*Chapter 15: Gerald's Confession*
Maria walked inside Gerald's room the next day since she wanted to talk to him about yesterday, and Shadow should not be involved in this talk. Maria sat down on the sofa and Gerald came out with warm tea and hand one cup to her. Maria thanked him and took a sip. Gerald sat next to her.
"Maria, there's something very important you need to know about Shadow." Gerald said. Maria didn't say a word to him, wanting him to continue. "Well, I...made a deal with the president to make immortality while I was looking for the cure for your condition." He said. "When I created a Biolizard, it was a failure, but it's only a prototype of the Ultimate Life Form."
"But, Shadow is the Ultimate Life Form, isn't he? He told me himself." Maria asked.
"He was a test." Gerald said. "But, since it's been a while he's around, he doesn't seem to be unstable. While I created him, I...need a blood sample."
"What did you use?" Maria asked. Gerald let out a sigh. "Grandpa, tell me!" Maria said, taking Gerald's hands.
"I used the Black Arms' sample. But, it was Black Doom's." Gerald finally said. Maria lets go of his hand, staring at him in disbelief. Black Doom. She saw him two nights before and he took over her mind. Shadow is a part of the Black Arms. But, he is nothing like them. Shadow is a hedgehog who is immortal that can live on forever and ever.
"Black Doom..." Maria says. "You...use his DNA to complete Shadow?"
"Maria, I had no other choice. Where and how am I going to find immortality?" Gerald asked by grabbing his granddaughter's shoulders. "Please understand, my dear, I did this for you and for everyone in the whole colony. And since you met Shadow that day, you've changed so much, you smile everyday, and you two are inseparable." Maria tries to hold back the tears. She couldn't blame her grandfather. Gerald was trying really hard to find her a cure to get her better, and things have to happen often. Since Shadow landed in Maria's life, things have changed.
"Why...why didn't you tell me this before?" Maria asked.
"I...I wanted you to give you a guardian who can watch over you and your friends and-" Gerald paused when he thought back of Mardic being alive before he was shot by Veldon. He sighed. "Shadow was always there for you and everyone else. He is strong and honest. He will never let any of us down." He felt Maria's arm wrap around his neck.
"I know. Shadow is a great friend to us, and...he's my best friend. And...I am his first friend." Maria said after pulling away. "We promise each other that as soon as I am better, we will go to Earth together. And you can come with us too. I want to discover Earth like you have before." Gerald chuckled at her.
"Someday we will. I'm sure of it." Gerald said. "But, now that you know about the truth about Shadow's DNA, there is something you need to help me with." He got up to get over to his working desk and got the camera from the drawer. "For the next 50 years, Black Doom will come back for the Chaos Emeralds from Shadow. The deal is that he will give me the blood sample and want the emeralds in return after 50 years."
"50 years...?" Maria wondered. "Wow."
"I also created the Eclipse Cannon that is finished and will be used on the Black Comet." Gerald continued. "With the power of the Chaos Emeralds, the cannon will be powerful."
"But, we don't have the emeralds now, do we?" Maria asked. Gerald turned to his desk and open the little drawer. He took the box out and gave it to his granddaughter who took it. "...What is this?" Maria asked, looking up at Gerald.
"I wanted to give you this on Christmas, but...I thought it would be best to give it to you early." Gerald said. "Open it." Maria opened the box and gasped at the sight of the light blue Chaos Emerald. "This is the only one we have in the whole ARK, Maria. Before the Christmas Party, I told Shadow that I would give it to you as a gift, and...it will protect you." Gerald said. "Promise me you will never lose it."
"Grandfather, I...I can't have this." Maria said, trying to give back the emerald, but Gerald pushes the box back to her.
"You have to, my dear. Keep it. Do not show it to anyone, only you, me, and Shadow knows about it." Gerald said. "Please keep it safe with you." Maria looks at the Chaos Emerald in silent and take it out to stare at its beauty.
"I...I will." Maria said, giving Gerald a nod. "I will take care of it." She puts the emerald back in the box and close it. Gerald sets up the camera and have Maria stand behind it.
"Okay. The message for Shadow in the next 50 years..." Gerald says. Maria turns the camera on. Gerald began his speech...
Shadow walked down the corridor of the cell block to see Veldon and his henchmen. He came by the cell of Veldon and stood in front of the glass. Widow and Toxic turn to him in silent. Veldon was laying on his bed, staring up at the ceiling, not looking at Shadow.
"Get the hell out of my sight, hedgehog." Veldon said in a low voice. "You can't get me to talk."
"How do you know if I am?" Shadow asked, crossing his arms.
"Why do you think you are here for then? Visit me so I don't get lonely, or here to talk to my creations?" Veldon asked. Widow smirked a little at Shadow who gave her a glare. Toxic sneered at Shadow a little. Veldon sat up and turn to Shadow with a smile. "You know something, Shadow? It's been a little while since you are here with those idiots, and you have become a fool yourself. I mean, you are the Ultimate Life Form, aren't you?" He asked. Shadow didn't say anything to him. Just silent treatment. Veldon chuckled a little. "You're supposed to have lust for power, especially the ultimate power."
"What are you hiding?" Shadow asked.
"Nothing, Shadow. Nothing at all." Veldon said. "And I hear you that have been listening to those old tapes and read those diaries of Hope Robotnik." Shadow blinked in shock.
"What? How did you that-"
"Widow, of course." Veldon said. Widow gave Shadow a wink. "Before we were capture, she has been watching you. And boy, you know too much."
"You were ruining everything back then. Before Maria was born, you said that you have something for Hope to agree on." Shadow said. "You mentioned that days ago to Maria. Something about change?"
"Maybe." Veldon said. "Hope broke the deal first when she sends her daughter away up in space, and...heh, she had to face me the hard way."
"Professor Veldon, it's best that he shouldn't know about it. He will find out for himself eventually." Toxic said. "It's in one of the tapes." Shadow looks at the cobra. "Go ahead Shadow. Find out what happens to Hope Robotnik."
"...You killed her, didn't you?" Shadow asked the evil professor who smirked.
"Maybe I did, maybe I didn't." He replied. "Perhaps Toxic was right. I shouldn't tell you in person. You should find out for yourself. If you do, you can't kill me. You're created to protect humans and be there for them. But, you can't save Maria. Her disease will never be cured. All you have to do...is watch her die." Then Veldon let out a laugh, and Shadow's body glows red. He skates off to leave the cell block, continue to hear the villains laugh.
'They're wrong.' Shadow thought as he skated through the corridors to get to the upper level of the colony.
Maria opened her door until was in front of her with a camera and a flash made her blink. She rubbed her eyes and see Valerie there with a camera, and a photo came out. The girl took the picture out and blow on it to make it dry.
"What're you doing in here?" Maria asked, feeling her heart beat fast. "You scared me!"
"I want to surprise you." Valerie said. She shows Maria a photo. "You look funny with that face." Maria sneered a little and took the photo.
"Well, it's because I wasn't expecting someone in my room." She said. "What are you doing in here anyway?"
"I...I wanted to see how you are feeling, and then I found your cool collection you have here." Valerie said as she turned to the shelves with books, and a book with photos. "I know I shouldn't be snooping about, but...I always love looking at photos." She opened the book and see photos of Maria's childhood, family, and friends. Maria blushed as Valerie giggled at the photo of Maria when she was a baby. "You look so cute there."
"Valerie, please put that away." Maria said by kneeling down to take away the book until a photo fell from one of the pages. Maria picked it up and saw her family. Her mother and father, smiling. Maria thinks back of her grandfather telling her about her parents weeks ago, and now...here they are in the photo. Valerie looks at the picture as well.
"Is that your parents?" She asked.
"...Yeah. But...I never knew I had this in there." Maria replied. "I never knew what my parents look like, but my grandfather told me about them. My mom was an Overlander, and my dad was in the military."
"Wow. Two people from different worlds. That sounds romantic." Valerie said with a smile. "That makes you special."
"Except I'm sick. I can't go to Earth until I am better." Maria said. "But, since I have a nosebleed, nothing else happened to me. My body feels...normal."
"Then you're getting better." Valerie said. "You can visit me and my dad when you come down." Maria smiled at her. "And bring Shadow with you."
"Of course I will. We want to discover that planet together." Maria said. "He promise that he will wait for me." Before Valerie could speak, the door opened and Abraham came in. Maria turned to him. It's been days since she last seen him. "Abraham?"
"Hi, Maria." The boy greeted as he sat next to her. "I heard what happened. Are you okay?"
"Yes. Thank you for asking." Maria replied, smiling. "How you been? It's...been a short while."
"Still upset about...the funeral." Abraham said. Maria frowned. Valerie hugged her legs close. "Veldon's still locked up?" Abraham asked.
"Yeah. He will have a trial sometime soon. I want him locked up, same goes with his creations." Maria said. "I'll never forget what he did to our friend." Abraham nodded. He stood up and left the room. Valerie looked at Maria.
"Least he checked on you." She said. Maria nodded.
"Yeah, but...he doesn't want to be around Shadow. He doesn't like him that much." She said, frowning a little. "Abraham thinks he's a replacement. But, it's not true. Shadow was my new friend, and I talk to him if I want to tell him something that was in my mind. Shadow understands me completely. He's a very good listener, and gives good advice."
"I only see him around, but I was soft of afraid to talk to him." Valerie said. "But, before we leave, I will try to talk to him." She then gave the camera to Maria. "Here. You need a photo of Shadow for your book here. He will always be a part of your life." Maria smiled at her and took the camera. The girls continued to talk in the room. Little did they know, up on the ceiling, they were being watched by the little camera of Veldon that Widow placed weeks before.
"She had a smile on her face." Veldon said as he looked at the screen of the flip screen. "But, after her last holiday with Shadow and everyone else, they will kiss their lives goodbye."
"How are we going to do that, professor? We're stuck here, and there is no way out." Widow said. "We can't break the glass. There's no air vent to crawl through. Nothing we can use to escape." Veldon only gave her and Toxic a smirk.
"The escape will be saved for later. Leave everything to me." He said. "Gerald will have his insanity."