In what was once another of Eggman's laboratories, a creaking sound was heard as a deadly badnik from the Hazard Vault opened its door, then closed after realizing nothing was around. It was enough. One occupant of a test tube out of many started to stir. The green, semiacidic liquid that surrounded the occupant shifted, then started to glow as the being began to move.
"Where... am I?"
The occupant asked no one as it opened its eyes. It was that of a hedgehog. Its quills flared partially upwards, streaked with gold. Its eyes were a bright red, and its torso, arms, and muzzle were all tan. It wore a pair of white gloves that ended with gold metal rings which emnated energy. Its shoes were white, although detailed in gold, and its chest bore a tuft of white fur.
Seeing the substance around it, the figure started, then recovered and slammed a fist into the side of its tube. It slowly calmed down and looked over itself. Aside from its attire, several tubes were connected to its body. Carefully, it reached down and tore them off. Then it looked around, shattering the test tube to get a greater view of its surroundings.
"Where am I?" the figure asked, thinking out loud. "Last thing I remember was that... doppleganger knocking me out of his way to the doctor. Then…" The figure closed its eyes. "Nothing. It’s all static." The crimson eyes reopened as their owner looked around.
A monitor nearby revealed the image of a canyon, suspended. Likely from a security camera in the area. A metallic, hedgehog-like robot was engaged in battle with a golden knight. A human figure was nearby, wielding a mystical staff. Behind the human were four unconscious figures; a lavender cat in a bright robe; a silver hedgehog with quills parted; a black hedgehog with quills curving straight down.
The last one was familiar. A black hedgehog, not unlike the observer, although the streaks along the unconscious’ quills were red. The observer stepped back.
"It is him," it shouted. "That is the one who dared to knock me away! It’s all coming back. He destroyed the rest of my kind, then attempted to kill the doctor! I should have eliminated him while I had the chance!"
The observer charged black energy which took the form of an arrow, then threw it at the monitor, shouting, “Chaos… Spear!” The monitor was struck and exploded. The observer turned around.
"I am Shadow Android," he stated. "The Ultimate Lifeform. A copy of Shadow the Hedgehog. I will find him. I will find him, and kill him for the murder he did to the rest of my kind!
A great amount of blue energy coated the figure before emitting a powerful blue flash that left the laboratory empty.
Neo Metal Sonic sped through a canyon, diving into a crevice in the rock. He stopped - if he were organic, it would appear as though to catch his breath - and gave a robotic sigh. "That was close."
"Not close enough," a voice called from behind him, as though within the rock. The golden blade of a sword slid through the rock above Metal's head, and the robot shot away in a black-coated blur of Chaos Dash as the blade split the rock. Excalibur-Sonic emerged from the opened rock, twirled Excalibur, and shot after his opponent. Approaching the robot, the golden knight spun, keeping his weapon close as he transitioned into a tornado, slashing with the sleek blue wings that slid out through the back of his armour.
Metal was shooting through the canyon, jets on his feet, back, and head propelling him as far past the speed of sound, but not fast enough; Sonic was gaining on him. The robot approached a dead end and sped up the canyon wall, but the blue tornado struck his back, tearing off his major jet and slowing him considerably.
Before anything more could happen, however, there was the eerie sound of dark wind. Metal Sonic froze. Sonic likewise suspended in place, grabbing the jet that he had sliced off. Faster than he had though possible in the golden armour, he sheathed Excalibur in the scabbard on his waist, gripped Metal Sonic by the nearest metallic quill, and sped away as a black mist slammed into the ground, causing a huge dark shockwave.
The blur and his robotic counterpart shot into the crevice, and Sonic handed Metal the jet before rising his visor and peering outside. Metal looked at Sonic confusingly and connected the jet. Using a bit of his power, Sonic emitted a golden flash. Instantly, Merlina materialized next to Sonic.
"What is wrong, Sir Sonic?" she asked.
"Reaper," was all that Sonic could reply. Merlina gasped, and Sonic turned to the robot at his side. "We're going to need a spot of tag team right here."
Metal nodded. "Not a problem. But how am I supposed to match your form?"
Sonic shrugged. "You got the blade, and you should be able to makeshift the armour. That's all you need." He turned to the sorceress. "Merlina, I want you to stay here, out of sight." Merlina nodded, and Sonic turned back to Metal. Metal had already formed his neon blade, although at a greater power than previous, and had coated his body in golden armour. His own visor was raised, withdrawing several sheets of golden metal and revealing the cobalt quills, and Sonic nodded before stepping outside with the Metal right behind him.
Zyx, unpowered, was standing in the middle of a crater, facing the edge and talking to himself. "Master Emerald, my scythe. Just a decoy, a false copy of minimal power. I'm surprised I actually picked it up." He raised his head suddenly, then turned to Sonic and Metal Sonic. "Ah, Sonic. Another form between the pages of a book. And you must be Metal Sonic. Or is it, I take it, Neo Metal Sonic?"
Metal shook his head. "Neither," he stated, swinging his energy blade. "Excalibur-Metal Sonic."
Zyx gave a menacing smile. "I'll be sure to remember that next time you take this form." He took a battle stance. "You want to play now, twin blades?" Sonic and Metal gave simultaneous nods. "Alright then." A dark light coated Zyx's body as his quills frayed. When it faded, the Reaper had returned. He raised his hand as his scythe descended into it, then spun and took a battle pose, sharp end pointed towards the gold-coated hedgehogs.
Sonic and Metal simultaneously reached up to their visors, then slammed them down, gold coating their quills. They shot forward simultaneously, and Zyx returned the action with his own. The two golden knights raised their blades and transitioned into simultaneous buzzsaw attacks that tore the ground apart, then struck Zyx with such force that it nearly spliced his arms off. Zyx returned by air-skidding into an arced jump and bringing his scythe into the ground dead between where they would be in two seconds and spinning into a swarm of kicks.
Metal was struck, but Sonic managed to block it with his sword. Taking the hit, Excalibur stated, "You are mistaken if you think Excalibur cannot do any better than this." Sonic shot into the wall, then kicked into a return, bringing the sacred sword down onto Zyx's back with the power of a thousand knights.
It ricocheted off with no effect.
Sonic leapt back as Zyx attempted to slice his head off. Sonic looked at Excalibur, who stated, "Alright, perhaps there is something Excalibur cannot cut through."
The knight shook his head. "No, there's not." Charging a great amount of energy, he swung the blade with such power that an energy slash was sent flying towards Zyx. The reaper attempted to block it with his scythe and the head of it was cut off. Sonic himself gave a deadly, hatred-filled shout and shot forward, aiming for Zyx's head. Zyx saw it coming and flipped away, then reformed the head of his scythe and slashed towards him.
Sonic parried the slash, tearing the head off again, then slashed towards Zyx. Zyx jumped away and melted into shadows, attempting to slash at Sonic's exposed wings the second he reformed. Sonic didn't buy it, and Metal chose that moment to shoot into the picture with a kick, then flash away in blue.
At that moment, a second eerie wind took form as dark mist descended, taking the form of Amy. In his heart, Sonic knew that he had the pink hedgehog on his side. But her corrupted form - deep purple fur, a heated orange dress, and her quills forming a spiked ring around her body - only fueled the hatred that had empowered Excalibur in his hands.
Instinctively, he swung a beam of energy towards her, but she leapt out of the way with perfect evasion. The beam nearly caught Metal Sonic, who dodged the slice by millimetres. Zyx saw her and smiled, then grabbed her and vanished in a flurry of darkness. The two of them reappeared at the top of a cliff, which Sonic and Metal both turned to. Metal Sonic recognized Amy vaugely through the dark transformation, but the sight of her with Zyx caused him to turn to Sonic.
"Keep it shut, Metal," Sonic stated before the robot could say anything.
Zyx, meanwhile, had reformed his scythe and was standing towards the two golden knights. "Well, my Rose?" he stated, turning towards her. "Shall we eliminate these two fools?"
Amy turned to him in return and smiled. "You're right," she replied. "They are fools." Sonic heard this and snapped his head back, his eyes flaring through his visor. Zyx laughed.
"But..." Amy stated, silencing Zyx. And the reaper could only watch, wide-eyed as Amy leapt into the air and landed at Sonic's side before finishing, "I guess that makes me a fool too."
Zyx raged, giving a violent scream. "I gave you power!" he shouted, darkness flaring around him. "And you repay me with betrayal?" His hatred's snarl became another shout. "I gave you power!" he repeated, before raising his hand into the air, darkness surrounding it. "And now, I'll take all you've ever had!"
Amy's eyes widened. "NO!" she screamed, then was sent flying as the dark transformation was robbed from her, the darkness flying back towards Zyx. The pink hedgehog slammed into the far edge of the canyon, causing an indent in the canyon wall. A second passed before she fell forward and hit the ground.
She bounced once and didn't move again.
Sonic raged instantly, speeding towards Zyx and bringing his blade for the reaper's head. Zyx didn't see it coming and only survived because Sonic missed by millimetres. The blur, however, kept the centrifugal momentum and slashed with both wings, leaving deep cuts on on the reaper's face. Zyx reeled back, dodging Sonic's next slash, and hit the ground hard as Sonic brought the blade to Zyx's neck.
Zyx looked up as Sonic's armour was coated in a silver magic. With such efficiency it could have been robotic, the helmet actually seemed to part into plates of gold to reveal Sonic's hatred-filled face. It was almost mutant with anger. Zyx couldn't stand it; he instantly melted into shadows and flew into the air. Sonic took a few moments to calm down as the rest of his armour slowly parted, eventually placing Excalibur on the ground as he faded back into Caliburn.
Then he raised his head in sudden realization. "Amy!" he shouted in shock, and turned to the open canyon. Metal Sonic had taken advantage of his momentary hatred to dash towards Amy, raising the neon mimic of Excalibur. Sonic didn't give him the chance to strike. Dashing into a wingslash tornado, the blue blur knocked Metal into the canyon wall with such power that it knocked him out of his neon Excalibur-form.
"Back off," Sonic stated, "or you'll wish you had." He turned and dropped to his knees next to Amy. Carefully, Sonic turned her onto her back, looking over her. It was as though Zyx's form theft had actually attacked her physically. She was bruised, cut, and looked as though her head had been rubbed against the pavement.
"What has he done to you, my love?" he whispered.
A young woman's voice called, "Sir Sonic!" Sonic raised his head to see Merlina approaching him. She slowly came to a stop near him and Amy. "Nimune," she stated. "What has that reaper done to her?"
"He's taken her power," Sonic replied. "What he gave her... and what she had already." He rolled Amy over carefully. "She had, like me, been transformed to be granted with the power of the Dracon." He pointed to two slits in the back of Amy's dress. "But Zyx has robbed her of it.
"He's taken her Draconian abilities."