No sooner did the words leave Shadow's lips than a blur of darkness shot towards them. Silver attempted to raise a psychokinetic field, but the darkness, as though in slow motion, phased through it, refracting like light through a gemstone and missing Silver himself by millimetres. The darkness shot straight through the three girls lined up behind him, but Sonic ducked and dodged the shadows.

The three girls fell to the ground.

"NO!" Sonic, Shadow, and Silver all shouted it at the same time. Zyx materialized a bit off and snapped his fingers, warping the girls to his sides.

"Relax, boys," he stated. "They're not dead. Yet. They are simply unconscious. I can prove it to you." He raised Infera before him and, with one hand, flicked her eye open. It was unfocused, but it wasn't glazed over. He was right; they weren't dead. But the fact that he decided to use Infera caused Shadow to snap.

"BACK OFF, REAPER!" he shouted. Tearing something out of his flatcase, he shot forward in a black-and-red blur and appeared behind Zyx... and raised a huge black rifle streaked with red! Aiming it at Zyx's head, he fired, but the bullet only ricocheted off the reaper's untouchable skin, and Zyx turned with a violent kick that sent Shadow flying.

"I wouldn't do that, bad boy," Zyx snarled. He raised his fingers. "Darkness and magma, I call you together! Shadow Sol MAGIC!" Snapping his fingers, Zyx waved over the girls, letting darkness coat them and raise them. Shadow cocked his rifle again, but Zyx simply twirled his scythe. "Drop. The. Gun. Chaos. Boy."

Shadow gave an involuntary shrug, but let that slide with a plan. "Alright," he stated, tossing his rifle over his shoulder. It landed perfectly in his flatcase, but Shadow spun with the toss and held his hand out towards Zyx. "But let me live up to that title! Big Bang Chaos Spear!" A huge black arrow materialized on his outstretched hand, and he hurled it towards Zyx. Zyx didn't see it coming and got the blast full-throttle, slamming into a tree.

Silver materialized behind him and struck him with a Sol-powered kick. When Zyx wasn't affected, Silver spun around and delivered another one to the eye, saying, "What, did you think I'd let Shadow have all the fun?"

"No," Zyx replied, unphased by the kick. "Did you think it would be that easy?" He grabbed Silver's foot and hurled him towards Shadow. A blue flash took its turn, speeding towards Zyx for a flurry of uppercut kicks. Sonic appeared next to the other two, eyes flaring. Silver made a twirling motion with his hand as a staff took form in his hands; the Jeweled Scepter.

Zyx simply laughed. "Fools," he stated. "Let me show you how easy it is to take you down!" He made a swinging arc with his scythe that wrapped the girls in darkness. Sonic and Silver shot forward, but Shadow grabbed them both and pulled them back as Blaze, Infera, and Amy rose in that order, thrashing in their dark sleep.

"No," Silver muttered, trying to fight Shadow off. "I've seen that thrashing too many times. Let me go, Shadow!"

Suddenly, Blaze and Infera gave simultaneous shouts of pain, then slowly started to invert. Blaze's deep lavender faded into a corrupted green, while Infera's fiery black swapped to an icy white. Amy, miraculously, failed to change, though a few seconds after the inversions had faded her scream pierced the air, sharped than the two before it. Zyx turned towards her in confusion - something Sonic hadn't seen in a long time.

He had scant time to reflect on it as the eyes of Infera - if she still was Infera - flashed open. Zyx's head snapped back and gave a command. "He may be immortal, but feel free to torch the weapon one."

Infera's expression was emotionless as she raised a hand and sent a blast of bright crimson flame towards Shadow. Shadow launched a Chaos Freeze at it, but the blast still hit him and he was sent flying. Zyx gave a deadly laugh as he called, "I'll see you later, fools!" He and the girls transformed into darkness and flew off, but Shadow was quick to pull the weapons out of his flatcase, position them in their respective holsters, and shoot off, with Sonic speeding after him full-throttle.

Silver reached out towards them in confusion, but they didn't notice. The psychokinetic cursed, then turned towards the workshop. A smile curled onto his mouth, and he dashed in, his psychokinetic rings already glowing.

Zyx materialized in the canyon he was racing through to the sound of rapid gunfire and turned to see Shadow holding a black and red machine gun. Sonic was right at his side, dashing at such an even level that it was as though he were in a sidecar. Zyx cursed and twirled his scythe, blocking shots, then shot through the canyon wall in darkness.

It didn't phase Shadow one bit as he raced up the side of the canyon into a flip. Sonic didn't bother to pull a trick and simply raced over the rocky plain until he reached a cliff. He skidded to a stop, gripped the edge of the cliff, flipped until his feet were on the rock face, and shot down. Shadow reached the edge and didn't have time to stop before flying off the edge. Improvising, he flipped until he was facing upright and activated the jet engine, slowing his fall until he reached the ground.

Sonic sped past him in the direction of the airborne darkness. Shadow dropped the front wheel and kept the engine firing as he sped forward. However, it wasn't long before Sonic, far ahead of him, vanished from view. This time, Shadow was able to skid to a stop, only to find himself at the edge of a deep, narrow hole. Sonic was gripping a stone that was sticking out, but the tips of his quills were just barely visible.

"Watch out," Shadow joked, "there's a hole there."

Sonic's voice was all buisiness. "It wasn't a few seconds ago. This place could be filled with traps. Good idea to coat your bike in Chaos Control before going anywhere."

Suddenly, the rock he was gripping started to crumble. Shadow made a motion to leap off his bike, but Sonic called, "No! I can get out of this. It may be too narrow to fly, but you've got to save Amy, Blaze, and Infera!" Then the rock shattered, and Sonic started to fall.

Shadow closed his eyes for a moment, thinking, then planted himself firmly on the bike, coating his arms in blue before letting it expand to his bike. It was weak, but it would work. He shot forward, speeding towards a tall, standing building at the edge of this plain that he had seen Zyx enter. He had to get to it. Even though rocks below the wheels of the motorbike would crumble, he shot towards the building until he skidded to a stop at its door. After making sure that his bike wasn't hovering over a hole, he leapt off the vehicle, tore his sword, the Red Dragon, out of its sheath, and stepped up to the door.

"Don't look so tough now, Zyx," he said to himself as he kicked the door open and stepped inside.

He spoke too soon. The instant he stepped inside, the door slammed shut behind him, and the room was filled with a poisonous gas. Shadow attempted to block his face with Chaos, but the poison was already in his system and he fell to the floor, the Red Dragon flying out of his hands across the room. The poison couldn't kill him, but it would be nearly impossible for him to get anywhere. The poison burned his throat and ignited his lungs like acid.

He was a fool not to set up defenses! A fool not to go inside without somehow protecting himself! He attempted to rise, but barely made it to his knees before the pain became unbearable even by his standards. He was immortal, but he could still feel pain. Stress caused pain. Motion caused stress. It was impossible to do anything. He couldn't hardly walk.

But could he crawl. He attempted it... yes, if he went very slowly, he could crawl. He slowly, weakly, pulled himself in the direction of the lost Red Dragon, all the while cursing Zyx's name.

Zyx and the girls materialized from darkness on the top floor of the building, 30F. Although Infera and Blaze had successfully been corrupted, Amy was somehow withstanding the darkness. She gave another ear-piercing scream that caused even Zyx to cringe. It was this that knocked Blaze and Infera out of their emotionlessness. Zyx didn't care.

"Shadow will be in the building soon," he stated. "I've set up traps for floors one to twenty-nine, but go down nevertheless. He gets to the roof, I will kill you." The girls descended, and Zyx turned to Amy. Although it was troublesome to keep her eyes open, she had seen the pyrokinetics leave. The reaper dematerialized his scythe, then spoke. "Do you see this?" he asked. "Mind control is just the tip of the iceberg. Yet still you fight me."

Amy was straining, but she managed to open her mouth long enough to say, "Look, if you're going to kill me, kill me. If you're trying to come onto me, power down so you can feel it when you hit the ground. Otherwise, get the hell away from me or I'll tear out your darkness with Draconian Aura."

She expected Zyx to reform his scythe and bring it into her heart, then twirl away. Or maybe she expected him to thicken the darkness around her, then coat her heart and stop it. Hell, she expected him to look her in the eye and kill her like some Solaris-forsaken basilisk. Or Draconian. Or Dracasilisk. Or whatever the hell Solaris thought of next.

But surprisingly, Zyx closed his eyes. He was enveloped in a dark light, and he depowered. The frayed quills smoothed back into a calm, loose arc. The black and red aura faded. The corrupted grey was replaced with a light gold, the black moving from reaper's patterns to simple black streaks. His eyes opened, the black Xed with grey replaced with a light silver iris.

Amy couldn't speak. Suddenly, the darkness didn't seem much of a physical problem.

Zyx looked up to her face to see her staring in shock. "Yes, Amy. What did you expect? When Sonic introduced his friends, did you not notice how my eyes lingered on you? When I ran into you in Station Square, did you not notice how I seemed to throw my darkness towards you with sorrow? I've only had eyes for you, Amy. I've only wanted you."

He took a step forward, but was suddenly frozen, held back by unfamiliar power.

"No," she stated. "Back off. You've killed everyone on Mobius. You killed my best friend before my eyes. And you expect me to want you?" Her eyes volted with fury, and she let her Dracon wings unfold before stepping forward. "You're evil, Zyx. No matter how you bend it, you're evil. And my heart belongs to Sonic. It always has. It always will. You know that. And nothing you say, nothing you do, will change that."

Zyx looked into her eyes as his quills parted. "You gave your heart to that liar?"

This paralyzed Amy midstep. "He doesn't love you," Zyx continued. "All he wants is for you to fight with him. After that, he's off running again, with you struggling to keep up. Do you want to live your life like that? Always locked into love with someone who doesn't love you back?" Amy didn't respond, and Zyx moved in closer. "You deserve someone who desires you as you desire them. Let me show you what that's like."

He stepped forward slowly, and for the third time Amy was trapped in an unexpected kiss. But this one was overly different. There was no fear of this being the last, as she had felt with Shadow. Nor was there the burst of power that she had sensed from both Shadow and Sonic. And there was none of the rush that she had sensed in Sonic, worried that being too slow would have her run away. Zyx was calm, slow, gentle.

It was too obvious. Amy gave in.

The darkness around her suddenly intensified, and an eerie wind enveloped both of them. She could slowly feel her body turning into darkness, and she parted from Zyx in a shock. For a short while she felt herself completely transformed into darkness; yet Zyx was also transformed, as though they were synchronized.

Then it faded, and Amy and Zyx were back in place. "What..." she started to say.

"It is alright," he said, cutting her off. His quills were once more a calm arc. "Now I will always be able to locate you. And should you be in pain, I will feel it for myself, and know that I must find you quickly." He closed his eyes, enveloping himself in a familiar dark light. "Now I must apologize, but I am required to take the form you so despise." The light faded, to reveal Zyx in his Reaper form once more as he stepped towards the roof. "Farewell, my Rose. For your sake, I will do my best." Then he stepped outside, melting into darkness.

Amy slowly raised a hand to her lips. She noticed a faint darkness emnating from it, but she didn't pay it too much heed.

All she did was pray that she wasn't making a mistake.

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