her, recharging his Chaos Spear. Scales stood up, recharging the Serpent Strike, and waited a few moments before running after Shadow. When he turned around and fired the Chaos Spear, Scales jumped over the lightning bolt and shot forward with a Homing Kick, hitting Shadow and knocking him down. She ran forward, leaving him in the dust, so to speak. Shadow cursed and got back up. He raised his Emerald. "Chaos Control!" He warped to the path ahead and just to the left of Scales. He stuck out his foot and tripped her before she saw him, knocking her over. He ran forward, getting closer to the cannon. Scales fumed and got up. "Chaos Control!" she yelled, vanishing. She reappeared up the path far ahead of Shadow and prepared her fully charged attack. "Serpent Strike!" The energy snake shot down the bridge towards Shadow. Shadow quickly somersaulted under the Serpent Strike and fired a Chaos Spear down the path, striking Scales. He clutched the Chaos Emerald. "Chaos Control!" he yelled, warping all the way down the bridge, a little past Scales, who was just recovering from the Chaos Spear. He kept running, knowing Scales was right behind him. As she launched into a Homing Kick, he jumped up, deflecting the attack. He kept on going, knowing he had probably a minute and a half left. Scales quickly used Chaos Control and appeared ahead of Shadow. Shadow quickly somersaulted, rolling into Scales and knocking her over. He continued running. Scales growled and used the Chaos Control to warp far down the path, much closer to the Eclipse Cannon. She curled into a ball and started spinning in place. Lights raced around her. After a few seconds and started glowing. "This is for you, Mother!" she yelled. She shot forward at the speed of light, thinking the Light Attack would be the only way to finish this battle and prevent Shadow from getting close to the cannon at the same time. Unfortunately, she didn't realize that Shadow was using the Light Attack as well. She raced towards him, once more a spinning, spiked red- orange ball leaving a trail of green light heading for his black ball with a trail of yellow light. The two objects, both moving at the speed of light, collided with an incredible crash, leaving both anthropomorphs stunned and senseless. By the time Shadow and Scales were able to pull themselves together, every clock in the USA struck midnight. Snively's deadline timer went off. The needle slowly, ponderously began to open. Shadow gasped. "The cannon! I've got to stop it! Chaos-" Scales grabbed his leg, flipping him over and dangling him above the ground. The Chaos Emerald fell from his hand, bouncing a few feet away, stopping a little down the path. "Too late. Game over, Shadow." Scales said as the cannon opened completely. The energy started to gather in the center of the cannon. Shadow struggled fiercely, punching Scales in the gut. More surprised than hurt, she let go of him. Shadow rolled over and grabbed the Chaos Emerald. He quickly shouted, "Chaos Control!" and warped to the end of the bridge before Scales could do anything. She immediately shouted "Chaos Control!" warping after Shadow and reappearing behind him. She didn't make a sound as he wound up his arm, ready to throw the fake Super Emerald into the Cannon. She stealthily snatched the fake Emerald from his hand. Shadow spun his arm forward, throwing the fake Super Emerald, only to find there was nothing in his hand! He spun around and saw Scales behind him, holding the Super Emerald. She shook her head, making a "Tsk tsk" sound. Shadow spun around in time to see the energy fire outward, streaking for the planet. Scales couldn't help grinning madly. At last, after all these years, it was all coming to an end! "NOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!" Shadow yelled as the beam struck its target.

At last, it's over. Another suspenseful cliffhanger, but it will all be concluded in the upcoming tale. So stay tuned, for the first chapter of Shadow Adventure 2: Last Story will soon be up.