© Beloved Doll
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Eggman obviously wants the emerald pretty badly enough. He takes a moment to ponder over why the red chaos emerald has a chain attached to it now. But he quickly dismisses the idea and puts his fist to his mouth, clearing his throat. Then he puts his hands behind his back, allowing himself to stands as straight as someone of his size could manage to do,"Tell you what..."
Ha, he`s willing to change something in his deal,"Why not you just lay it on my desk here...Neither of us will be touching it. Then I`ll bring out Maria and you can scamper off into the night with her."
Shadow just stands there for a few seconds, then his hand reels back. He suddenly tosses it in the direction of the desk, not really caring whether it landed on the desk or not. The small, red chaos emerald bounces on the metal tile of the bureau and falls off, landing on the floor. There are a few metallic sounds from the chaos emerald making contact with the metal parts and soft sounds coming from the jingling of the attached chain. Shadow, during that showing, never removes his glare from Eggman.
Shadow speaks coldly, taking a step forwards. Eggman smirks,"A deal is a deal."
He turns to his bureau and flips a switch that is on the opposite side of the desk, where the chair was positioned when Shadow first entered the room. As the switch is flipped, the sound of something heavy slowly rubbing against the wall is heard. To the side, a panel of the wall is raising up. It`s big enough for Eggman to fit through.
On the floor behind this opening, is Maria. She looks lifeless and is pretty bloodied up. But wait, she was only shot once on the Arc, where did these other injuries come from? Granted Eggman and his robots were not known for any gentle handling...Otherwise, she is still in one piece, even her headband is in place as it was when Shadow had last seen her those years ago. Looking at her face, something was different. When Shadow last saw her, her face was smiling to him, a very haunting image considering the situation they were in. But this expression of hers is not an encouraging smile, but of fear. This must mean that during her final moments, she was only pretending to brave when she in fact was scared of what was happening.
Shadow sees this and for a few moments, it seems as if he is about to run forwards to rescue her. However, seeing her as she was, caused something to snap within him. This had gone on long enough. For a few moments, he just stands there, motionless...Until he turns toward Eggman and raises the pipe. Being physically strong and able, he viciously swings it from side-to side twice, the dark look on his face quickly returning.
"Drop dead, Eggman."
A faint hiss from his mouth as Shadow executes his attack, making sure he would be properly stunned before he made any move to rescue Maria. Eggman isn`t one who fought his own battles, he always had a machine to do it for him. So, the middle-aged man isn`t much for the teen-bodied Shadow. He goes down easily and tumbles onto the floor rather noisily. It`s a surprise for Eggman as he hadn`t expected that Shadow would turn on him in such a way.
Shadow suddenly lets go of the pipe. It clatters to the floor, already spent as an effective weapon. Instantly, he rushes forwards, towards the opening.
"Maria-!" He exclaims as he kneels down besides her. Mentally, Shadow makes the note on the way out to reclaim the chaos emerald. Eggman doesn`t deserve it. But at the moment, his attention is focused wholly on Maria.
His arms carefully and gently reach around; his right hand supporting her head as he slowly begins to lift her up fro the cold, metal floor. The expression on his face softens into one of deep concern for her. She is alive but barely. The one he truly cared for so much in life is alive. His life suddenly doesn`t seem so hollow to him. However the hard part is obviously how to remove her from the horrible present situation.
Maria`s body is completely limp in Shadow`s arms. It`s obvious how weakened she is, not only are there her injuries and blood loss, making the heaviest hit on her, but then there`s her disease. She`s unprotected and who knows what Eggman drug her through before he brought her here into this polluted, unsanitary city of his. It`s a miracle the man doesn`t get sick from his own filth. The only signs of life there is from her is the limpness and the air seeping out from a few of the wounds to her body. This suggests that she`s still breathing but her lung have been punctured. On the lucky side, one lung seems to be undamaged, which puts her in a better position than if both lungs were injured. But it still means that her time is running out. The news report said that Eggman kidnapped her this morning. School didn`t let out until the later afternoon and it wasn`t until almost evening did he hear the news report.
Shadow isn`t about to to ponder; he fights his emotions. He wants to help her any way he could but there just isn`t anything he can do at this point. Eggman would likely summon his entire army on red-alert when he`d come to for his outburst and Shadow isn`t about to have Maria in the cross-fire. He carefully slings her over a shoulder for now. He starts rushing out. On the way out, he kneels down and scoops up his crimson emerald, swiftly packing it away into a pocket as he rushes along. Nearing the elevator, he quickly steps in and turns around, waiting to go down. He hopes that knocking out the evil Doctor would buy them enough time for escape.
As the elevator-operating robot is getting the elevator doors to slide close, Shadow can see that Eggman is starting to lift himself up from the floor. Just as the doors close completely shut, the muffled sounds of Eggman cursing Shadow can still be heard. The elevator then starts to descend down the height of the building, heading straight for the bottom floor. Once down there, the elevator comes to a full stop and the robot opens the doors for Shadow to leave. The moment Shadow steps out of the elevator, the alarm begins to sound. It`s a very loud and "hard to miss" alarm that can be heard all over, and there are many of these deafening alarms all around the city. There is no doubt that the robots left in Metropolis will begin their pursuit on Shadow and Maria.
Shadow isn`t about to wait around to see what would happen. He bursts out the nearest doors to him and runs out into the streets. A few sentries catch sight of him, Shadow running down along the highway street. Time is working against him, he had already spent too much time in the process of Maria`s rescue. As more and more robotic guards begin to pour into the streets, Shadow starts to lob metallic canisters behind and in front of him. They are military-grade smoke bombs. His resourcefulness allows him to pack a small cache of weapons and equipment on his person for this rescue. Carefully maneuvering himself through the smoke, Shadow begins to run along the back alleys.
The small sign of life Maria shows, the air seeping through a few of her wounds, is still going. However, during the run out of Metropolis, it feels like the air coming out has lessened a little. Not a good sign. At one point, it seems like she may have moved a little for a moment but Shadow can`t be sure if it was because she was doing it voluntarily or it was just her moving from the motion of Shadow moving around. Thankfully, she does not receive any more wounds from the barrage of robots attacking them on the way out.
As he makes his way to the city limits, Shadow runs off into the darkness. He never looks back. He has Maria and his precious red chaos emerald, now the challenge came as to what he is going to do to save her life. He approaches a collection of large bushes, leaping on his signature motorcycle. With Maria slung safely over his shoulder, Shadow only uses one hand to drive onto the road and away from Metropolis. His occupied arm secures Maria in place so that she doesn`t fall off. It will be a bit of a drive to Station Square but driving instead of running would make the trip safer.
Luckily for Shadow and Maria, the robots do not leave Metropolis. Their mission was to get rid of whatever intruders that come into the city. In their programmed minds, they have chased out the intruder and thus, did their job. They will patrol the borders to continue their guard duty. The fire-fights and bullets that had broke out were too much of a danger for them, Shadow had to admit mentally. The adrenaline still pulses through his veins as he rides off into the night. He is getting to Station Square but another thought crosses his mind. How were people going to react with him carrying her back? They won`t outright praise him as a hero. They know about his history with Eggman and some question of whether or not Shadow still has ties with him. Would they accept him just walking into the hospital with a bloodied and dying girl in his arms? There has to be another way...
Shadow begins to slow down as he nears the edge of the city. The hospital couldn`t have been more than just a few blocks away from him. Parking the bike in a junk-yard he claimed as residence, Shadow suddenly runs off. Running along a few of the blocks, he picks out a well-lit park for Maria. He is going to wait and ensure that it was someone qualified to help her that rescued her, as opposed to Dr. Eggman or anyone else with nefarious wants or needs.
"Maria...Maria, I can`t help you...I can`t be seen with you right now..."
Shadow whispers to her as if she could hear him, gently setting her against the grass. Taking off his black-leather jacket, he begins to wrap her upper body in it. He wraps her up tight enough so the jacket will remain on her and not come off too easily. In this way, the jacket will provide her with some warmth. Then Shadow brings his face closer to Maria`s,"I need to leave you for a while, but...We`ll be back together, you`ll see...I`ll be there for you..."
Bringing his face closer to hers, Shadow kisses her lightly on the lips for only a brief second before pulling away. He gets up and runs over to a collection of trees. Shadow pulls up a smoke grenade. This one is different. It is a marker, neon-green marked. It was generally used as a signaling beacon or as a substitute to a flare and likely to attract attention. Lobbing the metallic canister towards the street in the same area, Shadow is hoping it would attract attention. While the signaling-smoke bomb was obviously meant for daytime use, certain areas at night might serve as a substitute. The distant police sirens that Shadow hears are heading towards their direction. His call for attention does succeed. Shadow may not particularly be in agreeance with the police but they would do well in taking Maria to a hospital. Their job is to protect and serve the citizens and Maria would be just another citizen as far as they were concerned. One final problem remains...
How would they identify her? They would likely want to know what to call her rather than just "mysterious girl". On the Arc, Maria carried nothing to identify her as everyone on the Arc knew who she was so such things were not necessary. And Shadow certainly couldn`t stick around to give the name, that would make the situation look even worse on his part. Sure if they tried to jail him, he could get out on his own no problem. But if they decided to take Maria away someplace to keep her away from him...
He will have to take a page out of Espio`s book, so to speak. He rips off a bottom section of his shirt. It`s white so any marks that were made would show up on the shirt quite clearly. He shoves his hand in one of his pockets, checking to see if he had brought a pen with him. There isn`t a pen but he has a sharpie marker. It`ll have to do. As neatly as he could, he begins to write "M-a-r-i-a_R-o-b-o-t-n-i-k", etching it across neatly so that it couldn`t be confused. Maria Robotnik. It was written plain as day, no one would be able to refute that. Rushing forwards, Shadow kneels down and sets it on her, using a pebble to weigh the cloth-bit down. After doing that, he dusts the area.
Before doing anything else, Shadow carefully wraps his arms around Maria, giving her a final hug before he would depart from her. He can hear the police sirens becoming louder, indicating that they are on their way. Shadow`s expression changes to being a little saddened. He finally has Maria back and he has to give her up so soon. But this has to be done. She needs to be saved before anything else can take place.
Keeping her in his arms, Shadow looks over his shoulder to see where exactly the police are. He wants to remain with her for as long as possible. Once the police draw close enough, Shadow carefully removes his arms from Maria and stands up from her. Then he quickly runs off into the night.
Within seconds of Shadow dashing off to a hiding place, the headlights of the police car rise up to illuminate Maria in the darkness. The car immediately halts to a stop. The two police officers in the car quickly exit their car and rush to Maria. To them, Maria looks like she was a victim of a vicious attack of various proportions. One of the officers pulls out his walkie-talkie and sends a message ahead to a hospital about them bringing the girl in. The second officer takes notice of her name written on the cloth. He removes the pebble weighing it down and picks the cloth up. He shows it to his partner questioningly. His partner takes the cloth and examines it,"Hmm...I guess this is her name?"
The other officer picks Maria up from the ground. The two of them retreat to their police car with Maria in tow. The siren comes back on and they rush off to the nearest hospital. This was certainly one big emergency.
The nearest hospital is a large one and was set off to the side where it could be with the trees. It is believed that the patients do so well in this hospital, not only because of the skilled doctors they have, but also because the trees give the patients a relaxing environment, away from the hustle and bustle of the city.
The police bring in Maria to this place and surrender her to the hospital. They also give the cloth to the doctor that will be seeing Maria, assuming this name on the cloth is hers. Her name was not given in the news report as no one knew what it was and in addition, they did not have any photographs or videos to show what she looks like. No one is making the connection between Maria and the girl Eggman had kidnapped. At least not yet. The police will remain at the hospital to collect any evidence they can get from the doctor so they can pursue who did this to her and arrest them. A crime is a crime.
Shadow had followed the police vehicle to see which hospital they would be taking Maria. But even after seeing the hospital of choice, it`s still too risky to get too close to her. Now, comes the hardships Shadow will have to face in the future, watching Maria from afar and being separated from her -again-. He isn`t sure how she would react to seeing him again. School isn`t anything of a priority at this point, he doesn`t need to attend it right now. At the moment, he needs to ensure Maria`s safety. Night and day, he pledges, he would stake-out the hospital and be prepared to leap into the fray if Eggman were to execute a second attack.
As the day comes in, the sun is rising, letting it`s rays dance along everything it can touch. Already all the kids are making their way to school. Undoubtedly, Sonic and his friends would be on their way to school as well, with Tails and Cream being dropped off at the elementary school first. It is the usual noisy morning of the kids screaming or yakking to each other as they make their way to their school. Same as usual...In fact, everything this morning is pretty routine.
That is except for the "early bird" news reporters flocking to the hospital. Obviously word of Maria`s mysterious appearance has caught a few people`s attention and the reporters are just eating this up as something new they could put in the newspapers and tv. They have their movie cameras and digital cameras ready in addition to tape recorders, ready to collect whatever information they can gather.
If Maria was awake, she would be very overwhelmed by all the attention and people. It is fortunate that the doctors are quite tired of having the media`s attention around their peaceful environment. They bring a lot of noise and chaos, not to mention getting very nosy. The nurses do their best to keep the reporters from entering the hospital building, stationing themselves at every entry point. But this will not mean that the reporters will go empty-handed. If they have very little information, they still have a way of creating a big story out of it.
Shadow hopes that the police, or even some of the higher-up SWAT might take to actually stationing a few officers to protect the hospital this time. Last time, Eggman had come in and gone out without so much as a second thought...while Shadow was away, however. During the night, he had retrieved from his post a few things. Some more money for his wallet, a spare jacket, his school-supplies (might as well use this time to study and do something, after all), tools, and some snacks. Shadow feels prepared for a lengthy stake out with his amount of supplies.
In the distance, he watches from his place in the park as his "friends" make their way to class, then diverts his view to the hospital, looking at all the windows that are facing him on the building. Shadow is intent on locating which one is housing Maria. Watching the reporters and news-crews leaving, he goes back to his search, hoping no one would chastise him. He isn`t about to pass up the chance of helping Maria out by going to school and so this is essentially cutting class for the first time in a good while. Right now, school isn`t a priority for him.