*Chapter 4: Meet Again*
"Wait, you saw a what?" Mardic asks, sitting across from Maria in the nursing room. Abraham is with them too since he came in with Mardic to check on Maria. But, the first thing that Maria said that she saw a hedgehog who saved her. Abraham came to her.
"See?! Now you saw what I saw! I told you!" He said. "But...it's a hedgehog?"
"He kinda does." Maria said. "But...he doesn't look dangerous to me. He saved my life."
"Why you calling it a 'he'?" Madric asked. "It's a boy?"
"Yes he is, Mardic." Maria scowled. "Look, I'm going to my grandfather right now and ask him about that hedgehog." She got out of bed, but Abraham stopped him.
"Wait, you're not going near that thing, are you?" He asked.
"Yes, I am going near the hedgehog." Maria said. "I have to thank him for saving my life." She walked around him, leaving the nursing room. Mardic wanted to join her and see that hedgehog himself, but Abraham was left behind. He doesn't want to see that hedgehog. He's afraid.
Maria was by her grandfather's lab, looking through the window, and she doesn't see her grandfather or that hedgehog. But there is a pod inside the lab. Mardic arrived with a bag and a camera. He sets the bag down and took out the food for him and Maria and for the hedgehog. Maria picked up the little bag of cat food and made a strange look at her friend.
"...Cat food?" She asked. Mardic looked at her.
"That's what hedgehogs eat when you have them as pets. But, we'll never know." He said. "I look it up." He also took out a little radio. "Let's see if that little hedgehog had a good taste of music." Maria got the bagel out of the bag and took a bite. "Alright. So...what's the plan? Where the professor?" Mardic asks.
"He's not in there. He might be in his room. So, for a quick look. The hedgehog might be sleeping in his pod over there." Maria said by pointing at the capsule across the door. She walked inside the lab, and Mardic remain behind to keep watch if anybody comes by. Maria walked over to the pod, and it is empty. She sighed in disappointment. "Well, worth a shot."
"Can I help you?" A voice said. Maria turned around to face Mardic who heard a voice too. "Up here." A voice said. Maria looked up to see the hedgehog standing on the edge above. Shadow looks down at Maria and Mardic.
"...Holy crap." Mardic spoke. "He's real." Then, Shadow jumped down, making Maria step back and Mardic was close behind her with a look. "Maria, we gotta be careful. He could be dangerous."
"I got this." Maria said. She took a step forward towards Shadow. "I...I'm here to tell you that...well... Thank you for saving my life today."
"The professor sends me to stop those creatures to help you." Shadow replied. Maria blinked a few times.
"My grandfather. He...he made you?" She asked. Shadow gave her a nod. Mardic came in front and kneel down to study his features.
"Huh. He seems friendly." He said. "Well, do you have a name?"
"I'm Shadow the Hedgehog. The Ultimate Life Form." The black hedgehog replied.
"I'm Mardic Flynn."
"And I'm Maria Robotnik."
"Good to meet the both of you. And...Maria..." Shadow turned to the girl. "The professor told me about you. He plans to introduce me to you soon, but we already met once before. I hear he was relieved that you safe after the sudden attack." Maria smiled at him. Shadow is nice, and he was a creation of her grandfather.
"It's nice to meet you, Shadow. And thanks again for saving me." She said. "Since you are new to the ARK, we should show you around and introduce you to everyone."
"Hmm. I would like that." Shadow said. "Perhaps tomorrow. I'm waiting for the professor to return to the lab."
"Wait. You sleep here?" Mardic asked. "You need a comfortable bed." Shadow grew silent. Mardic grabbed the bag of cat food. "Hungry?" He asked. Shadow raises his brow at him. Maria changed the subject.
"I'll talk to my grandfather about taking you on tour. I'm sure he'll let us." She said.
"Yes." Shadow said.
"Well, we have to get going now." Mardic started, but Maria didn't move. She wanted to stay in the room to talk to Shadow some more. She told him that she will stay for a while longer. After Mardic left, Maria sat on the chair by the desk.
"So, when did you get released?" She asked.
"Last night at 4 am." Shadow replied. "The professor trains me how to fight to protect the people of the ARK. And you are the first one I saved." Maria felt her cheeks burn a little.
"And about that attack you did to those hyenas. You said Chaos Spear. What was that?" She asked.
"One of my Chaos powers. And you haven't seen anything yet." Shadow then disappeared and appear on top of the edge above her. Maria made an awe look on her face. Shadow appears in front of her again, forming a smirk. "I can appear anywhere. But, I can use Chaos Control to teleport anywhere but here. And I can use Chaos Blast to blow away victims."
"That sounds amazing, Shadow." Maria said. "What else can you do?"
"I can skate in full speed with these." Shadow gestures Maria his hover shoes. "Perhaps I could show you during the tour tomorrow."
"Sure. I would like to see everything you can do." Maria said. "Wow. I never imagine a creation like you can be so...full of energy. You're just like a human being than an average hedgehog."
"So, I'm your first one to meet of the professor." Shadow said.
"Well, he shows me small stuff, but nothing like you." Maria replied. "You know something, Shadow? I think we're going to be great friends. I'm sure you'll like it here." Shadow looked at her with his eyes. Her smile is gentle, and her blue eyes sparkle. Shadow smiled a little.
"You...you're my first friend." He said. "Your other friend seems to be afraid."
"He likes you, but...he's not used to meet...you know...the likes of you." Maria said, trying not to offend the hedgehog. "Give him time. Mardic and I are close friends. We all do everything together."
"I suppose so." Shadow said. Then, he sees Gerald coming in. "Good evening, professor." He greeted. Maria turned and stood up. Gerald stares at them.
"I see you two already met." He said. "Well, Maria? What do you think?"
"Shadow? He's amazing!" Maria said. "And grandpa, can Mardic and I show Shadow around the ARK tomorrow? I want my new friend to feel welcome."
"Oh, well..." Gerald looks at Shadow, then at Maria. He smiled at her. "Of course. Be sure you keep a close eye on him."
"Of course I will, grandpa. Thank you." Maria said. She turned to Shadow. "I'll see you tomorrow, Shadow! Goodnight!" She left the lab. Gerald chuckled a little.
"Never see her look this happy." He said. He turned to Shadow. "So, you two get along well?" Shadow nodded.
"Of course. She's...she's a friendly girl."
"She's friendly to everyone. And it's good that you two are now friends." Gerald said. "Now, Shadow. I set up a new room for you to sleep in. It's across from Mardic's family, and mine. Maria's on the other side, and Abraham's family on the other. So, whenever you need anything, just come to me or Maria."
"Thank you." Shadow said. Gerald took Shadow out of the lab to lead him down the halls to get to the rooms where people sleep in.
Shadow was in his new room with a bed and a closet that has extra blankets for him. He went by the window and see Earth below him. His eyes went wide in awe. He never thought he's above the planet. Is that where most humans live? Gerald came in with pillows for Shadow, but he noticed that he was staring out the window.
"Beautiful sight, isn't it?" He asked.
"Yes, but...what is that?" Shadow asked, not taking his eyes off Earth. "It's so big."
"That is planet Earth, Shadow." Gerald replied. "Most people are down there to experience things. But, I do call the ones who can deliver some stuff from there to bring up here so anybody can still be connected to Earth. Like books, movies, beverages, and anything we need."
"I see." Shadow said. "Have you...been down there?" Gerald didn't reply to him, and changed the subject.
"Shadow, make yourself at home here. See you in the morning." He said leaving the room. "Remember, if you need anything, come to me or Maria. We can always help." Shadow nodded in thanks and watch his creator leave the room. Shadow is alone in the room and continue to stare down at Earth. He felt so hypnotized by staring at it. Someday he can go down there. A knock was heard outside the door, and Shadow turned out to see Maria coming.
"Hi, Shadow." She greeted. "I heard you're going to sleep here, and I think it's great. I knew you would get a bed soon."
"The professor said I am on the other side of your room, so I can come to you or the professor if I need anything, but...I'm good for now." Shadow replied. "You need something, Maria?"
"Oh no, I just want to come by after I hear you here." Maria replied. "Well, I should let you sleep here. I'll see you tomorrow morning."
"Thank you. Goodnight, Maria." Shadow said. Maria left him alone in the room. Before Shadow could climb into bed, he found a book on the floor next to the closet. He came towards it and picked it up. But, Shadow found a tape player and some of the tapes. Where do these things come from? Whose are these? "Hmm." Shadow hummed and opened the book, and found out that it's a diary. A diary of Hope Robotnik. "A Robotnik. A family member of Professor Gerald." Shadow said. He started to read the first page:
"December 14th, 1940.After my daughter was born, I had to give her away to Gerald up to the Space Colony ARK because of the damn rare disease. I have to remain behind because of Veldon. My husband died from the mission for finding the cure for my daughter, and now it's up to me and Gerald to find the cure. I am in hiding somewhere outside of San Diego, but I will be on the move since Veldon is hunting me down. He wants to use my baby to 'experiment'. He copied Gerald's work, and I know he will use my Maria. Veldon will have to go through me if he wants to go after my only two members of the family. I don't care what will happen or not, I want to protect my little Maria from the evil professor.- Hope Robotnik"
Shadow closed the book. There's something behind the story of Gerald's past with his family. Who is Veldon? But, Shadow won't bother the professor and Maria about what he just discovered. Shadow puts the book and the tape player back in the closet. He will finish later.