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Chapter 18 - Shadows of Chaos

Knuckles battles mysterious new foes bent on stealing the Master Emerald!

Meanwhile, Punchy and Rainbow have discovered Rainbow's sister... But is she an enemy?

Chapter 18 - Shadows of Chaos

Chapter 18 - Shadows of Chaos
GeneX - Knuckles the Echidna
Chapter 18 - Shadows of Chaos
Stage 11-12(Hero & Dark 6) - Molten Sands
Minor Boss 7 - Shadow Chaos

Note: Sonic the Hedgehog and related characters are (c) SEGA and
Sonic Team. You knew that, right?
GeneX and related fanchars are (c) 2BIT (TheGreatGator), the author.

The story thus far:
While visiting Katie at the hospital, Kosmo was met with hostility and mistrust by Gemini, so he stormed out. He then met Carrie, a fellow experiment who seemed to sympathize with him. She sent him to Angel Island in search of "truth."
Meanwhile, Tails and Amy freed Sonic and Professor Pickle from Eggman's prison. The professor needed to research the mysterious Chaos Relics at the Sandopolis ruins, so they set out for Angel Island.
Once there, Sonic and Kosmo encountered Dr. Nammad and the Covenant of Despair in a standoff! Kosmo spirited Rainbow away from the danger, while Sonic and the others were forced to flee into the desert when Nammad caused an avalanche!
Sonic reached the desert pyramid and learned of 3 trials that must be passed. After passing the first trial, he found that Amy and Professor Pickle had gone missing!
Kosmo, Silver and Rainbow started to explore Lava Reef Zone, and were soon startled by Vortex. He had arrived with Fera, but where does his allegiance really lie?
Now, on to the next chapter!

As Sonic, Tails, Shadow, Omega and SPOT explored the pyramid, the floor beneath them suddenly collapsed, sending them plummeting into Lava Reef Zone! As Tails gently hovered down with his spinning tails, he looked worried. "I hope this didn't happen to the professor. He's too old for this kind of thing." he said. Shadow looked around the lava-heated caverns with a serious expression. "We need to find a way back to the pyramid." he grunted. Suddenly, Sonic started to run ahead. "I see someone in trouble!" he shouted. Up ahead, on a bridge of rocks in front of a waterfall of lava, Espio the chameleon and Charmy bee were surrounded by fiery Gohla robots! "Pitiful Eggman robots! Step aside and allow me to handle them!" Omega shouted. Instead, Shadow stayed put and tossed Chaos Spears at the small, orb shaped robots, smashing them one by one while Sonic tried to find an opening in their orbiting fireballs. "Hey... You don't have to hog all the action, Shadow." Sonic frowned. Espio bowed politely as they all gathered around him and Charmy. "Thanks for your help." he said. "Yeah... Well, good news guys. I found Tails." Sonic said. "They were looking for me?" Tails mumbled. "Aw, that case was closed a while ago. We decided his own robots did it!" Charmy chuckled, making SPOT stare at him awkwardly. "Right now, Vector's got us checking out these ruins on some Despair related hunch. But the floor caved in on us and dropped us in this lava pit." Espio reported. "I CHOSE to follow you, klutz!" Charmy teased, flying around playfully. "You wouldn't happen to have found a way back up, would you?" Shadow asked. Charmy snickered. "Well, you could fly through the holes in the roof!" he said. Sonic and Shadow shrugged, and started to lead Tails and Omega away. "By the way... Why isn't Amy with you?" Espio wondered. Sonic stopped short. "Huh? Did you see Amy?!" he asked. "She was wandering the pyramid near where we fell." Espio said. "With some old guy." Charmy added. Sonic and Tails sighed. "At least we know they're okay..." Tails said. As they walked off, Charmy turned to Espio. "Hey, how come Vector never goes on these missions?" he asked. Espio shrugged. "He gives some lame excuse every time. Now he's dusting the office..." he muttered. Charmy giggled. "I say he's scared! It's been so long since our last adventure that he's gone all wimpy!" he said. Espio sighed. "Then we'll have to see that he regains his courage... Even if it takes something as petty as name calling!" he muttered, heading off deeper into Lava Reef, with Charmy following.

To their surprise, they found a stairway leading back up to the pyramid. Once there, Tails immediately went looking for a light switch, and once the room was illuminated, they found the chamber they had arrived at guarded by Shadow Chaos! "Huh? Is this... Chaos?!" Sonic gasped. Tails couldn't believe it. "Not again! It's that monster from the frozen ruins!" he stammered. Shadow Chaos approached them slowly, glaring at them. "Well, what do you think it wants?" Sonic wondered. "Revenge, maybe?" Shadow mused. "That's Shadow Chaos. It is a dark manifestation of Chaos that was released from the Chaos Shrine." said a voice in a nearby doorway! "Who??" Sonic mumbled, looking at the coati in the shadows. "Ridley! What are you doing here!?" Tails wondered. Ridley leaned against the wall nonchalantly. "More important, what are you going to do about your short-tempered friend over there?" he asked. Shadow Chaos hurled its arm at the group like a whip, forcing those fast enough to jump over it, but striking Omega! "Creature is hostile! Preparing to terminate!" he yelled. Ridley nodded. "Dr. Eggman's research states that Shadow Chaos is more volatile and prone to anger than Chaos. Watch out." he said. Sonic glanced at Ridley with alarm. "Eggman...? Errr, never mind, I'll get back to ya." he mumbled. Suddenly, making matters worse, several hands wrapped in black bandages burst out of the sand! "Whaaaa!! Now what!?" Tails screamed. Mummies wrapped in black bandages rose up from the sand, glaring at them! "Well... Those weren't here last time I visited..." Sonic muttered.

Omega pulled in his hands and replaced them with lasers. "I will dispose of the bandaged intruders! You defeat the liquid life form!" he said. As Omega opened fire on the mummies, Sonic ran at Shadow Chaos. "All right, ya black drip! I'll knock the ink outta ya!" he shouted, leaping at Shadow Chaos with a homing attack, only for the "black drip" to jump back and evade it! "Huh? Hey, he's quicker than Chaos 0..." Sonic muttered. Meanwhile, the mummies were shrugging off Omega's bullets and kept coming at Shadow and Tails. "Gwaaaah!! You can't kill the undead!!" Tails yelled, hugging SPOT in his panic. Shadow scoffed. "If they died once, what's so scary about them?" he said. "Their inability to expire again." Omega replied, making Shadow look at him funny. "In this case, it appears logical." the robot said. While they were thinking of what to do about the mummies, Sonic was trying to corner Shadow Chaos. It would jump away and attack from a distance with its stretchy arms, forcing Sonic to jump back, too. "That does it... Eat spinning hedgehog!!" Sonic quickly curled into a ball and went into a spin dash, charging straight for Shadow Chaos! Surprised, the black Chaos tried to stop Sonic by shooting globs of black water from its hands, but Sonic sped past them and smashed into Shadow Chaos, exploding him into a puddle of black sludge! "Ick!! This thing's even more gross than the real Chaos!" Sonic groaned, shaking the gunk from his fur. While he was distracted, the black sludge started to reform behind him, casting a shadow over him. "He's behind me again, isn't he?" Sonic muttered. Suddenly, he was grabbed up in Shadow Chaos's stretchy, almost tentacle-like arm! "Aaaaugh!! Little help, guys!?" Sonic gurgled. However, they were busy watching Shadow tear through the mummies with his various Chaos techniques, sneaking up on them with Chaos Control, breaking them up with Chaos Spear, and burning them to a crisp with Chaos Blast! "...Now I'm scared of Shadow." Tails murmured. Fortunately, during this Sonic was able to spin his way out of Shadow Chaos's clutches and land on top of the creature, exploding it again!

Ridley clapped as Shadow Chaos slunk away. "Nice moves, hedgehog." he said. "Uh, thanks..." Sonic muttered. "I think he was talking to me." Shadow scoffed. Sonic ignored him and turned his attention to Ridley. "You work for Eggman? So what do you want here?" he asked. "Ah, that would be telling." Ridley smirked. Tails stepped forward. "Hold it, Ridley! I bet you know a lot about Eggman's plan! Like what he wants the Chaos Gauntlets for!" he shouted. The coati rolled his eyes. "Can't you just be happy I sprung you out of jail, fox boy? If I hadn't suggested you and Eggman play nice, you and Knuckles would be stuck." he pointed out. Sonic growled at him. "Hey! Because of that, I got tossed in jail!" he snapped. "You got out, didn't you? I'm not here to toss you back in if that's what you're concerned about." Ridley shrugged. Sonic crossed his arms. "Anything Eggman's up to concerns me. It never ends well." he said. "For him. By the time he figures that out, I'm sure it'll be too late. So long!" Ridley said, turning to leave. "Halt, agent of Eggman!!" Omega shouted. Ridley turned and raised his hand. "Chaos Splash!" A ball of water, shining with chaos energy, shot from his hand and exploded against the top of the doorway, splashing water down and obscuring their view of him for a second, which was all it took for him to escape! "Sorry, Omega. He's gone." Sonic said. "Who knows, maybe we'll run into Metal Sonic again." Tails added. "It is no use trying to cheer me up..." Omega grumbled. Sonic started to look around now that the coast was clear. "I wonder if those mummies were the second trial? Well, we won't know until we find more of those hieroglyphics. Grab SPOT and let's get looking, Tails!" he said, heading through the doorway Ridley had escaped through. Shadow looked in the direction Shadow Chaos had escaped. "I wonder... just what is that creature...?" he muttered before following after Sonic.

Vortex was now leading Kosmo, Silver, Rainbow and Whisk through Lava Reef Zone, talking while they walked. "I'm ssssorry Zipp tried to kill you. I guesss now he'ssss tried to kill everyone." he said. Kosmo followed with his arms crossed. "And you say YOU want to help me? Yeah, and Bucky's a human." he scoffed. Vortex led them to a stairway before turning to Kosmo. "Our creator hasss hisss own plansss... He'd much prefer to think of you asss friend rather than foe." he said. "He is NOT putting me back in a cage!" Kosmo growled. Vortex sighed. "Perisssh the thought." he hissed, motioning for everyone to head up the stairs. "Where are we going?" Silver asked. "And will there be drinks? This place is so HOT!" Whisk whined. "Sssstick with me, Whisssk, and you'll be okay..." Vortex said, blushing a little. "I saw that! Five's got a thing for Angel!" Rainbow teased. Vortex yanked Rainbow by the arm forcefully. "Ssssilence!!" he snarled. Rainbow made a motion as if to zip her lips. "I gotcha. Secret." she grinned. As she skipped up the steps, Vortex scratched his head. "Who told her I wasss Experiment 5?" he groaned. Up the stairs, they found themselves in a long hall within the Sandopolis pyramid. The lights were dimming since the last time Tails lit them, but there was still some light left. "Thisss pyramid isss the ssssubject of Dessspair'sss raid." Vortex said. "Are they looking to swipe a mummy?" Whisk wondered. As Rainbow looked around, she saw a special-looking tablet covered in hieroglyphics. "Hey, I can read these!" she gasped. "Seriously!?" Silver gasped. "Well, I haven't seen words like this since I was a kid, but... It says something about passing three trials to prove worthiness." she said. "Three trials? What the..." Kosmo muttered. "Read the lassst part." Vortex said. Rainbow shrugged. "Trial the Second: The Sentries of Sandopolis. The Sentries Shall Annihilate All Who Are Not Worthy to Pass." she said. There were statues resembling Chaos all along the hallway. "I wasss afraid of thisss... It'ssss Chaosss Sssshrine all over again!" Vortex hissed.

They looked down the hall ahead of them. "Doesn't look so bad... Maybe the sentries are out on a coffee run." Kosmo said. "The sssstatuesss are the sssentriesss." Vortex hissed. Silver shrugged. "Well, we have to keep moving! Sentries or no sentries!" he said. As they started down the hall and passed the first pair of Chaos statues, the statues started to turn in place, facing them! "Omigosh! The statues are moving!" Whisk gasped. "I TOLD you!" Vortex growled. The Sentries of Sandopolis started firing strange beams from their eyes, forcing the group to scramble past them! Rainbow, however, ran around in circles for a few moments in her panic. "Don't zap me! Don't zap me!!" she yelped. Oddly, they didn't even look at her. Kosmo observed this and, once they were safely past the first pair of statues, he morphed into his echidna form. "The sentries didn't shoot at her, so maybe they like echidnas." he figured. He tested this theory right away, stepping back in front of the statues. They ignored him, just like Rainbow. "Well, we're safe." he said to her. "Great for you..." Whisk sighed. Suddenly, the lights went out! "Oh, just great! Now we can barely see!" Silver groaned. Making matters worse, a white shape emerged in the darkness. It had angry black eyes and pointed ears. "EEEEK!! GHOOOOST!!" Rainbow yelled. Several more ghosts started to emerge, and then began to chase the group down the hall! "Run for it!! Wait, the ssssentriesss!!" Vortex yelped, jumping as a beam came at him! Rainbow looked around and saw a pull-chain near the wall. "What's this do?" she muttered, jumping up and pulling it. The lights came back on, but not very brightly. "Aw, this light switch is broken!" she sighed. Whisk teleported past the sentries as they fired at her and ran over to Rainbow. "Let's hurry! I don't know where we're going, but I don't like it here!" she panted. "You need to see a head doctor, Angel. We're obviously going that way." Rainbow pointed. Looking ahead, Kosmo could see there were still several sentries blocking their path, and the lights were rapidly flickering. "I wonder if I could destroy those statues? ...Probably take too long with these ghosts." he sighed.

They continued down the hall, Kosmo and Rainbow dashing ahead to search for light switches while the others evaded the sentries' beams. There weren't quite enough light switches to compensate for the fact that the lighting mechanism seemed to have been damaged, so the group ended up chased by the ghosts periodically. "Thissss isss getting old!" Vortex hissed, turning to the ghosts in the darkness. "Wait... What are you doing?" Silver wondered. "Chaossss Hole!!" Vortex used Chaos energy to create a small black hole, which started to suck in nearby objects straight away! The nearest sentry statues ahead popped out of their bases and flew into the hole, and the ghosts started fleeing away from it! "Yessss, now who'sss fleeing in terror!?" Vortex smirked. Kosmo pulled a switch to turn the lights on, then looked back. "What in the...? Are you insane!?" he shouted. Whisk was flapping against the pull of the black hole, but was losing ground. "Nooo!! I don't wanna go in theeeere!!" she wailed. Silver grabbed her with his psychokinesis, holding on to the base of the broken sentry statue to brace himself. "Can you stop that thing!?" he shouted. Vortex glanced back at Whisk and gasped. "R-right away..." he stammered, raising his hands to the hole and concentrating on it in order to make it disappear. Rainbow then poked her head out from behind the other busted statue. "Is Two the only one of you guys who isn't the least bit scary?" she groaned. Before Vortex could answer, Kosmo stepped past the last pair of sentries. "Before you do anything crazy again, let me see if there's an off switch for the statues!" he shouted. However, the statues all returned to their neutral positions on their own now that someone had passed the trial. "Hey, that was fast, Kosmo." Silver said. "Uh, yeah... That's me. Gettin' things done." Kosmo muttered.

Beyond the second trial, Vortex looked around and found a stairway leading back down to Lava Reef Zone. "Come with me, everyone. There'ssss a quick sssstop we mussst make." he said. They climbed down and found themselves in a large chamber with small steam geysers in places on the floor, and a huge cliff overlooking the area. From the top of the cliff, Zeke the dragon soared down and blocked the stairway they'd come from! "Well, well! You've done great, Vortex! There's Kosmo AND the white hedgehog!" he cackled. Zipp flew down as well, hi-fiving Vortex on arrival. "We've still got it, 'Tex!" he smirked. "Eeep... What's going on here?" Rainbow yelped. "Class reunion, maybe?" Whisk said hopefully. "Nope, we've been betrayed." Kosmo groaned. "Funny, I was going to say that!" said Fera the wolf, who was standing at the foot of the cliff with several uniformed Despair Agents! "Well, I wanted to find the Covenant of Despair. Thanks, I guess..." Silver muttered. "Don't thank me. I wasss sssent to take you out." Vortex hissed. Kosmo glared at him. "Me, too?" he growled. "That remains to be seen..." Fera sneered, marching her group of agents toward them. Their group was surrounded, and Silver wasn't about to join up with Despair. With Kosmo's allegiance unclear at best, this was shaping up to be a deadly trap...

To be continued...


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