The Separatists' fleet was mostly destroyed by the time the battle was over with the few surviving ships driven off by the Republic's army. It was unclear whether or not Ventress had survived the attack from her own fleet but that wasn't the main concern for the Jedi High Council. When they were informed that Sonic had been specifically targeted by the Sith they realized it was imperative that Sonic be allowed to go to Ilum, deciding he needed either to leave or have a way to defend himself against the Sith now after him.

Though Sonic was cleared to leave for Ilum, Obi-wan and Anakin, along with their battalions, were needed elsewhere to help with the war effort. Grandmaster Yoda himself decided that he'd be the one to escort Sonic on his journey personally. The other High Counselors were curious about this decision but had no reason to suggest an alternative. So Sonic soon ended up flying to hyperspace on a very small ship, one that while could comfortably house two or three creatures of Sonic and Yoda size, meant that there wasn't any place for him to move.

"How long will it take for us to get there?" Sonic asked, pacing back and forth in a futile attempt to burn off some excess energy. Sonic and Yoda were currently in the main cabin, the Grandmaster sitting peacefully in a mediative pose.

"Get there we need to, we will," Yoda replied calmly. "Knowing the time, nothing will affect. Patience young one, you must need."

"I can be plenty patient!" Sonic scoffed, before realizing how that sounded. "Waiting for something is different from just wanting a place to run."

"Perhaps," Yoda said with amusement. "But patience still needed, here and now. Come, meditate with me, you will."

"You sure about that?" Sonic asked, raising an eye ridge in disbelief. "I haven't exactly had the best track record with that, especially considered the one time I was "successful" freaked out everyone in the temple."

"Learn nothing, without effort," Yoda answered sagely. "And settled, you'll need to be. If hope to pass the trials ahead, you do."

Sonic shrugged and settled down settled across from Yoda as he had literally nothing better to do. Sonic closed his eyes and calmed his breathing, letting himself relax. Remembering what Obi-wan taught him and how it felt last time, Sonic focused on his inner chaos energy before cautiously reaching out with his senses. Yoda immediately reached out to Sonic and guided him gently into the force.

After what he heard and felt from the last attempt, Yoda was more prepared than Obi-wan had been and was able to keep Sonic from falling too deeply into the force and helping make sure the hedgehog didn't start building energy. To Sonic, it felt like a cool breeze was flowing through his very essence. He could feel his hidden worries and fears about his friends both in this galaxy and his own world gets carried away like old leaves. Even the lingering tension that came from always being prepared to jump into action if someone needed to help or a world needing to be save began to melt away. Sonic hadn't felt this calm and peaceful in years and he couldn't help but revel in it.

"Meditating not so bad, is it anymore?" Yoda said with humor. "A great reward, a little patience can give."

"Yeah, I think I see what you mean," Sonic smiled softly, feeling relaxed and drowsy. "I see why you guys are doing this all the time."

Yoda chuckled and the two went back to meditating.

They spent most of their remaining travel time meditating together and Sonic was surprised by how much he enjoyed it. True, he still drifted off to sleep a few times but it had more to with how relaxed he felt rather than bored. Sooner than Sonic realized they arrived at Ilum and made their way to the crystal sanctuary.

"Wait here for you, I will," Yoda said, sitting in the entrance cavern before the door that led deeper in. "Alone this journey, you must take. Face trials, you will, a choice, as well as. Trust in the force, and succeed you will."

"Right," Sonic nodded, trying his best to take the advice even if he didn't fully understand it. "See you on the flip side."

Sonic sprinted down the tunnel, the hum of all the kyber crystals resonating with his core and urging him to run. And run he did, back and forth through every tunnel he came across, yet he felt no closer to the hum than when he started. He refused to give up though and pushed himself faster.

A great reward, a little patience can give.

Yoda's words floated into Sonic's head and he slowed to a stop. Clearly, just running wasn't going to help him so he had to try something else. Closing his eyes, Sonic reached out with his senses to the world around him. The hum began to splinter off into individual songs with one standing about above the others. Keeping his eyes closed, Sonic began to walk to the song that called to him, trusting his senses to guide him.

"Well look who finally showed up," a voice dripping with malice came from behind Sonic just as he was getting close to his crystal. Sonic's eyes snapped open as he whirled around, dropping into a defensive stance.

The first thing Sonic registered was that he seemed to no longer be in the ice tunnel but rather on a barren wasteland. The ground was a hole-riddled battlefield with piles of destroyed robots, both Eggman's and Separatists'. Standing in the middle of the destruction was a figure that looked a lot like Sonic, though its fur was black rather than blue and a lot scruffier looking. The figure's eyes were a poisonous yellow and he was giving Sonic a predatory grin.

"Let me guess," Sonic said, giving the figure a casual grin though his stance remained tense. "The good doctor finally got around to making an evil clone of me?"

"You only wish I was a creation of Eggman's" the figure gave a humorless chuckle. "No, I'm what happens when you finally stop letting things like morals holding you back and embrace your true potential."

"Yeah, that's never going to happen," Sonic scoffed with a grin, straightening up out of his defensive stance. "And black fur is Shadow's thing, so now your just a cheap copy of me and him. It's just sad man, so you can keep your craziness to yourself. I've got a crystal to find."

"You're not getting away from me that easily!" the Dark Sonic shouted as he lunged at Sonic who had been about to turn away. Sonic ducked under the attack, rolling away slightly before leaping to attack himself.

It should have been an even fight. They had the same abilities and were perfect mirrors of each other. They should have just tired themselves out to a stalemate. But Dark Sonic was far more vicious than Sonic, using the strength Sonic usually reserved for destroying the toughest robots. Sonic was able to block the kick to his head, but the force of it still sent Sonic. Sonic crashed into one of the piles of broken robots, Dark Sonic there a second later and pinning him there, making the sharp metal dig into Sonic's back.

"Do see it yet my so-called better half?" Dark Sonic taunted, holding clawed fingers threateningly close to Sonic's eye. "How much your principles make you weak? Just give in and discover just what you're truly capable of."

"Is that really the best you got?" Sonic said with a self-deprecating chuckle. Sonic brought his feet up and kicked Dark Sonic away.

"I'm very aware of what I'm capable of," Sonic replied, wiping blood from his mouth. "I have been ever since I discovered what had been held within the metal monster that had been attacking the nearby villages."

Sonic had learned very quickly that he couldn't save everyone and that sometimes that defending himself meant the other party wouldn't necessarily survive. But that first time he had discovered the remains left within the robot he had just destroyed… that would remain in his memory forever.

"You and every other villain type are all the same," Sonic continued, determination burning in his gaze. "You think that harming and controlling others makes you strong…makes you powerful… but that's not true. I've seen how fear can make people strike out at what they don't understand."

Knuckles had listened to Eggman's lies without even talking to Sonic that first time they met, all because Knuckles feared what Sonic's connection to the Chaos Emeralds might mean.

"I've seen how anger can twist everything that makes some good into something monstrous."

Shadow had come so close to exacting revenge on a world full of innocents in the name of someone who would never want that kind of destruction.

"I know how hate can blind people and make them desperate to take actions they would have never considered to take any other time."

Silver hadn't even questioned it when he was told killing Sonic was the answer to saving his home and he had very nearly succeeded.

"And yes… there have been times where I've feared for my friends, angry at the destruction caused by terrible people, and hated the ones responsible for causing so much suffering…"

Cities destroyed too quickly… children crying for lost parents… the ones Sonic had just been too slow to save…

"But I will never let those feelings rule me because while you and others like you claim that things like love and friendship are weak, it's so much stronger than most people realize. It can turn enemies into friends."

Sonic could have treated Knuckles, Shadow, and Silver like the villains they had first appeared to be, but Sonic had chosen to reach out with understanding. Now they were counted among Sonic's friends and stood by his side to keep the world safe. And they were only the biggest examples as there were many others that Sonic and his friends had been able to sway to their side, including robots that had been programmed to kill them.

"Sure… evil will always exist and there will be those that take advantage of the mercy offered them to cause more pain…"

Eggman's attack with the metal virus after he had been treated so kindly was only the latest example and the anger and hurt from that was still fresh, but Sonic would not let those feelings change who he was.

"But as long as we hold onto hope and remember what is truly important, we'll never be defeated no matter how much we're beaten down. Good will always overcome evil in the end, which is why I will never become you! I'm Sonic the Hedgehog! I know who I am and what I believe in and I will defeat you!"

Dark Sonic screamed in fury and launched Sonic in a rage. Sonic was about to meet him when he realized there was something metal in his hand that hadn't been there before. Acting on instinct, Sonic swung out with it, a green blade blazing to life as he did so. The blade sliced through his dark counterpart with ease, the figure dissolving as he did so along with the blade and landscape, leaving Sonic in darkness. Though the blade and metal hilt had disappeared from Sonic's hand, he could still feel something clenched in his fist. Bring his hand close, Sonic opened it to see a small crystal resting in his palm, glowing faintly green.

As Sonic admired the crystal and how it seemed to sing in harmony with the energy within his being he became aware of the darkness around him becoming lighter. Looking around, Sonic found two portals on opposite ends of each other. Sonic could feel through his crystal and whispers of the Force around him that he now had a choice.

One portal would take back to Mobius, home to where his friends were probably worried about him and still recovering from the latest crisis. Back to those he loved and a world that would no doubt need its hero again someday. The other portal lead back to the new galaxy he had been staying in, with friends he was only just getting to know and a war that was bigger than anything he had dealt with before. Really, it was no choice at all.

"Hold on a little longer guys," Sonic said to the portal that would take him home. "Hold down the fort a little longer, I know you can. I'll be back when I can but right now… these guys need me."

Sonic turned away from the portal home and walked towards the other one, walking into his next adventure and battle with his head held high, his new crystal warmly pulsing safely in his hand.