Protector of Chaos 2: The Rising Nebula – Chapter 2: Fall of Onyx Island
Several Moments Ago
Ensuing their search of the Altar of the Emeralds, Trinity led Volt to the center of Colosseum Highway where she once assisted Laila in guarding the altar and the eight sets of Emeralds, including the Master Emerald. However, upon reaching their destination, there was only a hollow ditch where the altar used to be. Trinity was mind-boggled.
"But, I... I don't understand!" the rabbit exclaimed. "It was right here!! I'm sure of it!"
Volt stepped forward and examined the massive crater. "Hmm... It is possible that Laila changed the altar's location, having knowledge that you would be coming. It would have been far too simplistic for you to just guide me here and then leave with the Emeralds. Be that as it may, it is evident that both Laila and the altar are still currently on the island, wouldn't you agree?"
"Of course...! If the altar was truly absent from the island, the entire island would be hurling straight to sea. The Master Emerald is definitely still in place."
"We've no time to waste. Quickly, bring up a holomap of the island."
As Trinity extended her arm forward, a beam of light projected from her watch, taking on a spherical form that began to fill with three-dimensional details of Onyx Island. Four green dots—representing the empire's administration badge that each agent wore—could be seen on the map in separate locations. Two of them were positioned towards the lower right of the map, outside of Onyx Island. "Malchior and Desdemona, back at Marduk..." A red arrow pointed down at another dot, showing Trinity's location. "We're here at Colosseum Highway, so Alter must be at..." The final dot was identified within a frozen region of the island. "Crystal Mountain..."
Zooming in, the holomap revealed that Alter was at the Altar of the Emeralds with Laila, whom was interacting with the Master Emerald. Neither Volt or Trinity could tell what was transpiring, but they could see that Alter was holding the amethyst Nebula Emerald before it hovered over to its pillar and joined the other Emeralds before a flash shielded all remaining activity from the two eavesdroppers.
Trinity turned to Volt. "Sir...What do you make of this?"
"It doesn't matter. We now know where the Nebula Emeralds are."
Back at the Altar of the Emeralds
"Alter, it is thanks to you that we were able to find this altar," Volt continued. "I will make sure that you are properly rewarded when we return to Voltage. Now Laila, would you be so kind as to reveal the Nebula Emeralds to me? I do not wish to harm you, or your precious island, but we will take the initiative if we must."
Laila glared. "Tck, please. The moment you arrived here, your objectives were made clear. You are a power-hungry tyrant, just like every other madman before you. You are no different from those you claim to be against. Your allegiance with Dr. Eggman Nega speaks for itself."
"You shut your mouth!" Trinity barked. "How dare you speak of my sire with such insolence!"
"How dare you crawl back to my altar after I warned you to never return," the guardian retaliated. "You've chosen your path, and I have my own path to follow. I will not allow you to leave with the Emeralds, even if I must sacrifice myself to ensure your permanent defeat."
Trinity heard enough. Two customized guns—part of a set called Migotona—appeared in her hold through dark smoke and she aimed them at Laila. "Let's rock, baby!"
With a snap of her fingers, Laila summoned a group of golems and gargoyles with the power of the Master Emerald. Simultaneously, Trinity used her watch to call forth a troop of droids that appeared in flashes of light. Alter had a pit in his stomach. He knew that Volt was expecting him to fight on his side, but he had promised Laila that he would cease activities with the Voltage Empire until the Rising Nebula had been stopped. If the event occurs, then there won't be a world for Volt to rule. Surely he could be reasoned with, considering the circumstances.
The droids and creatures clashed against each other; lasers igniting in every direction. Laila and Trinity were locked in combat, both feisty but with equal will and determination. The rabbit was firing energy ammunition from her guns in rapid succession, though Laila twirled around and delivered a round-house kick to Trinity's head, knocking her into the air. She then fired a light beam from the ceiling to cause further damage to Trinity, but the swift agent had already recovered and morphed her body into a tiny cloud of dark smoke. She then zipped to Laila's side and fired Migotona, but Laila leaned her body back, only to get tackled by a droid before she could counter.
Trinity laughed madly. "We have you outclassed! There is no way that you will—" was all she could boast as one of Laila's golems rushed her into a wall.
Volt and Alter were not involved in the conflict arising at the Altar of the Emeralds. In fact, they weren't even there anymore. Alter requested Volt to take them somewhere private where he intended to discuss the Rising Nebula and his future at Voltage. Heeding Alter's plea, Volt transported them both to the only region on Onyx Island where no other Nega squad or Voltage troop were present: the Death Yard; a deserted wasteland of trash and debris where they were left to boil in intoxicated water, making it the largest junkyard that man has ever spawned. Volt was disgusted.
"Behold, Alter, one of many reasons why we do not need the government," Volt said coldly. "You've seen the cities of Voltage, how clean and pure it is compared to this... foul heap of rubbish. We have found a way to keep waste from consuming our land, while the government prefers to incinerate, bury and dump their garbage wherever they please. Infuriating..." He paused as a snarl escaped his lips. Alter remained quiet, knowing that Volt's words beared truth.
"Aah, enough of my rambling," Volt desisted. "So, what is on your mind? And do hurry. I trust that Trinity can retrieve the Nebula Emeralds on her own, but I want to be there to get the job done myself if needed."
"Well..." Alter averted his eyes from the digital irises on Volt's mask. He felt as though they were piercing into his mind. He exhaled to release his tension, then relayed everything that he had learned recently from Laila regarding the Rising Nebula. When he reached the point of the vision of Neo Soleanna wrapped in flames, he made sure to keep Le Oracle to himself, hoping that Volt would assume it was the amethyst Nebula Emerald that conveyed the message.
Volt was an excellent listener. He never interrupted Alter while he was speaking to ask vexatious questions, or make disrupting remarks. When Alter mentioned that he promised Laila that he would cease activities with the Voltage Empire, Alter was expecting Volt to have an outburst, but he merely smirked, his digital irises fixated on him, causing Alter to feel uneasy again.
Silver—whom was still searching for Alter—had made his way into Sky Park. Its entire region was one big amusement park with Ferris Wheels, roller coasters, game booths, show tents and balloons ascending towards the beautiful, night sky. Along the way, the hedgehog would occasionally run into Voltage and Nega troops, vanquishing them from the island on sight. Wiping away the remaining troops, Silver dropped down from his levitation and landed next to a row of inactive roller coasters. He sighed wistfully. He hadn't heard from Laila for over half an hour. They had been communicating telepathically to keep tabs on the invaders' movements, but more specifically—Alter.
"Something must be amiss," Silver muttered. "I don't like this at all. I'd better head back to the altar to make sure Laila is alright."
As he prepared to take flight, the roller coasters beside him suddenly sparked with life, then stood up high much like a massive centipede; the sound of their gears clanging within.
"What?! What is this??" the hedgehog said in disbelief.
He jumped back as the coasters crashed down where he once was. Hovering atop a nearby Ferris Wheel, Silver spotted the source of the roller coasters' strings to life. It was a robot that was greatly identical to Dr. Eggman's servant and counterpart to the legendary Sonic the Hedgehog—Metal Sonic. However, this version of Metal Sonic was crafted by Dr. Eggman Nega. It far surpasses the limitations of the original Metal Sonic, but Silver knew its combat protocols very well, having fought this advanced robot on multiple occasions. The only physical difference it had between the original Metal Sonic was that its body was completely black instead of blue, and, like its creator, it had yellow stripes along its quills and the outlines of its metallic limbs.
Silver knew it had copied his ability to use psychokinesis, which was how it was manipulating the roller coasters. "Humph. I guess you're not going to let me pass. So be it! I'll end this quickly!" As Silver gathered up his psychic strength, he stopped upon hearing a shrill laugh that he knew belonged to one man, and one man alone. "Eggman Nega..." He turned from the robot copy and saw a floating telegram with three satellites protruding from it which were keeping it held in the air by utilizing magnetism. A visual of Eggman Nega was displayed on its screen; his malicious grin stretching far across his face.
"Why, Silver! You've grown so much since we last met!" the scientist chortled. "Have you been taking your daily vitamins and confiding in warm milk before bed? Hee hee hee!!"
Silver snarled in malice. "You coward! You don't have the courage to come face me in person, so you sent this worthless imitation to come do your dirty work!"
Nega giggled. "Come now, Silver. Where are your manners? Metal Sonic version 3.0 is more than capable of sweeping away a couple of rodents, such as yourself. So why should I get my hands dirty with such a miniscule task, hmm? Besides, I've got business to attend to. See you around!"
As the telegram proceeded to depart, Silver aimed a hand at it. "Oh, no you don't!" He fired an energy blast, but was swiftly intercepted by 3.0, who teleported in front of the mechanism and deflected Silver's attack with the dorsal part of its hand. The telegram escaped. Silver glared at 3.0, assuming his fighting pose.
Laila vs. Trinity – Altar of the Emeralds
Laila and Trinity were still going at it while also fighting their reinforcements—Laila against Trinity's calculating droids, and Trinity enduring the brutal strength of Laila's magical creatures. They had both noticed that Alter and Volt were no longer at the altar, confusing Trinity, but Laila had a feeling that Alter was trying to reason with Volt before he temporarily resigned from the empire to deal with the Rising Nebula. Dismissing her thoughts to focus on Trinity, Laila rushed at the rabbit and swiped her arms forward, calling forth waves of light that repelled Trinity. The agent regained her composure in midst of the attack and used the wall behind her to launch herself back at Laila, whom had to defend herself with a force shield as Trinity unleashed a fury of shadow orbs.
The rabbit landed perfectly on her feet, then performed a twirl, ending it with a thrust of her fist in the air. At that exact moment, a shadow claw appeared beneath Laila and bashed her through the force shield, shattering the barrier. With Laila still in the air, Trinity kicked forward, summoning another shadow claw that forced Laila back to the ground. She landed hard, her anger intensifying. Trinity struck a dashing pose and pointed a finger at Laila.
"You were always weaker than me, you pathetic shrimp!" the agent taunted, her face contorted with resentment. "But don't you worry. I'll send you weeping to your eternal slumber! Huh!!" The finger that Trinity was pointing at Laila suddenly began to glow violet at the tip. She then maneuvered it in a circle, a symbol forming. Three wormholes materialized around Laila. "Say goodnight, my sleeping beauty!" Vortexes of dark energy ignited from the portals, seizing Laila in sheer devastation. Trinity baffled as smoke enveloped the altar.
All of Laila's golems and gargoyles vanished from sight, and Trinity smirked with victory. Her smile soon revoked as a bright, light blue presence appeared, whisking away the smoke. Laila was now visible, her entire body coated in an aura; no injuries to be found. She slowly took a few steps forward.
"No... It can't be...!!" Trinity cursed. "I destroyed you!!"
Laila stared into the eyes of her former friend, someone she once considered to be her sister, and said, "You are but a shadow of your former self, Trinity. I spared you once, but this time, I'm going to stop you for good. I am the one thing you won't be able to eliminate from your past. The Master Emerald gives me strength... It calls to me... and it wants to see an end to this conflict. I've told this to Alter recently, and I don't have a problem repeating it: You do not want to challenge me while I'm so close to the Master Emerald."
Trinity grew weary as Laila raised her arms, accessing power from the Master Emerald. It commenced to glow, producing a radiating heat that incinerated the Voltage droids, leaving Trinity alone. Following after, three beams of light launched from the Master Emerald and ventured away from the altar, their destination elsewhere.
"W-what did you do??" stuttered Trinity.
"I warned you that I would strike if you did not turn around and leave, did I not?" Laila stated, her aura receding. "Your comrades are done for."
Trinity smirked slyly. "You aren't the only one capable of creating massive force shields, darling."
Trinity wasn't exaggerating, for back at Marduk, Malchior and Desdemona had defended the Voltage fleets with the mother ship's very own force shields. Eggman Nega too was able to protect his fleet by countering the blasts with a focused beam cannon.
Laila sighed and flipped her hair. "At this point, there is only one thing that I can do..." The guardian performed a high back-flip and extended her arms horizontally, manifesting a solid wall of light that encompassed the entire altar. There was no way Trinity would be able to breach it. Confident, Laila turned back to the Master Emerald and placed a hand on it, the teal gems on her bracelet corresponding with it, initiating Laila's final trump card. All seven Nebula Emeralds emerged from the altar, poised at the tips of their pillars.
Trinity's eyes widened with apprehension. She knew exactly what Laila was about to do next. Volt had to be informed before it was too late.
Silver vs. Metal Sonic 3.0
Silver and 3.0 were going toe-to-toe in supernatural action. No matter how clever Silver used his psychokinesis, 3.0 would always counter by mimicking Silver's abilities. Seeing that no progress was being made, Silver accelerated upwards, knowing that 3.0 would follow him. The hedgehog grunted as he swerved his body around and tossed a psychic blast at the robot. This time, instead of sending the same projectile, 3.0 curled into a sphere and further increased its speed, piercing through the attack and striking Silver's chest, causing him to lose his concentration and plunge back to the ground. Before an impact was made, Silver mentally manipulated his body and landed on his feet, panting.
3.0 was now heading towards him, moving at an incredible velocity; its body wrapped in flames like a meteor descending from the stars. Thinking fast, Silver reached out with his psychokinesis and held 3.0 in place, then knelt down and placed a hand on the smooth payment, a circular, glowing, cyan symbol appearing. All objects that were in the surrounding area suddenly hovered in midair, outlined by Silver's aura. He too began to rise, crossing his arms as he charged his power. 3.0 struggled to break free, but it was no use. Silver had it trapped.
"This is the end!" the hedgehog shouted.
Showing no mercy, Silver hurled all of the objects after the immobile robot. The second their target was hit, the objects rained back down, and Silver dropped to his knees, exhausted. But the fight wasn't over just yet. As the clouds of dust departed, Silver could see that 3.0 had defended itself with its signature Black Shield Level Three—an upgraded version of Metal Sonic's Black Shield. The hedgehog gritted his teeth. "This... isn't good... I've used up almost all... of my power...!"
Silver had used most of his strength earlier against Alter and the troops of soldiers and droids that were invading the island. Even though Laila told him she didn't need his help, he insisted on assisting her because the Nebula Emeralds are too powerful and important to allow anyone with villainous intent to possess them. He had to help her, but now he was the one that needed help. 3.0 proceeded to copy Silver's previous method by taking control of the surrounding objects and preparing to launch them at Silver. As the hedgehog prepared to embrace the barrage, a flaring tornado appeared out of nowhere and collided with 3.0, knocking the robot into its recovery mode as it crashed into a Ferris Wheel, bringing the entire structure down.
Silver was amazed, but without their guide, the objects began to fall over him. The tornado dashed after them, bumping against the objects and causing them to collapse around Silver, saving him. The flame twister then leaped into the air and landed on top of the mangled scraps where it ceased motion, revealing Silver's rescuer.
It was a lavender, female cat dressed in royal garments. She wore a long-sleeved violent coat with a dark pink hemline and white pants. The cuffs of her wrists and ankles were fluffy, and a golden necklace was adorned around her neck. Her high-heeled dark pink shoes were striped with white straps; they appeared to have been recently polished as they were reflective. A small, red bindi was applied on her forehead, followed by a red hair tie that kept her hair in a ponytail. Her yellow eyes darted from corner to corner as she scanned the area for an item she was searching for.
"No, not here either..." she whispered to herself. "My search continues. But the Sol Emeralds seemed certain that it was here... Very peculiar..."
Silver staggered back to his feet and approached the cat. "Your name is Blaze, right? Thanks for helping me."
Blaze turned her attention to the hedgehog below her. "Sorry, Silver, is it? I don't have time talk. I'm on a very urgent mission."
"What do you need? I'm sure I can help once I've recovered my energy and finished up here."
"Hmm... You might be of use to me..." Blaze said, musing in thought. "Very well. I am looking for a very powerful and ancient relic that was stolen from my world. It is called—"
The entire island shook violently, disrupting Blaze in mid-sentence.
Moments Ago – Alter and Volt
"You may think that I wish to stop you from leaving Voltage," began Volt, "but, all that I really want from my denizens is to follow their hearts. Alter, do what you believe is right. No matter your choice, you will always be allied with Voltage for all that you have done for us. The doors of Voltage will forever be open to you."
Alter was dismayed. He always knew that Volt was an understanding ruler, but his sensibility of the situation came much sooner than he anticipated.
"However..." the emperor continued. "If our affairs cross paths—conflicting with the other, you will be seen as an obstacle barring the path of Voltage. Needless to say, you will become our enemy so long as you remain a threat to our mission."
Alter sighed. "As the Protector of Chaos, I will do all that I can to fulfill my task, even if that means I must one day turn on the very empire that I long to march to glory with. But for now..."
"We are comrades," finished Volt.
The land all around Alter and Volt suddenly began to tremble, reminiscent to an earthquake. The two were able to maintain their balance by using one of Alter's platforms to avoid contact with the ground. Volt brought two fingers to the corner of his mask to answer an incoming transmission.
"Yes, Trinity? What is it?" he queried.
"Sir! I need you here immediately!" the rabbit replied frantically.
Without a moment to lose, Volt promptly transported himself and Alter to the Altar of the Emeralds and joined Trinity. They could see that Laila had protected the altar with an impenetrable force shield and was accessing the power of the Master Emerald. Alter hastily ran up to the barrier.
"Laila! What are you doing?!" the wolf asked.
Still deep in concentration, Laila answered, "There is only one thing that I can do to protect these gems... It is my duty as the guardian of the Master Emerald, Onyx Island and the Nebula Emeralds to see to their safety. I am going to banish the Nebula Emeralds from this world... indefinitely."
"What?!?!" roared Volt. "I will not allow that! Not when we're so close to reaching our legacies!!"
As the seven Emeralds each began to glow, Volt unleashed a powerful electrical shockwave that disrupted the flow of Laila's force shield and even resulted in interior damage, shocking Laila and corrupting the process. Nonetheless, the Emeralds still vanished, and Laila crouched down with a smirk on her face.
"The process... was completed..." an exhausted Laila said in breaths. "Now, the Emeralds will never be within your grasps..."
Infuriated, Volt clenched his fists, charging an attack, then fired a powerful bolt of lightning at Laila, who chuckled then muttered, "Chaos Control." The Master Emerald proceeded to illuminate, then vanished along with Laila as Volt's attack left a scar in the guardian's place. The island was now trembling more than ever. Without the Master Emerald in its altar, Onyx Island would fall to the ocean below it. Forced to surrender, Volt ordered an immediate retreat. Voltage and Nega troops darted back to their ships then fled the island and rejoined their respective mother ships. Onyx Island crashed into the ocean, producing massive waves.
Now on Marduk, Alter stayed seated along with Malchior and Desdemona while Volt passed on the news of the Nebula Emeralds to Eggman Nega. While they conversed, Alter could feel someone trying to contact him via telepathy.
Alter... echoed the voice of Laila.
Laila?! Where are you?
I don't have enough strength to hold this transmission. Listen carefully, because I won't be able to repeat myself.
In one hour, meet me at Neo Soleanna's Sun Festival. There, I would like to speak with you regarding the Nebula Emeralds. You must leave your Voltage badge behind. That was how they found my altar. They can easily use the same method to track you down again.
Not a problem, but why during the festival?
There was never a response from Laila, so Alter assumed she must have passed out. He had to keep his word. He rose from his seat and left the room, but Malchior and Desdemona didn't seem to care. He made his way to an empty corridor that had a row of windows. He couldn't use the ship's hatch to leave, due to an alarm that occurred each time the hatch was released. Alter withdrew a tiny black sphere with a green button from his pocket. Laila had returned this sphere to him after she restored his memories in the past. Leaving his badge behind, Alter phased through the window, getting caught in a strong wind turbulence. He quickly pressed the button then tossed the sphere and watched as it bursted with light, revealing one of Voltage's single-passenger aircraft ships.
Trinity was wandering around the mother ship's corridors to distract herself from the mission's failure, when she spotted Alter's ship soaring away. She grew even more curious when she found his badge left abandoned on the floor.
"He's up to something, and I'm going to find out what!" the rabbit proclaimed, exiting the ship and pursuing Alter in her cloud form, staying hidden amongst the other clouds.