A Timeless Adventure

Chapter 9

Sonic walked down the ramp of the hover-unit with a bit of force behind his steps, his face baring a scowl that he rarely had except when he was completely serious. His fists were clenched tightly as he came to a stop at the edge of the landing pad. He watched with a glare as Metal Sonic descended from above, the soft blue glow of his exhaust flame somehow both eerie and calming at the same time as he came to rest on the ground just a few feet away from Sonic.

"Welcome, my honored guest," said Metal Sonic, bowing towards Sonic, who didn't know if the mecha bot was mocking him or if all this time of not having to fight him had actually gotten to him somewhat. "Welcome…to Stardust Speedway. Designed to be handled by only the fastest people to ever walk Mobius," he said, turning and gesturing with his clawed hand to the gigantic race track behind them. "Fifteen square miles of countryside transformed into over a hundred miles of track. Each mile covered with obstacles that would kill anyone that doesn't have split second reaction times. Each obstacle set to over 1.3 million combinations that constantly rotate randomly at over a hundred combinations a second so that even I can't calculate which combination will happen next." He then looked back at Sonic, a grin on his face. "The perfect place to determine which of us is the best," he hissed gleefully.

"You really didn't have to go to all the trouble for little old me, Mecha," said Sonic with a smirk as he crossed his arms. His eyes then narrowed even more than they had been when he had stepped off the hover-unit, his smirk doing a complete one eighty. "But I won't race you until you tell me what you did with Angel."

"Ah yes. The echidna," said Metal Sonic. "She is safe at the other end of the track, secured to one of the lampposts just past the finish line."

"You better not have hurt her," growled Sonic through clenched teeth. Metal Sonic only smiled.

"And here I thought you two didn't get along," he said in amusement. "Truthfully, I didn't think you'd show up. The way you two bicker at each other I figured I was doing you a favor."

"We may not see eye to eye," said Sonic as he stepped up in Metal Sonic's face, pointing a finger hard into his chest. "But I never leave a friend behind, much less in the company of someone like you." Metal Sonic chuckled slightly, then brushed Sonic's finger away.

"Such enduring commentary. How do you organics say it...?" he asked, doing a slight mock of the Thinker pose before he looked up a second later with a smirk on his face. "Ah yes! 'Makes me want to puke.'"

"Enough of this stupid conversation," said Sonic, walking past Metal Sonic and heading towards the track. "I'm ready to show you just why I was and still am the better of the two of us." Metal Sonic eyes narrowed slightly as he turned to follow Sonic, but didn't let any other external sign show that he had taken offense to the insult. The two of them walked down the ramp that lead from the landing pad to the city sized track below, saying nothing to each other. Words were not needed though as their footsteps ringing loudly off the metallic ramp as they descended at a somewhat faster than a walk pace told each other everything they were thinking about the other person.

"So any particular rules to this race I should know about before we start this thing?" asked Sonic, looking back over his shoulder at Metal Sonic.

"Cross the finish line first or you'll die. Simple as that," said Metal Sonic.

"Mind elaborating just a little bit there Mecha?" asked Sonic, looking at the mecha bot with annoyance evident on his face. Metal Sonic let out a slightly static sounding sigh, his pupils rolling in the black void of his eyes as the two of them reached the starting line.

"Very well hedgehog," he hissed as he took his place at the line. "Simply put, both of us will be chased this whole race by a high powered laser beam that I've installed in a hover-unit that I've personally modified just for this race. It will start after us five seconds into the race. It will then follow us from the starting line to the finish line, always keeping about fifty yards behind whichever of us is behind the other. Whoever crosses the finish line first will cause a force field to instantly be activated that will enclose the entire track, trapping the loser inside it to be ultimately destroyed by the laser as it will then automatically accelerate to over six hundred miles per hour, almost instantly catching up to the loser and blowing them to pieces." Sonic merely smirked at this, shaking his head.

"You really do want me dead. Just like you always have, right?" he asked. Metal Sonic returned the smirk.

"An added bonus is never a bad thing," he replied.

"And what happens to Angel?" asked Sonic, his once amused attitude instantly back to being serious.

"The winner shall decide that. Just know that if I should win, she will die," answered Metal Sonic as he took his position at the line.

"That won't happen," said Sonic as he took his own place at the line. He then said low enough that Metal Sonic's audio sensors couldn't detect it, "You can count on it."

The first thing Angel felt was the painful sensation in the back of her head leftover from Metal Sonic's assault as she slowly regained consciousness. She let out a small groan as the pain doubled for a split second before returning to just a very dull ache. She wanted nothing more than to return to the dreamless sleep she had been in when the sudden feeling of being suspended by her wrists woke her with a start. Her eyes shot open, immediately squinting shut again as the head pain doubled again from her quick reaction. She looked up again, this time slower as she tried to keep the pain in check this time around. The first thing she saw was the bright light of the lamppost she was bound to, followed after her eyes adjusted to the light by the view of her hands tied together by metallic cable.

"Oh that's just great," she mumbled as she looked down to see her feet tied by the ankles with the same kind of cable. "I swear, whoever did this will not know suffering until I get done with them!" she cried, her voice climbing every word she spoke till she was screaming at the top of her lungs, which she regretted as the pain nearly tripled from the outburst. She sighed, resigning herself to the situation since she knew for a fact that she couldn't get the leverage needed to break the bonds with her own strength. The only thing she could do was hope that whoever or whatever it was that had bound her to the lamppost would return and untie her. She couldn't help but crack a small smile as she thought of how utterly ridiculous that the idea that her captor would free her actually sounded.

"Oh, I almost forgot two small details," said Metal Sonic as a hover-unit with a drag strip style light array mounted on the upper fuselage came to a hover above the track. "If you leave the track for any reason or try and go hyper during the race, the track will sense both your body heat leaving the marked area of the track as well as the chaos energy being put out by the transformation and instantly send over one hundred thousand volts of electricity flowing through the very lamppost that the echidna is bound to, instantly killing her." Sonic looked over at Metal Sonic with a horrified look on his face.

"By the heavens of Mobius!" he cried, his horror stricken face turning fast into one of anger. "You think you could've said something a little sooner than right before we start!? I might want to know that you know!" he yelled. Metal Sonic merely looked over at him with a passive look.

"Be thankful that I did tell you instead of letting you find out that little bit of information on your own," he answered before looking back towards the starting lights. Sonic did nothing more than narrow his eyes slightly before he returned his own gaze back to the lights as the top red pair flashed five times before becoming solid. Sonic's ears perked slightly as the low hum of Metal Sonic's engine began to issue forth from the center of the mecha bot, slowly picking up in intensity as the second pair below it became solid, quickly followed by the third.

"Now we shall see who is the superior one, hedgehog," said Metal Sonic as the first of the two pairs of yellow lights lit up. Sonic braced himself to take off as the second pair turned on. He then felt the heat wave of the laser mounted on the hover-unit twenty yards behind them as the weapon became active, but didn't flinch as the final second ticked off the timer and the green light ignited. Instantly the two competitors shot from their spots, each one accelerating to over two hundred miles per hour in under four seconds.

Now it's time to see exactly what Mecha's track has in store for me, thought Sonic as he raced alongside Metal Sonic, each of them watching the other, waiting for the other to make the first move. Sonic was determined to let Metal Sonic make the first move, but had to abandon it as the first obstacle sprang up from the ground at him in the form of a patch of barbed spikes stretching across his entire side of the track. Sonic quickly slowed enough to allow Metal Sonic to get ahead slightly, then immediately jumped to the left, setting off another set of spikes in front of him, forcing him to dodge to the right just as quickly. This, in turn, set off yet another patch of spikes, this time on both sides of the tracks, forcing him to jump them. As he landed on the track, he glance up to see Metal Sonic looking on, amusement clearly written on his metallic face. Sonic glared angrily at him, noting that Metal Sonic had no need to avoid the spikes as he did since he hovered above them.

"Figures he's not having to put as much effort into this as I am," grumbled Sonic to himself, though he would quickly correct himself as all of a sudden several small, mosquito-like robots came raining down like mad at the two of them, most of them aimed at Metal Sonic with their nearly half foot long spiked noses. The mecha bot swerved left and right, ascended and descended as fast as he could to keep ahead of the robots, Sonic following suit on the ground as the few that tracked him caused him to have to juke left or right quickly to avoid getting hit. Guess I spoke too soon, thought Sonic as he watched Metal Sonic's aerial maneuvers, using the distraction the robots were causing to the mecha bot to regain the distance he had lost during his own avoidance of the track's perils.

As the two of them raced past the last of the dive bombing robots, the track took a sharp left turn towards the first loop of the track. Sonic reached it a split second ahead of Metal Sonic, racing up the circular embankment of the loop with Metal Sonic hot on his heels. As the two of them came into the last quarter of the loop, Sonic curled into a spindash and rolled down the slope, gaining a few precious yards on Metal Sonic as he jumped up out of the spindash and resumed running. He could hear Metal Sonic cursing behind him, but choose not to look back for fear he might run right into one of the tracks traps.

It was this and only this that saved him from the next one as the track's floor caved in just in front of Sonic, who only evaded the now gaping hole due to his reflexes as he jumped to the left side of the track. But as soon as he landed, a second hole opened in the track directly in front of him, causing him to have to jump back to the right to avoid it. Then a third hole appeared, but this time Sonic wasn't as lucky as he lost his footing trying to get out of the way, falling into the hole. He heard Metal Sonic race past him and was about to jump out of the hole to give chase when something rose up from below, causing him to fall into a sitting position. Looking down, he saw he was sitting on the face of a giant robotic lion ant, its pinchers primed to crush him. Pushing off with both his hands and feet at the same time, Sonic managed to avoid the pinchers just as they slammed together. Sonic flew up out of the hole, did a forward flip, and landed on the concert floor of the track. He then instantly took off after Metal Sonic who was now a good couple hundred yards in front of him.

The race continued like this for over three-fourths of the track, the two of them trading positions constantly from avoiding various traps ranging from coming under laser fire, whirling blades being thrown at them by mantis-like robots, or simply one of them taking advantage of the track's layout. As the two of them came down to the last ten miles of the track, a perfect straightaway, it was Metal Sonic in the lead by about fifty yards. It was on the straightaway that Sonic knew that he'd have to make a move or risk losing not only the race, but both his life and Angel's. Throwing caution to the wayside, Sonic braced himself for an all-out burst of speed.

Guess now's as good a time as any to find out if Mecha ever fixed his speed problem or not, thought Sonic to himself as he shot forward, rapidly gaining speed as he started to close the gap with Metal Sonic. As he came within twenty yards of his robotic doppelganger, he could already feel the sound barrier resisting his advance. He found it kind of funny in the fact that it comforted him to feel it pushing against him, while simultaneously annoyed him that it resisted his effort to push past it. As he came within five yards of Metal Sonic, he pushed harder against the barrier. As he came right up next to Metal Sonic, he felt it give way, a sonic boom sounding as he shot passed him. By now, they were within five miles of the finish line, the gap between the two of them growing by the millisecond as Sonic pushed himself to the max, reaching over seven hundred seventy miles per hour as he blazed down the track.

Behind him, however, Metal Sonic's only response to the sudden reversal of positioning in the race was a light chortle. Suddenly, his body began emitting a dazzling display of electrical energy as his whole body was bathed in a bright blue glow as he drew upon the power of the Timestone embedded in his body. Metal Sonic suddenly shot forward, his speed increasing drastically as the gap between him and Sonic closed in less than a second as he slammed full force into Sonic's back, sending the cerulean hedgehog flying to the concert floor. Luckily, Sonic avoided more than just a couple of really sore bruises by quickly curling into a spindash just before he hit face first, though he lost all of his momentum as the spindash wasn't guided by his own movement, but by improvising. Also, the sword and backpack strapped to his back didn't help improve the situation as both nearly caused him to completely wipe out since he hadn't been prepared to take their presence into account when he'd curled into a ball. He uncurled himself as he slowed to about a quarter of the speed he'd been moving, able to just barely regain his footing.

"What on Mobius was that!?" he cried as he tried to get the slight dizzy feeling he had to go away. Metal Sonic, however, had cut whatever it was that had propelled him forward and was now cruising along behind Sonic, the blue glow and electricity having vanished as the two of them came within the last mile of the track. But after seeing Sonic get slammed to the ground as hard as he had, Metal Sonic couldn't resist his most basic instinctual programming any longer.

"That was me, hedgehog!" he heard Metal Sonic cry. He looked back over his shoulder just in time to see Metal Sonic lash out at him with his razor sharp claws, slicing them into Sonic's left arm, leaving four bloody claw marks in their wake. Sonic cried out in pain, his eyes shutting instinctually from the pain, which was all Metal Sonic needed to follow through with a slash from his other clawed hand at Sonic's legs, knocking them out from underneath him as well as cutting four long gashes in the lower backside of his left leg, each one oozing blood.

Sonic's cry doubled in volume, echoing in the distance as it carried for miles over the open countryside. Sonic collapsed to the track's floor, unable to stand the pain that now coursed through his two left limbs. His eyes remained slammed shut, unable to open them due to the pain. His ears still worked just fine, but right now he wished they were as useful to him as his eyes were, because all he heard was the sound of Metal Sonic's laughter. However, Sonic did notice a difference in this Metal Sonic's laugh compared to the one in his own timeline. It was much more...hysteria filled. Almost reaching a point of madness. Slowly, the laughter died as Metal Sonic looked down at Sonic.

"I knew it..." whispered Metal Sonic. " I am the superior!" he then cried as he stood over Sonic, watching him writher in pain. "Ever since I was first brought online, I was told that I was inferior to you. You! A mere organic who can't even tolerate this slightly moderate damage!" He kicked Sonic hard in the stomach, forcing him to gasp for air as the wind was knocked out of him. "You are nothing more than a pathetic flesh and blood creature. I am one of the most powerful machines to ever exist!" He watched with both amusement and anger as Sonic slowly got into a sitting position, he arms crossed over his chest.

"Ha! I dare you!" he yelled. "Go hyper and kill your little echidna friend!" Sonic slowly uncrossed his arms, knowing that everything he'd done up to now would be in vain if he did go hyper. Not that it matters much, seeing as how I can't go hyper even if I wanted too, he thought to himself. Metal Sonic only laughed as he watched Sonic surrender his best chance to beat him. "Your emotions make you weak, just as I always pictured you as being," he said softly before he resumed his laughter. Sonic looked up at him, defiance still etched into his face.

"You're one to talk, Mecha," hissed Sonic. "You learned how to have emotions, but unlike you, I don't let them overtake who I am. You, however, have always been ruled by that one stupid emotion of hatred you have always had towards me. It rules you! It controls you!" he spat. Metal Sonic's laughter instantly turned to rage as he clenched his clawed hands into fists.

"Nothing controls me, let alone my own programming!" he hollered as he punched Sonic hard in the face, knocking him on his back as he split open the hedgehog's lip, causing it to bleed. Metal Sonic then smirked as he turned away from Sonic. He then lowered his voice to an almost eerie silence. "I would kill you now if not for the fact that I want you to suffer immensely before I do. And there are far worse things than pain to inflict suffering!" he cried, shouting the last three words. With that, Metal Sonic shot from his spot towards the finish line. Oh smooth move, though Sonic to himself as he let out a loud gasp of pain as he managed to get back onto his feet, though he had to hold onto one of the lampposts to do so. Like he wasn't off kilter enough without me provoking him. Reaching into his pack, he grasped the one thing he prayed would put an end to the confrontation.

Angel slowly opened her eyes as she heard the faint hum of something in the distance. Nice...she thought to herself. Here I am tied to a pole, not having a clue what's going on, and I'm off in dreamland. She looked over towards the sound of the noise, but nothing accompanied it that she could see. She squinted her eyes, thinking she had seen something off in the distance. It was then she made out an object coming her way, though it was too far away to tell if it was a person or not. The only thing she could see was faint blue glow growing ever brighter. After a few more seconds, she recognized the ever increasing hum as it drew closer.

"Great. It's about time I meet face to face with that cheap shot," she hissed, trying once again to break her bonds, but only succeeding in rubbing her wrists and ankles even more raw from her earlier attempts. She looked back towards the glow, but this time, it was accompanied by a faint golden glow that was growing brighter even faster than the blue glow. "What is that?"

"The nerve of that hedgehog," grumbled Metal Sonic to himself as he cruised down the track at little over a hundred miles per hour. He smiled to himself as he spied the finish line in the distance. We'll see just how cocky he is once he has the death of that female echidna hanging over his head right before he dies a fiery death to the laser. Suddenly, without warning, something giving of a golden glow rocketed past Metal Sonic, setting off a sonic boom as it flew by. Metal Sonic threw up a curse as he tried to steady himself in mid air as the wind from the sonic boom nearly threw him to the ground. He looked up as he righted himself, his pupils glowing so bright in rage that they practically covered the whole black of his eyes with their light.

"No chance hedgehog!" he screamed as loud as he could, drawing on the power of the Timestone once again, his hull bursting into electrical energy as his body became encased in the same blue glow as before as he shot forward, setting off his own sonic boom as he chased after the golden blur. "You have no chance at all!"

That's what you think, thought Sonic as he pushed himself to his maximum, his hand grasping the second and last Power Ring that had been in his pack. The pain had dulled enough from the ring's power to allow him to be running like he was, though he feared he might be doing serious damage to his leg by pulling this stunt. Right now, however, that was at the back of his mind as he pushed his speed to over a thousand miles per hour thanks to the power of the ring.

He looked back over his shoulder to see Metal Sonic was still closing fast from the Timestone's power coursing through his metallic body. He looked forward, the finish line just a few seconds away from them. This is gonna be way too close, he thought. By now, Metal Sonic had come within ten feet of Sonic, reaching out with a clawed hand as he started to close the last bit of gap between the two of them.

"You're mine!" he cried, the tips of his claws touching the top quill of Sonic's quill style. He started to squeeze his hand into a fist, but right before he had a solid grip on it, he was slammed hard in the front by an invisible force, throwing him back to the ground as the blue glow and electrical field faded from his hull. He slowly got to his hands and knees, looking up to see Sonic barely standing on his feet, his breathing a little labored as he leaned against the lamppost that Angel was tied to for support as both of them looked at him with a look of pure hatred etched on both of their faces. It was then Metal Sonic realized that he had lost the race, the force field he'd installed into the track having been what had thrown him to the ground. He looked back to see the laser that had patiently been following them from a distance the whole race come racing towards him, intent to finish its mission of destroying the loser of the race.

"It really was true this whole time..." he whispered to himself as he turned to look back at Sonic, all his anger and rage at the blue hedgehog now gone as the truth he had been searching for finally made itself known to him after years of wondering. "He is the superior one of us." And with that, the laser finally flew by overhead, Metal Sonic's body exploding into flaming shrapnel as the beam poured its destructive power over him. Both Sonic and Angel watched as the flaming metallic parts of Metal Sonic clattered to the ground, almost everything but his head and upper chest completely unrecognizable as the laser shut off, waiting patiently for an order from its master that would never come.

"Good riddance," whispered Sonic, slowly drawing Angel's sword from the scabbard behind his back. He looked up at her, noticing that she was still staring at the spot Metal Sonic had been just a couple of seconds ago. "Hey, you okay up there?" he asked. Angel shook herself from her daydream, then looked down at him.

"What took you so long?" she asked, her voice filled with annoyance, but at the same time having a hint of gratitude behind it even as her face scowled at him. Sonic couldn't help but chuckle slightly.

"Glad to see you too," he said as he raised the blade up next to the cables holding her ankles. "Now hold still. Last thing I need to do is cut a nice gash in your foot or hand." Sonic then quickly, but carefully, cut the cable away from both her feet and hands. Angel rubbed her sore wrists as Sonic put her sword away. However, just as soon as he sheathed her sword, he started to collapse, the pain that had been deluded from the Power Ring now returning in a rush as the last of the ring's power faded from his body. Angel quickly caught him as he fell, quickly throwing his good arm over her back to help support him.

"Whoa there," she said, steadying him as he cringed in pain.

"Thanks," he said as he regained his footing somewhat with her help. "We still need to get the Timestone from him and figure out where the others are."

"I'll get it," she said, helping him sit down on the pavement before walking over to the flaming wreckage of the once proud mecha bot. It didn't take her long to find the green gemstone, seeing as how it had been blown out of his body from the force of the explosion and came to rest pretty much out in the open. As she bent down to pick it up, however, she froze. Sonic noticed and was about to ask what was wrong, but choose not to say anything when he saw that she was staring right at what remained of Metal Sonic's head. Two of the metal quills had been blown completely off, and the nose had all but melted away as well as the eyes, but it was still recognizably his head. But the thing that had truly stopped him from saying anything was the tears he could clearly see welling up in the echidna's eyes.

"You..." he heard Angel say, barely audible, but clear as a bell. He saw her reach for her sword, quickly drawing it and raising it high above her head, then slamming it blade first down on the remains of Metal Sonic's head, shattering it into four smaller chunks. "You…monster!" she yelled, slamming the blade down on each individual chunk of Metal Sonic's head as fast as she could, the process repeating itself till there was almost nothing left but metal shards of the head.

Angel didn't care anymore. She didn't care that Sonic was only ten yards away from her, watching everything. Nothing mattered to her anymore at this moment in time as tears streamed unchecked down her cheeks. She collapsed into a crying heap on the ground, all her restraint and control gone as she openly cried for the first time in years. Sonic couldn't stand it anymore as he slowly got to his feet despite the pain and limped over next to her. He kneeled down beside her, placing his hand on her shoulder, scaring her as she gasped, pulling back from his touch.

"Are you okay?" asked Sonic. Angel turned and looked him in the eye, and for the first time since she'd met him, she saw not the person she hated most looking back at her, but rather someone who was in many ways just like Comet. Someone who she now knew was not an enemy, but instead a friend.

"Oh Sonic!" she cried, burying her face into his chest as her crying began anew. Sonic wrapped his arms around her, trying to calm her down. It took a couple of minutes, but finally he calmed her down enough that she was able to regain her composure somewhat. He looked at her as she sniffed a few times and wiped the last of the dried out tear streaks from her face, waiting for her to say the first thing. She caught on, but shook her head as she picked up the Timestone lying on the ground next to them.

"I'll tell you later…after I'm sure I won't have another breakdown while I'm telling it to you," she whispered as she got back to her feet, offering Sonic a hand to help him back up. "Besides, we need to get you fixed up." Sonic felt and looked a little confused by Angel's sudden reverse in attitude towards him, but brushed it off as he took her hand, getting pulled up to his feet as she wrapped his arm around her back again to support him.

"Before we go, we have to find out where the others are," he said. His eyes suddenly lit up as he thought of the perfect way to find them. Reaching around into his pack, he pulled Nicole out and opened her up, pressing seven buttons in a certain order. "Let's just hope Sal's old program is still in here," he said. The little computer began beeping very fast as it ran the coding through its hard drive.

"Override Protocol Hedgehog online. Please enter Voice Recognition Password," said Nicole.

"Password…Mutski," said Sonic. Nicole beeped four more times before her screen lit up.

"Password accepted. Hello Sonic. It is good to hear you again after so many years," said Nicole.

"Good to hear you too Nicole," said Sonic with a smile. He then looked over at Angel, who had a look of confusion written on her face. "Back when the war had just started, Sal implanted Nicole with an override program that each of her closest friends could activate by entering a certain code on the key pad and then giving a vocal password," he said, then bowed his head, his next words heavy with grief. "It was to ensure that if anything happened to her, we'd still be able to use Nicole to help us with anything technical we needed help with."

"I see," said Angel. She then frowned as a question popped in her mind. "Who or what is a 'Mutski'?" Sonic smiled as the name brought back many fun memories to him.

"Mutski was my dog, or rather, my Uncle Chuck's dog. He was always a handful, but he was still a good friend," said Sonic. He then returned his attention to the mini computer. "Nicole. Can you find out where the last four Timestones are, cause with any luck our friends will be where they are as well." Nicole beeped a couple of times, then brought up a holographic map of the quarter of Little Planet they were currently on, two red lights blinking every couple of seconds.

"Timestones located. Three are located approximately fifteen miles to the northwest and are currently stationary. The fourth is approximately twenty seven miles to the east and is moving towards the west at approximately ten miles per hour," answered Nicole.

"One of them is moving?" said Sonic, his left eyebrow rising in confusion. He then looked over at Angel. "You don't think Robotnik's sent something else after us, do you?" Angel merely shrugged.

"Don't know. But in either case, we still need to get you patched up or you won't be good to anyone," she said. Angel then looked up at the night sky.

"What are you looking at?" asked Sonic, turning his own gaze up to the star strung sky.

"Trying to figure out which way is north from where we are. There was a forest about an hour's walk from here to the north that I saw when we were passing by overhead when we first arrived on Little Planet. Hopefully, we can find the herbs I need to make some healing salve for those nasty gashes," she answered as she finally spotted what passed as Mobius' equivalent of Earth's North Star. "There we go. You think you can manage a little walk?"

"Maybe," he said. He then took a step forward, and felt pain shoot through his entire left leg, nearly paralyzing it. "Or maybe not..." he said, steadying himself with Angel's help.

"So now what?" she asked. Sonic gave a long sigh, then shook his head.

"I suppose I'll just have to tough it out. It may take us some time, but it's better than staying here and having whatever has that lone Timestone find us," he said as he started to take a step forward, but Angel jerked him to a stop.

"You're not walking, period. Last thing we need is you screwing yourself up more than you already have," she said as she took a step in front of Sonic, kneeling down. "I'll carry you." Sonic was taken completely aback by this sudden gesture, sending a red flag soaring in his mind.

"What's the catch? You gonna accidentally drop me or something?" he asked. Angel's head turned back towards him with a glare.

"No, now get on," she hissed at him. "Like you said, we don't want to be spotted by patrols." Reluctantly, Sonic wrapped his good arm around Angel's neck as she lifted him off the ground. She then turned towards the north, beginning the hour long trek towards the forest.

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