The sounds of exotic wildlife and the smell of dozens of various tropical flowers greeted Sonic as he slowly opened his eyes, finding himself sprawled out on the ground. Remembering what had happened just before he had passed out, he quickly leapt to his feet, his eyes taking in the new sight before him. Gone was the village of Knothole, replaced by a vast tropical jungle that he could only guess as to its size. The moonlight from the twin moons above provided him with a little bit of light to see by, but it didn't matter. All he knew was he was lost, perhaps even more so than just by where he was on Mobius now.
Angel groaned as she slowly sat up into a sitting position, placing a hand to her head to ease the dizziness she felt. Opening her eyes, she realized instantly that something was very wrong.
"No…This isn't right…It shouldn't be night already," she said to herself as she quickly got to her feet. Spying the Timestones that were now lying all around her, she knew she was where she was supposed to be, but the fact that it was night and not morning meant something had gone wrong with her trip through time. She had thought of the exact place and time as the stones had been reacting to her. But what could have thrown it off? Then it hit her. She hadn't specified whether the time of day was "am" or "pm". Instead of 9 o'clock in the morning, it was 9 o'clock in the evening. But if I'm here on the same day I wished to come back to and it's already night, then that means...No! she thought as her stomach tightened, a feeling of icy dread coursing through her body. An explosion sounding a fair distance behind her confirmed her worst fear as she looked back in the direction of the noise.
"No! Not again!" she cried as she sprang to her feet, running as fast as she could towards the source of the explosion.
Screams of fear and cries of pain echoed throughout a small village of echidnas as they ran for their lives from the creature that silently stalked them one by one. But the creature would let none escape the deadly gaze of its blood red eyes, its thirst for death never quenched as it approached a hut where a middle-aged violet echidna was standing outside with a broom in her hands, ready to protect her two children that were hiding inside even if it cost her life. The creature came to a stop for a second upon seeing the sight, wondering why people always tried to foolishly oppose its power. Without a second thought, the creature raised its left hand towards the hut. A small hum emitted from its hand for a couple of seconds before a blast of energy flew from its metallic fingertips, slamming into the hut and blowing it to pieces, instantly killing the two children inside and throwing the mother to the ground in front of the creature. The mother looked up at the creature, anger and sorrow etched onto her face as it placed its foot at the side of her neck.
"You monster…" she whispered. The creature merely cocked a smile at the broken echidna, pressing down with its full weight as a crack sounded from the echidna's neck, her now lifeless body going limp. Looking up from its work, it spied another pair of echidnas making a break for it near the other end of the village. It hesitated at this point, its tracking radar informing it that the area was about to get a lot more crowded.
"One more for the road. Then Leviathan can finish the rest just like he always does when he shows himself," said Metal Sonic to himself as he floated off the ground, flying as silently as his engines would allow towards the pair as they vanished behind a hut.
"What's going on mommy?" asked a young pink furred echidna, looking up at the older white furred echidna that was holding tightly to her left hand with a frightened look on her face. Riding on the younger echidna's shoulder was a small violet chao, its golden wings folded against itself as it held onto her neck with its stubby arms.
"I wish I knew," said the older echidna as she glanced out from behind the hut, looking back and forth as she tried to make sure that the coast was clear. As it stood, she had no real clue what it was she was trying to lead them away from. All she knew was that whatever it was, it was definitely not friendly. How she'd give anything if her husband was here now. He was always better at handling a crisis than she was. Deciding that they were safe for the moment, she led the younger echidna out from behind the hut. But as the two of them were about to pass by a second hut, they abruptly came to a stop as a metallic blue figure with blood red eyes hovered out from behind the hut. The older echidna immediately threw herself in front of the younger echidna and her chao, throwing out her arms in a shielding gesture.
Without so much as a sound, Metal Sonic quickly snatched the white echidna by the brown robe she was wearing and slammed her against the hut. The younger echidna watched with wide eyes as the blue robot raised his other clawed hand back and brought it forward, piercing through the white echidna's chest, her body going limp as blood trickled down the robot's metallic arm. The pink echidna was paralyzed by what she had just witnessed, too frightened to move or even scream, despite the look of pure fear on her face. The robot glanced over at the young girl, turning towards her as the small chao assumed the same kind of position that the now deceased mother had.
But before Metal Sonic could even take a step towards the young pair, a loud scream sounded from off to the side of them. The mecha bot turned towards the source of the yell to see a red furred male echidna come charging at him, a double-edged long sword gripped in his hands. Metal Sonic only turned to face the new attacker, not moving an inch as the echidna brought the sword swinging down at his head. At the last possible moment, the robotic hedgehog dodged to the side, quickly getting behind the male echidna before he had a chance to react. Without a sound, he drove the same clawed hand that had killed the female echidna through the back of the male echidna's head, instantly killing him as well.
That will do, thought Metal Sonic to himself as his AI matrix alerted him to Leviathan's arrival on the outskirts of the village. Already velocibots were surrounding the area, getting ready to cut off any retreat from the doomed village. Turning away from the bloody scene, he started to walk swiftly towards the opposite end of the village. Just a few yards behind him, the young girl echidna slowly came back out of her shocked state of mind, only instead the look of fear was now replaced by one of anger and pain. The small chao noticed this change of emotions on her face, suddenly realizing what was about to happen.
"No! Please don't do this mistress! He'll kill you too! We must escape now while he is not looking!" begged the small chao. But the young echidna paid her friend no heed as she let out an inhuman cry of pain, rushing towards the mecha bot as she picked up the sword from next to the male echidna. Metal Sonic turned back as he heard the unnatural cry from behind him, half expecting to see a velocibot. But instead, the sight of a child armed with a sword greeted his gaze. How foolish, he thought as the young echidna brought the sword swinging towards his mid-section.
But the blow never landed as the mecha bot caught the blade in his hand, instantly stopping it. He then curled his other clawed hand into a fist, smashing it onto the top of the young girl's head, instantly knocking her unconscious as she crumpled to the ground. He debated leaving her for Leviathan's troops to finish off, but the fact that someone as young as her had the gall to attack him was not something he was about to tolerate. But as he pulled back his claws to deliver the death blow, something furry grasped onto his wrist. Turning his head back, he came face to face with another pink furred echidna, only this one was easily in her late teens.
"I don't think so," hissed Angel, yanking Metal Sonic up and flinging him over her head into ground, stunning the mecha bot. She then proceeded to swing him around in a circle, rapidly gaining momentum. After the eighth rotation, she released her grip on his wrist, sending him flying over a good hundred yards towards the other end of the village. A few seconds later a familiar angry cry could be heard coming from the direction she had thrown Metal Sonic in. "So he is here, just as he said he was," she said to herself as she reached for her sword, intent on stopping the massacre before it was finished. But before she could even begin to withdraw her sword, she was plucked from her spot along with the young echidna and the chao by some unseen force.
Leviathan surveyed the small village that he and his elite team of two dozen velocibots had now come across in their search for the renegade Metal Sonic. It had now been nearly three weeks since the mecha bot had gone rogue, destroying any source of civilization he had come across. While Leviathan had been curious to see if Metal Sonic would stop of his own accord, he lost his patience after a week had gone by. Now he and his best velocibots were hunting the blue robot, determined to bring him back under his control. However, each time they managed to close in on him, he would always manage to slip past them. But this time would be different.
"Seal off the area. I want no survivors," said Leviathan, the velocibots all giving a nod before taking off in different directions. "So…Is he still here?" asked Leviathan as a violet armored raptor slowly walked up behind him.
"I believe he is, but I can't be sure. His scent is still in the air, though tracking a robot by scent isn't exactly easy," answered the raptor in a hoarse whisper.
"Nor is cleaning up after the messes he makes," mumbled Leviathan as he closed his eyes, his AI matrix linking up with the synaptic receptors inside the other velocibots, allowing him to view what they were seeing. Already the robotic raptors had managed to corral most of the villagers into an enclosed area. A few stragglers were still being hunted down, but the real prize still hadn't been located. He was about to give up when one of the velocibots signaled a priority message to its master.
Leviathan switched interfaces over to the velocibot that had triggered the message, his vision taking in the sight that the other robot was viewing. Metal Sonic was walking away from a pair of dead echidnas, apparently getting ready to leave the area before he could be caught. Suddenly, a small child came running towards the mecha bot, a large sword drawn back to attack the robotic hedgehog. Metal Sonic turned and stopped the child's advance, effortlessly knocking the child unconscious. But this surprise paled in comparison to what Leviathan witnessed next through the velocibot's gaze as a teenage echidna that looked remarkably similar to the child stopped Metal Sonic from finishing his kill. By the time the echidna had sent the mecha bot flying, Leviathan had realized what it was he was seeing.
So…It would appear that I was careless in the future to let this young girl gather the Timestones. Still…This could work to my advantage, he thought. He was just about to order the velocibot watching the fight to attack to gauge how she would react to seeing the dinosaur robot to confirm his suspicion when something slammed into the side of his head. Letting out a loud snarl, Leviathan whipped around and snagged the object in his jaws, clamping down hard before flinging the thing to the ground and slamming a clawed foot down hard on top of it, crushing the thing's body. Only after he had practically torn the object limb from limb did he realize that sitting under his foot was a now nearly destroyed Metal Sonic, his body torn asunder from Leviathan's retaliatory attack.
Serves you right I suppose for all the trouble you've given me, he thought to himself as he restored his connection with the velocibot. But when he'd completed the link-up, the only sight that greeted him this time was just that of the burning landscape. Both of the echidnas were gone, as was the little chao that he had seen off in the velocibot's peripheral vision. Where the heck did they disappear to? he asked himself. As the velocibot scanned the immediate area, Leviathan was growing ever annoyed with himself that he had neglected something as simple as recording devices inside the velocibots' eyes. In fact, it didn't just annoy him, but he was downright angry at himself for overlooking something so simple. If he'd done it before now, he would have video evidence of what the velocibot had seen, and since he'd been the one in control of it at the time, the velocibot wouldn't recall anything that it had witnessed.
"Something wrong?" asked the violet armored raptor, noticing that its master seemed a little miffed.
"Not a thing," huffed Leviathan angrily, roughly kicking Metal Sonic a few yards out from underneath him before turning and walking back the way the task force had come from. "Finish off the rest of the village and find those that escaped. But if you happen upon a young girl with pink fur and white bands in her dreadlocks wearing a green shirt and shorts, leave her be. I have my own plans for her."
"As you wish, Leviathan," said the violet armored raptor, turning to gaze at the burning village as cries rang out from within its depths, testaments to those that had met their ends at the hands of Leviathan's forces.
A mighty gust of wind followed by a blindingly fast blur was all Angel remembered before she was dropped on her behind, once again in the same clearing she had arrived in only minutes before as evident by the seven Timestones still lying on the ground around her. But how had she gotten back here?
"I can't believe you'd do something so reckless!" cried Sonic's voice from behind her, turning to see the blue hedgehog staring back at her with an angry glare. In his other arm he carried her younger self, still out cold from Metal Sonic's attack. And from his backpack, a small purple head poked its way out, revealing the younger version of Comet. "And Sal always used to say I was reckless, but this easily tops anything I've ever done!" That's when Angel realized that it must have been Sonic that had taken them away from the village so fast. But instead of being grateful for getting them out of harm's way, she was furious.
"You idiot!" she shouted, jumping up to her feet. She ran at Sonic with her fist raised back to slug him. But Sonic was ready, quickly dodging her punch and sweeping his left leg underneath her as she passed by, tripping her as she fell face first into the jungle floor.
"Idiot? I think you're the only idiot here. Just what the heck were you thinking doing something as stupidly reckless as this?" he asked as she slowly got back to her feet again.
"Reckless? You call trying to save my village…my family reckless!?" she shouted as she ran at him again. This time Sonic didn't dodge her attack, but instead used his speed to grasp the wrist of the arm she swung at him with, quickly dashing around behind her to put her into an arm hold.
"Look! I can understand you trying to save everyone you cared about, but you have to face the facts! They're gone!" he said. Angel stopped struggling to get loose at hearing this, turning her head back to look Sonic in the face. "I know it's not something you want to accept, but you can't change that which has happened."
"But what about you? Isn't that exactly what you're trying to do?" she asked him with a glare.
"No. What my friends and I are trying to do is restore history to what it was. We don't wish to change anything about how our lives have played out. To do so would jeopardize the existence of everything we know to be true," he explained. Suddenly a look of despair crossed over Angel's face as what Sonic had said suddenly sank in.
"If I had managed to warn the village of Leviathan's coming, I might have been able to save everyone, but…but at what price?" she asked herself out loud.
"Exactly…at what price?" repeated Sonic. "Even if the others were to remain safe, then there's no telling if Leviathan would've eventually ran across them or not. And here's something else to consider. If your home hadn't been destroyed and Leviathan had never taken you under his wing like he had, then we never would've met. And correct me if I'm wrong, but wasn't it because of you that we were able to defeat Leviathan in the future." She looked back at him with a look of disbelief.
"How do you figure that one?" she asked.
"You were the wild card. Leviathan thought he had everything completely under his control, but he hadn't counted on you being able to slip out of his claws like you did. It was that mistake that he made believing he had you under his clawed thumb that ultimately led to his death," he answered. Angel looked forward, taking in everything that Sonic had just said. It was true…All of it. Even if she didn't want to believe it, it was undeniable. Finally calming back down, she looked back at Sonic, who released his grip on her. "Are you going to be okay?" he asked.
"I don't know…My heart was set on changing this day so much when I learned about what the Timestones did…I never even considered what I was doing until now," she whispered.
"I know. The temptation to save others you care for is a powerful thing, sometimes even more than knowing what is right and what is wrong," said Sonic. A small cough caught both their attentions as Comet flew out from Sonic's backpack, coming to a hover between the two of them.
"Excuse my interruption, but may I inquire as to what exactly the two of you are talking about?" asked the small chao. Angel chuckled slightly at Comet's question.
"You always were the polite one, weren't you?" said Angel softly. Comet suddenly froze, slowly turning her head towards Angel as if she were looking at a ghost. She stared intently for a few seconds before she fully turned to face the echidna.
"M-Mistress?" she asked hesitantly. Angel merely nodded. "B-But how…I mean…You're there and…"
"Shhh…It's okay Comet. We'll explain everything to you," said Angel. And so they told the young chao of everything they could, explaining why Angel had come to the village and what it was the two had been arguing about prior to Comet's interruption while leaving out everything else that they could that pertained to the of future events that were still to unfold.
So…What happens if you do manage to fix the timeline?" asked Comet. Sonic merely shrugged his shoulders.
"If all goes right, then the events of this world won't play out in my world. But even if we fix the timeline, something I was told makes me think that it won't matter much for what has already happened in this one," he said, sorrow filling his voice in the last half of his statement.
"So then…Mistress' parents…"asked Comet.
"I'm afraid so," he answered. Comet glanced over at the sleeping form of the younger Angel lying near the fire that had been built a little while ago.
"She's going to be devastated," said Comet. Angel merely huffed, causing the chao to look up at her.
"Trust me, that's an understatement," said Angel. She then looked back at her younger self, wishing she could soften the pain that the young girl would know when she woke the next morning. But she knew she couldn't. To do anything more in the past would put the future that she knew in danger of existence, and as grim as things looked in the near future, she knew in the end it would all work out. She then looked back at Comet. "Just remember that no matter what happens to always stay by her side, even if you don't agree with her actions. She's going to need a lot of support, and you're the only one left to give it to her. I won't lie when I tell you there will be dark times ahead for the two of you, but stay strong, cause no matter how dark it may look, there is light at the end of the tunnel. And when you've reached that light, you'll know." Comet nodded, looking up at the older Angel.
"Thank you. I will take your words to heart and never leave my mistress' side," said Comet.
"You also can never tell her what happened after that robot knocked her out. Nothing about me, Sonic, or anything else that has been said," said Angel.
"But why can't I-" asked Comet before Angel cut her off.
"Promise me Comet. Only when she tells you herself that she knows can you ever say a word about what has happened," said Angel. Comet looked over at the sleeping girl, then back up at the older Angel before giving a soft nod.
"I promise," she said softly.
"Thank you. Trust me, everything will be all right in the end," said Angel. The next five minutes went by in silence as the three of them sat around the fire, Sonic poking at it with a long stick he'd found a few times before looking over at the younger Angel asleep next to him.
"So what do we do with her?" asked Sonic. Angel sighed before looking back in the direction her village was.
"The only thing we can do. At first light, we'll have to take her back to the same spot Metal Sonic knocked her out at and leave her there to wake up on her own. Anything else and it would screw up what I know of the past," she said.
"Consider it done," said Sonic. "I'll be there and back in a flash and then we can head back to the present time of your world. In the meantime, I say you get some sleep. This time I'm the one who stands watch." Angel didn't argue one bit as she got up and walked over next to a tree stump and leaned up against it, snuggling into as comfortable of a position as she could. After all that had happened, she knew that the best thing she could do was try and get some sleep and put what had happened to the back of her mind. Her last thought before the darkness claimed her was a realization of what she had just asked Comet to do for her.
The next morning, Sonic expertly managed to slip the younger Angel and Comet back to the same spot in the now charred remains of the village that Metal Sonic had attacked them at. As he arrived back at their campsite, he noticed that Angel was fidgeting with her far left dreadlock, something he had learned from watching her that indicated she was anxious about something. But what it could've been he had no clue.
"Ready to go?" asked Sonic as he placed the Timestones around them in a circle.
"I suppose as ready as you'll ever get me to be," she said. The two of them then bowed their heads, concentrating on the exact time and day that it had been when Angel had used the Timestones to travel back to this time period. Suddenly, the Timestones all flashed brightly, a white light bursting forth from their cores that swallowed up the two mobians. As the white light died down, they were both gone.
"So what do we do now?" asked Cody as he, Slasher, Saber, and Tails all stood outside of Tails' hut. After Sonic had zipped off, it didn't take long for Slasher to figure out what must have been going on. After a quick examination of the hut revealed that the Timestones were missing, it was obvious what had happened.
"If she really did use the Timestones, then there's no telling when in history she went to," said Tails as he paced around.
"Which means we're all stuck here now," said Saber.
"Seems that way," said Cody. A small cough caught everyone's attention as they looked up to see Comet sitting in the tree overlooking Tails' hut.
"I'm sorry for the intrusion into your conversation, but you must believe me when I tell you that all will be fine," she said. Saber gave her a skeptical look.
"And how will it 'all be fine' when our only way home is gone?" he asked.
"My mistress will return, along with master Sonic," she said.
"How can you be so sure?" asked Slasher. Comet was about to answer when a blinding flash of light burst forth from within Tails' hut, causing everyone to shield their eyes as the light slowly faded away. Everyone's gaze turned to the hut as Sonic walked out, followed by Angel.
"Sonic! What the heck happened?" asked Cody as he ran over to the cerulean hedgehog.
"Nothing…Everything happened that should've happened," said Sonic.
"What do you mean by that?" he asked. He then looked over at Angel as she walked past the two of them towards where Comet was hovering. "And you, what the heck is your problem taking the-" A gloved hand being placed on his shoulder silenced the robian as he looked back at Sonic, who merely shook his head as Angel came to a stop in front of the violet chao.
"What is wrong mistress?" asked Comet. Angel's face contorted into one of sadness before she embraced her chao friend in a hug, tears bursting forth unchecked from her eyes.
"I'm so sorry Comet. All this time, I never knew just how loyal a friend we were to me. To put up with all my negativity for so many years…To know that accepting Leviathan's offer was wrong and yet letting me fall into that pit of darkness. And the whole time staying by my side…" she cried as she tightly held her friend in her arms. "I'm so sorry I made you promise to never tell me the truth till now." At this, Comet broke down as well, returning the hug as she felt years of pressure and guilt suddenly lift off her chest as she realized that now was the time that she had been told would happen. The darkness that had enveloped her friend for so many years was finally starting to lift, letting the first real signs of her old self shine through again.
"It's okay mistress. You made me promise because you knew that you must, and I agreed because I knew that I must," she cried, tears now running down her own cheeks as she held her echidna friend tightly with her stubby arms. "I'm just so happy that you were telling me the truth all those years ago." Off to the side, the others just stared in confusion as to what was unfolding in front of them. Cody looked back at Sonic, jerking a thumb towards the two girls.
"What the heck got into them?" he asked.
"Way too complicated for me to explain," was all Sonic said as he gave a small smile.