Sonic GeneX - The Series
Episode 4 - Cry of the Wolf
Note: Sonic the Hedgehog and related characters are (c) SEGA and
Sonic Team. You knew that, right?
GeneX and related fanchars are (c) 2BIT (TheGreatGator), the author.
Previously on Sonic GeneX...
During the battle with the Covenant of Despair, Fera the Wolf attempted to mold Punchy into a darkness-fueled soldier as Dark Punchy. This ultimately backfired, costing her her life, much to the dismay of Illusi, who as it turned out had been a close friend to her in the past.
Once the Darkseeker had been defeated, something had to be done with the gathered Chaos Relics. Knuckles and Punchy entrusted them to Illusi, believing he would keep them safe to honor Fera's memory...
Now, let us begin today's story...
Copter was beginning to feel a huge swell of regret at having invitied Punchy and the others to stay at Darkegg Fortress with him. Now, not only did he have considerably less privacy, but he had to deal with further uninvited guests that the presence of his new roommates brought. That was the case today, as Silver the hedgehog sat waiting for Punchy to come in to the control room. "So... uh... how's Kosmo?" he asked Copter. "We're not in touch..." Copter grumbled. Punchy and Rainbow finally rushed into the room, Punchy looking rather perplexed. "Hey... Silver... What do you want with me?" he asked. Silver stood up with a serious expression. "I need you to find Illusi for me. I want to make sure the Chaos Relics are safe." he said. Rainbow nodded. "I know how to get him! Hey! Mousy!! Come out!!" she shouted. "...Yeah, you're a genious, Rainbow..." Punchy sighed. Illusi quickly appeared in a burst of smoke, and Copter stomped for the door. "It's crowded in here!" he growled. "Who hath summoned me....?" Illusi said ominously. "Very funny..." Punchy said, "Silver wants you." Illusi glanced at him. "Is my future in jeopardy?" he asked. Silver shrugged. "I haven't been back in a while... There's still a few things that bother me in this time. Such as the Chaos Relics. Are they safe?" he asked. Illusi glanced at the ground. ".....They are all I have left...of poor Fera..." he sighed, making Punchy look around uncomfortably. "Having them around...both reminds me of her, and prevents me from moving on. I haven't done anything with them yet, but I fear I must seek an alternative method of containing their powers, lest my grief destroy me..." Illusi continued. Silver frowned. "I'm sorry... I didn't realize..." he said. Punchy scratched his head curiously. "Yeah... Y'know, it's been bugging me, Illusi... Why do you care so much... about Fera?? Uh, sorry, didn't mean to say it like that..." he stammered. Illusi sat down, glancing at Punchy and the equally curious Rainbow & Silver. "I understand... You don't know her...our story. I suppose I'll do my best to explain it to you..." he began.
Illusi began to relate Fera's story, beginning with what little he knew of her early life, which he'd learned straight from her. Fera was an orphan; Her mother had died in childbirth, and she never knew her father. Illusi wasn't sure, but the death of her mother might have been due to a doctor's error. At any rate, Fera was raised as a pup in an orphanage, until she was adopted by a kindly human couple. She was apparently greatly loved by this couple, but as Fera grew older and began to venture outside, she found the human children of the neighborhood much less accepting. "She would be teased... Tormented. Because of her fur and her tail. They would call her names, pull on her tail... She never had true friends as a child..." Illusi sighed. "...I've never been a child. I got her beat!" Copter scoffed from the doorway. "Don't interrupt, Two!" Rainbow scolded. Illusi continued his story. One day, Fera, fed up with feeling as an outcast, thought to run away from home. She might have reconsidered later on, but she never got the chance. She headed towards the woods, her animal instinct drawing her there. It was there she first encountered GUN. The military snared her in a trap, and the first person to greet her in her cage was Sergeant Murten, Gunner's mentor. "Hello, there... Don't you look... cultured. For a wolf..." he said to her. "Wh-what do you want from me??" the young Fera squeaked. Murten smirked darkly. "Wolves are among nature's great hunters...and killers. I plan to use the animal nature of your kind to further my ambitions..." he said plainly. Fera recoiled from him in her cage, frightened. "I-I don't understand...!" she whimpered. Murten shrugged. "You are young yet, true... But that only means I can mold you to be the perfect soldier... The perfect...expendable...soldier...!" he said, snickering as he motioned for his minions to take her away. She would never see her adoptive family again...
Fera would spend the next period of her life in training at a GUN facility. She was taught basic combat and stealth skills, typically forced to train against other wolves. In time, she became one of Murten's most promising operatives, and so he decided to send her on a simple scouting mission as a test. She was dropped off at the Mystic Ruins, where she was to investigate a certain mysterious shrine. She wandered lost in the jungle for hours before she located it, the golden Chaos Shrine. "...This must be it..." she thought, "But it's sealed... How do I enter?" she wondered. She approached the entrance, searching for any handle or button, something that might cause the shrine to open. There were two statues resembling Chaos nearby, with their hands held out. "...Maybe those?" she thought, walking to them and pulling on their hands, searching for a hidden switch or lever or something. After thoroughly scoping out the area, she could find no way to enter the shrine. "I've done what I can... No choice but to report back." she sighed. When she returned to the drop point and explained the situation to Sergeant Murten, however, he flew into a rage. "...You little FOOL!!" he shouted, clutching a whip he used when training the wolves. Fera recoiled from him fearfully. "I did all I could... It just wouldn't open!!" she insisted. "I care nothing for excuses!! Only results!! Failure is not tolerated, you fur-coated worm!!" he roared, lashing the whip right at her face! She fell to the floor, howling in pain, but he would not stop, striking her repeatedly, making her right eye bleed! She eventually passed out from the pain. "...Leave her in the woods, Corporal Gunner..." Murten said, "If she lives, we'll take her with us on our return. Maybe then she'll have learned her place..." he growled. The young Gunner, newly recruited to GUN, lifted the she-wolf and carried her away. "...I hope you're dead... All the mongrels in our squad make me uneasy..." he grumbled.
When Fera regained consciousness, she was alone in the dark, battered and bleeding on the ground in the jungle. She could think of nothing to do but weep, fearing what would happen to her next. It was at this moment, as chance would have it, that the young wolf's cries were heard by a native of the jungle. Illusi the shrew emerged from the shadows, and seeing the injured youngster, instantly hurried to her side. "...My dear, who did this to you?" he asked. "Th-they'll come back...!!" Fera choked, awash in despair. Illusi nodded. "I'll see to that. Come, let me... get something cold on that eye. Can you tell me your name?" he asked. She sniffled loudly, looking up at him slowly. "It's... Fera..." she said. He nodded. "My name is Illusi. I'll take care of you, Fera, don't worry..." he said, lifting her into his arms, since she seemed too weak to stand. He brought her to a small hut he had deep in the woods, and gave her a damp bundle of leaves and medicinal herbs to hold against her bloody eye. "I don't know much about medicine, but this should help..." he told her, "I'll be right back. I have to see to those fellows who are coming for you..." he stated. "W-wait!!" Fera stammered, concerned about what may happen, but Illusi was gone before she could protest, so she laid back in a hammock in his hut and rested. When Murten returned the next morning, he found what appeared to be Fera's lifeless body. "...Dead... Pitiful wolves. I suppose this program is a failure..." he stated, kicking Fera's corpse. He then walked off with Gunner. "You've proved one thing, Sarge... They ARE expendable..." Gunner grinned. Once they were gone, Fera's corpse vanished, and Illusi poked his head out of the bushes. "No one searches for a dead person..." he mused. On his return to his hut, he found Fera outside, staring at her reflection in a stream flowing nearby. Her eye was permanently scarred. "He turned me into a monster... like him!" she growled. Illusi patted her head, hoping to comfort her. "He won't look for you any more... Illusions can be pretty convincing." he stated. Fera glanced at him curiously. "Perhaps I can teach you..." he smiled.
Fera spent the remainder of her youth in the Forest of Dreams with Illusi. He would often show her the various illusions he could cast, and allowed her to play with the Wrongos and Rightos. As she grew older, Illusi began to attempt to teach her to conjure illusions as he could, but despite spending years in a forest with a deep connection to the illusion world, Fera could never cast a single illusion. "Give it time..." Illusi would tell her, "One day, the world of illusions will accept you, and you will gain my power." Fera trusted and respected him deeply, so she waited patiently for that day to come.
She always wore a patch over her eye, which Illusi had made with leaves, moss and other plant material. However, every so often, she would take it off and stare mournfully at her scars. It was then that Illusi would sit beside her and offer comfort. "Your eyes are still beautiful... For they are the windows to your beautiful soul. That's something no one can take from you... Only you can let it die." he said to her. She smiled, cuddling next to him. "You're so good to me... But there's nothing beautiful about my soul..." she sighed. Illusi stroked her head gently. "You couldn't be this nice after the hard life you've had, otherwise..." he reassured her.
The pair of them were inseperable. Illusi viewed her as a daughter, but little did he know, Fera's feelings would grow stronger as she matured. Despite her constant failures to learn illusionism, she would not grow frustrated, because her lessons kept her near him. She would even watch him train by himself, awed by the mystical feats he could accomplish when he had full concentration. "Where did you learn all this stuff??" she asked him one day. Illusi chuckled. "Mostly I've had to learn by feel... But now that I think back... My powers were first given to me by the Dream King..." he realized. Fera knew of the Dream Temple; Illusi spoke of it often, and they'd even gone there, though Fera was not to enter. Illusi scratched his head. "...Perhaps this is where you must go. You must be tested by the Dream Temple, as I was!" he stated. Fera gulped, but nodded. To continue her lessons with Illusi, she would do anything.
So, the day came when Fera entered the crystalline building known as the Dream Temple. Illusi could not join her, but he would be privy to all that went on within. She arrived in a pitch black room, where she was met by a shadow... a shadow resembling herself, with one visible red eye. "He I imbued with my power... has sent you..." the shadow whispered. Fera nodded slowly. "You... are the Dream King?" she asked. The shadow didn't answer. It gazed fiercely at her with its one eye, as though probing her very soul. "He was wrong to send you... I have seen your dreams. You are not worthy... A hate burns deep in your soul. You... will never bond with the illusion world. I shall not allow it!" he stated, vanishing before Fera could protest. Her mind reeled. This would be the end of her lessons. It wasn't fair. Anger was reborn in her as she stormed out of the Dream Temple, right past Illusi and into the woods. "...I suppose she needs time alone..." Illusi thought.
Not long after that, there came a day when a stranger arrived in the woods. Hooded and cloaked, with glowing red eyes, the stranger introduced himself to Illusi and Fera as the Darkseeker. "I have been seeking allies to join me... Join my Covenant of Despair. I sensed anger...and a touch of darkness, in this area. I can temper that darkness into strength, and offer redemption... justice... and family. All you need do is come with me..." he said, extending a hand to Fera. Illusi stood between them. "Listen, you... We don't need any darkness in our lives! We are simple, peaceful folk... Now get lost, before the very forest sees you out!" he threatened. The Darkseeker produced an odd lantern, resembling a glass pyramid on a steel handle. "Use this to summon me should you reconsider... Farewell..." he said, leaving the lantern on the ground as he left. Illusi picked up the lantern, turning to Fera. "I forbid you to use this!" he said seriously. Fera stared at him in shock. Never had he been so stern with her. "Shouldn't this be my choice? I-I'm not a child!! And you obviously can't teach me anything!" she shouted. "I'm protecting you!" Illusi told her, "You leave... and I can't protect you... End of discussion." he said, heading inside his hut.
Fera mulled it over for a time. She tried to talk Illusi into going with her. "You can protect me if we both go... And eventually, I might be able to protect you!" she reasoned. Illusi shook his head. "You don't understand what it is I'm protecting you from..." he stated. Fera groaned. "You can't protect me from the darkness! It's already in me! Both the Darkseeker and the Dream King said as much!" she pointed out. She took his hands in hers, a desperate look in her eye. "Please... I don't want to lose you... You...mean everything to me. I love you!" she cried. Illusi was taken aback. He could tell by the way she spoke; this wasn't the same love he felt for her. He backed away, hesitating before responding. "Fera... I raised you... To me... you are a daughter. I could never think of you as anything else..." he said.
The revelation shattered Fera. She was quiet for a few days, ditching her eye patch and staring at her reflection in the water frequently. One day, she did not find Illusi when she looked for him. He had learned of another cloaked stranger in the woods, and met with the mysterious Doomsayer for the first time. "You... Are you with the Darkseeker??" Illusi asked. The Doomsayer shook his head. "He takes my form, but not my mission. I am the Doomsayer. I come with prophecy. High on Angel Island, a guardian tirelessly defends the Master Emerald, great controller of the Chaos Emeralds. But there is no defense against the forces of Time and Space. And if the Master Emerald remains in its space much longer, it will be lost. There must always be a Master Emerald... Do you understand what I say to you?" he concluded. Illusi was suspicious, naturally. "Sounds like you want me to move the Master Emerald... Why don't you do it?" he asked. "I only prophesize... I do not act. Farewell..." the Doomsayer said, vanishing in a swirl of hail. Illusi determined that he had to go, just in case. Little did he know, this would change the course of both his life and Fera's.
Feeling abandoned, Fera had had enough. She stared at her scarred eye, remembering Illusi's words about beauty and her eyes being windows to her soul. "I don't want my soul...to be seen!!" she snarled, tearing up her old eye patch, and going through Illusi's drawers, finding needles and thread that he uses to patch his cape. She took it, and took the lantern, heading outside and holding the lantern high. It emitted a bright, red light, shooting high into the air. By the time the Darkseeker arrived, Fera had done her work with the needle. She had sewn her scarred eye shut, and was snarling, desperately trying not to pass out from the pain. The Darkseeker chuckled. "You might well become my greatest agent... Though, I might suggest there are more practical ways to cover that eye..." he said.
Punchy stood with his mouth gaping as Illusi finished his story. "Sorry I asked..." he mumbled. Illusi sniffled a bit. "It was my fault she fell prey to the Darkseeker... If I had been there for her..." he sighed. "Bull!!" Copter shouted, "Excuse me, but I've been through messed up stuff, too, and it didn't turn me into a psycho! There's always a choice!" he snapped. Silver shrugged. "I'm not so sure... But I don't think it's right to blame yourself, Illusi. Seems you're the only one who did right by Fera in her entire life..." he pointed out. "Maybe..." Illusi said uncertainly.
Just for fun, let's check in with Sonic.
Sonic was running along a canyon area outside the city, hoping to avoid trouble now that he was a fugitive, when he came across a plate in the road with a Chili Dog sitting on it. A sign reading "Free Food!" was propped up beside it. Sonic crossed his arms. "Yeah, this isn't suspicious AT ALL... Eh, I am hungry." As he grabbed the Chili Dog, the floor under him started to crumble, revealing a pit trap! He landed at the bottom of the hole with the dog stuck in his mouth, but was otherwise unfazed. "Okay... *ulp* Who's the dummy that belongs to this trap?" he grumbled. "We got him!! We got him!!" Slash the praying mantis-bot, and Sting the scorpion-bot, peeked their heads down the hole. "Ha! I never imagined it would be this easy!" Slash chortled. Sonic finished his Chili Dog and waved up at them. "Yo, guys. Thought you were scrapped years ago. Hey, how's Clucker and Burrowbot?" he asked. "Heheh, They were dumb. They were scrapped right after... uh... the time travel junk?" Sting said. Sonic nodded, then jumped gracefully out of the hole. "Tell Eggman he'll need to think harder if he wants to win MY speed!" he said, dashing off just slow enough so Slash and Sting could chase, their bumbling shouts amusing him. A ringing was heard inside Sting, so he retracted his stinger-cannon and replaced it with a phone on the end of his tail, which reached up to his "ear." "Hello? Sting's com-phone..." he answered. "You DING-BOTS!!" Dr. Eggman shouted over the line, "Why is it taking so long for you to... Oh, never mind. I knew sending YOU to catch Sonic was a long-shot. If I wasn't busy consolidating my forces after that Zeti fiasco, I'd be pulling all the stops to get Sonic's speed for my own use... Well, tell Slash you're both incompetant!!" he said, hanging up. Slash glanced at him and shook his head. "Shoulda just said 'Wrong number' and hung up..." he grumbled.