Two weeks later, a lone figure sat at the edge of a cliff side, staring out over the lush jungle area to the north of the ledge, the person's gaze turning more towards the east where a vast desert began and ended as it melded with a forest filled with giant mushrooms. As the figure took in the sights before it, they let out a sigh as they looked skyward, the person's mind filled with conflicting thoughts. For nearly an hour the person stared up at the sky, watching the clouds lazily float by as she sat.
Floating Island...To think that aside from Comet, you're all I have left in this world. No real home, no family, just…solitude, thought Angel as she looked back down below her at the landscape of her adopted home from her favorite spot on the whole island. From there, she could take in the view of not only the land below, but also the azure skies above her. And if she felt like taking a small nap, the shady tree near the main path provided a nice resting spot. Slasher had been kind enough to bring her and Comet back up to the floating landmass after she felt her wings had healed enough to allow her to travel the distance. Afterwards she had departed back to Knothole. Tonight was the last night before Sonic and the other were to take off to the past to confront Leviathan and stop him from ever changing history. Unfortunately, Cody had given up hope that Drake would reappear. The little chao had gone missing ever since Metal Sonic's ambush in the tunnels of Rexxon's cave and despite what the cloaked figure had said, Drake hadn't been returned.
Angel sighed before standing up and turning back towards the pathway she had used to venture up to her spot. Comet was somewhere on the island, probably gathering provisions considering they had left in a rush when they were last here. As Angel reached the start of the pathway, she came to a stop, her face narrowing into a frown. Something wasn't right, of that she was sure of. She'd come to this spot of the island countless times before, but never once had she felt like she was being watched by something. She slowly reached for her sword's hilt, turning back towards the tree near the pathway.
"I know you're there. Show yourself," she said. A familiar chuckle answered her challenge as something draped in a brown cloak and hood dropped out of the trees. "It's you! But how'd you get up here?" asked Angel, instantly recognizing the figure as being the same person who she had met the night before their assault on Leviathan's base as she released her grip on her sword.
"I have my ways," said the cloaked figure as he turned and walked over to the cliff edge. "Hmm…A rather nice spot you picked out to be alone with your thoughts."
"What makes you think I wasn't just up here to keep a better watch over the island?" she asked him.
"My dear girl, I've been watching you for the last ten minutes. If you only just now realized I was here, then you must have been real deep in thought, am I right?" he asked. Angel sheepishly looked to the ground, knowing she had been caught in the lie.
"So what if I was?" she shot back. "That doesn't give you any right to be here or to watch me like a hawk watches its prey."
"Whatever gave you the thought I was watching you to attack you? I was merely just waiting for a chance to talk with you and I didn't want to interrupt your thoughts, that's all," he said. "Besides, I gave you my word about something and I've come to make good on it." The cloaked figure then motioned up at the tree. A second later an orange object dropped down from the tree, nearly colliding with Angel as she ducked to the ground to avoid getting hit by whatever the thing was. But instead of feeling the smack of the object against her head, she instead heard someone giggling. And not just any kind of giggling, but an all too familiar giggling.
"Darn it Drake! Don't scare me like that!" cried Angel as she quickly stood up and glared up at the hovering dragon chao as he held his clawed hands to his stomach as he tried not to completely lose himself in laughter. The cloaked figure was also chuckling to himself as Angel looked over at him. "So why did you bring him back to me? He belongs back with Cody and the others."
"I have my reasons," he answered. He then sighed as he out over the island. "To think that our world was once this beautiful. That it was once a place where no one had a care in the world. What fools we were to think that something like Leviathan could never happen."
"What do you mean?" asked Angel as she walked over next to the cloaked person, who turned towards her. He stared at her for several seconds before taking hold of her chin in his left hand lightly.
"You remind me so much of your mother. Sweet as sugar, but unrelenting as a storm when provoked," he said.
"You knew my mother?" asked Angel, her full attention now captured by the cloaked person.
"Well, not in great detail mind you," he said as he looked back down at the landscape. "I only met her for a few days when I stopped to rest in your village. I happened upon it during my travels and was stunned to find that the echidna race hadn't been wiped out like history books had said. I stayed with your family for a few days as their guest before leaving soon after. I met you during that time. You were so happy and upbeat. Just a bundle of joy and energy like all kids should be."
"So that's why you said you had met me before," said Angel. "I never knew you had been to our village, but I guess I wouldn't recognize you after all this time anyways."
"I suppose there's no reason you should have," he said.
"Well…I hate to tell you this, but…" she started to say, looking away from him.
"I know child. Death and ruin has always followed Leviathan where he has appeared. I know first hand," he said as he reached up and grabbed the hood of his cloak, pulling it back to reveal his face to her for the first time. Dark silver fur covered his face, though there was a large patch that ran from the base of his left eye around to the back of his head where only scarred tan skin remained. Three large, separate silver quills jutted out of the back of his head in a way that reminded her of the way Cody's metallic ones were arranged. In fact, they were remarkably similar to the way Cody's quills looked. It was then that the realization of who she was looking at stuck her like a slap to the face. The hedgehog recognized the look of shock that Angel's face had contorted to, nodding slowly. "Yes, that's right."
"But Lily said you were-" said Angel before Cody's hand rose up to stop her.
"Lily never knew what happened to me that night and as much as I wanted to come forward and show her I was fine, I knew doing so would have killed her and everyone else in Knothole," he said.
"What do you mean?" she asked. Cody gave a sigh before looking up to the sky.
"I can still hear the screams of the villagers all around me. How were we supposed to fight back against something as powerful as the velocibots?" he said softly as his mind drifted back to that night over ten years ago.
A high pitched scream echoed throughout the deserted streets of the quiet community. At this hour of the night, not a single soul was outside their homes as the first battle cry of the invading force rang out, splitting the silence like an axe through wood. All over the village lights were lit as the adults cautiously ventured outside. At first, nothing seemed amiss. But as the villagers began to return to their huts, the attackers struck hard and fast. Dozens of velocibots burst forth from their hiding places, instantly taking down whoever was unfortunate enough to be beneath them when they landed. Seeing the carnage that had erupted outside, a young adult male hedgehog with silver fur ran back inside his hut, closing the door as fast as he could as he could as a magenta furred female hedgehog ran up behind him.
"What's going on Cody?" asked the magenta hedgehog. The silver furred hedgehog just shook his head as he quickly grabbed her by the arm and led her back into the bedroom and towards a window near the rear of the room. He then went over to the dresser next to his side of the bed, opening one of the drawers as he took a small blaster and a couple of plasma grenades from within the drawer. Ever since news had spread that random villages throughout the northern continent had come under attack, he had stashed away these weapons taken from their community munitions shed just incase worst came to worst, and now he was glad he had taken them.
"I'm not sure, but we're definitely under attack, that much I'm sure of," he answered as he quickly opened the window and leapt through it to the grassy ground below. He then helped the magenta hedgehog out of the hut's window. The two of them quietly tiptoed to the side of the hut, peering around the corner just in time to see a velocibot come to a stop just outside their hut, giving a few sniffs of the air before growling softly to itself as it started walking towards the entrance to the hut.
"Listen Lily," said Cody softly as they ducked back behind the huts. "I'm going to distract that thing while you run. Don't stop till you get to the meeting place we agreed on."
"But I can't leave without you!" she whispered desperately to him. Cody just shook his head.
"There's no time to argue. If we stay together then that thing will get us both for sure," he said. He then gave her a small smile. "Don't worry, I have an idea on how to deal with that thing." Lily only nodded her head before embracing him in a tight hug.
"Just promise me that you'll be okay. I don't know what I'd do if…" she said as her voice trailed off, unable to bring herself to complete her sentence. Cody then gently kissed her on the lips, both of them not wanting to break away from each other for fear that it might be the last kiss they both shared. But as a low growl could be heard coming from within their hut and growing ever closer, they knew that they had to stop. As Cody broke away from the kiss, he gave her a nod.
"When I get his attention, take off into the forest and don't look back," he said. She gave him a nod as he turned and ran towards the front of the hut. As he rounded the corner, the full front of the velocibot was sticking inside their hut, sniffing around as it took in its surroundings. Okay Cody…No turning back now, he thought to himself. He started running away from the hut, firing has blaster at the robotic raptor's backside as a couple bolts caught it in the tail. The velocibot let out a scream of pain before it pulled its head back out of the hut, turning towards where the shots had come from. Seeing the silver furred hedgehog give it a quick smirk before dashing down the pathway back towards the village's main community area, the velocibot giving a loud cry as it took off after him.
So I got its attention…Now if only I really had some clue as to how to deal with it like I told Lily, thought Cody to himself as he ducked between two of the larger community huts, looking behind him to see the velocibot almost skid past the small alleyway before getting its balance back and come running down the path after him. Cody twisted his body back as he ran, taking a few pot shots at the robot with his blaster as it quickly gained on him, but all of them went wide. Just as the velocibot was about to pounce, one incredibly lucky shot connected squarely with its left eye as it penetrated its skull, the bolt exploding as it shredded the inside of the velocibot's head. The robotic raptor let out a high pitched cry before collapsing to the ground. Cody watched it fall to the ground, but didn't stop running till he came up next to a rather large hut.
"Man…I can't believe I actually managed to hit him like that," he said to himself as he caught his breath. He was about to head back towards the forest when his ear twitched at the sound of something coming towards him. He quickly hid behind the large hut, glancing out to see what was coming towards him. His hearing could pick up two things walking towards him from behind another hut a little ways away from him. As he watched, another raptor emerged from behind, sniffing the air as it looked about. But this raptor was different from the other one Cody had destroyed.
This one had violet armor covering most of its body from about the middle of its chest all the way to the tip of its tail where a three-pronged clamp was attached to it. The upper chest and head was mostly flesh save for the tubes running through its chest and the red optic sensor for its left eye. But while he was shocked to see that there was actually one of these creatures that wasn't fully robotic, it paled in comparison to the sight that greeted him as another raptor walked out from behind the hut, its size easily dwarfing the first raptor.
This one had gleaming silver armor covering its barb-tipped tail that then flowed down its back and over its upper head. Its underbelly was orange while the rest of its skin was as black as night. Its red eyes shone with a menacing look as it took in its surroundings. The larger raptor walked up next to the smaller, violet armored one as it continued to sniff the air.
"I don't know why you need to involve me with these kinds of raids, master," said the violet raptor hoarsely as it looked up at the other one, distaste obvious on its face.
"You do not need to know why I involve you during these attacks, my pet," said Leviathan sternly as he gazed down at the other raptor, who in response turned its gaze away, trying not to show its hatred at being called a "pet". "Now then, is there anyone else around that my forces have missed?" The violet raptor hesitated for a couple of seconds, then resigned itself to obey its master. It gave a couple of sniffs of the air, turning its gaze towards the hut that Cody was hiding behind.
But it never got to inform Leviathan of the hedgehog's presence as a small blue ball came flying out from behind the hut, landing at the violet raptor's feet. Before it could even begin to glance down to identify the object, a deafening explosion of plasma energy erupted from underneath it, throwing the raptor head over heels to the ground. The violet raptor didn't move as Leviathan gazed over its fallen form. After a quick once over, he realized that the blast had merely knocked it unconscious and that even though it would take some time to repair his pet, it would live. He sighed as he looked back towards the direction the plasma grenade had come from. Whoever had thrown the grenade more than likely had seen him, which meant he'd have to get his own claws dirty again to ensure that his secret remained safe.
One down, one to go, though Cody as he gripped the second plasma grenade in his left hand, glancing back around the corner of the hut as he aimed his blaster towards where he had seen the two raptors standing. But instead of an angry, charging raptor coming towards him like he expected, he was greeted with nothing but the calm of the night. It was actually eerily quiet considering that the village was under attack. Cody's breath caught in his throat as the thought that it was so quiet because he was the last one left alive in the village ran through his head as his eyes darted around looking for the second raptor.
Suddenly something shoved him hard from behind as he flew out from behind the hut and tumbled to the ground, coming to a stop on his back. Before he could even begin to try and get up, a clawed foot slammed down on his chest, knocking the wind from him as another pinned his hand with the grenade to the ground with it held stretched out above his head and to the left. Realizing what had happened, Cody desperately tried to bring his blaster to bear on the large robotic raptor. But he never even had it aimed before a clawed hand grasped his wrist, giving a hard squeeze as he crushed the hedgehog's wrist bone, the blaster dropping to the ground.
"Ah…How long it has been since I've heard such a delightful noise up close and personal," said Leviathan to himself as he listened to the agonizing cry Cody gave at feeling his wrist being broken. "Still, I find it quite annoying that I have to deal with a piece of trash such as yourself, Cody Griffor." At this, Cody managed to fight down the pain in his chest, left arm, and right wrist as he looked up at the raptor with disbelief on his face.
"How the heck…do you know…who I am?" he asked between breaths of pain. Leviathan merely smirked at him with a tooth grin.
"I know everything about you, hedgehog. And about your wife Lily as well," he said sadistically. At hearing his wife's name, Cody felt an icy fist wrap around his heart. "Speaking of which, I noticed that she is not with you, nor has she been found by any of my forces. Tell me, where has she gone? Not that she's really all that important to me, but you see, I can't have anyone unaccounted for during these little raids," Cody felt a small amount of relief at hearing the creature ask this question. If he hadn't caught her yet, then surely she had managed to get away without getting caught. But at the same time, if he knew she was still out there, he would most certainly try and hunt her down.
"Like I would ever tell you monster," spat Cody. Leviathan sighed as he put more pressure on Cody's chest, making it extremely hard for the hedgehog to breathe as he looked up at the sky. Cody fought back the pain in his chest as he felt his ribs starting to crack from the weight as he began to fiddle with the device in his left hand.
"Now that just won't do now will it?" said Leviathan. "It's not like I can't find her myself, but having you tell me would save both of us some hardship. It saves me time and saves her from thinking she actually managed to get away. Now doesn't that sound like a much less stressful way to die?" he asked as he looked back down at the silver furred hedgehog.
"Not really. But then again, I doubt either of you will have to worry about it," said Cody as a smile worked its way on his face. Leviathan frowned at Cody's statement, wondering what the hedgehog meant. It wasn't until his eyes caught sight of the plasma grenade in Cody's left hand springing to life that he realized what the hedgehog was talking about. "Hope you enjoy your present!" shouted Cody as the grenade exploded in a flash of blue plasma, throwing Leviathan off the silver hedgehog and slamming him into the front of the hut Cody had been hiding behind earlier, smashing down the wooden wall as he plowed through it, coming to a rest inside.
Cody, on the other hand, didn't fair half as well as Leviathan had. The blast had literally blown off his left arm up to the elbow, leaving a charred stump in its place. Luckily, the blast had also cauterized the wound at the same time it had blown off his arm, meaning that there had been little blood loss. The blast had also burned nearly the entire upper left half of his head, leaving third degree burns behind in its wake. Screaming his lungs out, Cody lay on the ground curled up in a ball of pain. It was unbearable to him as he twitched about on the ground, his body convulsing from the amount of pain that now coursed through his body from the blast. A loud, high pitched scream broke through his pain ridden state as he fought down the pain with every last ounce of his willpower, slowly turning his head towards the hut that Leviathan had plowed through. His eyes widened in horror as he saw the robotic raptor slowly getting to his feet inside the hut.
"You…will pay dearly for that!" hissed Leviathan as he glared at Cody from inside the hut. His face was torn asunder from the blast and his whole front half was scorched black, but he was still functional after being hit with the blast. Cody watched through squinted eyes as the raptor slowly took a step forward, knocking one of the shelves in the hut over with his tail as several object fell to the ground, one of them being a cylinder container that popped open and expelled a black powder. Cody suddenly realized where Leviathan was standing. Cody cried out in pain as he reached over with his right arm and grasped his discarded blaster as best he could with a broken wrist, aiming it shakily towards the robotic raptor who merely began to laugh as he saw the hedgehog try to steady his hand enough to aim. "What do you think you're doing with that little pea shooter?" Cody merely smirked as he continued to point the blaster in Leviathan's direction.
"This!" cried Cody as fired the blaster, the bolt sailing past Leviathan as it collided with another one of the cylinder containers in the hut, the gun powder kept inside it exploding violently as it started a chain reaction that sent the whole munitions hut up in a giant fireball. Cody quickly rolled away from the blast, covering himself up as best he could as debris started raining down from above. After nearly half a minute, the falling wreckage finally stopped. Cody slowly and painfully turned to look at the damage he had done. The entire hut was no longer there. The only thing that was recognizable was Leviathan.
The robotic raptor's body had managed to weather the explosions somewhat, but what was left still wasn't pretty. Several large holes had been blasted in his body and his head was a mangled mess. His tail had been completely blown off and was lying limply on the ground. His red eyes glared at Cody for a second, a look of pure hatred etched on them before they winked out, the raptor's body falling limp as it fell to the ground. A chorus of loud clang noises echoed through the night as all of the velocibots lost their synaptic link with Leviathan the instant he had went off-line to begin his repair process, the mechanical raptors all collapsing to the ground as they deactivated.
"After that, I managed to make my way to a base that Robotnik had abandoned a few years prior to that. I stayed there, treating my wounds as best I could while hoping that Leviathan hadn't been able to track me if he was still alive. To be honest, I thought I had killed him. I never figured that he would be that resilient," said Cody as he looked at the ground. "Anyways, after I had recovered from my burns and replaced what I'd lost from my arm with a robotic replacement I managed to cobble together, I set out to find Lily. I eventually tracked her down to Knothole, but once I learned that Leviathan was the one that was leading their group, I realized I could never see her again, nor could I tell anyone what I knew about Leviathan."
"Because he would have ordered the whole village killed if you had exposed him," said Angel softly, finally realizing why Cody had never shown himself to Lily.
"Exactly, and I couldn't do that. So instead I decided that if I couldn't be with Lily, then I could at the very least help to disrupt Leviathan's plans. So over the next several years I sabotaged Leviathan as best I could without getting caught, setting him back months on projects, blowing up factories, disabling entire computer grids. Small stuff when you compare it to what you and Sonic managed to accomplish, but still enough to cause him some problems," said Cody.
"So you were the one that Leviathan was talking about when he said that only one person had managed to escape from him," said Angel, suddenly remembering what Leviathan had said to Sonic. "But why didn't you show yourself after Leviathan left Knothole? Why wait?"
"Because I didn't know that he had left until you were all on your way to Little Planet. I had been there hacking into his computer data base when I came across what was going on out at that race track of Metal Sonic's. I knew I couldn't get there in time to help, but I was close to where the two chao and one of the Timestones were being kept. So I went there and rescued the chao and took the stone. Then I came to where you guys were at," he said. He then smiled as he looked up at Drake who was sitting in the nearby tree, looking out over the island. "Comet seems to have a very deep bond with you. She could sense where you were even over that great distance, which is good because I doubt I'd have found you guys otherwise."
"That doesn't really surprise me," said Angel as she smiled as well. "The two of us are as close as peas in a pod. We've never been apart for more than a day." She then frowned as she turned back towards Cody. "But what still bothers me is why you came here. Like I said before, Drake should be back with Sonic and his timeline's Cody, not here with me."
"You still don't get it do you? I could see it in your eyes the night that I brought Comet back to you. The desire to help out your friends and put an end to the evil that had consumed our world…I have never seen someone's eyes burn as bright as I have with that desire before that night, even if you didn't outwardly show it or even know it yourself at the time," he said, gazing into Angel's emerald green eyes with his own yellow ones. "Even now, you are struggling with your decision to stay on this island. You mind is saying that you should stay here, but your heart is telling you to return with Sonic and his friends and help them stop Leviathan before he ever hurt anyone." Angel looked away towards the ground, wanting to deny that Cody was right in his assumption, but knowing it was true. While her duties to her people demanded her to stay here and watch over the Master Emerald in place of the true Guardian, her heart knew that she would never be at peace unless she helped to ensure that Leviathan was destroyed before he changed history.
"You're right, but…but I can't leave the island unguarded either. I made a promise that I would watch over it...as the last of my kind on Mobius," she said. "I can't go back on my word."
"Then allow me to watch it in your place," said Cody. Angel slowly looked back into Cody's eyes. "Both Comet and Drake told me about this place and the secret it hides. Let me take your place here as the Guardian of the island." Angel shook her head slowly.
"No…no, I couldn't ask you to do such a thing. To be bound to this place for the rest of your life…It's a fate that only I should have to endure," she said softly. Cody took her hands in his own, giving them a soft squeeze.
"No it isn't," said Cody sternly. "You've already had to deal with the fate of your whole family, your whole village. You have already suffered enough without being put through the burden of not only watching over this place for the rest of your life, but also never being at peace with yourself because you never knew what transpired between Sonic and Leviathan in the past."
"Cody…" she whispered softly before giving him a small smile and a single nod of her head, tears welling in her eyes as she embraced the silver hedgehog. "I will never forget this Cody. I promise." Suddenly, he head snapped back up as a though crossed her mind. "But wait! You don't know how to control the Master Emerald at all and there's no way I could teach you in a single day. And besides, I don't have any way to get back to Knothole." Cody merely jerked his thumb back towards the small dragon chao resting on the tree branch.
"That little chao might not look like much, but he knows a thing or two about controlling chaos energy. Even if he's physically unable to do so due to his age, his knowledge was more than enough to teach me the basics in the time I spent with him," said Cody. He then walked over to the edge of the cliff, looking down towards the jungle area. "As for getting back to Knothole, I told you I had a ways to get up here myself. You can take the transport I used to get up here. It should get you back to Knothole by nightfall."
"But won't that leave you stranded up here?" asked Angel. Cody just chuckled at the question.
"Trust me, I won't mind in the least. I'm nothing more than a forgotten memory to this world, just as this island is. And after all the fighting and death that I've witnessed, I'm glad I'll finally be able to just fade away for good," he answered stoically. Angel walked up next to him, looking out over what had been her home for nearly the last five years.
"Nothing ever just 'fades away for good'. The two of us are both living proof of that," she said as she took in the sights from her favorite vantage point for what might be the last time. Cody smiled at Angel's words, looking down towards the jungle area as a purple dot began to get increasingly bigger, realizing it was Comet on her way back to Angel.
"I suppose you're right…We may be lost memories to this world, but we are never truly lost as long as we choose not to be," said Cody.