© Beloved Doll
If this trance is not the artist`s original work or violates any of the policies, report it immediately. (See Tools below to report.)
Shadow is giving Maria a semi-tour of the Station Square city while carrying her. She will need some more time before she can walk great distances so in the meantime, she is getting a ride. He isn`t going in random directions, he actually has a place of destination in mind to take Maria to.
Looking on from the comfort and safety of her friend and guardian`s arms, Maria finds everything around her fascinating and exciting. She watches the students wearing backpacks make their way to their schools and the cars whipping past them. Each building is different from one another in size, shape, colour and function. To Maria, it feels like a dream to finally be here on Earth.
As they approach the part of the city where the hotel, Emerald Coast, Twinkle Park and the train station are, Shadow knows they are almost to where he wants to take Maria.
They stop in front of the bookstore. Noticing that he stopped, Maria turns away from the sights of the city and looks at Shadow. He begins to set her down on the sidewalk for her to stand on her own two feet. Maria keeps her arms around Shadow while he carefully switches her into this new position. Once it`s verified that Maria is stable and able on her own feet, the two of them proceed into the bookstore (with Shadow holding the door open for Maria, of course).
The little bell on the door rings as it opens, signifying that a new customer is coming into the store. The clerk behind the counter lifts his head up to see who the new customer is. His content smile drops to an expression of dread and fear seeing that it`s Shadow coming into the shop, without Sonic accompanying him. His fear is more derived from the reputation Shadow hasn`t been able to shake off and he fears that trouble will arise from the dark one being here. He scoots to the side and reaches under the counter to hit the silent alarm that would call the police, hoping they would come to escort the street goth out.
A hand quickly grabs the clerk`s wrist, preventing him from hitting the silent alarm. The clerk looks up and sees that it`s his supervisor that has stopped him. The supervisor quietly advises the clerk to wait a moment and he points to the door where Shadow is still lingering nearby. The clerk looks over.
Standing beside Shadow is a young, smallish, blonde-haired girl that no one has seen before. Her attire and overall appearance is in great contrast to Shadow`s. While he has the hardened, "not interested" look that he is so famous for, this girl`s appearance is more easy and happy and full of curiosity for everything around her. She has a hold of Shadow`s right hand with both of her hold. The way she holds his hand with hers furthers her delicate appearance. She is looking around the store, getting a feel for where everything is and how the store looks.
The clerk blinks with confusion. Who is this girl? Where did she come from? How could she be associated with this...murderer? The supervisor is watching the two of them as well. As Maria begins to tug on Shadow to go to the right side of the store, Shadow looks down her giving her his attention. Then the both of them begin to go over to the area that Maria wants to go to. Seeing that, the supervisor, again quietly, advises to the clerk to handle those two with utmost caution and to be polite. The clerk looks at his supervisor with surprise. It was this very supervisor that advised the store to call the police if Shadow came here without Sonic to keep an eye on him (being that Sonic was typically the only one who could handle Shadow and plus all other stores were holding the same policy). Now he is advising that this character be served like he was a VIP?
Approaching a shelf of books, Maria removes one hand away from grasping Shadow`s leaving her other hand to hold it. This newly freed hand reaches up to the shelf and pulls down a book whose spine has caught her attention. She turns it over to read the description of the back of the book. Then she places it back on the shelf and looks at the other books on the shelf. Seeing another one that looks interesting, Maria reaches up, trying to reach a book that`s high up on the shelf. But she isn`t tall enough to make it. Then from behind her, Shadow reaches his free hand up. He`s tall enough to reach and thus is able to grab the book that Maria was wanting. He passes the book on to Maria, who in turn, gives Shadow a sweet "thank you."
This exchange goes on for a while with Maria examining books one by one, Shadow pulling down the ones she can`t reach. Maria wants to make the book choice a good one, not wanting to have Shadow pay for a ton of books. She is considerate of others that way.
A book is finally decided on. As this is done, Maria is feeling her legs beginning to get tired and starting to shake, an indication that they are about to give out right from under her. Sensing this, Shadow picks up Maria. He didn`t think it would last very long. He adjusts Maria in a way that he could carry her with one arm, he will need his other arm free. Maria holds on to the chosen book as Shadow carries her to the desk to check out.
The clerk swallows hard and is sweating nervously. He cautiously greets the mismatched pair, trying to put on a friendly smile he usually gives customers. The book gets passed from Maria to Shadow. The clerk then asks them if they found everything they were looking for; standard protocol of store clerks to ask customers this. As Shadow sets the book down on the counter, Maria smiles to the clerk one of her friendly smiles,"Hello. Yes, I think we have everything-Oh, they have Sudoku here as well?"
On a display in front of the counter, Maria has caught sight of some activity books. One of them is a Sudoku book as she had verbally indicated. She remembers doing a lot of those puzzles on the Arc with Shadow. He caught up quickly on the game and they would stay up late, way past her bedtime, doing as many puzzles as they could. The game was quite addicting.
Shadow looks to the display as Maria brings it to his attention. His eyes quickly scan over the display to find the Sudoku book she`s speaking of. He finds it on the second level of the display. Bringing his free hand over, Shadow picks up the Sudoku book and sets that on the counter as well. Maria drops her mouth open in surprise at Shadow,"Shadow...I...didn`t really mean for you-"
She stops herself when Shadow shifts his eyes to her direction. For a moment neither one says a word but it seems as though some nonverbal communication is going on between them. The clerk looks between them with confusion as to what`s going on. Then suddenly Maria smiles and wraps her arms around Shadow`s neck with glee. He seems to not mind the affection from the blonde girl, in fact he even gives her a bit of nuzzling in return. Quite doting on her actually it seems, the clerk observes. The dark one isn`t speaking very many words at all but he has other ways of communicating with the girl, in such subtle ways that most people don`t seem to have learned to pick up on. Of course the clerk doesn`t think of this so indepthly but he does notice a difference in the usual atmosphere that Shadow carries with him. Is it because of this mysterious girl?
The clerk adds the Sudoku book to their order and totals everything out. Once the register has made the calculations, the clerk cautiously tells Shadow what the total amount is. Using that free hand again, Shadow dives it into his pocket and pulls out a card. Shadow passes the card over to the clerk and the man takes it, swipes it and hands it back to Shadow. It`s similar to a debit card that it has direct connections with the money reserve he has. But what makes it different is that it is a card given to him by GUN. Their insignia is on the reverse side that Shadow was careful to hide from Maria, he isn`t ready to tell her about them either yet. Because it`s from GUN, Shadow would not need to enter any PIN numbers or sign papers. It`s impossible to make duplicate GUN cards as they have the top most security.
Shadow puts the card back in his pocket. The clerk places both books in a bag and holds the bag out to Shadow. His nervous trembling is obvious with the bag shaking with his outstretched hand. Shadow mostly ignores this as he knows why the man is so scared. It`s just as well, he figures, he should be scared anyway. He closes his eyes for a moment as he takes the bag of books, enhancing the haughty disposition Shadow had picked up on having in Maria`s 50 year absence. But she doesn`t notice the attitude Shadow is expressing when he takes the bag. Instead, she looks to the clerk with concern as she had noticed his trembling,"What`s wrong?"
Before she can get an answer, Shadow immediately turns around and exits the book store with both Maria and the bag of books in tow. As the door closes behind them, the clerk`s body`s tenseness immediately drops and he sighs with relief. No one was attacked or killed, nothing was destroyed. It feels like a miracle. Shadow has never actually caused trouble in shops, but it`s his murderous, dangerous reputation with people questioning whether or not he still has ties with Eggman that make everyone scared of having Shadow around. With Sonic around, a known hero, people felt safe so if anything were to happen with Shadow, Sonic was there to put a stop to it. But as stated, nothing has ever actually happened to validate people`s fears of Shadow in stores.
Outside the book store, standing on the sidewalk, Shadow takes a moment to look around. Where could they go next that might interest Maria? The very tip of Emerald Coast, the beach, is visible across the road from the train station. Walking towards the train station, Shadow begins to wonder if maybe Maria might like Emerald Coast? There are umbrellas for shade further back than what`s visible here which would be good to protect her fair skin. While there, they could probably read or do some Sudoku puzzles?
Shadow carries Maria to the front of the train station and stops. Maria at first looks at Shadow when he stops and then follows his gaze to the beach across the road. A car passes them by and Maria looks at Shadow again,"Are we going there?"
He gives a single nod,"That`s Emerald Coast. We`ll cross the road and find a shaded place for you then we can hang around there for a while if you`d like."
Maria smiles,"Oh we could do some of those puzzles at the beach, that would be wonderful."
Shadow sets Maria down on the sidewalk. Once down, Maria turns at looks at the beach that is just a few steps away. Shadow takes his eyes off of her for a moment to readjust how he`s holding the bag of books. Maria takes a few steps away on the sidewalk, clasping her hands together and getting excited about going to the beach for the first time. A big smile is on her face as she begins to fantasize about being on the beach in just a few minutes. Then Maria steps off the sidewalk and begins to cross the road.
Unfortunately, the girl had never learned about cars and road safety. Just as she steps onto the pavement, a car is heading her way as it`s making it`s way towards the parking garage of the hotel. It`s coming on quite quickly, exceeding the speed limit even. The driver shows no signs of slowing down.
It all happens so fast. Maria hasn`t even noticed that there was danger coming her way. Suddenly, Maria is grabbed by her arm and yanked back onto the sidewalk from the road. The car barely misses her. As she is pulled back, Maria feels herself turned around so that her back is to the road. Shadow has his back turned to the road as well like he was serving himself as a shield to her. He has his arms around Maria protectively. Since he almost never zips up his jacket, the flaps of it has swung open and also seem to be serving as protective covering for Maria. Maria can feel the fast-paced beat of Shadow`s heart against her as her own is beating fast, though not nearly as fast as his since she is still oblivious to what the danger was that she was just saved from. Before she can analyze what happened or even begin to speak on it, she hears the car that almost ran her over screech to a halt. Both Maria and Shadow turn their heads to look at the car.
The car has pulled over to the side of the road, next to the sidewalk. Other cars go around this parked car to continue their way to the hotel garage. The engine of the car shuts off and the driver gets out of his car. He slams the door on the driver side shut and he comes towards Shadow and Maria, anger is evident on his face.
Immediately Shadow goes into defense mode. He stands his ground, facing the oncoming man. He isn`t going to go up to him, but he isn`t going to flee either. To protect her from any possible attack and to also cover up her identity in case the man decides to go whining to the police later about this, Shadow puts Maria behind him. His left hand holds on to Maria`s arm almost like he wants to ensure that she will remain back there. Shadow`s bigger size would cover up Maria well enough where the man won`t be able to get a good description of her. With this change of events, Maria becomes scared and easily follows with what Shadow wants her to do.
The man isn`t overly large. He seems to be quite close to Shadow`s height but he doesn`t have the same build. He isn`t obese but he is more "filled out" than Shadow. He comes storming up to the two, screaming about the incident while using language Maria would not dare repeat.
Shadow is more used to people like this than Maria so unlike her, he isn`t scared one bit. Heh, does this man even realize who he is copping an attitude with? Shadow doesn`t speak a word until the man is close to getting in his face. The man hasn`t calmed down one bit during this fit of rage of his and he is about to get in Shadow`s face, possibly wanting a fight. Shadow knows that just with physical force, he could overpower the man and win the fight, but he isn`t up for wasting time and energy like that. Not to mention what would happen to Maria. She wouldn`t approve of a fight for something trivial as this. The man hadn`t thrown a punch yet so it wouldn`t be self-defense in that sense. But he does need to get the man to go away and leave them alone.
In an instant, the man finds himself face-to-face to the barrel of Shadow`s Colt 45. This seems to instantly silence the man from his rantings. In contrast to the man`s loud, angry voice, Shadow`s voice remains calm and even toned. He looks dead straight to the man with his threatening red eyes and finger on the trigger,"Leave."
It`s simple and it gets the point across. Seeing Shadow pull out a gun on a human being, Maria`s eyes pop wide open and her mouth hangs open as well seeing this from behind her protector.
The man has a totally different tone to his voice though he still isn`t backing down yet. He doesn`t believe that the gun is loaded, that perhaps Shadow is just bluffing the weapon. To show that the gun is real and is loaded, Shadow holds the gun out towards the beach across the road, this would ensure that no one innocent was going to get killed. Soon as the barrel is aimed that way, Shadow pulls the trigger and with a bang, the bullet flies out. This whole duration, Shadow`s eyes don`t leave the man.
At this display, the man begins to back away. Shadow watches him carefully, though he`s still pointing the gun towards the beach. The man backs away and quickly gets in his car. The engine starts up and he flees the scene, going into the hotel garage as he originally intended to do.
Seeing the man has left, Shadow places his weapon back into it`s hiding place. While he does that, Maria emerges from her hiding place that was behind Shadow. She begins to say his name, about to question him why he pulled a gun on someone. It`s a difficult ideal for her to grasp as she is a pacifist and doesn`t believe in killing. But soon after saying his name, Maria is cut off by Shadow. Not by him interrupting her really. It`s just that she stops herself when Shadow begins to move.
Shadow`s hand reaches out towards Maria`s hand. Positioning themselves where the palms are facing each other, Shadow slowly intertwines his fingers between Maria`s. His other hand goes to her chin, taking a gentle hold of it mostly for out of endearment. His red eyes look down to her blue eyes. His voice continues to carry the deep, even tone as he often has,"Maria...You must be careful with the roads. Always look both ways before you cross. Drivers don`t always watch for pedestrians."
Even if the man didn`t understand it, Shadow does. Maria had lived on the Arc all of her life. She never experienced cars or had to deal with them, let alone anyone teach her about them. She just didn`t know. But that doesn`t stop her from feeling bad about the accident. She mostly feels bad for upsetting the man and getting Shadow into trouble. Maria apologizes,"I`m sorry, Shadow..."
The happy smile is absent from her face and Shadow doesn`t like that. Wanting her to return to her usual self, Shadow moves in closer to Maria. His black lips give her a soft kiss on her forehead and then he says,"Let`s continue to the beach, shall we?"