Song for this chapter- Coldplay, Fix you.

Chapter 18 – Light In Shadow

Her face was almost yellow in color, her body hardly anything more than skin loosely stretched over a living skeleton.

Sergeant Ken Mitsui touched his daughter's thinning hair with a trembling hand as a tear ran down his cheek. Pulling his nose, he observed the faint signal of the electrocardiogram. She had changed so much… It seemed as if the neuro-immune deficiency syndrome had almost wasted his beloved child away.

But, at least, he could say that he'd done all that was in his power… There was nothing else to do. Only words of farewell remained.

Ken cleared his throat and began reciting in a clear voice, thinking that, perhaps, his daughter was still somehow able to hear him.

Tabi ni yande, yume wa kareno o, kakemeguru." [1]

She did not react to his words. Only the beeping of the ECG ensured the man that the sick girl was still alive. Bending over, he kissed her on the forehead, saying-

"Watashi o yurushite… watashi wa shippaishita." [2]

Suddenly, he felt the presence of a third person in the room- a presence which appeared in spite of the closed doors.

The guest said nothing, and for a while, Ken himself remained silent. Only when he could no longer stand the sight of his own daughter's suffering, the man decided to turn around.

"Have you come to mourn with me, Shadō-sama?"

Sergeant Mitsui noticed that the hedgehog had his own katana fastened to his back. The man had completely forgotten to bring it with him when he was leaving the ARK.

Shadow did not respond to his question at first. Walking over to the bed, he took a sad look at the young girl who lay there, dying.

All of a sudden, her father's drinking problem became much more understandable.

"What is her name?" Shadow asked.

"Tabitha," came the answer.


The black creature continued looking at the sick child for a moment. But then, he rapidly turned away, fixing his eyes at her sorrowful father.

"You did all of this for her, haven't you?" the hedgehog said. "Leaving GUN, hacking into top-secret military databases, searching for me, traveling to space… All of that could have cost you your life. But it didn't matter to you, did it? You took the greatest risk, but you know it was worth it. Though you left the army, there was a greater war to be won- that for the life of your daughter."

The old sergeant's sullen silence was enough of a confirmation for him.

"You've taught me something about your kind, Mitsui-san," Shadow went on. "The Black Arms, my kin, possess a hive mentality. The individual means nothing to them. All that counts is the survival of the collective. But as for you humans... you're not like that. To you, every life matters. Every person is just as important as the whole world… That, I will never forget."

Astonished, the man turned his eyes at the hedgehog, and noticed that Shadow was stretching out his arm toward him.

"Take this," he said.

"What…? What is that?" Ken inquired, startled to see that he was being presented with a some small glass phial filled with a strange black liquid.

As the sergeant examined his gift with bewildered curiosity, in a tranquil voice, Shadow plainly stated-

"This is what we've all been looking for."

The old man gasped, hardly able to believe the hedgehog's words.

"Nani... ? D-dō yatte?" he asked in total shock. "How is this possible…?"

The faintest smile appeared in the corner of Shadow's mouth as he responded-

"I have my ways…"


Shadow called all those who still remained aboard the ARK to gather on the station's main bridge. When Sonic, Tails and Eggman walked into the room together, all they could see was his back, as the hedgehog faced the large window and stared at the black starry void in the distance.

Impatiently yet politely, Sonic then cleared his throat to indicate that they were waiting for his instructions. But when Shadow turned around, Sonic regretted having done that. His rival's face may have been as if chiseled from solid stone, but in his eyes he could still notice a great sadness.

"Have you sent sergeant Mitsui on his way?" the dark being mumbled silently.

"Uh, yeah, we did…" Sonic answered, scratching the back of his head and avoiding eye contact.

"Good," nodded the other hedgehog.

"What do you want us to do now?" Tails, still looking terribly concerned, inquired.

Crossing his arms on his chest, Shadow fixed his eyes on the floor.

"Take Eggman's ship, go back to Earth. Go your own ways, you are all free. The game's over."

It was as they've feared- blaming himself for the Project's failure, and for the death of Ken's daughter, Shadow had lost all desire to continue the work they'd conducted aboard the ARK…

"But… what about you?" the young fox yelped, gazing at his friend in sorrow.

The hedgehog hadn't made up his mind yet. The thought of returning to Earth repulsed him. If he did that, in the face of every human, he would continue to see a silent accusation for all eternity.

He contemplated staying on the space station. He contemplated living there forever, alone with the ghosts of the past. He contemplated setting the course for the sun in order to end it all…

"My fate… is none of your concern," he said finally. "You just follow your own paths."

Suddenly, Shadow saw that Tails ran up to him and, without any warning, grabbed him by the elbow with despair written all over his face.

"No, Shadow! The answer is right here, in your blood! We can't just give up! I know you want all of this to end… in a good way, that is, not as a tragedy!" the youngster continued to cry, touching the others' very souls with his kind-hearted determination.

"It's over, Miles… Please, unhand me," the black being protested without conviction, not even finding enough willpower in order to free himself from the fox's grip.

And then, Tails felt somebody's hand on his own shoulder. When he turned around, he was surprised to see that the one doing that was Eggman.

"Now now, fox boy. Do give Shadow some room! How do you intend to convince him to follow our plan if he can't even breathe freely?"

"Huh? O-oh yeah, that's right… Sorry."

Instantly, Tails let go of the hedgehog's elbow, standing by the doctor's side. Now also Sonic joined them, having seemingly overcome his aversion for working with the malevolent scientist. When the whole trio fixed their eyes at him, Shadow lifted a brow.

"What's the meaning of this?" he asked, clearly not in the mood for jokes. "What's this plan you're talking about?"

Baring his teeth in a grin, Eggman rubbed his hands together.

"Heh-heh… Well, yes. It appear that, this time, it's us who have a little... proposition for you, Shadow! And although I would love to call it my own, the whole thing was actually Tails' idea. Allow me to explain. It is obvious that, since the laboratory has been so… unfortuitously destroyed, along with the vast majority of our recent work on Project Shadow, it is impossible to recreate all of that in the small amount of time we have left. However, after you left, our young friend proposed a different approach to the problem. One involving a certain powerful artifact we are lucky to possess. Namely, the Chaos Emerald!"

Becoming more and more interested with each word, when the doctor finished speaking, Shadow was astonished by the sight of a contrite Sonic, walking over to stand before him. With an awkward smile and eyes downcast, his rival pulled out the precious gem he had stolen, and handed it over without and resistance.

"Erm, sorry about that, Shad… I mean, Shadow," the Blue Blur muttered. "You know how it is with these things… You see one- you just gotta have it, no matter how tough the Special Stage is!"

Snatching the Chaos Emerald from the other hedgehog's grasp, Shadow, still completely surprised, redirected his eyes at Tails and Eggman. The doctor continued holding his hand on the youngster's shoulder.

"As suggested by our child prodigy, with the use of both the Emerald and your own built-in Eternal Engine, you should be able to utilize enough control over the Universe's chaos energy in order to create a chronological suspension long enough for us to restart and, indeed, finish the Project we'd been working on… In other words, and this is proven by some calculations which I myself have made, you should be able to stop time, Shadow! If you focus hard enough, that is. With enough luck and effort, we should be done before Ken's daughter passes away!"

With his mouth agape, the black creature stared at the reflection of his own face in the smooth, green surface of the powerful gem which he was holding. Somewhere deep within the darkness of his heart, a faint light of hope was enkindled.

"I… I haven't thought about that," he gasped. "I should be able… to do this! Miles, I…"

Shadow turned his eyes at the fox with genuine gratitude, making him smile for real this time.

"Thank you!"

"Pleasure's all mine! Tails never fails!" laughed the juvenile scientist, taking off from the ground and making a loop over everyone's heads in a gesture of jubilation.

"Oh yeah, this Project is back on track!" cheered Sonic, expressing that he finally decided to join his rival's cause, even if his change of heart came a bit late.

Also Eggman stood there chuckling, a spark of anticipation glowing in the scientist's eye.

When Tails finally came down to the ground, Shadow, greatly relieved, commended his plan with a nod of appreciation.

"I was wrong to ever call you stupid, Miles... I was wrong about a lot of thigs."

"Hey, don't be too hard on yourself, Shadow! We all make mistakes sometimes. Fortunately, with your power, we may still be able to fix that!"

The fox then extended his hand toward the hedgehog, saying-


"Partners!" Shadow responded without hesitation, shaking Tails' hand.

Next, he was approached by Eggman.

"We're still partners too, aren't we, Shadow?" the doctor said ingratiatingly, carrying a falsely sweet grin.

The black creature shook his hand as well.

"Yeah. Just remember, doctor- no more tricks!"

"Why no, of course not! Why would I ever do anything like that? Heh-heh…" Eggman assured him, taking back his aching hand and discreetly massaging his fingers which the hedgehog had crushed in order to emphasize his point.

Next, it was time for the two rivals to make peace with one another. When Sonic stood face to face with Shadow, each of them crossed their arms, awaiting for the other to begin to speak.

Finally, without a word, their hands simultaneously locked in a gesture of reconciliation.

"Guess we better let bygones be bygones, right… partner?" Sonic asked with a smile that was a bit uncertain.

"Right… partner," Shadow responded, pulling him closer and whispering- "I expect you to be a bit more useful than last time."

The new agreement having been struck, Sonic, Tails and Eggman stood before Shadow, awaiting his instructions.

"Wait for me in the main lab," he ordered.

Before the trio were able to reach the devastated chamber, however, the black hedgehog was already there. Walking past ToastBot, who was busying himself with trying to put out a small fire which still burned there, Shadow stood before the remains of the facility's mainframe computer. His friend observed as he solemnly placed a picture of Maria and Gerald Robotnik on top of the console.

He then turned around, noticing that the others had their eyes fixed at him.

"We're counting on you, Shadow," Sonic spoke, giving him a thumbs-up. "Show us what you've got!"

Yes, the other hedgehog agreed in his mind. But this time, it will not be for the sake of destruction. It will be to fulfil my destiny.

Taking the Chaos Emerald in his hand, he closed his eyes, concentrating. He was trying to tap in to the frequency of the chaos energy that surrounded him.

Then, the hedgehog lifted his hand above his head, and silently said-

"Chaos Control."

The others flinched, expecting a flash of light or some other visible phenomenon to happen… But after experiencing no such thing, their glares went back to Shadow.

"Did it… work?" Sonic asked him, confused with not seeing any difference, yet sensing a strange aura of chaos energy in the air.

Shadow opened his eyes and lifted his head up heavily. His voice sounded strained, as if he were in a lot of travail, for some reason.

"Yes… It did…" he huffed, causing the others to take a closer look around.

"There! Check out ToastBot!" Tails pointed toward the droid, which seemed to have frozen in the middle of his work.

Eggman then went over to one of the few computers within the room which were still intact. Checking the screen, he exclaimed-

"The clock has stopped! Amazing! It appears that we are indeed in the state of chronological suspense! With enough luck, Shadow will be able to maintain this state until we are finally able to finish the Project!"

That may have been true, but the others could also see that stopping the time cost the black hedgehog a lot of strain. Even if he was trying to hide it.

"You alright, man?" Sonic approached him with concern.

"Yeah…" Shadow mumbled back, still grasping the Chaos Emerald tightly. "Get... to work."

It then looked as if he intended to leave. Seeing that, Eggman called his name from behind.

"Erm, Shadow! I hate to bother you, but… we are going to need new samples of your blood to replace the ones you've… accidentally destroyed."

The dark creature looked over his shoulder, panting in exhaustion, causing the doctor to gulp…

Then, taking a look around, he noticed Ken's sword, still sticking out of the metal floor plate which it pierced after Shadow had stopped the sergeant from committing seppuku. Approaching the blade, Shadow grabbed its hilt, and pulled the katana out with a horrible, screeching sound.

"Don't worry, doctor…" he gasped. "You'll get your… samples."

(later [?])

The clocks all over the station were frozen and the sun and stars ceased their daily rotation, but the inhabitants of the ARK were able to estimate that Shadow remained in a state of meditation, without food or sleep, for a period of 'time' amounting to about two months in order to maintain Chaos Control.

His friends all worked arduously to repair the damage. Although Sonic could not provide Tails and Eggman with much help in the technical department, he proved an invaluable aid in terms of more manual tasks. After all, the devastated laboratory needed to be cleared of tons of broken equipment, and afterwards new computers had to be brought from other areas of the ARK. And Sonic could not only do that, but he also executed his duties fast.

Fortunately, with the help of Tails' computer skills, the duo of scientists were able to recover most of the data from the old hard drives of the destroyed computers. It wasn't long before the research concerning Shadow's cells could begin anew. Then, Project Shadow was not only continued, but also, after a long series of tests, completed.

That day (if it could even be properly called a 'day'), Shadow, summoned by his colleagues, walked into the laboratory for the first time since he retired to focus on controlling the chaos energy. Standing behind Tails's back, gazing at Maria's picture which was still standing on the computer console, he witnessed as the young scientist typed in the final paragraphs of Project Shadow's log into the ARK's mainframe.

"Report 61, Section 7. In conclusion, it has been estimated that the genetically modified antibodies extracted from the bloodstream of the Ultimate Lifeform ought to provide the perfect weapon against the spread, development, and indeed the very existence of the Human Neuro-Immunodefficiency Virus and its many mutations within the nervous system of any possible host. Furthermore, the Ultimate Lifeform's mutated totipotent stem cells, also contained as part of the final solution, ought to be able to recreate and repair the tissue which had been damaged by the virus, providing a cure for both the cause and the effects of the Neuro-Immune Deficiency Syndrome. The creation of the Ultimate Lifeform, as well as the discovery of the NIDS cure, thus marks the completion and finalization of Project Shadow. Save, and copy, and paste, and burn!"

Turning in his office chair enthusiastically, Tails then handed to Shadow a freshly created copy of the disk containing all information about the completed Project.

The black hedgehog faced the others- his exhausted colleagues who had put a lot of personal effort into making all of this possible. Each of them received a look of true gratitude from the Ultimate Lifeform. Lifting up the disk for all to see, Shadow then said to them-

"In case that I myself ever lose memory of this again, for any reason, here is written down the true purpose of my creation. It can no longer be changed or manipulated by anyone. It will also remain forever sealed within the chronicles of the ARK. I will see to that myself."

He put the disk away, and was then approached by Eggman, who was holding a medical tray with a small glass phial lying on top. The doctor seemed to be grinning more than he ever had before in his life. Finally, he was experiencing a success.

"Behold, our ultimate creation!" he said with pure delight. "My grandfather would have been proud!"

Shadow picked up the small vessel which contained a cure extracted from his own black blood. Looking over his shoulder, he glared at Maria's picture behind him. He could almost hear her words again…

Shadow! Bring hope to humanity!

"Hope…" he said under his breath, holding the phial tightly.

"What's that, Shadow?" Sonic asked him, his hands on his hips and a smile on his face, even despite that the Blue Blur continued tapping the floor with his foot in impatient anticipation.

"Nothing," the other hedgehog responded briefly. "I want you all to know that you have my gratitude. Miles, Eggman… Sonic… I will not forget this. Now, let's find out if this cure actually works!"

"Finally!" Sonic breathed with relief, dashing toward a window with the view of Earth outside of it. "I was already getting sick of cooking and running errands around the colony while you two geeks worked in your lab! This darn place is a maze! Let's go back home, to the planet as blue and cool as…"

Noticing how the others glared at him with reproach clearly painted on their faces, the cocky hedgehog paused mid-sentence.

"Uhm… let's just go," he then concluded.

"Alright!" exclaimed Tails, flying over to his friend. "I guess there's no reason why we couldn't team up again, huh?"

"Well, I dunno…" Sonic rubbed his chin. "You said yourself that you don't wanna be anybody's sidekick anymore…"

"And I meant it! But you didn't really think I would permanently leave my best friend, did you?"

The duo shared a smile, and a high-five.

"Yeah, guess not, little buddy," Sonic said, happy with their reconciliation. "Sorry 'bout what I said earlier... I didn't really mean that. Guess I can be a major donut-hole myself, sometimes..."

"That's okay. Just don't try to treat me as a secondary character anymore, or I'll run you over with the Tornado!"

The hedgehog responded to the fox's clear joke with a snort.

"Ow, the edge…" he jeered. "Allow me to remind you that the Tornado is actually mine, amigo!"

"Alright, alright!" suddenly, Eggman interrupted their dialogue, waving his hands in the air to signify his own impatience. "Enough of this prolonged farewell! If you don't mind, I've got a secret underwater cavern to repair! Shadow! Get us out of this time suspension!"

"My pleasure," the black creature answered, holding up his Chaos Emerald. "Chaos Control!"

The clocks began to tick again.


Sergeant Mitsui continued to eye the small glass phial he was holding in his hand with disbelief.

"So that is really what happened…?" he asked as if someone had just awoken him from some sort of a dream.

"Yes," Shadow confirmed. "Well, what are you waiting for, Gunsō-san? Use it!"

Trembling all over, springing up to his feet, Ken quickly hooked the cure up to Tabitha's IV.

The man and the hedgehog each closely observed as the black liquid entered into the sick girl's bloodstream.

"Are you sure this is going to work?" sergeant Mitsui inquired with his voice trembling.

"No," Shadow answered him frankly. "But that is the risk you took when you first came to me."

Miles and Eggman better not have screwed anything up… the hedgehog then thought to himself in his mind.

It took some time for the cure to work. The results came slowly, one at a time. First, Ken noticed that his daughter's breath had stabilized. Next, her heartbeat became more regular. The final proof was the reading of the machine that was monitoring Tabitha's neural activity, which went from almost non-existent, to basically that of a healthy, sleeping human being.

The girl's face began regaining its natural color. The cure did what it was meant to do.

Tears streaming down his face, barely able to contain himself, Ken turned toward Shadow, beaming with happiness which could not be expressed in words. Bending over in a profound bow, he muttered-

"A-arigatō… makotoni arigatōgozaimasu, Shadō-sama!" [3]

The hedgehog responded to those exuberant expressions of gratitude by calmly saying-

"It is I who thank you, Mitsui-san."

He then walked over to the overjoyed man, and stretched out his hand to offer him yet another gift.

Ken received the disk the hedgehog gave him and after examining it, asked-

"What is this?"

"This is the complete record of the development and the production of the NIDS cure. I believe you should share that with the rest of your race as soon as possible. There are others out there, hanging on the edge of life and death. Don't worry about explaining where it came from. I've… convinced Miles and Eggman to attribute all the work of the Project to professor Gerald Robotnik alone."

"And what about you?" the astonished man asked.

"I don't care for the gratitude of the whole human race. Yours is enough."

"But, Shadow!" Ken protested against this unnecessary humility. "The world needs to know that it was you who helped us! How else will you be able to walk amongst us without others fearing you, and this great unknown power which you possess?"

In response to that, the dark creature turned toward the window. Looking at his reflection, the man was able to notice that he smiled.

"Let's just say I prefer to stay… in the shadows," the hedgehog responded.

Pondering something for a few seconds, he then turned back to Ken again. His voice assuming a serious note this time, he continued-

"After so many years, the Project is finally complete. And so is my destiny. This is who I am… not merely a shadow of who I want to be."

Sergeant Mitsui agreed with a nod. But he also had something of his own to add to those words.

"Chaos is power- power enriched by the heart. You are powerful because your heart is good, Shadō-sama. Every shadow results from light, Kyūkyoku Seimeitai."

The hedgehog was truly touched by the man's words. Wishing to express his appreciation, he approached him again. Taking off the sheathe which was fastened to his back, he handed to sergeant Mitsui his own sword.

But Ken, who was sitting on the edge of Tabitha's bed, occupying himself with holding his daughter's hand, surprisingly did not wish to accept it.

"Oh no," he said, smiling as he gazed upon the girl's face. "I am not fit to wield that blade anymore. You have defeated me more than once, whereas I have failed to as much as hit you."

"What…?" Shadow stammered, astounded. "But… you said that this sword has been in your family for generations!"

The old sergeant turned his eyes at him.

"It has. And now, I think it's time to pass it on to someone who is more worthy of it. See for yourself. Unsheathe the blade, see what it written on the shinogi."

Curious, the hedgehog did just as Ken suggested. The light of the sun reflected from the katana after Shadow took it out of its scabbard. On the flat side of the blade, close to the hilt, he only now noticed a single kanji logograph which was engraved there.

"Kage" he read the word aloud, almost chuckling. "Shadow. Is this… a coincidence?"

"There are no coincidences," the sergeant responded briefly, bearing a mysterious smile.

Then, arising, he confronted the black being.

"Your gifts are more than I am ever going to be able to repay you for, Shadō-sama. But please, allow me to ask one more thing of you."

"Anything," the hedgehog responded, placing his new sword back in its sheathe.

Bowing humbly, Ken then looked him in the eyes.

"I would like to ask you for the honor to be able to call you my friend."

Looking back at him, Shadow considered the human's request carefully.

And then he nodded, stretching out his hand first. His friend shook it firmly.

"Now, my happiness is complete," sergeant Mitsui announced with a smile- a statement to which his interlocutor could relate. Returning to his daughter's side, Ken concluded by saying- "Sayonara, Shadō za Hejjihoggu!"

"Sayonara, Mitsui-san," the black creature responded before teleporting out of his sight.

For a long time afterward, Shadow meditated over Ken's words like he had not though about the words of a human since Maria and professor Gerald's deaths. The old man told him that there was good in his heart, and Shadow was starting to believe in it. Once he had feared that, having so much power, he would eventually have to be destroyed. But no- he would show the world that there was a better way. He- Shadow the Hedgehog, the Ultimate Lifeform.


Shadow stood on top of the tallest building in the city, towering over the human hive below him, away from the prying eyes of its inhabitants. On his back he carried his sword, which bore the same name as he did, and in his hand he carried his gun.

He was at peace.

Taking a look at his reflection in the shiny chrome of the weapon which he had just finished cleaning, he touched the barrel of the gun that now had the name 'Tabitha' etched into it.

He put the pistol away, and then fixed his eyes at another item he carried with him. The old picture of his creator and his granddaughter.

"You were right after all, professor. I can indeed share my life with others," he whispered. "Maria… Would you really have been proud of me?"

No one responded.

Afterwards, Shadow fastened his wrist communicator, which he had not been using since he began working on the completion of the Project together with Ken. Activating the device, he noticed that he now had 32 unanswered messages. And all of them were from his fellow GUN agent, Rouge the Bat.

Wincing, the hedgehog decided to erase all of them without reading, except for the last one. He then played that most recent recording.

"Shadow!" he heard a female voice. "Forget about my last message, I managed to get out of that mess on my own, somehow… So anyway, I see you're still not answering my calls. I'm beginning to get seriously worried about you, sweetheart. And so is the Commander! Oh, on a side note, I heard about this racing competition taking place on Planet Wisp… It's supposed to be team play, so I signed up all of Team Dark as soon as I heard about it. That includes, you, as well. Hope you don't mind. I know how you love to drive… The award for first prize is huge, so even you should be satisfied. When you finally return from wherever you are right now, make sure to give me a call. We'll talk more about that then. Tah-tah, handsome!"

Having listened to the whole message, Shadow groaned, covering his face with a hand…

"Ugh! Better get back to work before that bat girl gets us into trouble again!"

Quickly grabbing his sword, his gun, and his Chaos Emerald, the exasperated hedgehog said-

"Chaos Control!"

Dawn was beginning to break over the city.

"When I became the sun, I shone life into the man's hearts."

- System of a Down, Toxicity


AN: And that's a wrap! Thank you all so very much for reading this my inaugural Sonic fanfic ;) Hope you had as much fun as I had writing it.

This fic, and especially the character of gunsō Ken Mitsui, is inspired by Jacek Dukaj's short story 'The Empire of Clouds'.

So I guess each of the characters learned something from this story which almost ended in a tragedy... Eggman learned that, sometimes, using science for the sake of good can not only be exciting, but also prophitable. Sonic, perhaps, learned to trust Shadow a little bit more, and that he too can make mistakes if he's too stubborn. Tails 'manned up' and acquired a newfound independence by Shadow's side... as well as assuming a touch of his brooding friend's 'edginess'.

But the most important lesson was learned by Shadow himself. See, the black hedgehog is constantly torn apart by his good and evil sides. Between his anger and desire for revenge, and the kindness and benevolence instilled within him by Maria, which was to be the true driving factor of his life. Problem is, he needs to be reminded of that, since he had lost his memories on at least two different occasions.

Shadow needed to remember his true purpose. Ken did the best to fulfil that task, even though he knew he was risking a lot, since Shadow despises humans... But what the sergeant had shown the hedgehog is that even a GUN soldier can be a good and honest man. Tabitha's seemingly imminent death bearing for Shadow too much of a resemblance to how he was unable to do anything about Maria's death, he breaks down kind of like at the end of the neutral scenario in his game. Fortunately, another thing that Shadow had learned, was teamwork. Thanks to his quick thinking, Tails reminds him that he actually can do something about their seemingly hopeless situation- and he does... thanks to that damn fourth Chaos Emerald ;) Thus, the Ultimate Lifeform fulfils his purpose for the good of humanity. Maria, professor Gerald, and Shadow himself, can finally rest in peace (I mean, Maria and Gerald will have to take care of the resting, as Shadow is obviously off to participate in Team Sonic Racing, so... Yeah, you get the idea).

Right! Thanks again, and see you all next time XD

Toot-toot, Sonic warriors. Toot-toot.

[1] Tabi ni yande, yume wa kareno o, kakemeguru – (jap.) 'falling ill on a journey, my dreams go wandering, over withered fields'. An actual XVII-century farewell poem written by the Japanese poet Matsuo Bashō before his death.

[2] Watashi o yurushite, watashi wa shippaishita – (jap.) forgive me, I have failed.

[3] Arigatō. Makotoni arigatōgozaimasu, Shadō-sama! – (jap.) Thank you. Great thanks to you, Shadow, sir!