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Infinite Possibilities

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What did he do to deserve this?

It had felt like forever since he had been himself, and not... Infinite. Yikes. Even thinking of the name gave him shudders. After the fight with Shadow, he had been... Infinite for the rest of the war. But now, the war was over, Eggman was defeated, and the Phantom Ruby... whatever happened to the Phantom Ruby was irrelevant. The only relevant part was that it had rejected him, and it was no longer with him. Now, he wasn't Infinite, he was Zero.

Zero. Somehow, his real name was fitting. Without the Phantom Ruby, he was... well, nothing. Zero. Just a jackal, his wits, and his fists. Either way, when he came to, he was in the middle of the forest. He ran through the forest, winding down imagined paths until he found the main trail. He followed the trail out to civilization, but quickly changed his mind when he realized he was trapped within the walls of a Resistance stronghold. A Resistance stronghold... could it even be called that anymore? After all, nobody was resisting, and there was nobody to resist. The evil had lost, the good had won, and there was no reason to be a Resistance. Still, he assumed they didn't stop calling themselves the Resistance. Either way, semantics aside, showing up at a Resistance stronghold after being their tormentor for the better part of the war? Not a good idea in the slightest.

So, Zero abandoned all hope of returning to civilization. Returning to the place he had first awoken, Zero realized that life wouldn't be too bad. There was a stream nearby with fresh water and fresh fish. While he had no axe, he was sure one could be fashioned out of rocks and the sticks on the forest floor. Maybe he'd build himself a nice cabin...

"No. Don't be ridiculous." He scolded himself. "If you stay here, you'll be found. After all of the things you did to them, you'd be lucky to escape with your life. Let's just try to survive and find a way out of this mess we're in."

He suddenly paused. That voice... his voice! It had been so long since he had last heard his voice. Even talking to himself in the middle of the woods with nobody around, it took him a second to realize that his voice was his, and not... Infinite's.

But, dwelling on the past for too long would also get him caught. He had to do something to survive. He built a small tent out of twigs and leaves, put together a set of tools, and resolved to sneak into the city the next day and get some fishing line for a fishing rod. In the meantime, he picked some wild berries and ate them for... what time was it, exactly? Looking up at the clearing, he saw the sky was growing lighter. Breakfast. He was having breakfast.

After 2 more meals of berries, night fell.

The blue blur loved nothing more than to run. This should come as no surprise.

He had a special trail that he always ran through. That should also be expected.

He knew the trail like the back of his hand. After all, he ran it almost every day, from the stronghold gates to the bubbling brook and back.

So why did it seem like there was suddenly a new fork in the road?

He stared at it, endlessly confused. He must have run this track about 1,000 times since he was freed from the Death Egg, and yet, he had never noticed the fork. It was then that he noticed the greenery on the floor. He hadn't been ignorant; this was a new path. Still, he didn't particularly have time to run this new path, especially not knowing how deep into the forest it went. Instead, he made a mental note to follow this fork in the road the next time he had time to kill. He finished his run and went back to the stronghold.

Little did Sonic know, it'd be a while until he had time to kill.

Just because the Resistance had beaten Eggman in the war didn't mean the good doctor didn't occasionally show up to harass Sonic and company with more robots. While they were nothing compared to how bad they were when Infinite was still around, that didn't mean that the robots didn't cause trouble. And, since Eggman was no longer busy running an Empire, he had lots of time to throw robots at Sonic and his friends.

First, dealing with Eggman. Then, figuring out what this new path held.

His disguise was almost perfect. He still looked like Infinite without a mask, but somebody's discarded sunglasses covered his eyes and made it almost impossible to see what color they were underneath. He walked around the supply store, looking for some fishing line. Eventually, he found some for 30 rings, but his heart sank. He didn't have rings. He couldn't work for somebody because it'd be only a matter of time before somebody noticed who he was. He walked out empty-handed, vowing to get 30 rings somehow.

Eventually, he spotted a wallet on the ground. He picked it up, and there were 500 rings. He thought for a second about taking the whole wallet, before stopping himself. He needed 30 rings. He'd only take 30 rings. He may be the ultimate mercenary, but by the Gods, professionals have standards!

He found a piece of paper and a writing utensil and wrote a small note, which he attached to the wallet (now 30 rings lighter):

"Found this wallet on the ground. Wanted to make sure it got back to its rightful owner."

He then left it outside what looked to be Resistance HQ, and he went back to the store to get his fishing line.

After paying for the fishing line, he went back to his little cove, back down the winding path to his current camping spot. Making a small fishing rod (using a fish hook he had found discarded on the trail), he decided to try some fishing in the morning.

But for now, he slept.

It may have been dark, but Sonic couldn't sleep. His thoughts were consumed with the new path on his trail. He didn't even know of anybody else who used that trail, let alone somebody who would forge their own path in a different way into the woods.

He was sitting in the main room of the headquarters when he heard the unmistakable sound of rings in a bag hitting pavement. He walked over to the door, cautious, when he saw a wallet on his doorstep. There was a note attached:

"Found this wallet on the ground. Wanted to make sure it got back to its rightful owner."

The insignia on the wallet meant it was obviously Tails'. Sonic chuckled at how Tails had panicked earlier in the day when the latter had lost his wallet.

Sonic could see a black mass walking away from HQ, although it was too dark to tell who it was. He yelled after the mass, "Thank you!" But whatever it was, it did not respond.

He walked over to where Tails was sleeping, and gently placed the wallet next to the young fox's head so as not to make a sound. Sonic was deepened in his resolve: he would get to the bottom of this new trail, no matter how long it took him.

After all, he might get to thank the Mobian behind the return of his friend's wallet.

But for now, he slept.