Sonic Channel Wallpaper Cover Stories 2021

Feb 22nd, 2021 (edited)
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  3. January, Sonic x Tails
  4. "Let's get a move on, Tails!"
  6. Sonic was in a hurry. …Though that was nothing new.
  8. It was because he heard that a seven-colored shooting star had fallen over the mountains of the verdant land of Green Hill. Tails, who had been taken outside no questions asked, was in a panic.
  10. "Whoa! Wait a minute, Sonic!"
  12. Sonic ran at an unbelievable speed through the rhythmic ups and downs of the green hills and loops of the high mountain roads.
  14. Tails chases after Sonic with his two propeller-driven tails in tail-flight. He jumps over cliffs, crosses rivers, and takes shortcuts to keep up…
  16. The blue and yellow lines ran across the green hills back-and-forth.
  18. …After a while, they arrive at the forest where the shooting star fell, but there is no sign of a crater. Tails pulls out some kind of machine and starts walking around, holding it up.
  20. "It's an energy detector. If my guess is correct, it must be…"
  22. Soon after, an alarm sounded with a beep. There's something that looks like a stone at Tails's feet.
  24. "Is this… it's a Chaos Emerald, Sonic! It looks grayish, though."
  26. "What?! How did it end up here again?!"
  28. The Chaos Emeralds. They are seven secret stones that have great power and can create miracles in response to one's wishes.
  30. When all seven are gathered together, they have tremendous power, but when they are all used up, the Chaos Emeralds scatter and fly away to other parts of the world. The Chaos Emeralds that have fallen into such secluded places slowly accumulate their power in the midst of nature.
  32. Just the other day, Sonic and his friends had used the power of the seven Chaos Emeralds to defeat the ambitions of the evil genius scientist Dr. Eggman.
  34. "This is one of them. When it fell, it must have reflected the sun's rays, coloring it in seven different colors."
  36. Tails was a little embarrassed after his explanation, but Sonic looked at him with confidence.
  38. "Great! I get it now, I almost missed it. I'm glad I took you with me!"
  40. "I-It's nothing that special… eheheh."
  42. The two were talking with smiles on their faces when they heard another loud beeping sound coming from Tails's hand. It's that detector. Sonic quickly takes a peek.
  44. "Did it find something again?! …It's that way, isn't it? Let's go, Tails!"
  46. "Th-This is just an energy detector. It may not be a Chaos Emerald…"
  48. Without another word, Sonic grabbed Tails's hand and started running.
  50. "Come on, Tails!"
  52. "Whoa! Hold on, Sonic!"
  54. And so, once again, the blue and yellow trails ran across the green hills neck-and-neck!
  57. February, Sonic x Knuckles
  58. It happened on a fine day, late afternoon on Angel Island.
  60. In the middle of the jungle, where huge trees and mosses grow, Knuckles is digging around with a serious expression, looking for something.
  62. It was then when Sonic suddenly jumped on Knuckles's head.
  64. "Hey, Knuckles! What are you doing?"
  66. "Sonic! What's the big idea?!"
  68. Sonic caught Knuckles, who was hurriedly diving into the ground, and tried to greet him, but when he saw Knuckles's serious reaction, he couldn't help but want to tease him.
  70. "I mean, if you see a mole going in and out of its hole, wouldn't you want to whack it?"
  72. "What'd you say?!"
  74. Sonic dodges Knuckles, who jumps at him, just in the nick of time. The slapstick, where you can't tell if it's a fight or a chase, continues for a while…
  76. "…I've called out to you many times, but you're the one who didn't notice."
  78. "Shut it. Man, you're still the same jerk I've always known."
  80. After they were both exhausted and had finally caught their breath, Knuckles started to tell him about a dream he had this morning.
  82. A dream of his distant ancestors wearing ancient tribal garments.
  84. "As a descendant of the Knuckles clan, we have something for you. Search the jungle," they said.
  86. "I can't describe it, but I definitely sense something around here… I know it."
  88. Knuckles looks around with a docile expression on his face.
  90. His interest as a treasure hunter, as well as his sentimentality as the last of the Knuckles clan, made him look more serious than ever.
  92. "OK, that sounds interesting. I'll help you find that treasure! …We're chums, aren't we?"
  94. "What're you on about? Don't act so buddy-buddy. Get off my island!"
  96. …As he said that, Knuckles raises his fists and the chase begins all over again, but Sonic dodges and trips over something and falls.
  98. "Oww…!"
  100. "Heh, serves you right!"
  102. Knuckles laughed out loud, but at that moment, the earth shook from deep within the ground!
  104. Rummmmble!
  106. A small altar made of stone rises up from the depths of the earth, just like the relics in the Mystic Ruins. It seems that the pebble that Sonic tripped over was the switch.
  108. On top of the altar was a box, also made of stone.
  110. "You can thank me now, Knuckles."
  112. "Yeah, thanks for awkwardly stumbling around."
  114. Knuckles opened the stone box and found a pair of gloves inside. They are the heavy, clawed battle gloves of the ancient Knuckles clan.
  116. "I see. This is a gift that will make me fight harder. The kind of gift you'd expect from the combat-centric Knuckles tribe!"
  118. "…"
  120. Knuckles finally finds the treasure, but after a few moments of silence, he puts the lid back on the box. While Sonic looks on in disbelief, Knuckles starts talking with a bold smile while staring at his clenched fists.
  122. "Sorry ancestors, but my current gloves are good enough for me… I just need to be able to protect what is important to me. Even if I didn't use such a grandiose item, I wouldn't lose to anyone in the first place."
  124. Knuckles is certainly quick to fight and can be a bit rough, but all he wants is the safety and peace of the Master Emerald, and his two fists are there to protect it.
  126. Sonic seemed to have a new perspective on Knuckles, thinking that this was the kind of guy he was. …But when he sees Knuckles saying such admirable things, he can't help but want to tease him again.
  128. "Exactly! You don't use tools, you use brute force. That's what makes you Knuckles!"
  130. "…Who're you calling a brute?"
  132. Knuckles approaches Sonic while wearing gloves handed down from his ancestors.
  134. "I thought you said you didn't need them!"
  136. "Shut up! Get back here!"
  138. And so, the two of them, neither fighting nor chasing each other, continue their slapstick activities in the jungle of Angel Island for a while…
  141. March, Sonic x Amy
  142. "Oh, I can't believe him!"
  144. A girl was pouting at the entrance of the amusement park called "Twinkle Park." Amy Rose—a cheerful, single-minded hedgehog girl. She seems to be meeting up with somebody.
  146. Then, with a light gust of wind, Sonic, the blue speed-of-sound hedgehog, appeared. Amy put her hands on her hips and stared at him with a delightfully angry face.
  148. "It's not nice to keep a lady waiting for an hour, you know?"
  149. "I think it's because you-know-who came an hour early, while I came right on time."
  150. "…Well, okay. I forgive you. Let's go, shall we? …Come on!"
  152. Twinkle Park is a major tourist attraction in Station Square.
  153. Recently, the roller coaster here was redesigned into the "Twinkle Coaster." It is said to be very popular.
  155. However, there was a certain rumor involved in its popularity.
  157. It is said that couples who find a stone that glows in seven colors during the ride will have their wishes come true. It is hard to find a small stone at the high speed of a roller coaster. That's why many couples keep trying again and again.
  159. "We had an agreement. You promised we'd ride it together today!"
  160. "Oh, man, it's all because I blurted out that it 'sounded like fun'…"
  161. "…What was that?"
  162. "Oh, nothing."
  164. 'Cute Couples Get In Free!'
  166. Glancing at Twinkle Park's famous advertising slogan, Amy drags Sonic to the Twinkle Coaster.
  168. When they arrived at the ticket counter, she shouted out her order with a brilliant smile on her face.
  170. "That's two tickets for the couple!"
  172. And then three hours have passed… No matter how many times they took the ride, they couldn't find the stone that glows in seven colors.
  174. Riding between the spires of Twinkle Park Castle, passing through the Mirror House, bombing through the newly built underground cave area, and finally going through the opening doorway to the finish line… The two of them couldn't find a single moment when something sparkled in these few minutes.
  176. At first, Amy was in a good mood with Sonic and even had time to enjoy the Twinkle Coaster, but she rode it too many times and she finally swoons and collapses.
  178. "Hey, are you okay?! …And what kind of wish do you want to make that badly anyway?"
  179. "I-It's all good, really… I just love these dreamy and wonderful good luck charm things to begin with…"
  181. Looking embarrassed, Amy says that much in a half-hearted attempt to deceive him, and then looks away a little.
  183. "…Though I've already made about half of my wishes come true today…"
  185. "About half of what?"
  186. "Oh, it's nothing! Anyway, I want to find that shiny stone at all cost!"
  188. If she takes any more rides, Amy is really going to break down. With a single sigh, Sonic spoke up.
  190. "You know, I think I figured this out for the most part. Let's go."
  191. "Huh? …Go where?"
  193. "Wouldn't it be more effective to go and ask for help directly?"
  194. "That's not what I… wait, what?! Hey! What is it?!"
  196. Suddenly, Sonic picks up Amy from underneath and starts running at great speed. He runs into the Twinkle Coaster ride area and gets on the coaster that is about to depart… except instead of getting on it, he just runs past it and dashes off on the rails.
  198. "Hold on tight, okay?"
  199. "A-Are you kidding me?! Eeeek!"
  201. At breakneck speeds, Amy clung desperately to him even without Sonic reminding her to. Sonic, on the other hand, with a cool expression on his face, runs between the spires of the castle and through the Mirror House as he pleased. He speeds up and up and up.
  203. The glittering top and bottom spin at a dizzying rate of acceleration, and the illumination next to the rails becomes many intertwined bands of light that fly past the two of them one after another… Is this the world that Sonic always sees?
  205. The turn of events was so sudden. Amy's heart is pounding out of her chest, but she doesn't have time to worry about that in this fast and furious storm…
  207. "Yes! I knew this was the place!"
  209. Near the exit of the underground cave, Sonic comes to a sudden stop by the rails. He looks over at one of the outer walls as he gently sets Amy down.
  211. "Don't 'Yes!' me! Why did you suddenly go and—ahhh!"
  213. Amy was about to protest to Sonic, but when she was prompted to do so, she looked up, and…
  214. There was a grayish-black gem half buried in the outer wall of the cave—the Chaos Emerald.
  216. "This was the true, or rather, sacred identity of the 'seven-colored glowing stone.'"
  217. "Why is it here?!"
  218. "Beats me. Though it looks like it's losing its power and getting darker now…"
  220. Just then, a roller coaster that had arrived later ran through the rails beside them. It opened the cave's exit door and at that moment… The Chaos Emerald glittered in seven colors.
  221. Amy gasps.
  223. Indeed, this Chaos Emerald was shining, reflecting the light from the outside, just for this one moment when the exit doorway opened.
  225. "It really did shine for just a moment! No wonder it was so hard to find."
  226. "I did find it, though."
  228. With all the mysteries solved, Amy stares at the dark colored Chaos Emerald and asks Sonic worryingly.
  230. "Will this Chaos Emerald… get back to normal again?"
  231. "Yeah, it'll be sparkling again after a little rest! Anyway, aren't you going to make a wish?"
  232. "No, it's fine. It's taking a break now, isn't it? Besides…"
  234. Having said all that, Amy looks away from him a moment, then continues with a bashful smile.
  236. "I've had so much come true today, and I'm already full up…"
  238. Sonic doesn't appear convinced, but whatever the case, Amy is certainly satisfied.
  240. "That's good, then."
  241. "Yeah. Today was so much fun!"
  243. …With that said, they can't just leave this Chaos Emerald lying around.
  245. But then again, it would be insensitive to take away the "seven-colored glowing stone" that so many people are looking forward to.
  247. At the entrance to Twinkle Park, the two are lost in thought, but after a few moments of reflection, Sonic speaks up matter-of-factly.
  249. "Oh, well. It can stay there. Since I now know it's here, I can come and get it if I need it."
  250. "Are you sure, Sonic? If Eggman takes it away…"
  251. "Hah! If that happens, I'll just get it back!"
  253. Sonic answers confidently.
  255. As she watched Sonic, she wondered if he was actually expecting something like that to happen, and wryly smiled at him with a lightly doubtful look. For Sonic, world peace and the battles against Eggman are just one part of his exciting adventures, and Sonic is the kind of guy who can't get enough of those adventures.
  257. And it's because he's like this…
  259. Amy lets out a small huff of laughter and beams up with a radiant smile.
  261. "Alright, Sonic! Then you'll have to come ride the Twinkle Coaster every now and then to make sure it's safe! Isn't that right? I'll see you next Sunday… wait, what?"
  263. Amy turns around, and before she knew it, Sonic was gone.
  265. There is only a single column of whirlwind that rises and disappears. Far beyond that is a blue hedgehog running through the buildings of Station Square…
  267. Amy couldn't help but scream.
  269. "Oh, I can't believe him!"
  272. April, Sonic x Vector
  273. "Hey, Sonic! I see you've been as active as ever, ya lady-killer!"
  275. It was one afternoon under a clear blue sky. The chalk-white port town of Apotos, with its whitewashed plaster buildings.
  277. In the middle of the plaza, Sonic is sitting on a pile of Eggman's robot wreckage, yawning, when a cheerful growl comes over him. The voice came from the giant crocodile detective… Vector the Crocodile.
  279. The town and its people are still in turmoil after the attack by Eggman's robots earlier. Looking over at them, Sonic sighs and responds.
  281. "Yeah, thanks. But right now it's food before romance, Vector. The chili dog place hasn't reopened yet."
  282. "Hahaha, you got that right. I heard that this place was attacked, so I came here… but even if I don't work, I'm still hungry."
  284. …A red sunset approached the white town. When the commotion finally dies down, Sonic and Vector are consulted by the townspeople gathered around them. They say that Apotos has been attacked by Eggman's robots every few days for the past few months, and they have no idea why.
  286. As Sonic starts to grin on the inside, thinking that this is going to be fun, Vector dances out from beside Sonic with a big smile on his face.
  288. "Leave that mystery-solvin' to me, the amazing Vector! I'll give you a discount! The reward will be a bargain for all the food and drink I've consumed so far! Everyone knows what I'm capable of, don't they? …Right, Sonic?"
  290. Sonic is suddenly asked for his opinion. The people of the town, who had been listening in amazement, turned their attention to him.
  292. "What?! …Uh, well, I guess he's the best detective I know."
  294. Vector cheerfully vouches for him, drowning out the, "…Not that I know any other detectives." part that followed.
  296. "Exactly! There's no mystery that the amazing Vector, the head of the Chaotix Detective Agency, can't solve!"
  298. Sonic shrugged his shoulders and smiled wryly… regardless, the investigation into the attack on Apotos had begun.
  300. The next morning, Vector began to investigate the area in a good mood.
  302. While side-eyeing Sonic, who was following him with an expression of wondering if this is a good idea, and interviewing witnesses, he traces the robots' footprints on the road, grinning.
  304. After half a day of checking all the footprints, they stop in front of a grocery store, and Vector begins to make a deduction with a mysterious look on his face.
  306. "This place smells… the robots' stinky footprints are all over it… according to interviews, they only attack on sunny days… the robots are all broken… I got it!"
  308. Vector's eyes widen and he yells.
  310. "This place's chili dogs are so good, they can tempt a robot, ya know!"
  312. "What?! What makes you think that?!"
  314. "It's a well-known fact among connoisseurs that this general store, "The Wave Gulls," is actually a hidden gem of a chili dog shop. On a sunny day, it even has lines forming. They make them in large quantities, and the delicious smell spreads. Even robots that are on the verge of breaking down get caught up in the smell and come here to get their dues!"
  316. "…Robots don't eat, so what gave you that idea?"
  317. "That's how miserable Eggman's robots are!"
  319. He slips past the doubtful Sonic, and without even bothering to greet the old man who comes out to the door, Vector begins to fiddle with the premises at full speed.
  321. "Ooh, can't expect anything less from a grocery store! There's a lot of stuff here. Daily necessities, souvenirs, rocks and antiques over there… oh, this is a chili dog! I knew it, you troublemaker!"
  323. Vector turns the whole store upside down, using his good-natured mouth to dissuade the panicked old man. Then, when he catches sight of a dark stone by the window, he looks away for a moment and secretly puts it in his pocket, then grabs the chili dog with both hands and starts eating it. And then…
  325. "It really is delicious! The culprit is you, old man!"
  327. As expected, the old man at the store gets angry, and Vector, having been kicked out of the store, scurries out of town.
  329. "That's enough!"
  330. "B-But my prized deduction skills…!"
  332. Although Sonic was dumbfounded by Vector's messed up reasoning from beginning to end, there was something that stuck with him.
  334. "Maybe… maybe he set that whole thing up just to steal… that?"
  336. …The town of Apotos reflected in the blue moonlight. On a small hill overlooking it, there was a figure of Vector standing alone with a fearless smile on his face. In his right hand, he is holding something glittering.
  338. A large number of Eggman's robots gather there. They are older models, many of them broken down, moving awkwardly and uncoordinated, but they clearly see Vector as the enemy and close the distance.
  340. "So this thing was the cause, eh?"
  342. In his hand is that blackened stone he borrowed from the grocery store. After clearing his throat, Vector begins to reveal the truth in a slow, resonant growl.
  344. "It all started when the old man at the store picked up this stone. It was an unusual stone that sometimes flickered in seven different colors at certain times. I wondered what it might be, so I took it and checked it out… it seems to be a repeating signal of some kind…"
  346. The dozens of robots that surround Vector are shrinking the circle around him.
  348. "I guessed… or rather theorized, that it might have coincided with the signal that attracted the old Eggman robots, and it looks like I was right on the money. You can see it from a distance on a sunny day like today, right?
  349. And so, the culprit is you…! …A Chaos Emerald?"
  351. Vector raises the Chaos Emerald into the night sky with his right hand.
  353. As if on cue, a swarm of robots attack Vector from all directions… all of which are wiped out in an instant by the blue afterimage.
  355. Vector smiles as he watches the flames of the robots bursting open in the empty sky. After a moment, Sonic descends without a sound.
  357. "I knew you'd be here, Sonic. …Well, you heard what I said."
  358. "I'm glad you weren't giving that crazy-loud explanation to yourself, Vector."
  360. …Sonic had a hunch that the "thing" Vector borrowed from the grocery store was the Chaos Emerald, so he acted on his own and followed Vector as well. However, there is something that Sonic does not understand.
  362. "Why did you just leave without explaining anything to me?"
  363. "What do you mean, "why"…? Wouldn't it be awkward for the old man if the whole town knew he was the reason for the attack? I have a sense of humanity too, ya know.
  364. I've already been paid in advance, so I don't care if I embarrass myself once or twice."
  366. Sonic whistles, looking impressed. Vector had even thought about what would happen after the case was solved. Sonic mumbles in understanding, looks around slowly and loudly shouts.
  368. "But you know, Vector, the townspeople have a sense of humanity as well. Right, guys?"
  370. Sonic gave a signal and turned around, and before he knew it, the town's people had gathered behind them. That grocery store owner is with them.
  372. "I didn't realize that the stone I picked up was causing trouble for everyone…"
  373. "But there's no one here in Apotos who would blame you for something like this!"
  374. "Yeah!" "Yeah, exactly!"
  376. They exchanged a few words of consideration for each other with the old man… it seems they had been told the whole story.
  378. "Wh-Why is everyone in town here?!"
  380. "Sorry! The thing is… you stole the Chaos Emerald from the grocery store owner and ran away, so I said I'd catch you, and I brought everyone with me."
  382. "Whoa, way to falsely accuse me, man!"
  384. "That's what it really looks like, isn't it? Oh well, it just so happens that in front of everyone, the mystery and misunderstanding has been cleared up, and it's all good."
  386. "Ughhhh!"
  387. (You little punk. You're telling me that you've taken a gamble so that everyone can hear what I have to say?)
  389. Sonic was also thinking about the future of Vector and everyone in town.
  391. Indeed, this is the kind of guy he is. He is a cool-headed hero, but sometimes he's a little too forceful. Vector laughed wryly as he realized that he owed him one.
  393. In the end, it was decided that Sonic would take care of the cause of the problem, the Chaos Emerald. Now, Apotos no longer has to worry about being attacked by robots. The people of the town were overjoyed.
  395. That night, a party was held to celebrate the resolution of the case and to congratulate the two on their success. Sonic is very happy with the pile of chili dogs.
  397. For the first few minutes, Vector was quiet and reserved with Sonic, but he was in a good mood after having his bargain taken care of and being called a "great detective" by everyone. He can't help but go back to his usual eloquent demeanor.
  399. "Oh, don't worry! There's simply no mystery that the amazing Vector, the head of the Chaotix Detective Agency, can't solve!"
  401. Sonic responded with a thumbs up.
  403. "Yo, lady-killer!"
  406. May, Sonic x Cream
  407. Music Plant is a stylish and colorful factory area.
  409. A bouncy road of piano keys and tubes for transportation purposes made of shiny brass instruments... This area, which delights all who see and hear it, is now very famous as a tourist attraction for animals.
  411. In this cheerful music plant, you can see two energetic shadows chasing each other... Sonic, a blue hedgehog, is plopping ahead with big strides.
  413. Chasing hard after him is a little bunny girl named Cream and her friend Chao Cheese.
  415. In a music plant filled with various musical gadgets, they catch up with each other and then get separated again. The race between the do-mi-so stride and do-re-mi stride makes for a delightful four handed performance...
  417. ...After a while, Sonic landed with an octave-spanning leap on a long, huge bridge of piano keys. A soft, pianissimo pace, trying not to make a sound.
  419. He looks back and can't see Cream and Cheese. Sonic was about to walk off, thinking that he had managed to outflank her... but Cream gently descended from the sky above, blocking his way.
  421. "Mr. Sonic! Please take me on an adventure with you. ♪"
  423. Cream can fly by flapping her big ears. She is not as fast as Sonic, but she is able to take shortcuts and catch up with him. Sonic smiles at her and tries to calm her down.
  425. "I told you not to do that. I'm going somewhere a little dangerous today, so, uh..."
  427. Picking a word out of many phrases, Sonic continues with a gentle wink and a "sorry."
  429. "...Dangerous for kids, I mean."
  431. When Cream heard this, she scoffed with a sullen look.
  433. "Aw, Mr. Sonic! Don't treat me like a child! Hmph!"
  434. "That's not what I mean. It's not that, Cream. It's just, uh..."
  436. Rummmmble!
  438. Just as Sonic was about to continue, a horrible sound of rumble in the ground could be heard from a distance, accompanied by thundering roars. Sonic's face turned serious. It seems that he has a rough idea of what this sound is.
  439. "...I have to go. See you, Cream! You should get home now!"
  440. "Ah! Mr. Sonic, wait for me!"
  442. As he said that, Sonic took off at full speed, and in a flash, he's out of Cream's sight and over the horizon...
  444. For a few seconds, Cream stared at the direction Sonic had run off with a puzzled expression on her face, but after a while she got over it... and in fact, started walking while looking excited.
  446. "Hehe! I suppose I'll just have to go for the loud ones! ♪ I will catch up and surprise Sonic!"
  447. "...Chao-chao?"
  449. Cheese asks something. Why does Cream want to follow Sonic so badly?
  451. Cream, who guesses the question, answers.
  453. "Listen, Cheese.
  454. It's because where Mr. Sonic goes, there are lots of fun adventures.
  455. Sometimes they can be scary, but Mr. Sonic is is strong, kind, and very good at adventuring, so I'm sure it will be fine!"
  456. "Chao! Chao-chao!"
  458. Cheese is all for it. The two of them hit it off and went on and on... and then...
  460. Ka-boom!
  462. A huge explosion suddenly rang out, shaking the air from their far distance. Without a moment's pause, a huge mass of iron lumps came pouring down in a cloud of black smoke.
  464. And then, bam! Bam! The entire bridge collapsed as the keys were pierced, gouged, and bobbing in a cacophony of sound.
  466. "Th-Th-This isn't good!"
  468. It must have come from that "slightly dangerous place" that Sonic had mentioned. The first impact knocked her over, and after finally getting up from the shaking, Cream looked around at the devastation around her and froze in place.
  470. Collapsing bridges, fleeing animals... Is this an adventure, too?
  472. ...Meanwhile, at the far end of Music Plant.
  474. "So what, you're not gonna play 'em? The little guys at Egg Planet Park actually played those, remember?"
  476. The mass-produced Death Egg Robot, about the size of a hill, stopped moving as it leaned against a trumpet-shaped factory facility. It came to a complete halt with black smoke billowing from everywhere.
  477. Over its head, there was Sonic, jesting as he mimicked the sound of a trumpet.
  479. In fact, Sonic had received information that a mass-produced Death Egg Robot had invaded here, and had come to take it down. The owner, Eggman, had been defeated and so it turned into a "stray robot" that just ran amok, but it was still a very powerful and dangerous enemy. So he was careful not to let Cream follow him.
  481. The robot was destroyed without any trouble. Sonic was in a good mood, knowing that the damage to its surroundings had been kept to a minimum. At this rate, the restoration will be finished soon, and the place will regain its beautiful scenery and sound...
  483. But then...
  485. Sonic noticed a plume of black smoke rising from an overpass a short distance away. Speaking of which, it looked like some kind of debris had gone flying from the robot's final explosion. If it had flown that far and hit the bridge...
  487. "Uh-oh!"
  489. There must have been a lot of tourist animals there... he's pretty sure that's where he left Cream. Sonic runs off as fast as he can, looking more serious than ever.
  491. After climbing over colorful hills at the speed of sound and spin-dashing through tunnels of brass instruments, Sonic soon arrived at the scene and saw...
  493. At the entrance to the overpass was a group of animals relaxing after their safe evacuation, and in the middle of them, flapping her ears, flying and working tirelessly, was Cream and Cheese.
  495. "Cream!"
  496. "Mr. Sonic?!"
  498. Cream's face lit up and she flew to Sonic's side, but there was a hint of fatigue in her happy expression. She has been going around rescuing animals and people left on the bridge, and taking care of children who have been separated from their parents.
  500. After a short conversation, Sonic was relieved to learn that Cream was okay and that the damage to the surrounding area was not as bad as it looked and no one was injured. But Cream looks a little unhappy.
  502. "I'm really glad that everyone is okay..."
  503. Cream looks down... she sulks in a slightly spoiled tone of voice.
  505. "But I wanted to go on an adventure with Mr. Sonic, defeating the bad robot."
  507. After saying that, she knocked a pebble at her feet, turned her back to him, and fell silent. Sonic then slowly spoke to Cream with a gentle smile.
  509. "It's really not that. Not the point, Cream..."
  511. Gently patting Cream's head to make her look up, Sonic himself gets down on one knee and continues to speak at eye level with her.
  513. "In an adventure like today's, it's important to be both strong and kind. You have to do both properly."
  514. "...?"
  516. "Today, you really helped a lot with my "kind" part, you know?"
  517. "?!"
  519. "You saved everyone after the robot that attacked Music Plant was defeated... half of today's adventure belongs to you, Cream!"
  520. "!!"
  522. A gust of wind blew away the bewilderment in Cream's mind.
  524. It can be scary at times, but if you're strong and kind, you'll be fine... perhaps that was Cream's ideal form of "adventure." Today, she and Sonic were able to do just that.
  526. In Cream's mind, all of today's excitement, hard work, and results now shine as part of the adventure.
  528. A feeling of happiness and pride filled Cream's heart.
  530. "Did I have an adventure today?"
  531. "Yeah!"
  533. "Was I good at being kind?!"
  534. "Sure!"
  536. "...Can you take me on more adventures?"
  538. Sonic was about to give a thumbs-up, but as the sun began to set, he thought for a moment and replied.
  540. "Sure, but now it's time to go home, you know? I'm sure your mom will be worried, so I'll see you tomorrow, okay?"
  541. "Oh, please! Don't treat me like a child again!"
  543. Sonic runs off with an expression of bewilderment on his face, while Cream and Cheese chase after him.
  545. The race between the do-mi-so stride and do-re-mi stride was encore. A flurried capriccio performance echoed through Music Plant.
  548. June, Sonic x Metal Sonic
  549. Dr. Eggman's abandoned secret laboratory... The robot, which connected to the database upon activation, assessed the current situation.
  551. [[This situation is "unfavorable."]]
  553. While that robot was asleep for maintenance, Sonic defeated Dr. Eggman and caused him to retreat... Once again, "he" was unable to rush to his master's peril.
  555. And there was one more thing that was equally... or perhaps even more painful.
  557. He also missed an opportunity to defeat Sonic.
  559. The mechanical intelligence named "Metal Sonic", which was created to defeat Sonic, went on to evaluate his situation.
  561. [[This situation is "unfavorable."]]
  563. ☆ ★ ☆
  565. The Speed Highway is a super-highway area that runs through skyscrapers in all directions.
  567. The "360-degree rotating loop" that rises into the sky, the "corkscrew" that spirals outward, and many other acceleration lanes are sure to attract the hearts of speed enthusiasts.
  569. Sonic was humming as he ran through these exciting areas, but then...
  571. *Ka-boom!*
  573. Suddenly, he was attacked by someone directly in front of him. He barely avoided the attack, but it was a close call, and the road in front of him was turned into a pile of rubble from the horrible impact. Sonic grins and opens his mouth.
  575. "It'd be a shame if you got busted by going in the opposite direction... Metal."
  577. Standing up from the rubble in front of him was indeed Metal Sonic.
  579. One moment he was looking at Sonic with a piercing gaze, the next he closed the distance in an instant and thrusted something in its left hand at him.
  581. "Hey! That's the...?!"
  583. It is a flickering Chaos Emerald... And the other right hand is pointing, without the slightest movement, to the far end of Speed Highway.
  585. Sonic instantly understood the intent.
  587. "You'll compete me for it... But it's not really fair, is it?"
  589. Sonic also takes out all of his Chaos Emeralds from his pocket.
  591. "Sure, Metal. We'll fight in earnest... it's all or nothing!"
  593. Just then, the two blue shadows leap out onto the street, illuminated by the lights of the evening skyscrapers. The race was on to see who had the higher speed of sound.
  595. ☆ ★ ☆
  597. The sound of the wind blowing at the speed of sound echoes through the elevated roadway winding between buildings.
  599. A 360-degree loop, a right turn with a twist down, a left turn, and a corkscrew that spirals down and up...
  601. Sonic gracefully traces the surface of Speed Highway, which is full of exhilarating rough spots, and accelerates. Metal Sonic, who was furiously revving his jet engine and gliding along the surface, was catching up to him.
  603. The race continued with neither side giving up a single step, but a change occurred in the middle of the course.
  605. A very long sharp curve after a speedy descent. It was before this rough spot that Metal Sonic engaged in close combat.
  607. A boost tackle powered by electromagnetic sparks... It was a surprise attack, but it was dodged by Sonic. In fact, he might have been able to read it. Having finished boosting, Metal Sonic's power temporarily drops and he slows down, but this is part of the calculation. He will clear this sharp curve at a reasonable speed. At this point, Sonic will be forced to slow down, and Metal Sonic has nothing to lose.
  609. ...That's what he counted on, but something happened then.
  611. Sonic is coming at him, accelerating furiously. For a moment, Metal Sonic's thoughts are fragmented.
  613. [[...?!]]
  615. Sonic swung around the perimeter of the curve at a speed that would have sent him off course, and when he put his hand on Metal Sonic's head... he pushed him as hard as he could, and the recoil sent him accelerating toward the inside track and through the curve.
  617. "Sorry!"
  619. As Metal Sonic struggled to regain his stance, he looked up and saw Sonic running far ahead of him.
  621. Metal Sonic hastily analyzes this situation...
  623. [[This situation is "unfavorable."]]
  625. ☆ ★ ☆
  627. Metal Sonic continues to analyze the situation as he runs after him.
  629. He has been unable to beat Sonic since the first match. He has the best performance and a tireless body of steel. There are plenty of factors that make him unbeatable.
  631. And yet, he can't win.
  633. Why? Why can't he beat a hedgehog that just runs fast...
  635. And then...
  637. A rustle of electrons rippled through this sea of AI cognitive threads.
  639. ...Isn't that because he's "just fast"?
  641. [[...!]]
  643. Why was he made in the same shape as Sonic?
  645. Wasn't this body given to him by Dr. Eggman, the creator, as the best design to defeat Sonic without any waste?
  647. He was created for this purpose, and he has only one thing to do.
  649. The first thing he must do is to overwhelm Sonic in speed.
  651. ...He cut all resources to "wasteful" parts such as firearm control and electromagnetic spark capacitors. He converges all cognitive threads to "speed" for optimization... Metal Sonic is radicalizing himself from the inside out.
  653. A moment later, the blue pile of steel, which had become the very concept of Metal Sonic, began its hectic chase of Sonic.
  655. ☆ ★ ☆
  657. Sonic, on the other hand, has noticed that Metal Sonic's mood has changed a bit. He is also slowly getting closer to him.
  659. ...Metal Sonic is a machine. There is no way to know what he is thinking. But sometimes, Sonic can feel it. He can feel Metal Sonic's will, his excitement, his iron determination to win.
  661. Even now, from only a few hundred meters behind him, he can feel it, like a burning sensation.
  663. "Oh, man, he's getting all fired up now..."
  665. Muttering in exasperation, but with a serious expression on his face, yet holding back the grin that was forming around his mouth, Sonic increased his speed.
  667. "Don't blame me if you get burned."
  669. A straight line from a half-corkscrew with an ascending left-hand twist to a reversal and a sudden turn to the goal, which was thrust into the ground. Two blue sonic-speed blurs raced down the outer wall of the vertically steep skyscraper.
  671. The goal is in sight. Sonic is ahead.
  673. Metal Sonic's AI had understood. He knew that he couldn't win at this point.
  675. How can he win? If he could just increase the jet power a little more.... does he have any resources...?!
  677. ☆ ★ ☆
  679. "...?"
  681. It was then when he was only a few hundred meters from the surface.
  683. At that moment, Sonic could not understand what had happened.
  685. Metal Sonic overtakes Sonic at an unbelievable speed...! A dazzling seven-colored light emanated from his chest, while bright red flames, black smoke, and microscopic fragments of parts spewed violently from the jet vents on his back, as if in wailing.
  687. "Metal...?!"
  689. Indeed. Metal Sonic had taken in the energy of the Chaos Emerald that he had been carrying. However, the current power of the Chaos Emerald is unstable and not something that can be controlled very well.
  691. Metal Sonic is slowly losing his bearings and disintegrating, even as he moves ahead.
  693. Just when Sonic sensed something and was about to call out to him...
  695. For a moment, as soon as the seven-colored light was swallowed by the black smoke, Metal Sonic "poofed" and turned into a red ball of light.
  697. Sonic's momentum carries him through it and he lands on his feet. Then he looked up at the sky with a gasp...
  699. Against the night sky, he could see Metal Sonic's disintegrated body falling with a trail of red flames and shards of sparkling window glass, as if in slow motion.
  701. Sonic thought it was beautiful for a moment.
  703. Immediately afterwards, Sonic stood there unconsciously, surrounded by the sound of a belated explosion, but then...!
  705. Metal Sonic's upper body, with only his right arm left, hits the ground at the moment of his fall, and the recoil sends him flying toward the goal... however, despite his best efforts, Metal Sonic ran out of energy when he was only ten meters from the finish line, where he became completely immobile.
  707. At that moment, Sonic crossed the finish line, putting an end to this game...
  709. The Chaos Emerald flies at Sonic, who looks back with a more serious expression than ever. Sonic catches it with one hand. Metal Sonic lets loose with the last of his strength.
  711. "...!!"
  713. As Sonic tries to step closer, Metal Sonic discourages him from doing so with his fiery eyes.
  715. Straddling this finish line now is not an option for either of them... Sonic felt as if he was saying that.
  717. The damage to Metal Sonic seems to be less severe than expected. Feeling a strange sense of relief, Sonic announced in his usual tone.
  719. "That was a good race."
  721. Then he turned and walked away without looking back.
  723. "...I'll be waiting for a rematch."
  725. ☆ ★ ☆
  727. Defeated, Metal Sonic went straight to analyzing the current situation.
  729. This time, he was beaten completely hollow.
  731. He put all his resources into it, but he couldn't win.
  732. He tried to sharpen his strengths, but it was too late.
  733. In the end, he got involved with an uncertain resource and destroyed himself.
  735. ...However.
  737. The fact that he was able to achieve an unprecedented performance this time is a fact that should be appreciated.
  739. Even using the Chaos Emerald at the end was not necessarily a bad move, considering that if he had done nothing, he would have been defeated anyway... that said, a detailed analysis will have to wait.
  741. He's already sent out a distress signal. Help will be arriving soon and he will be recovered at Eggman's base. If he can connect to the base's main computer and analyze today's data, he should be able to win the next round. There will be room to rethink his inhibitory behavior and attack patterns, as well as to sharpen his focus on speed.
  743. He can still reach a higher level. There is someone he must compete for superiority with in that level...
  745. At the moment of falling into the forced sleep mode due to the voltage drop, in the midst of this rapid decline in the temporal resolution of thought, Metal Sonic had a moment of analysis that was neither analytical nor emotional.
  747. [[This situation is "not so bad."]]
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