|Sonic the Hedgehog #35|
Rings of Truth
It's a maze of riddles when Sonic collects his one-billionth magic ring! The mysterious Ancient Walkers (from the Tails miniseries) take the blue blur on a cosmic journey to learn the secret of the rings and Chaos Emeralds -- but by the end of it, there may be more questions than answers!
Rings of Truth!
Sonic is facing Robotnik as he is traveling through a Zone collecting Power Rings, trying to elude the tyrant's Egg Mobile. Robotnik uses a laser attachment on his vehicle and fires at Sonic, hitting him and causing Sonic to lose all the rings he had collected. The hit leaves him dazed and weak, leaving him a perfect target for Robotnik's maceball. He tries to hit Sonic with it, but he jumps out of the way, leaving the ball stuck in the ground, and Robotnik with it. Sonic takes the opportunity to run off and locate some more rings. He finds a trail of rings and grabs one, thinking of how many rings he has collected in his lifetime. Robotnik, however, has been keeping track, and looks at Sonic's ring count. Shocked at the figure, he looks up and sees Sonic getting engulfed by a large yellow light as he grabs the ring that becomes his One Billionth Power Ring.
Sonic disappears into an unknown zone, holding onto his ring that leads him through it. He rides through a trail of large rings and eventually lands on a surface with his ring still in hand. He rises up as he hears a monstrous voice. In front of him is a large ring, with one of the Ancient Walkers standing on top of it. Sonic recognizes the ancient figure from a report given by Tails on his trip to Downunda. The Ancient Walker notes that the ring is a great accomplishment for Sonic, but he is still confused, as he collects rings all the time and that they only give him a power boost. The Walker flies off of the large ring, as the ring Sonic holds catches on fire. It then digs into the ground, leaving a ring-shaped crater. The Ancient Walker asks Sonic what the circle says to him. He looks into the crater, hearing a noise in it.
Suddenly, the ring centre left in the ground rises up fast into the sky, pushing Sonic with it. As he is lifted in the air, the Ancient Walker tells Sonic to rise above his ignorance. It is only then that Sonic realizes that he snatched a special ring, clinging onto the risen ground for his life. The Ancient Walker flies high into the sky and tells Sonic that he is correct, that he has collected one billion rings, and thus, deserved a reward. Sonic, on the other hand, only wants to be on solid ground. The Ancient Walker reveals that the gift he shall receive will be knowledge, as the ring shoots up the risen ground. The ring shoots up so fast, hitting Sonic and causing him to fall to the ground.
Sonic looks down in his free-fall, noticing he is going to land in a green sea. Before he hits the sea, the ring takes on a mind of its own and lands on the sea, growing and cushioning Sonic's fall. He recovers from his fall and uses the ring as a flotation device. He then looks over the edge of the ring, realizing that the sea is not made of water, but of Chaos Emeralds. He hears another voice, quickly turning around and seeing one of the other Ancient Walkers in the large ring with him. Sonic has grown tired of the zone and demands some answers from the Ancient Walkers. The Ancient Walker puts a ring on Sonic's index finger, complete with a Chaos Emerald on it. He calms down, realizing that it is a sign that the Chaos Emeralds and rings are related. However, he confuses himself, thinking that they relate like the chicken and the egg. The Ancient Walker then declares that Sonic wishes to learn the riddle of the rings. Sonic flies out of the ring and lands in the sea of emeralds. While floating in the sea, the Ancient Walker speaks a riddle:
- "Forever closed yet opens wide to let the other come inside...one is broken yet will be stronger as the span grows ever longer."
Sonic contemplates this riddle, thinking that the ring represents the 'forever closed' part. He then thinks that 'the other' could be another ring, but he is confused as to how they could be connected together. He then thinks that they could be linked together, showing the Ancient Walker how it could be done with his fingers, like a chain. Suddenly, a long chain of connected rings grows out of the sea and falls on Sonic. The chain continuously grows, covering Sonic, preventing him from moving. As he calls for help, the chain pulls him down into the sea, as the Ancient Walker does nothing to help.
Holding onto the chain of rings, Sonic pops out under the sea of emeralds into another sky-like area. He looks down and sees his one billionth ring floating in the middle of the zone under him. Intent on getting some answers, he lets go of the chain of rings and drops down to his ring. Now larger than ever before, he lands inside the ring. It starts to rotate, forcing Sonic to run against the rotation to keep his balance to prevent him from falling. As he runs faster, the ring starts to warp into the sign for 'eternity' (an infinity symbol). He hears another voice, as he sees the third, and last of the Ancient Walkers standing with him in the reformed ring. He stops in front of the figure, whom tells Sonic that he has done well. He then tells Sonic that he may ask him one question. Before he can even ask, the Ancient Walker answers "Yes".
Using his cane, he launches Sonic off the ring and off into the zone. The ring follows with him, slowly shrinking to its normal size, leaving Sonic confused. He thinks over all the questions he could have asked, that if this zone is where the rings disappear to, or reform. He also wonders if the infinite helix could mean that the universe is one strand of DNA in a huge entity. Grabbing onto the ring, he also wonders if the rings in the middle of the Chaos Emeralds could represent calmness amongst chaos. He gets a headache thinking about all this as the ring leads him through the zone.
Back on Mobius, Robotnik looks over a magazine in his eggmobile, when an alarm goes off on his dashboard. He looks up to see a vortex in front of him, as the dashboard indicates Sonic is returning at a high velocity. Sonic emerges from the vortex, slamming right through Robotnik's Egg Mobile with ease, being led by his one billionth ring. Sonic eventually lands, realizing he was protected by an aura by the ring. Robotnik crashes with his vehicle in the distance, as Sonic states that he intends to keep the ring as a souvenir.
The next day, in Knothole Village, Sonic and Sally walk into Sonic's home. Sally had read Sonic's report of his adventure, which has left Sonic curious about what he was shown. He intends to find the origin of the Chaos Emeralds and the rings, thinking that they will be the key to Robotnik's defeat. Sally is happy to hear about Sonic's ambition, but he has one more thing to show her. He leads her into another room, where he has mounted his one billionth ring on a plaque to inspire him.
A Sense Of History - Part Two
Now standing near the tall and ominous Mount Fate, Knuckles contemplates whether the disappearance of the Chaotix and the actions of Archimedes could be linked to the legends around the great mountain. In order to get his answers, he thinks back to what his father had told him about the echidnas' salvation and how that salvation got betrayed, nearly destroying Mobius.
Knuckles then following recalls that many generations after sending the Floating Island into the sky, the echidna culture had learned to adapt to their new situation. However, some of the echidnas had yearned for the days past. Two echidnas, Edmund and Dimitri, went through the forested area of the island and located the Zoot Chute, the chute that would lead to their most sacred place. The two echidnas dropped down through the chute and arrived in the Chaos Chamber, where the twelve Chaos Emeralds that kept the floating island in the sky, rested. Taking out scanners and equipment, the echidnas scanned the Chaos Emeralds, the one thing that saved their culture. Dimitri noticed, despite the number of years the emeralds had been used, that their power levels remained constant over the years, realizing that they held limitless power.
Edmund then mentioned that, although the emeralds held great power, their main goal was to bring the island back down to the ground safely. With all of the information on hand, the two echidnas left the chamber to prepare for their presentation.
In the Hall of Learning, the two echidnas prepared a presentation to show that they could bring the island back down to the ground. They introduced their newest invention: the Chaos Syphon, a device that would slowly deplete the emeralds of their energy, safely returning the island down to the ground. The two were proud of their presentation, but the Chief Magistrate denied their request. Dimitri got frustrated by the denial, despite Edmund's attempt to calm him. The magistrate had deemed the project too risky, as the theory had been untried and that the results could possibly be disastrous. With the decision finalized, Dimitri stormed out of the hall.
Edmund had returned back to his home, hoping to find Dimitri, but returned to find the Chaos Syphon taken. He returned to the Zoot Chute, surprised that his brother would go so far. Arriving in the chamber, Edmund was too late, as Dimitri had already started to use the Chaos Syphon on the emeralds. Edmund could only watch as the power in the syphon built up, causing the syphon and the emeralds to explode, with Dimitri with it.
The Chief Magistrate and some security had arrived at the chamber. The Magistrated helped Edmund up, who mentioned that Dimitri had set the absorption rate too high, destroying both him and the Chaos Emeralds, except for one. With only one emerald, they were concerned whether it would be able to support the island. A familiar voice was heard, informing them that it could support the island. They echidnas looked back to see Dimitri, now covered in a green aura, announcing that he had the power of eleven Chaos Emeralds inside him, with enough power to destroy entire worlds, or to refashion them. As he stated those words, the ground on Mobius shook, as the great Mount Fate rose from the ground, beginning the end of the echidna civilization.
- Sonic grabs his billionth ring and is transported to a special zone where he meets the Ancient Walkers.
- Knuckles continues to recount the history of the floating Island and his people the Echidnas, introducing Dimitri as an antagonist for the first time.
- The events surrounding Dimitri's eventual transformation into Enerjak are revealed.
- This is the last issue to be edited by Scott Fulop.
- Robotnik is shown reading an issue of 'Playboil', a reference to the erotic magazine Playboy.
- For the first time, Sonic is shown losing rings after getting hit by Robotnik. After losing the rings, just like the games, the rings disappeared into the zone.