…. “Chaos, Control~!”
A blinding flash erupted beneath the Space Colony ARK. After being hurtled toward the blue planet below, the Colony was being returned to its original orbit, with the help of two Hedgehogs. Both yelling out, and calling the Aid of the Seven Chaos Emeralds to transport the beast, the two stood united.
After the light dimmed from the area, a lone, Gold, Hedgehog was seen, grasping the only remains if his new friend.
“Shadow had fulfilled his destiny…” Sonic breathed as he flew solemnly back toward the now stationary Colony, never looking back, as he had no reason, nor desire to, “I wish him…peace…” In his paws he rolled around the right gold band had been torn from his partner’s wrist, after he tried desperately not to let him go. The kind effort had not completely been wasted as he was offered a large smile in return after his hand was released.
- – -
As the effects of ‘Chaos Control’ faded, he started to fall back. Not because he was forced, but of his own free will.
The Platinum Hedgehog gazed upon the planet that he had helped save, as it seemingly grew with his descent into the Atmosphere, “Maria…This is what you wanted, right?”
He turned, facing away from the sapphire globe, as he became engulfed in flames, his form still falling from the sky; now a shooting star.
“This is my promise, to you—”
A stream of sparkles trailed behind Shadow, creating a shimmering tail of light. They were tears, of hope, of joy, and of Peace. A weight lifted from his soul, his mind cleared.
As with Sonic, his new form wasn’t lasting. The Rings, which he had collected, were depleting, sparking from him as each one was used, and burned up behind him.
Shadow watched as his last Ring leapt away, and exploded with the intensity of a firework. He could feel the color leaving his face. The power of the Chaos Emeralds was vanishing. A last flicker of his metallic appearance melted back into his original, Black, colored spines, and he soon felt the ferocity of the effect from him falling through the Stratosphere.
Burning, blinding pain wracked through his body, as he plunged downward, nearing the surface.
“I’ll be with you, shortly…” Shadow spoke to himself, before the pain overwhelmed him, and he slipped unconscious.
- – -
“Shadow…Shadow.! ” A calm, gentle voice called out. The voice had a small, almost innocent feel as it echoed in his mind. A feeling of weightlessness passed over him, as if he were floating away, flying toward something, and was set down lightly.
Shadow looked around, trying to focus on the room he was in. The cold metal fixtures and wondrous view of space finally came into view. The look was familiar; he was back aboard the ARK.
Before he could think of any questions, the voice called to him again, “You’re alone… Please don’t be sad.” It seemed closer, and clearer, now.
Shadow began to feel a slight bit anxious, yet puzzled, and quickly turned around to face who was talking to him. Feelings of happiness, and of sorrow flooded the Hedgehogs mind, almost causing pain as he stared at the familiar face.
“Shh…It’s okay, Shadow.” The figure moved closer, to silence and ease the weary Hedgehog. Her soothing voice worked like magic, “I knew you could do it. You did it for everyone, and for me. Now the people can all live, and be happy.” The frail young girl knelt down, and looked out through the glass floor beneath her, staring in amazement at the earth.
Shadow bowed his head, and thought to himself, ‘Am I dreaming?’ He kneeled beside her, and spoke as if he knew what she wanted to ask of him. “The earth, down there, is beautiful. The perfect image of your dreams…” He trailed off from his answer.
Maria blinked, then looked up at her friend, “But why are you so sad, then, Shadow?” Her innocent face cast a bewildered expression. Her voice struck a chord deep in his heart, to hear her so sad again.
“You never really had the chance to experience it,” murmured the solemn Hedgehog. ‘This can’t be a dream,’ He thought, ‘She looks so real…Am I dead?’
She simply smiled, then spoke her turn, “Neither have you…” This confused Shadow, who looked back down at the earth below him. The girl paused a moment, enough for Shadow to question her, “What do you mean, Maria?”
“I want you to be happy, now. This is my promise to you… With all the Pain you have suffered; you deserve a chance to be free!” She tried to smile as best she could, trying to cheer up her friend, but a few tears rolled down her cheeks showing her own grief about the situation.
The room slowly began to light up, glowing with a pale yellow haze. Maria righted herself, and then clasped her hands together as she closed her eyes.
Shadow had to raise a hand to shield his eyes from the glow, momentarily, and then brought it quickly back down in time to see the room fade away to the warm, yellow light. The two were lifted into the air, and floated there as a strong breeze brought down a shower of feathers. The girl had grown a pair of delicate, and wondrous, feathered wings; she was his Guardian Angel.
- – -
“Hey! It’s okay! Stay still…” an unknown voice tried to calm him down. Shadow’s Angel started to change shape, as he began to wake from his vision. A warm smile and a kind face looked back at him. The room began to look less distorted to him, as he looked around, finally coming to rest his gaze on a familiar set of wings, “Maria..?” he questioned softly.
Tilting her head to the side, a small, lavender colored feline stated back at the question presented to her, “Sorry… I’m not Maria. As you were laying there, in a restless sleep, you kept calling out that name…”
The cat was an odd shade of Lavender, and had a pair of long fur bangs, covering her blue eyes. Along her muzzle and the tip of her tail, were marked with fluffs of white fur. She wore a soft cyan colored vest, without a back. The back ‘tail’ of the vest dropped like a long cocktail dress, but remained simple. Upon her feet, was a pair of navy and white shoes.
A rush of pain spiked through his head, knocking Shadow deeper into the bed he was laying on, as he remembered the battle with Final Hazard, and falling from space, trying to end his life.
The cat stood up quickly from her place on the side of the bed, and rushed to snap up a cool towel to press against Shadow’s forehead, “Calm down! You’re still not fully healed, yet..!”
‘Still?’ Shadow thought as reality finally set into his mind, the wings on the felines back had vanished, like they were never there. Managing enough courage to speak again, he asked, “How long have I been laying here?”
Taking a step back, then ringing the towel, warm from a fever, in her paws. The lavender cat whispered, “A month, now. But, if you please, could you tell me your name? The way you fell from the sky, like a shooting star…My name is Crystal.”
The dark Hedgehog rubbed at his eyes, then pushed himself to sit in the bed, to look at the person who had helped him, wincing slightly from the pain of some of his burns, “My name…is Shadow, the Hedgehog.”
Only after he sat up, did he really notice a splint wrapped around his left arm, to keep it still as it healed from a fracture.
Crystal followed Shadow’s glance, as he questioningly looked at his arm, then piped up to explain to him about his situation, “When you fell from the sky, just moments after a bright flash a month ago, I thought a star exploded. You crashed into the ocean, and I went out to catch you from there. You were badly burned, and the impact looked as if it had broken your arm, but most burns have healed up rather quickly. All the time you slept, tossing and calling out the name, ‘Maria’, I guessed that she was someone close to you…” She stopped her speech long enough to watch Shadow turn his gaze from her to the rest of the room, to check his surroundings.
The room was a rather small, boring room. Pastel colored walls; to go with the white bed he was resting in. There was a table toward the foot-end of the bed, and one in the middle of the room. Beside his head, was a comfy looking chair, where Crystal most likely slept as she watched over him. A wall divider acted as a door to the room, so that one could get some privacy.
“I don’t know where you did come from, could you tell me that, too?” The feline asked, hoping to find out more.
“I don’t really know, either.” Was the Hedgehogs flat reply. He began thinking to himself, wondering if those wings he had seen behind Crystal were real, or just a leftover from his dream, as they looked as if they had to have been attached to her. He leaned back into a large pillow behind him, settling down with a sigh, as he rubbed his left arm gently. It did seem rather sore, but it certainly wasn’t broken anymore.
Crystal shook her head slightly, apparently she knew about the same amount of information, as the Hedgehog knew. She turned to walk out, not noticing a small bouncing ball trotting past. She drew close the shutter to the room, leaving Shadow to think to himself. It seemed he needed to.
- – -
The bouncing, yellow, bauble made its way toward the lone bed in the room, containing Shadow, and stopped just beside him.
Shadow hadn’t really much to think about, yet his mind was racing. His closed eyes acted as a projection screen, as he tried to remember the past events leading up to this day, and his ‘Dream’.
There wasn’t much he could do now, but he had to find a reason why Maria had appeared to him the way she had, and what she had meant, if there was a meaning.
A sudden disturbance around Shadows legs caused him to abruptly stop his contemplating, and stare face-to-face with a small, blue Chao, who must have been very young, itself.
“Pahhm..?” The Chao began wondering why Shadow glared at it, and then raised a paw, in a cheering way. It then looked back, again, at Shadow’s face, with a small sparkle in its eyes.
To Shadow, it seemed that the Chao looked rather familiar, especially by the way it looked at him, “What?” The bedridden Hedgehog went and picked the Chao from his lap, and felt a small pang of happiness. It was as if this little marshmallow knew what he was thinking about, and knew it could cheer him up.
A small, but still noticeable, smile crept across Shadow’s face. The Chao seemed pleased as it was picked up, as its bauble bounced into a small heart. Shadow looked at its eyes again, and noticed they were two different colors. Blue, and Green.
“MIZU!” Crystal had returned with a bowl of soup and some buns for Shadow, when she saw the Chao sitting on her Guest. She thought it was bugging him, “Stop pestering Shadow! The way you cling to him, it’s like you knew him all your life!” She set her tray down at the foot of the bed about to pluck the Chao off of Shadow, when the Chao giggled, and started bouncing in the Hedgehogs arms. Shaking her head, Crystal just grinned, “Okay! So you have, just… Let him have some sort of a meal, before you go overboard.”
Mizu, as the Chao was called, squirmed its way from the grasp it was in, and tottered off. In amazement, Shadow watched it leave, “What did you mean when you said, ‘It knew me all its life?’” He questioned Crystal, who was now offering the meal to him. Responding with a nod of thanks, he took the tray.
After the Chao had left the room, the lavender cat looked back at Shadow then began to comment, “Actually, it was rather strange. I found Mizu the same day as I saw you falling from the sky. It was as if the Chao was meant to be there. After it hatched, it crawled to your bedside, wanting to see you, so I lifted it onto the bed where it slept beside you almost every night.”
Shadow really hadn’t had any real food like this in a long time, so he drank the soup carefully. He greatly appreciated the way he had been cared for, though… “Why did you help me?” The question had been tossing in his mind, and finally found a way to be asked.
The question was dropped like a bombshell, and Crystal couldn’t explain in an answer. Silence was draped over the room, making the feline rather uncomfortable, “I don’t know, either.” Came his short reply. It wasn’t really a plausible answer, she diverted herself to say more, “I felt like I was responsible for helping you…”
Shadow quietly finished off the bread, and sighed deeply. He felt a light drowsy feeling wave over him. Was it the soup? Whatever the reason, Crystal seemed to understand, and took the tray away silently, smiling a bit. Shadow lay back to close his eyes again, as Crystal turned and walked away. She whispered to herself, “Sweet Dreams, Shadow the Hedgehog.”
- – -