Since last time we spoke on this series, I changed around the episode numbers a little bit. After the Fight, the Sonic Forces Special which does include a single event contemporary to the story, no longer counts towards the Season’s episode count, and is instead its own separate entity. It’s still located in the same place, it just isn’t numbered. The result of this is that all episodes thereafter had their number lowered by one, making what I once called 31 into 30, and this, which would have once been 32, into 31. Why did I do it? Well, like I said, that episode was very unusual for the story as a whole, taking place 100% in the past, so it makes sense that it wouldn’t count. I may have flashback episodes in the future, but there will always be a base in the present. But…perhaps the more important reason is that this way, the Season will now end at a nice round 32 episodes. That’s right. This is the next-to-last episode of the Season. But enough of all that, you came here for a preview, right?
Backed by Chaos, Tails, Knuckles, Amy, Rouge, Omega, Vector, Espio, Charmy, Hero, Infinite, and an army of GUN soldiers, human and animoid alike, Shadow stands ready to lead the charge against the horde of Replicas that stand opposite to them, including Zavok, Metal Sonic, Chaos 0, Mephiles, and countless of Blacklight’s shadowy minion creatures. Blacklight, still bearing the mask of Infinite, and the intensely-glowing Phantom Ruby, floats high above them, slowly drifting down until he stands before his army just as Shadow does. He speaks with a strange, distorted voice overlaid with his own, “So good to see you again, Shadow. We were wondering how long it would it would take you to take our bait.” The air is filled with strange glowing fissures in space itself, leaking out small violet particles. “And we see that you brought all your friends. That will make them much easier to destroy.”
Shadow at first seems surprised at the coherence of Blacklight’s thoughts. “Blacklight…is that still you?”
Blacklight laughs softly. “Of course it’s us, Shadow. Who else would it be?”
“Us? You and who else?”
“No one else. Just us.” He places his hand over the Ruby. “We are one, now.”
“No, no, don’t you see it!? That Ruby is taking over your mind! But it’s not too late to fight it! You have to fight it!”
“Fight it? Why would we want to do that? We were always destined to be together, don’t you see it, Shadow?”
Behind Shadow, Infinite growls and clenches his hand around his blade.
Shadow responds, “What happened to the free spirit, who hated rules and wouldn’t listen to anyone but himself!? Isn’t he still in there!?”
“Yes…and no. Besides, we still listen only to ourselves. Hence, why we aren’t listening to you now. So we would suggest you stop wasting your time. That is, if you still intend to stop us.”
Shadow closes his eyes and sighs, ready to take his last shot. “I have something for you.”
“What’s this? A gift?”
“That’s right.” Somewhat hesitantly, Shadow pulls something out and holds it up high for Blacklight to see. It’s a shiny red apple.
Blacklight gasps. “Is that…could it be?”
Shadow nods encouragingly. “I brought it for you. Just you. I thought you might enjoy it.”
“Shadow…that really means a lot, you know?” Slowly, Blacklight starts to lift his mask, revealing a genuine smile underneath. But, halfway up, he seems to change his mind, and lowers the mask back down. “Only two thousand, nine hundred and ninety-nine more before you’ve repaid your debt to us.” He directs out a hand, a violet glow is cast over the apple in Shadow’s hand. With the flick of a wrist, the apple is plucked out of Shadow’s hand with the Ruby’s power, and drawn into Blacklight’s. He lifts his mask up again, just high enough to take a large bite. “Hm. Not bad.”
Shadow lets out another sigh, realizing that there will be no easy way out.
Through a mouthful of apple, Blacklight continues, “Well, what will it be, Shadow? Who will make the first move?”
Behind Shadow, Infinite suddenly shouts, “We will!” Sword drawn, he charges alone out of line. Immediately, Hero runs after him, raising his Wispon in preparation to back him up.
Blacklight merely laughs, extending his arms wide as a command for his entire army to charge in response.
Havoc erupts on the battlefield.
The final battle has begun.
-And until next time, remember to live and learn every day!