"And once she realized what it was about the map that had been bothering her, she decided that she would face Leviathan alone. She had already seen too many people hurt because of Leviathan and wished to be the only one that would be in danger during this final conflict," explained Comet over the howl of the wind blowing past her from her spot inside of Sonic's backpack as the blue hedgehog raced through the Great Forest as fast as his legs would carry him.
"But that's ridiculous!" Sonic hollered over the wind. "Leviathan is too powerful of an opponent for just one person to face off against. She should know that better than anyone." At this, Sonic spotted the end of the tree line, exiting the forest as he slowed to a stop. He had known which direction he had been traveling in the whole time, but as far as its relationship to where Angel and Leviathan would be fighting he knew he wouldn't be able to judge till he had gotten out of the forest and seen exactly how far away he was by judging the surroundings.
"It is true that Leviathan is a powerful foe, and Angel knew this quite well. But she assured me that she had a way to beat him," said Comet as Sonic looked around the area. Robotropolis could be seen in the distance, the billowing of smoke from his younger counterpart's attack still issuing from the destroyed factory.
"I don't see how…" was all Sonic said before he looked to the right. "That way, right?" he asked Comet, jerking a thumb to his right. Comet nodded, gripping the pack in preparation for Sonic's departure just before the cerulean hedgehog took off once more in the direction he had indicated.
Both Angel and Leviathan stood a good thirty meters apart from one another, slowly circling around the clearing as they each looked for an opening to exploit. So far the two combatants had only landed glancing blows against each other during the first few series of attacks at one another. A couple of small scratches adorned Angel's left arm from a near miss from Leviathan's claws while the mecha bot himself had taken a few small slices from the echidna's sword to his underbelly hide that he had already repaired. Now the two of them had taken to a distance, studying their opponent. Angel clearly looked the more confident of the two of them, as she was familiar to some extent on how Leviathan fought. But Leviathan, having no idea what the pink furred echidna was capable of, was being far more defensive at the moment.
Suddenly, Angel shot from her spot at a dead run, pulling her sword back. Leviathan crouched into a defensive stance as he saw her initiate the next attack, raising an arm up to block Angel's sword as she swung it around at his midsection, a metallic clang sounding as her blade bounced off Leviathan's armor. Not missing a step, Angel whipped around and brought her weapon to bear against Leviathan's head, which was again blocked by his other arm. Leviathan then lunged forward, jaws wide open to take a bite out of the echidna. But Angel was expecting it, dropping to the forest floor and rolling underneath the raptor as he passed by overhead. She quickly sprang to her feet, turning her head back to see Leviathan turning back around to face her, his jaws still open as he let out a feral scream of anger at her ability to read him as well as she had been doing so far. Gripping her sword tightly, Angel then swung it straight at Leviathan's neck in a killing stroke, intent on finishing the fight before Leviathan decided to take it up a notch.
However, Leviathan had seen enough of Angel's fighting style by that point to notice she was preparing to attack him. As such, he decided to allow her to think she was surprising him as she swung her sword back at him. His jaws still open, he moved his head in front of the blow, the blade sinking into the synthetic flesh of his mouth as he clamped down hard on the weapon. He then pushed off the ground with both feet as he jumped backwards a good ten yards, yanking the sword from Angel's grasp as the surprised echidna was pulled to the ground from the force of her weapon being stripped from her. As she scrambled to her feet, she could hear Leviathan's amusement filled chuckling fill her ears. She watched with gritted teeth as Leviathan dropped the blade into his right hand, gripping it in a somewhat awkward manner as the wounds the sword had caused to his mouth were healed.
"Such a primitive weapon to be using when fighting against such an advanced being, don't you think?" he asked her nonchalantly, looking over the weapon. "Yes…I can see why you might think this would be a decent weapon. It has remarkable craftsmanship for such advanced times as these. Definitely not something you'd find being made by machines in a factory, that's for sure. Pity." He then looked up into the tree line for a couple of seconds before hurling the sword high up into the treetops, the blade sticking into the trunk of a tree several stories up, far beyond the reach of Angel. "And with your weapon now out of the way, I'll end this quickly." Leviathan then let out a feral cry as he charged towards Angel. But in the face of the oncoming danger, the echidna girl stood her ground.
"You should know that the weapon doesn't make the warrior," said Angel as she dashed straight at Leviathan, leaping straight up at his charging form as she slammed her right knee into the raptor's jaw, the sound of metal crunching being heard as Leviathan's head snapped back. The momentum from her jump continued to propel her up as she then swung her whole body around, catching Leviathan's head in the left side with her left foot, the mecha bot stumbling backwards from the surprise attacks as Angel landed in front of him, dashing forward and leaping up again to deliver a solid uppercut with her right fist before swinging her body around again to slam him on the right side of his head with both her fists clamped together like a hammer. Not wanting to fall victim to a third combination of melee attacks, Leviathan opted to instead leap backwards out of her attack range to gather himself.
"Not bad, little girl…Not bad at all," hissed Leviathan as his tail twitched behind him, the only outward sign he was getting annoyed with how even sided the fight seemed to be. "But even you must realize that while you're able to keep up with me now, you will tire yourself out eventually. And when that happens, I will pick up apart."
"Oh I know full well that you can outlast me in a fight," she said calmly as she walked over to the boulder that Leviathan had been perched upon just a couple of minutes ago. Leviathan watched her with curiosity as she seemed to be looking for something on the ground. "But then again, who says that this fight will go on that long?" she asked, reaching down and plucking a jagged shard of stone off the ground and then retaking her offensive stance.
"You certainly have a lot of confidence for someone with nothing more to fight with than a rock," said Leviathan. He could tell the echidna had something in mind for the rock, the question was what. The fact that she was displaying no signs of fear at all at her situation was what was really eating at him. How she could remain so calm with all the odds stacked so high against her at the moment was baffling to him.
Angel, on the other hand, was worried out of her mind. When Leviathan had snagged her sword away from her, she thought her plan was blown. If her strike had hit its intended mark, the mecha bot would probably not have recovered from it. But when Leviathan didn't seem too eager to finish her, she realized he hadn't seen through her plan of attack. But with her sword now no longer an option since getting it would make her way too open to attack while she climbed up to get it, she had to opt for the next best thing. I just hope this thing's strong enough to do the job, she thought to herself as she retook her stance, holding the rock shard in her right hand like a dagger.
"Sometimes the simplest of tools can accomplish the greatest of tasks," was her only retort before she took a deep breath and charged at Leviathan, who readied himself for the oncoming echidna. Angel watched Leviathan rear up on his hind legs as she came at him, making her target all that much harder to hit. But she was committed to ending the fight in this attack and stood her ground as she ran at the raptor. Watching with her highly trained eyes, she lunged at Leviathan's midsection with the rock, the mecha bot throwing his head down at her as she reached him, intent on clamping on her head. But at the last second, Angel withdrew her attack, spinning away from Leviathan's midsection and narrowly dodging his counter attack. The direction of her spin brought the dagger to bear on its true target as it aimed at the gemstone set inside of his collar. Leviathan, however, realized what was going on the instant she had withdrawn her initial strike and decided that it was time to put an end to playing around with the echidna.
As the rock shard came within a couple of inches of its target, it was suddenly stopped by Leviathan's clawed hand as he blocked it, the shard digging deep into his synthetic flesh from the force of blow Angel had used. Without missing a beat, the mecha bot then flung his hand out hard and fast, ripping the rock shard free of a surprised Angel's grasp before shoving her back and to the forest floor with his other clawed hand. He then quickly brought his left foot down onto the echidna's midsection, pinning her in place. Angel tried to push Leviathan's foot off of herself, but the robotic raptor weighed too much to even begin to budge him even if she could find some kind of leverage.
"You surprise me echidna," said Leviathan as he pressed harder against Angel's ribcage, the mobian feeling a couple of her ribs giving way to Leviathan's weight. "To think that you knew all along how to take me out, yet you let the fight drag on longer than you should have." At this, Angel could only glare defiantly at the raptor, realizing she had dragged it out to satisfy her own sense of revenge. And she was now paying the price as she felt Leviathan's sickle claw begin to dig into her flesh. But she held back from crying out from the pain. She wouldn't let him have the satisfaction of hearing her scream.
"Just do it…end it," was all she said to the mecha bot. Leviathan thought about fulfilling her demand, but curiosity got the better of him as he pressed a little harder onto her chest, his sickle claw now deep enough that it punctured her left lung, making it hard for the echidna to breath.
"As you wish, but first I want to know how you knew about my weakness?" he asked. Only Robotnik, Snively, and Robo Knuckles had knowledge of his secret, and yet this echidna did as well.
"Wasn't hard," she hissed at him through clenched teeth as she fought both the pain and the lack of air she was getting. "After being around the Master Emerald for so many years, you tend to remember the kind of chaos field that it produces."
"I see," said Leviathan as he smiled slightly. "Too bad in the end it meant nothing knowing about it." With that, he pressed even harder on Angel's chest with his clawed foot. That was finally the last straw for Angel's willpower as she cried out in pain, feeling a couple more ribs crack under the weight of the mecha bot. "All you ended up doing is changing my plans. Instead of just killing Sonic and the princess, I'll level all of Knothole itself. You can take some solace knowing you at least spared the hedgehog's life for another hour or two. But now that they know about me, I can't let news of my existence spread." He then stepped off of Angel, the echidna now curled into a ball due to the pain. Leviathan then licked his chops as he eyed her. "I've always wondered what it would be like to be just like the creature I was designed after. Hunting down prey, then killing and eating it." At that, Angel's eyes widened as she realized he wasn't kidding.
"Then all I ask for…is that you make it a quick death," she wheezed as her breathing became even more labored from the punctured lung and the accumulating blood loss.
"For a warrior such as yourself, I would think nothing less," he answered as he stepped up next to her again, raising his other clawed foot up a good two feet into the air, aiming for her head to crush it in a single blow. But before he could deliver it, another person that had been watching the whole battle so far finally made themselves known.
"Leave her alone you big jerk!" yelled a voice from behind and above Leviathan. He turned his head towards the source of the voice only to have his right eye pierced by Angel's sword, the raptor crying out in pain as he stumbled away from Angel as he gripped the hilt and yanked it from his now destroyed eye, tossing it to the ground. With his one good remaining eye, he spotted a very young two tailed fox land next to Angel, trying to tell if she was okay. Rage now burning, Leviathan let out a primal screech that scared the young fox witless as he turned back towards the mecha bot, his whole body frozen in fear. Leviathan then whipped his whole body around, smacking the young fox solidly with the midsection of his tail and sending him slamming into a tree trunk, knocking him unconscious.
"How unfortunate," said Leviathan as he eyed the sleeping fox. "I had hoped to break you into being an obedient servant since you are young and easily manipulated." Angel realized that while Tails had made a brave stand, Leviathan was now determined to kill him as well before he departed. Gathering as much strength as she could muster with her injured body, she slowly stood back up and picked her sword off the ground next to her.
"Hey Leviathan!" she shouted as loud as she could, which wasn't much more than her normal talking volume with her injuries, but it was enough to catch the mecha bot's attention again as he turned back towards her, his look one of half amazement at the fact that she could still stand up, much less wield her sword still. "Leave the kid out of this. This is between you and me." Leviathan merely huffed at her statement.
"As if you stand much chance against me now. You're so drained that you can barely stand on your own feet, much less fight," he said.
"So then are you saying…you're a coward?" she asked him between heavy breathes. At this comment, Leviathan fully turned back towards her, his rage now focusing on her again.
"I fear nothing," he said sternly before he started charging at Angel. "Especially not someone like you!" Angel fought the wave of nausea that had taken up residence in the pit of her stomach as she gripped her sword tightly as Leviathan quickly closed the gap between them. Leviathan lunged at her with his jaws open, intent to silence the echidna in one attack. But as he lunged at her, Leviathan had grossly miscalculated just how much Angel's fighting abilities had been hampered. With uncanny speed, she ducked his lung before stabbing her sword straight up, the blade connecting solidly with the shard of the Master Emerald embedded in Leviathan's collar.
Time almost seemed to stand still for the two combatants as Angel's sword drove into the shard, shattering it into three separate chunks as the pieces fell out of the socket on Leviathan's collar. Angel then withdrew her sword as Leviathan seemed to freeze completely for a few seconds before falling onto his side with a loud thud. At seeing the raptor felled, Angel's own body finally gave out as she started to collapse. But before she could hit the ground, something caught her as a strong breeze blew past her.
"And I thought the stunt you pulled a couple weeks ago was bad," said Sonic as he gently laid her onto the ground, examining the wounds that Leviathan had inflicted.
"I'll be okay, just make sure Tails is alright," she said, motioning with her head towards the sleeping fox.
"Where did he come from?" asked Sonic as he ran over to the young fox's side. Angel just shook her head as she looked over at the unconscious fox.
"Not sure. One minute…Leviathan's got me pinned…to the floor, the next…Tails attacked him and…got him off me," she said. "By the way, how did you know…where I was?" she asked him slowly.
"I told him mistress," said Comet as the violet chao poked her head out of Sonic's backpack. Angel smiled slightly despite the pain she was feeling.
"I suppose I should be happy…you broke your promise," said Angel softly as the violet chao hopped out of Sonic's pack, carrying the indigo emerald.
"Well, technically she didn't break it. We sort of guessed what was going on," said Sonic, giving Tails a once over before deciding that he wasn't seriously hurt, just knocked out. Suddenly, a loud whirring sound came from Leviathan's unmoving body, drawing everyone's attention. His still good eye then came back to life, looking first at Angel for a second before turning its gaze towards Sonic. His mouth then curled into a smile.
"I should've known you were somehow involved in all of this, hedgehog," he spat weakly. "Too bad your little victory over me will be short lived." At this, Sonic glanced over towards Angel, who merely shrugged her shoulders as best she could in her pain ridden state. Then a loud click sounded from deep within Leviathan's still unmoving body.
"What are you doing?" asked Sonic, eyeing the mecha bot. Leviathan only chuckled as the whirring sound began again.
"I'm making sure that if I die, I'm taking you and the rest of this world with me!" he answered, his voice sounding even more distant as the last of his reserve power was quickly draining away.
"What do you mean by that?" asked Sonic, worry on his face at what the raptor might be planning. Leviathan laughed again before his still good eye winked out.
"Thanks to researching all of Robotnik's databanks before I went rogue, I rigged myself to be able to blast a hole through the very fabric of this dimension and open an ever expanding portal to the place you call the Void as a last resort. Enjoy the last sixty seconds of this world while you still can because thanks to my own additions to Robotnik's Void technology, the hole will keep growing till it has consumed this entire planet!" said Leviathan as the last of his reserve power finally gave out, his entire body going completely limp.
"Oh man…that's not gonna be pretty," said Sonic. Angel merely gave Sonic a look of confusion, having never heard of the Void before. Noticing her glance, Sonic just shook his head. "I'll explain later. Right now I've got to ditch him somewhere as far away as I can to give us some time to think of a solution to this." He then ran up next to Leviathan, gripping the end of his tail. He then tried to take off, but the mecha bot weighed too much for even him to drag along with his speed.
Realizing that it was now or never, Sonic let go of Leviathan's tail and reached into his backpack, pulling out the Power Ring the alternate future Tails had given him. The golden glow from the ring quickly spread over Sonic as he absorbed its energy. He then reached down and grasped Leviathan's tail once more, this time managing to begin to drag the mecha bot along the ground as he quickly picked up speed as he headed out of the forest and in the direction of the barren wasteland known as the Great Unknown. As he faded from the view of Angel, a series of loud footsteps could be heard from behind her. Looking back over her shoulder, Angel could see the other four members of their group heading for her.
"Are you okay?" asked Slasher, seeing the puncture wound that was still bleeding.
"I've been better," was her only response before the blood loss finally caught up with her as she went limp, Cody quickly catching her and lowering her to the ground.
"What should we do?" asked Drake, looking up at the two raptors. Slasher merely shook her head.
"There's not much we can do I'm afraid. We can't take her to this time period's Knothole without causing the timeline to shift again. And making a jump through time with the Timestones might cause too much of a strain on her weakened state and kill her," answered Slasher. It was at this moment a small flash of light caught their attention, the group turning their gaze to its source to see a fairly large bird with golden feathers standing where Comet had been.
"I believe I can at least patch her up enough for her to survive another trip through time," said Comet as she stepped up next to Angel's limp form. She then placed both of her wings onto Angel's chest. At first, nothing seemed to happen. But slowly a small flicker of light began to issue forth from Comet's wings, spreading out over the echidna's body as the hole that had been opened in her chest slowly healed itself as the other's looked on in amazement. The process only took a few seconds, but to everyone it felt like an eternity. As the last of the wound closed, Comet removed her wings from Angel. "She should be good enough to survive the trip to your present now," she said weakly.
"That's good, but what happened to you?" asked Saber as he was the first to notice that something seemed wrong. Not only had her voice grown weak, but the golden hue of her feathers had dulled to a dirty brown color.
"I gave her most of my own life force," she answered hoarsely. "I didn't have the restorative powers I needed from just a single Chaos Emerald so I had to improvise. All I could do is heal the wound, but her blood loss is still quite severe. Unless she is treated soon, she still won't make it." Comet then changed back into her original state, the indigo emerald sitting next to her as she sat down. "Tell Angel…I'm sorry about breaking…my promise to her," was the last thing she said in almost a whisper as the same onion-shaped barrier that had encased Drake when he was transcending into his adult stage engulfed her. Only this time, the process was much faster as the translucent barrier quickly became a solid white, obscuring her from view. Then, just as quickly as it had appeared, it disappeared, leaving behind nothing more than a single chao egg.
"What happened?" asked Slasher.
"She used too much of her own life force to heal Angel," said Drake as he watched Cody walk over and pick up the egg. "She all but killed herself. Turning back into an egg is usually a last resort to save ourselves from death."
"Let's just hope her sacrifice wasn't in vain," said Cody. He then looked around, suddenly realizing something that had apparently escaped their notice. "Where's Sonic?" he asked.
The dusty air of the Great Unknown blew around Sonic as he sped as fast as he could away from the Great Forest, Leviathan's massive form being dragged along the ground behind him. He had been keeping track of the time in his head from the moment he had left, making sure he wouldn't be holding onto Leviathan when he self destructed and opened the rift between dimensions. Sonic shook his head as he ran, the memory of his short time inside the Void and his run in with the wizard Ixis Naugus a couple of years ago still fresh in his mind. You just had to ramp it up, didn't you Leviathan? was all Sonic could think of as he kept running.
Spotting a rather large hole in the ground up ahead, Sonic pushed his speed even more, hoping the energy from the Power Ring would last just a little longer. As he came upon the hole, he threw on the brakes, letting go of Leviathan's tail at the same time as the last of the Power Ring's power left him. The momentum from his speed caused the mecha bot to go flying into the hole. But before Leviathan was even completely below the cliff line, his body exploded outwards as the countdown timer finally reached zero, spraying shrapnel everywhere. But most of the flying debris was quickly flung back towards the source of the explosion as the dimensional barrier gave way to the Void, the gravity created by the portal sucking in the shrapnel.
"Oh man!" cried Sonic as the gravity began to pull him in as well. Turning around quickly, he started to try and escape its pull as he had the first time he had been subjected to this phenomenon. But unlike last time, he didn't have a head start against its pull. To someone viewing him from a distance, it would appear he was just running in place. "This is not good!" he cried as he strained to get some kind of leverage to escape. But just as Leviathan had said, the hole began to steadily grow larger, its gravitational force growing along with it. Slowly Sonic began to lose ground to the portal as nearby boulders began to come under the gravity's spell, the rocks sliding along the ground towards the hole.
"No way am I giving up without a fight," said Sonic to himself as he poured on even more speed. He slowly began to work himself free of the gravity, but before he could escape it completely, the rapidly expanding hole once again got a good grip on him, stopping his forward momentum. "No way!" he cried, looking back over his shoulder to see the portal had nearly doubled in size already from its starting size. He could already feel himself start to be pulled into the dimensional tear. As he started to lose ground again, he wished he hadn't used up all the Super Emerald miniatures' power back in Angel's timeline.
Sonic's head suddenly snapped upright as he realized that they still had kept a very faint glow even after his hyper form had come undone, which meant there was still a small bit of power left in them. He just hoped it was enough. He then reached down and practically yanked the invisible belt off himself, the belt and miniature emeralds becoming visible again. He then looked back over his shoulder, the portal creeping closer and closer with each passing second. I hope Knux doesn't chew me up too much for what I'm about to do, he thought to himself. He then chucked the emerald belt into the air, the gravity from the Void portal quickly pulling it towards the epicenter.
As the emerald belt made contact with the portal, a loud crack like that of thunder issued forth from portal, lightning arcing out of it as the Super Emerald miniatures' power began to negate the Void energy. Then an even louder crack sounded as the portal collapsed in on itself, its gravitational field imploding in on itself as the rift vanished, throwing Sonic forward from his running momentum, the hedgehog taking a dive head first into the dusty arid ground.
"Oh man…I'm gonna feel that tomorrow," was all he said as he sat upright, rubbing his sore forehead. He then looked back towards where the portal had been. Good thing that worked. If it hadn't, that would've been it for all of us, he thought to himself. He then dusted himself off before turning towards the direction he had come from. But just before taking off, he glanced back over his shoulder as a nagging feeling went through his head. It was then he realized where he was. It was the exact spot where Naugus had opened the portal in the future.
"Heh. Guess this was supposed to happen. I'll never understand time travel," was all he said before taking off to meet up with the others, unaware that the whole event that had just transpired had been monitored.
"Sir, I think you might want to take a look at this," said Snively as he watched the video feed coming in from one of Robotnik's many satellites. He looked over his shoulder as the heavy set doctor looked up from his current project.
"This had better be important, Snively," he said with annoyance. The short human gulped as he brought up the video feed on the main monitor of the Command Center's control room.
"I'm sure it is sir," he answered. He then rewound the tape to just a few seconds before a speck of blue appeared on the screen, something metallic being dragged along behind it.
"Is that Sonic?" asked Robotnik, watching the blue blur head towards a rather large hole in the ground.
"I believe it is sir, but that's not why I called you," said Snively. He then brought up the video to just before the metallic object Sonic was carrying exploded. But that wasn't what sent a chill down the doctor's spine. It was what the explosion had spawned that was worrying him. The Void had been opened by whatever that object had been.
"How did he do that Snively? I am the only one with knowledge on how to open the Void. The hedgehog shouldn't even know of its existence, yet there he is using some kind of bomb to open it!" he shouted, making Snively cower in fear of his uncle.
"Sir, do you think he's working with Naugus somehow?" asked Snively. Robotnik's only response was him starting to sweat. If what his nephew had suggested were true, then the Freedom Fighters having access to Void technology would be the least of his worries. But as he watched the rest of the video feed, he realized that helping the wizard out wasn't on Sonic's mind, especially once he did something that caused the portal to collapse in on itself. Otherwise he'd have dived right in to retrieve him.
"I don't believe so," he answered, calming back down. "But still, I want to know how they came to have such technology."
"But sir, the object was consumed by both the explosion and the resulting Void portal," said Snively.
"I doubt that," said Robotnik as he turned to walk back to his project. "Go to those coordinates with a security detail. Scour the area for any signs of debris left behind. Even recovering a tiny microchip will be enough to figure out what kind of technology the Freedom Fighters have at their disposal."
"Of course, sir. I'll get right on it," said Snively as he turned and walked out of the control room. Robotnik sighed as he looked back down at his project, picking up one of the various tools strung about on the table next to him and began to work on the metallic form laying across the table. Nearly three hours passed before an incoming transmission broke him from his task, the doctor getting up and answering the call.
"Report Snively," he said. The short human actually seemed somewhat excited, which was unusual for him.
"We finished our scan of the area. As I feared, most of the debris was beyond recovering. However, we did find what appears to be some kind of damaged AI chip wedged between two large rocks. Sir, I believe whatever it was the hedgehog used to open the Void was not of this world. The technology behind whatever this chip was inside of is more advanced than even your best works," he answered. Robotnik smiled slightly.
"Good. Bring it in to me. With any luck, I can reverse engineer what I need from it to finally finish this little project of mine," said with glee. Snively gave Robotnik a nod before cutting the transmission. Robotnik then turned his attention to the form that lay across the table. Its metallic armor gleamed in the light of the room. "Soon, Silver Sonic, I will finally be able to unleash you upon that accursed hedgehog. And when that time comes, it shall be the last time I will ever have to worry about that hedgehog again!"