As the Story Ends, Night Falls
"I think I know what happens from there," said Amy.
"You wish," I grinned, "We got out of the castle as it collapsed. The sky was changing color, and the forces of nature were collapsing in on themselves. Once we were far enough, we all stared as a huge, grotesque, magic flower engulfed the castle grounds.
"'To think . . . that it had been all a trick!' said Gawain.
"'Camelot is finished,' Lancelot said dully. Percival was silent. I looked at them like they were crazy. 'Excuse me? You're just going to let this happen! Can't you do anything on your own, without orders from a king? We've got to stop her! For the kingdom, and it's people—not the king!' I said. Nimue appeared behind us.
"'There is still time! If we can create a barrier using the sacred swords, we can contain the destruction. These are the locations of the barrier stones that will aid you,' she told us. We each ran off to the places where the stones were: Lancelot, to the shrouded forest, Gawain to the great megalith, Percival to the volcano nicknamed 'the cauldron', and me to the dragon's lair. I didn't tell them, because I knew that they wouldn't like it, but I would try to get in and stop Merlina. After defeating the dragon—it oddly reminded me of the Biolizard—I jumped into the barrier and ran back to the castle. Nimue later told me that we had been too late in making the barrier, and that it hadn't been strong enough to hold back the dark magic. I found Merlina in the throne room. Vines twisted around the throne and columns, and a little light came through the stained glass windows. She looked different—like a dark queen, with markings, a gown, and dark hair.
"'I've been waiting for you, Sonic,' she said. 'I brought this kingdom to the Underworld, where it shall never cease. You have probably guessed that I never wanted an end to this . . . this perfect kingdom. What my grandfather did only provided a temporary paradise—for it was meant to end by the hand of Arthur's son Mordrid, or by the Knights of the Underworld. However . . . I shall open the Dark Hollow between worlds, and the kingdom, thrust into it, shall never perish,' she smiled, as if this was wonderful. 'But the people of the kingdom will live in havoc! It won't be a paradise anymore! No one will survive!' I shouted. She closed her eyes.
"'They will. No one will perish. Never again. The world shall be an endless flower . . . with these words and with my power . . . nothing mortal will cease to be . . . all shall exist eternally . . . Sonic, can't you see how beautiful an everlasting kingdom would be?' I shook my head.
"'Then you are doomed. Since you defy me . . .' She raised her hand high, and a huge, glowing figure rose from the throne, two swords raised. It looked almost like King Arthur, but more powerful.
"'I won't back down!' I shouted. 'Fool! Run! We cannot overpower her!' said Caliburn. 'That isn't the point. I have to find a way . . . to save them! It isn't about me!' I tried to block the next attack, but in doing so, Caliburn snapped in half. I couldn't believe it. He may have been annoying . . . but still . . . he had saved my life, I suppose. 'NO!' I shouted, and ran at her with my bare hands, the blade of the Dark Queen grinding against me . . . when Caliburn began to glow, fuse together again, and change. The whole room melted away into a black and red vortex—the Dark Hollow. Suddenly, I was wearing golden armor, and it felt like I was using the Chaos Emeralds as Caliburn proclaimed that he was Excalibur, reborn. Merlina rose, the center of the monstrosity she'd built, and we clashed.
"'Every world has its own end, Merlina!' 'Fool! Don't you comprehend how wonderful the kingdom would be, lasting longer than the Earth itself!' 'Do you honestly believe that a kingdom like that could function properly?' asked Excalibur. We took an opening an slashed right through—for Excalibur could cut through anything, and she screamed as the magic receded, and she lost. We stood in the ruins of the castle.
"'Merlina,' I said. 'I know that it's hard to let a world end . . . believe me, change is never easy. But with every end, starts a new beginning. I figure that we have endings so that we can learn to make the most of what we have, so we don't take it for granted. We should enjoy life while it's still around,' I offered her my hand, and she stood up. We turned to find Nimue and the Knights of the Round Table.
"'The Knights of the Round Table are no more . . . without a king . . .' said Gawain. 'Didn't I say it before, though? Isn't that ridiculous?' I asked. 'Remember, Gawain? Isn't there more to being a knight than serving a king? Isn't there more to life than just doing what you're told?' Nimue nodded. 'What he says is true. The Knights will live on. After all, Caliburn is Excalibur reborn . . .' And Caliburn spoke. 'Excalibur chooses who the true king is, so that would obviously mean one thing.' 'Could it be?' asked Percival. 'You?' said Lancelot and Gawain incredulously. As one, they said, 'You are the one and true King Arthur?' and knelt before me. I looked around at them like they were crazy. 'Wait, what? Cut that out!'"
"Right," snorted Damon, "Like I'd kneel before you," he said.
"It happened!" I argued.
"Yeah? How'd you get back then?" asked John.
"I told Merlina and Nimue that I needed to get home. Nimue promised that while I was gone, Lancelot would be in charge. She and Merlina then created a magic ring that could send me back home, and I could summon any one of them or even Caliburn if I ever needed them just by using the ring," I told them.
"Well, that was a nice story and all, but I'm tired. Good night," yawned Scarlet. We all finally fell asleep—by then it was a bit past midnight.
Amy turned in her sleep, right in between a dream and the waking world. Just as she was about to close her eyes, she saw something glinting as Eric put it in his pocket. A ring? No, it couldn't be . . .
Well, in the morning, we all had waffles, bacon, and orange juice for breakfast. Then we went in the backyard and played a high-speed version of baseball. Finally, we all went home.
In the weeks that followed, there were small crimes, like burglaries and such, that we took care of easily. Honestly, no big deal—after all, we'd just saved the world. In time, though, the holidays drew near: Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years, and we started to spend more time with family for a while. When school started back up, we stuck together like glue. No one could really put us down for being dorks or anything, because we knew for a fact that most of them were our biggest fans, as they wore our t-shirts and merchandise.
But the easy times didn't last.
There were reports of a ship in space causing disturbances with satellites. At first, it was minor. Then, Eggman managed to broadcast again.
"Hello, Ladies and Gentlemen," he said during my fifth period class, his face the only thing I could see on the television screen.
"I would like to inform you that the ship that has been causing difficulties is my newest creation. Its power will affect everyone, so I suggest to a certain hedgehog that if you want to defeat what I have in store there, you'd better have some power behind you. I asked the teacher if I could go to the bathroom, and met everyone in the hall.
"Okay, guys. I'll go up there, but I'll need all the Chaos Emeralds. Trust me when I say I've got this," I said, going into the hero mindset.
"Got it. See you when you get back—and be careful," said Amy. They all handed me the Emeralds, I turned into Sonic the Hedgehog, and Chaos Controlled to the ship.
I arrived at the ship in seconds. There were robots patrolling, but with the emeralds, I trashed them all. I came to the main control tower and looked around for the power source. A screen turned on.
"Okay, how do you manage to keep the guards at the prison from taking whatever camera you have with you away?" I growled.
"I'm sneakier than I look, hedgehog. For example, how many of those games have you played?"
"All of them at least once. I have a bet with Knuckles that each of your 'triggers' follows one or two of the games . . . wait a second . . ." This room looked familiar from one of those games. Sonic Unlea—How stupid could I get?
Then a horrible thing—though I expected it in an instant—happened. An electrical field appeared around me, and violet streaks of static zoomed through me, making me drop the emeralds, searing me. I screamed. Hey, I'd like to see you get struck by lightning and not scream, after all, that's probably what it felt like!
"AAAAAAAHHHHH!" As Eggman laughed like the maniac he was. It felt like my skin was being torn to shreds, my nails being ripped out of my fingers and toes, and I was fairly sure my teeth were not supposed to be stabbing my lower lip all of a sudden. My arms and upper body burned like crazy, and I have no clue why I didn't consider bringing at least Damon with me on this one.
"I don't believe you'll be able to survive this fall, Sonic. It's been nice knowing you—well, not really." And the second the pain stopped, the floor opened up below me and I was falling towards Earth. The last thing I saw was the Iblis insignia that he had described on the bottom of the ship.
I woke up in a pile of dirt near a lighthouse. I looked around groggily, still slightly out of it, when I noticed a little dog in the dirt as well. It looked something like a Chihuahua.
"Hey, little guy, you okay?" I asked, feeling a little stupid talking to a dog. It opened its eyes and yelped, squirming and trying to get away from me. Duh. Werehog, remember? I reminded myself. And this little pup is all alone . . . poor guy. I always liked dogs. I decided, why not? Then I took him by the collar and carried him down to the edge of the water to sit for a bit. I looked down at the water and was vaguely shocked to see what I did. Sonic the Werehog wasn't so surprising, but I tried to turn into human Sonic next, and it was a little freaky to see.
My face had become pale as snow, and I was much taller and brawnier than before. The Speed Demon shirt was suddenly super tight and showed off muscles that I didn't remember having, and the sweatshirt sleeves were torn at the wrists. I could see the fangs, slightly sticking out over my lower lip, and my jeans, shoes, and gloves were torn from my growing. My hair had grown navy blue with white tips on some spikes. My eyes were still green, but the pupil had turned into a slit like a wolf. I finally decided to turn back into Eric, thinking at least that would be normal. But I was wrong.
I was recognizable at least, but I was pale like human Sonic, bulkier than normal but not quite as much as two seconds ago, my clothes felt tight, and my hair was messier. My teeth felt sharper, too. I looked up at the sky and sighed. I would never get a break, would I? Then the sun was no longer eclipsed, and I was back to normal in a flash of light like Chaos Transformation. I sighed in relief and began to walk towards town, the dog nipping at my heels. I got a chocolate chip ice cream and the dog started licking it.
"Hey buddy . . . I guess I'll call you Chip." It barked. Then I headed down the street to find Human Tails.
"Hey, Tails!" I shouted.
"Sonic! Hey! So what happened? Eggman said that his ship will block out the sun every hour . . . but why? Our parents have excused us from school until this ends. So what's up? What's with the dog?"
"I call it Chip. And you know what that means," I grimaced. He frowned.
"Don't tell me this means you'll turn into a Werehog every other hour," he said.
"I think so. Don't think we'll have to save Professor Pickle this time around though," I grinned, "Because we've already figured out where we need to go."
"The game, Tails, the game! Each continent had one temple—I'm sure I can figure each one out. Therefore, looks like I have to go around the world. Great chance to see the sights, at least," I said, sighing.
"I'll let the others know about this. Okay?"
"Got it. See ya, Tails!" He ran off towards what looked like a biplane—I guess his parents let him build it.
"Well, Chip, looks like we're going to start in Africa. That's how it started in the game at least. Let's see . . . well, I guess I'll have to carry you. Here we . . ." I picked him up, "GO!"