That night Sonic sat on the edge of his bed, his decision to leave hanging on his conscience. It had to be done, no question about it. That still didn't make it any easier. He grabbed his cloak and walked into the moonlight. He walked towards the power ring pool and saw a figure sitting at the edge waiting on him. Sally turned around when she heard his footsteps.
"Sonic," she said as he sat next to her, "why did you ask me to meet you here so late? Is something wrong?"
"I'm leaving Knothole, Sal," he said bluntly. "I don't know how long I'll be gone or even if..." He took a deep breath. "Or even if I'll come back. This is something that I have to do though. It may give us our best option against Robotnik."
To say the least Sally was shocked. "No, Sonic," she pleaded. "You can't leave. We need you here to help us fight. What will happen to us if we don't have you?"
"The Freedom Fighters still have you," he said bringing his hand to her face. "As long as we have our Princess we cannot lose to Robotnik, right?."
"It's not just that, Sonic," she said, holding his hand. "It's not just the Freedom Fighters that need you. I...need you." A tear fell down her cheek and Sonic stopped it with his other hand.
"I have to Sal," he said. "I won't let Robotnik bring tears to your eyes ever again. That I promise." They looked into each other's eyes and Sally could see his resolve. She buried herself in his chest hugging him tightly.
"Sonic..." she said more tears coming. Sonic gently put his arms around her as a single tear rolled down his cheek. She looked up at him and him at her. Both their hearts were racing as their faces drew closer to each other. They closed their eyes and kissed, holding it for what seemed an eternity. They parted and Sally put her head on his shoulder.
"I love you, Sonic Hedgehog," she said finally. "I always have but I could never put it into words how I felt. I've been so wrapped up in fighting Robotnik that I tried to pretend I didn't. But when you nearly died I couldn't bear to leave your side. I was so worried that you wouldn't make it."
Sonic said nothing, only holding her closer. What he had been trying to deny all these years, this was it. He stroked her cheek and looked into her eyes.
"I love you too, Sally Alicia Acorn," he finally admitted. "Ever since we were little kids I knew you were the one I was meant to be with forever. That's why I have to do this. I don't know what I would do if I lost you."
He kissed her again, this time with all the passion and fire in his soul. She returned the kiss in full, feeling like she was finally complete. When they finally parted they both stood.
"I have to go," he said still holding her hands. "If I don't go now I may never be able to."
"Promise me you'll come back," she asked. "Come back to us...and to me."
Sonic stared into her blue eyes as another tear ran down his cheek. "I promise," he said smiling.
She gave him one last kiss and they finally parted. She watched as he walked into the forest, vanishing before her eyes. She sat down and curled up into a ball, crying silently into her knees.
At Cherrywood Darryl calmly stood in the village square. The village was quiet but he could still feel the agony of the dead clawing at his mind. There was no doubt in his mind as to whether or not Sonic would come. At the stroke of midnight he heard footsteps not far from where he stood.
"You finally came," he said as Sonic approached. "I was beginning to worry."
"I had to settle a few things before I left," Sonic replied. "My mind is set: I'm here to take you up on your offer."
"We should leave now then," Darryl began explaining. "Our destination will take time to reach and we have much to do." As they walked to the west towards the mountains Sonic turned to look at the village one last time.
"No one else dies from here on out. I won't allow it."