Dr. Eggman finds Rouge on the Floating Island, and learns of how she arrived and why she stayed.
"What is Rouge doing on Angel Island?"
Maria looked up into the sky. "She's been here for months now. She was really smitten with the place."
Dr. Robotnik smirked. "You sure it was the place?"
"She was fairly taken with him too. The more things change..."
"...the more they stay the same."
Maria began walking.
"So where is she?"
"Follow me, and I'll show you."
Eggman followed his cousin, looking around as he went. The jungle looked even more beautiful than he remembered it... the colors seemed brighter, the birds seemed louder. Everything seemed to have improved. "This place is better without me."
"Knuckles has more time to care for it... and less of the pollutants your projects release are present in the environment."
"So how did Rouge end up here?"
Maria continued forward. "She came to steal the master emerald, of course... but in a world without you she did that months sooner. She arrived on part of the Island that Knuckles didn't usually bother with... And she was so taken with the beauty of it all that she just dawdled there, for over a half hour."
"That seems out of character for her."
"It was a leisure job. She was after the emerald as much for the ambiance as she was for the gem itself. Not like in our reality, where she was mainly going after it because she knew you would."
"She eventually ventured further into the island... And, being the narcissist that she is, was of the mind that the whole Island, and all its products, were practically hers for the taking. She stopped at a small grove of fruit trees, because she was hungry."
"I never saw her eat."
"No one saw her eat. As a spy she had to be careful about her food. But how could a tree growing in nature be poisoned? As irony would have it, it was a pomegranate tree."
"Hmm. Knuckles and Hades. Quite an apt comparison," Eggman mused.
"While she was enjoying her symbolically rich lunch, Knuckles came upon her, also intent upon a fertility-symbol snack. Of course, he saw her as an intruder who was after his emerald, and attacked her."
"He wasn't that hostile toward me."
"He wasn't hungry when he found you."
"Knuckles hadn't seen anyone before, at that point... He had never met Sonic because he had never met you. And he had never seen a woman. He was taken totally by surprise... and very enthralled."
"Well, he is a teenage boy."
They entered a small grove, filled with fruit trees and vines of every variety. Oranges, pomegranates, limes, bananas... Eggman had never seen so many fruit trees in one place. There were even some chao fruit trees.
"They fought, and it seemed to be a stalemate... but without friends, and socialization, he was more ruthless than he was in our world. He cut one of Rouge's wings with his Knuckles, which essentially paralyzed her."
"And let me guess, he felt remorse and nursed her back to health?"
Maria shuddered. "He grabbed her by the hair and dragged her back to his cave... He was smitten with her beauty, and he'd been without human, or furry, contact so long that he was operating on an almost animal level."
Eggman stopped walking. "Oh no..."
"She managed to get away somehow... but she was dizzy from the blood loss."
"She tripped and fell off a cliff."
"No," he protested, shaking his head.
"And fell onto a bed of spikes."
Tears welled up in Eggman's eyes. "No."
Maria motioned to a small flower on a small, bare patch of ground.
"He buried her where he found her."