"Between Heaven and Hell"
Playing the classic games when I was young, I feel like Sonic had a little too much trust in the 7 year old with the controller.
we all have that one friend in ssb who always picks pikachu and spams down + b
YHEVEVSVAHAHAAAA IM HOLLERIN I WRITE IT ON SONIC FANART I LOVE IT , #caps
"Whew, it’s good to be back in the jungle," Sonic said, whistling as his feet trampled against a bed of twigs and leaves beneath him.
"Have you seen a lot of jungles before?" Elise asked. Her grip was loose, yet tense around the hedgehog’s neck and shoulders. His pace was still moderate, leaving her suspicious. It’s only a matter of time before he blasts off again.
"Oh yeah, they’re one of my favorites!" he replied, skipping a little. "Where I live now is kinda like a jungle, and so is the floating island where Knux lives. There was this one I went to that had all these giant frogs in it, and then the one I had to run through when I was escaping from prison—”
"That’s a long story," he dismissed, waving one of his hands. "I’ll tell ya later, if you really want.”
"A-all right," said Elise dubiously.
The two were confronted with a tree as wide as a house, and about as tall as a modest skyscraper. Sonic looked the tree over up and down. “Elise, I’ve gotta level with ya,” he said. “Since you’ve been on board like this, I’ve been holdin’ way back. I don’t get passengers too often, so I wanna make sure everyone’s gonna be okay.”
He looked her directly in the eyes, almost nose to nose, emerald meeting sky blue. Elise’s heart skipped a beat. “I need to let loose,” he whispered confidentially.
The seriousness and intimacy of the gesture both excited and amused her, and she repressed a giggle. “Okay.”
"Promise you won’t freak out? Y’gotta stay loose if I have to toss ya around a bit."
Her stomach twisted. So this is what he meant. She inhaled deeply. “All right. I just don’t want to, I don’t know, get eaten by alligators or something.” Or smack into a tree. Or get lost in the forest. Or—
Sonic chuckled. “That’s the last thing you should be worried about!” He grinned wide and lowered his body into a modified sprinter’s start. “Ready?”
If she were truly honest with herself, Elise wasn’t sure if she was ready or not. “Ready,” she said anyway. She kept her eyes focused on their supposed trajectory, around the tree.
"All right! Let’s run straight up!"
Elise’s heart dropped to the seat of her dress as, in less than a second, they went from standing to sprinting up the enormous tree. Her exclamation turned into a breathless scream as the wind blew her hair back and pressed her skin against her face. In another instant, the center of gravity was shifted once more as they were airborne, Sonic’s fingers barely grazing the hem of her dress.
"Wanna bet I can catch that vine?" he yelled, pushing Elise gently forward, as if she were a boat on the water. "Never mind, don’t answer that, I’m there!"
Sonic reached out for the hanging vine in front of them, adorned with a large flower bulb on the bottom. As he grasped it, he simultaneously grabbed Elise by the waist tightly, gravity falling back into her shoes. “I’m really glad you caught that!” she shouted, pitch warbling. They had significant height at this point, almost making her nauseous.
"I do this stuff all the time," he insisted. "I’m a trained professional."
He shortly sprung from the flower bulb and down into a hollow tree trunk. His feet skidded on the moss growing inside, but he quickly picked up traction on the wood, and soon was greeted by sunlight as they continued to run on the log.
"How can you jump so high? And far?" Elise asked, her knuckles white with anxiety.
"I’ve…got good legs?"
"That’s more than good legs! If I tried to do that, I’d fall like a rooo—aaaAAH!"
Sonic jumped off the present tree and to another upright one, bouncing from one tree to the next, and finally onto a swinging vine with another flower bulb on it. “Woo!” he hooted, springing again toward a network of mossy trees with whirling, thick branches. His grip on Elise was still loose, and she found that his fingers would drum against her legs and backside whenever he picked up a little speed.
So this is what it’s like to be free, she thought. For an instant, she felt a fire, deep inside her heart once again, although this time it did not speak. This feeling again…
She didn’t get to dwell on it, however, for Sonic had lifted her up into the air over his shoulders. “Eek! What are you—”
"You’re daydreamin’, princess!" he cried. She looked down for him to wink at her, and she noticed that he was using the soft, mossy log to grind against; like a skateboarder would on a guard rail. "Relax and enjoy the view!"
Elise blinked and opened her eyes wider to the sights around her. They were several hundred feet above the ground and sliding through a vast array of lush trees and greenery. The light that shone on them was filtered by the translucent leaves of the canopy; the fact that the trees rose still higher above them boggled her. Bright spaces above twinkled like stars in daylight. The wind roared in her ears and made her eyes water, but even through all of it, she could still make out the sounds of the forest: the creaking of branches, the twittering and squawking of various jungle birds, and the chirping of frogs and crickets. This is gorgeous, she thought, cautiously spreading her arms out. Sonic probably sees stuff like this every day…
"Watch your head, we’re almost over the canopy," Sonic alerted her, and he tossed her up and back into his arms, tucking her head in as they burst through the last layer of trees. She opened an eye to take in the rich, blue sky, and the entire landscape of Soleanna laid before them.
"You can see everything from up here…!" she said in awe. "That must be the beach over there, how it’s connected to the desert—"
"Hey, check out the other side!" Sonic exclaimed, pointing toward the northwest. "Looks like there are some ruins or somethin’ over that way!" Huge pillars of stone rose over a swamp, overgrown with more trees, moss, and flowers. "Aw man, I’ve gotta tell Knux about this. He’d love it!"
"That’s where the ancient Soleanna castle used to be, I think," Elise said. "It was abandoned after colonists settled toward the beach. If you keep looking, you can see where it connects to the old Kingdom Valley."
"You guys sure go through a lot of castles."
"Not…not necessarily. The old kingdom was growing to simply be a residence for the royal family, while anything important was done in the Castle Town Hall. When the valley crumbled ten years ago, Father told me that we all simply moved to where the town hall was, and built an addition on to it." Her face darkened. "I…don’t remember too much of the old kingdom, and this is my first time seeing the jungle and the ruins. I am not allowed to travel often…"
Sonic frowned, displeased with the direction the conversation had taken. “Well, you should do what I do, take your own field trips! Y’get t’see what you want that way.”
Elise did not reply.
As they passed the ruins, the forest began to thin out, and Sonic’s log abruptly dropped off into the abyss. “Whoa, hang on tight!” Sonic exclaimed, jumping off into the lower canopy. “We’re gonna have t’get a little creative, and I might need my hands.” He jumped to one tree, adjusting their collective weight so his shoes slid evenly down the trunk. Bark flung everywhere, pieces getting into Elise’s auburn bob, before he leaped to the next tree.
Elise tossed her head, attempting to get the tree debris out from her hair and face, when something caught her eye. “Sonic, to your left!” she said. On that side was the last vine, hanging low enough to reach the forest floor.
"Nice get!" Sonic exclaimed. He adjusted his footing on the thin branch they had landed on. "It’s a big of a reach for both of us. I might have to toss you."
"Huh?" she said. "But I’m—"
"No buts!" he interrupted, poking her nose with his finger. "You’re light as a feather, that’s no issue. I guess if you’re really scared…”
Their weight cracked on the branch of the tree. “Oh, just do it!”
"That’s the spirit!" Grabbing her waist, Sonic wasted no time in flinging the princess with all his strength up and toward the branch. "I’m right behind ya! Just put your arms out to the vine!"
Elise didn’t know whether to keep her eyes closed or wide open as she flew through the air, arms outstretched. Sonic is strong enough to throw me, but am I going to make it? Oh please oh please oh please I just want to feel the vine in my hands oh no oh Solaris please help me
She was suddenly in Sonic’s grasp again, one hand on the vine, the rest of her body cradled in the hedgehog’s arms. “That wasn’t so bad was it?” he said, wiggling his feet in the air. “It was like you were hanging in the air waitin’ for me!”
She gave a nervous affirmation, frozen in space. Was I really? I just want to feel the ground.
"Go ahead and let go of the vine. I’ve got gloves, I’ll slide us down."
She managed to wrench her hand from the vine and place it on Sonic’s shoulder, and as soon as she did, the two began descending to the forest floor. The trees around them flew past like a blurred flip book as they slid down the vine, gaining speed until touch down with a thud.
"Cool!" he said, already on his feet and running. "I think if we keep heading toward the clearing, we can take the field through and reach Castle Town in no time! How’s that sound?"
Elise looked off into the trees. “That sounds good,” she said, smiling lightly. It was tentative, prepared.
Sonic frowned, and made a sudden detour, weaving through some thick trees, side stepping to avoid their obtrusive roots. “Sonic?” Elise asked.
"Just one more quick stop," he said, and the blue sky opened up above them.