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karyu128

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  1. Chapter 7 The girl in white As our heroes made their way to the fifth floor of the castle, Sora was lagging behind the group trying to recall the mysterious blonde-haired girl from his memories. "Who could that have been before in my memory? It wasn't Kairi... but another...girl? Maybe... I think her name was..." His pondering was cut short however by an angry Donald. "Sora! Let's go! You want to find Riku and the king, don't you?" He ranted. "Um sure... Aw, man. It was right on the tip of my tongue." sora relented as he went to catch up with the rest of the group. Meanwhile in another part of the castle, the blonde girl was once again drawing on her sketch pad. This particular sketch depicted a group of four people. In order they were Sora, Kairi, the blonde girl herself, and Riku. They were all holding hands and smiling. Our heroes had arrived at the fifth-floor lobby and were about to enter the door to the card worlds again when they were interrupted by Sora. "I remember! There was another girl!" he exclaimed. "What? A girl? Where?" Goofy questioned as he and Donald looked around the lobby. "No, no, I mean on the islands where I used to live. Besides Kairi and Riku, there was one other girl I was friends with. The four of us used to play together all the time." he said. "Sora, you've never mentioned another girl before now." Asuna said. "Yeah... i guess I just kind of forgot about her. I think... she just suddenly went away when I was really little." Sora said. "How come you're remembering this now?" Strea asked. "I'm not sure, but it's been coming back in pieces as we go through the castle." Sora explained. "Do you remember her name?" Kirito asked. "No... I feel kinda dumb. We said we weren't gonna forget our friends, and well now... I can't even remember her name." he said looking very downcast. Then he felt something soft being smooshed against his head. He looked up to see that Strea was hugging him close to her chest. "It's alright Sora. What matters is that you are remembering her. Even if it's just bit by bit, you'll remember everything about her eventually. And like you said, you were young. She'll forgive you if you just explain things to her. Do you understand?" Strea said. "I think so. Thanks, Strea. I needed that." Sora replied. "Good. Now hold still you cute little ragamuffin. Because I'm not done hugging yet." Strea said while squeezing sora into one of her infamous bear hugs. "AHG! Too tight! Too tight!" Sora exclaimed. On the fifth floor of castle oblivion, our heroes entered the world of Halloween town. There, they met a tuxedo wearing skeleton by the name of Jack Skellington. Jack loved nothing more than giving a good scare on Halloween, but the Heartless were causing so much trouble that people weren't leaving their homes. Sora agreed to help Jack get rid of the heartless and so they set off to Dr. Finklestein's lab for possible leads. It turned out that the doctor had concocted a potion designed to recall a person's true memories, but before he could examine it, the heartless were seemingly drawn to the potion and attacked. After the scuffle, the doctor found that the potion was missing and concluded that it was stolen by his daughter Sally. Jack and Sora went to the cemetery in order to locate Sally and get the potion back. When they found Sally, the zombie ragdoll girl said that she took the potion because she thought it was too dangerous for consumption. But before she could return it A fat bag of bugs by the name of Oogie Boogie attacked Sally and stole the potion for himself. Jack and Sora followed Oogie to his lair, but were unable to stop him from drinking the potion. Immediately afterwards Oogie became extremely frightened and activated his defenses to deal with the intruders. However, they were no match For Sora and so he was quickly defeated. They returned with the vial and the few drops of the potion it had left, but when Sora was offered the remains, he refused due to the promise he made with Axel to find his hidden memories himself. With Oogie and the Heartless taken care of, our heroes left Halloween town and went to the next floor. As they made their way to the stairway to the sixth floor Asuna asked if Sora remembered anything else about the other girl from his memories. "It's still just bits and pieces." Sora replied. "Maybe you could try telling us what you remember. If you talk about her then there's a chance you can remember more." Strea said. "Well, uh... she was quiet... and always drawing. When we went to the beach, she would always draw a picture instead of swimming. Sometimes she'd draw us, too! She was really good." Sora laughed "I remember Riku and I would fight over who she'd draw next. But one day, she was gone, just like that. I think the grown-ups knew the reason. They might have even tried to explain some of it to me. But I was little. I probably didn't understand what was happening. I remember crying after she was gone... but that's all. I still don't remember her name." Sora recounted. Strea Gently placed a hand on Sora's shoulder. "That was very good Sora. With that many memories coming back, I'm sure you'll remember her name very soon." she assured. "Strea seems to know a lot about these kinds of things A-hyuck." Goofy said. "She should. Just like Yui, she used to be a mental health counseling program back in SAO. She was designed to help people cope with mental stress." Asuna said. "Speaking of mental stress, how are you holding up Kirito? Any luck reaching Master Eraqus?" Yuuki asked. "Still nothing. It's honestly kinda worrying. There are times when I look at Sora and I see someone else. It's weird. Sora's getting memories that he can clearly understand, but I just keep getting flashes that I can't understand. It's frustrating. And I still have a very bad feeling about all of this." Kirito said. Meanwhile in the castle observatory, the organization was observing them through their crystal ball. "Sora's coming along just as we intended." Larxene said. "But that Kirito is a sharp one. He and that master they keep talking about may just be our undoing." Axel replied. "Oh please. With our plan Sora will in the palm of our hands in no time. Now, you had your fun on the first floor. It's my turn to play." Larxene said. In the blink of an eye, Axel threw another world card like a dagger at the blonde woman who caught it in her hand. She gave the card a quick peck from her lips and gave another snide giggle. She walked up to Axel and caressed his jawline with her off hand. "I'm not going to just give it to him." she said. "Don't break him..." Axel replied. "Well... do I detect a soft spot?" she asked before walking off. "I'm not gonna break the toy. I'm not dumb." she snarked. "Don't forget, Sora is the key. We need him if we're going to take over the organization." Just as he finished his sentence, Larxene placed her index finger on Axel's upper lip to and gave him a sharp look to silence him. "I know you're in on it too... But, keep it under your hood at least until the time is right." and with that Larxene waved good bye as she warped to await Sora on the next floor. "Hm. You would have been wise to have done the same, Larxene." Axel remarked. On the sixth floor of castle oblivion, our heroes entered the insides of a giant whale called Monstro. There, they met a walking, talking, puppet named Pinocchio and his father Geppetto. Pinocchio was trying to find a way for he and his father to escape the belly of the whale. However, his impulsiveness leads him to wondering off on his own and being captured by a parasitic cage like heartless that fed on the whale's gastric acid. Luckily the ensuing battle resulted in upsetting Monstro's innards to the point where it sneezed them out through its blowhole. With their successful escape, our heroes moved to the next floor. When our heroes arrived at the stairway to the seventh floor, they found a blonde woman with an hourglass figure and slicked back hair and two long strands styled into an antenna like appearance. Her eyes were a cyan color and she had a very mischievous grin. Sora and company immediately drew their weapons readying themselves for a fight. "I bet you work with Axel!" Donald declared. "Too clever. I'm Larxene. So... are you enjoying your stay at the castle? I bet it's nice to peel away all the worthless memories and awaken the true memories that lie deep in your heart." she said. Then she placed a hand on her forehead, seemingly in annoyance. "Although... it seems that you're still forgetting the most important thing here. When that poor girl hears that you've forgotten her name, why...it'll just break her heart." she mocked. "Poor girl? Do you know her?!" Sora asked only to receive a snide chuckle from Larxene. "Is she... Here?" he asked. The snarky blonde then began wagging her finger at him. "Yes, she is." she said while annunciating each syllable. "You see, the bad guys are holding her captive somewhere deep inside the castle. And you obviously are the hero, so you have to go save her." she mocked. "Although..." Larxene rushed at Sora within the blink of an eye striking at his ribs and head. While Sora narrowly dodged her attacks, her initial strikes were simply a feint for her to deliver a vicious kick to his chest. The attack hit Sora with enough force to dislodge the charm being held in his pocket and flip him through the air so that he'd fall flat on his chest. "I'M a bad guy, so you have to go through me!" she said. "Sora!" Goofy cried. Sora was distracted from the pain in his chest by the charm that had fallen out of his pocket. The yellow star shaped charm was completely foreign to him. "What's that? Is that thing mine?" he wondered aloud. "What a shame!" Larxene gasped "you've been wearing it all this time and forgot? No... that's not possible. The memory has to be engraved somewhere deep inside your heart." she said. "That's enough out of you!" Asuna shouted as she lunged at Larxene with her rapier. Larxene attempted to dodge the attack, but she underestimated Asuna's speed and the long thin blade managed to scrape at her shoulder causing her to clutch at the wound and scowl. "I'm not letting you toy with Sora's emotions!" Asuna said. "Grrr...you little...I was giving him a hint. You know how slow he is figuring things out." Larxene replied. "Sora can remember who that girl is all by himself. Remembering because of you, would simply taint those memories!" Asuna berated. "Come on Sora, you've gotta get up." Donald said. "R-Right." Sora reached out and grabbed the star charm. "Asuna's right. I promise, I will remember you by myself." Sora got up, placed the charm in his pocket, and readied his Keyblade for the coming fight. "You know something?" Lightning sparked around Larxene's hands, and from it were formed sets of four yellow knives that fit between her fingers like claws. "You're really starting to tick me off!" Larxene exclaimed. The fight started with Larxene casting several thunder spells on Sora. after dodging the lightning bolts in quick succession, Sora ignited his Keyblade with a fire spell and threw it at Larxene. The flaming sword whirled through the air, singing its intended target as it connected before returning to Sora's hand. Larxene threw her electrically charged throwing knives at Sora who Struck them away with a swing of his Keyblade. The knives turned back into electricity returned to Larxene's fingers as quickly as she had thrown them. Larxene quickly lunged at Sora, ready to savagely tear at him like a scratching post. What she did not expect was for Sora to be replaced by a blonde hunk with a sword larger than she was and be caught in a powerful cross slash. The attack sent Larxene reeling towards the edge of the Arena and added to increasing ire. "Alright, Play time's over." Larxene leapt into the air, charged lightning magic into her daggers "MEGAVOLT!" and threw them into the ground causing lightning to rain down in a wide area. While Sora was caught in the attack, he did have a cura spell at the ready to recover from most of the damage. Just as before with Axel, Sora was gathering a stockpile of friend cards throughout the battle and now was the time to use them. "Yuuki!" the purple haired sword user tossed her saber into the before Larxene had reached the ground, leapt into the air to retrieve it, "Radiant..." and used her momentum to slam Larxene into the ground as the two of them fell. "Arc!" and then she disappeared. "Strea!" Strea let loose a powerful 3 strike attack. The first 2 blows came from the right and left and the third went right down the middle. "Demolition strike!" and once again Larxene was sent reeling to the edge of the arena. "You little punk!" Larxene screamed in anger as she ran towards Sora, intent on dealing a finishing blow. "Asuna!" With Larxene's speed, Asuna didn't have to wait long for her opponent to get within striking range. "Quadruple pain!" Asuna let loose four strong thrusts in quick succession dealing more than enough damage to finish off Larxene. A magic card depicting a lightning bolt floated in front of Sora and he pocketed it with the rest of his collection. The arena vanished and sora was taken back to the castle stair way. Larxene looking worse for wear gave another snide chuckle. "You're not as bad as I thought. You really are a hero. A Heartless hero." she mocked. "Who asked You?!" Sora reacted. "Aww, does it hurt because it's the truth? You are just a baby." she pulled out another world card from her pocket. "And if you're gonna be a baby, then here ya go." she teased before tossing it at Sora like one of her knives, but Sora caught it. "I created another card from your memories. Be a good boy and say thanks." she teased before warping away with a portal like those that came before her. "Sora... are you alright?" Asuna asked. "Yeah... Thank you Asuna, for standing up for me. I really owe you one." Sora said. "No, Sora. You don't owe me a thing. I was protecting you the same way that you protect all of us. We're your friends Sora. We lookout for each other no matter what." Asuna said. "You're right. And now that I know she's here, I need to start doing the same for...the same for... Na...Nami..." sora began to mutter "Is he?-" yuuki said before being cutoff. "Yes, that's it. Come on Sora, you can do it." Strea encouraged. "Nami...Naminé. I remember now! Her name... it's Naminé." Sora said.
  2. Author's note: I'm not sure if this will sound ideal to all of you, but in the interest of streamlining this story I've decided to take the manga's approach and focus on the castle oblivion parts since those are the most interesting. However, I'm usually a middle of the road type of person so there will be segments for each floor giving brief summaries of the events that happened between the story bits. Now onto the chapter. Chapter 6 Lost memories On the second floor of Castle oblivion, our heroes entered the door to the world of Wonderland. There they met a young girl named Alice who stood trial for stealing the Queen of Hearts' memories. The murderous monarch found Alice guilty and ordered her card soldiers to behead her. Sora company defeated them and obtained a black card in their likeness. After they escaped, the mysterious Chesire Cat guided them to the upside-down room where they encountered a jester like heartless juggling fiery pins with its paper-thin arms. After defeating it and obtaining yet another black card, they were quickly set upon by the Queen of hearts and her subordinates. However, with a clever bit of trickery Alice convinced the queen that the heartless were the ones that stole her memories and that the queen had tasked them with defeating it. With her charges cleared Our heroes parted ways with Alice and advanced to the next floor. "I'm glad everything worked out for Alice. Although I'm wondering if she'll be alright with that queen of hearts running things?" Yuuki said. "It should be fine. Remember, the people we meet in the card worlds are our memories of the real ones." Asuna said. "So, does that mean the things that happened in there are how it actually happened?" Strea asked. At that point, Jiminy hopped out of Sora's hood holding his journal. "As it happens, I just finished writing the first volume of our journey in this journal. Now let's see..." he opened the book to the entries regarding wonderland knowing where they were by heart. Only to find the entire section blank. "Oh! How could it be!?" he skimmed through every page of the journal only to find that the journal had been erased in its entirety. "All of my entries... They're gone. Every page is blank!" He cried. "This is bad. Without the journal how can we trust that the memories in the card worlds are real?" Asuna asked. "How could this have happened? I'm so careful with the Journals..." Jiminy hugged the book tight to his little chest and sobbed. "All that hard work is gone..." "Maybe not." Kirito said. Jiminy's breath hitched at those words he looked on wide eyed at the black swordsman, desperate for any small glimmer of hope. "When our Journey began, I had Yui create a digital copy of your journal on my laptop. I left it with her long before we even came to this castle. So, there's a good chance that it was unaffected. In fact, I'm certain of it. Jiminy, all of your hard work still exists." Kirito explained. Jiminy began wiping away the tears from his face. He was still crying, but now they were tears of relief. "Thank you, Kirito. You're my hero. If your coat had a hood, I'd move right in." Jiminy said. "I have coat pockets ya know." Kirito replied. On the third floor our heroes entered the world of Olympus. There they entered the famous Olympic games and competed against the mighty Hercules and a mysterious mercenary named Cloud. The contest was a race to the finish where participants were allowed to interfere with one another even to the point of engaging in combat. Half way through, our heroes came across Cloud who offered to let them gain the lead. When Sora asked why Cloud revealed that he was waiting so that he could kill Hercules. Sora attempted fought against Cloud in order to prevent him from committing the heinous deed, and while he did manage to defeat Cloud, the mercenary escaped. Eventually they found Cloud again looking very worn down from fighting Hercules so soon after his bout with Sora. Then Hades, the god of the underworld stepped in revealing that cloud had made a deal with him to eliminate Hercules in exchange for restoring his memories. However, Hades was disappointed by clouds efforts and terminated the agreement. With Hercules in his worn-down state, Hades attempted to finish the deed himself only to be defeated by Sora. Due to Hades interference the contestants were too exhausted to continue and so the games were canceled. As thanks for defeating Hades Cloud gave them a summon card that would allow Sora to call him in battle. Meanwhile, Axel and Larxene were observing their progress from the observatory. "You seem intrigued by this Sora kid." Larxene stated. "Are you telling me you're not, Larexene? Or maybe Kirito has caught your eye?" Axel remarked. The woman gave a snide giggle at the insinuation. "Haven't decided yet. I think what intrigues me more is what you see in them?" she asked. "There was a time that Sora became a Heartless. And if one becomes a Heartless-" "They lose their minds and their feelings...They're consumed by the darkness." Larxene finished. "Right. But not Sora. He held onto his feelings, even as a Heartless. And there's only one other man who's been able to do just that." Axel explained. "It's the strength of his heart... That's what interests you. Why the Keyblade chose Sora's heart. And since Kirito has one as well, you're just as interested in him." Larxene concluded. "To unlock the mysteries of the heart. Isn't that the Organization's mission?" Axel said. Back to the stairway for the fourth floor. Our heroes were going over what they were still able to remember. "Is there anything we've forgotten?" Donald asked. "Hmm... if we did, what would it have been?" Goofy asked. Everyone took a moment to think and search thorugh their memories to see if anything was missing. "I can't think of anything. So maybe I really am losing my memories. But whatever they were, they couldn't have been very important memories, right?" goofy lamented. "Right, or else I don't think you would have forgotten it." Sora said. Then he dug through his pocket pulling out a star shaped charm made from bright pink seashells with his face drawn on one of the shells. "What's that?" Donald asked. "It's a good luck charm that Kairi gave me. It's special to her, So I promised that I would return it." Sora then held the charm close to where his heart would be. "I'll never forget making that promise. It's why I could never forget Kairi." Sora said. However just as he said those words something began poking into his consciousness. For a brief moment he seemed to recall a blonde-haired girl wearing a white sundress and sky-blue sandals that appeared to be just about the same age as him. The image was nagging away at him as he struggled to remember who that person was. "What about you Kirito? Are Master Eraqus's memories giving you any trouble with your own?" Asuna asked. "No, and honestly that's the strangest part. I keep remembering things from our journey that you all seem to forget. And at the same time, I keep getting flashes of Eraqus's memories. It's like I'm skipping the losing part and I just keep finding things." Kirito said. "Maybe... do you think that his memories are protecting yours?" Sora asked. "But how would that work?" Strea asked. "Have you tried asking him?" Yuuki followed. "No such luck. For some reason he seems to be giving me the silent treatment... Well, I guess there's no use dwelling on it right now. Let's head to the next floor." Kirito said. On the fourth floor our heroes entered the desert city of Agrabah. There they met a man named Aladdin along with one of their other friends Philia, who were surrounded by Heartless. They immediately went to their rescue, However even with their aid, the Heartless kept coming. So, Aladdin was forced to use his secret weapon. A magic lamp containing a hyperactive and super flamboyant entity known as the Genie. With a snap of his fingers the Genie instantly made all of the heartless disappear. However, this was not without cost. The Genie only 3 wishes per user and Aladdin just used one. Along the way to the palace, Aladdin explained that he sought out the lamp at the behest of the royal vizier, Jafar. However now that it was in his possession, he planned on using it to become a prince so that he could see Princess Jasmine whenever he desired. When asked about his third wish, Aladdin asked what the genie wanted. The genie was a prisoner of the lamp for thousands of years and what he wanted more than anything else, was freedom. And much to the genie's excitement, Aladdin agreed to use his third wish to free the genie from his imprisonment. But, before they could reach the palace, they stumbled across the unconscious Jasmine in an alleyway being attacked be the heartless. However, Jasmine and the heartless were too far away and they would not be able to reach her in time, so Aladdin had no choice but to use his second wish to deal with the heartless once more. They were given only a moment to check Jasmine's condition before they were once again set upon by more heartless. Rather than use his last wish, Sora insisted that they save it and take care of the heartless themselves. However, during the struggle the lamp had been stolen by Jafar's parrot Iago. With the genie at his beck and call, Jafar used his first wish to force the genie to bring Jasmine to his side and escape to the palace. Down, but not out, our heroes went to the palace to rescue Jasmine and the genie from Jafar's clutches. Jafar foolishly used his second wish to have the genie assault Aladdin. Left with no alternative, Jafar used his last wish to turn himself into a genie in a desperation to seize all of his desires. But in doing so he had unwittingly bound himself to the genie's rules and became sealed in a prison of his own making. With Jasmine safe and Jafar out of the way, Aladdin upheld his promise and used his last wish to free the Genie. Grateful for all they had done, the Philia and the Genie gifted them with summon cards that would Sora to call upon them when needed.
  3. Chapter 5: Sora vs Axel The fight started with a blinding flash of light that transported Both Sora and Axel to a circular space that transported them to a circular arena like space that appeared to be separate from the castle. "What is this Place?" Sora asked. "Like it? It's a special space made for battles in the castle. Can't go wrecking the place just because a few intruders show up. But enough chitchat. The fun's just about to start. Now, Burn Baby!" Axel Threw his chakrams at Sora who promptly rolled away to dodge the spiked fiery discs. Throughout the fight Axel would teleport leaving behind a puff of fire and reappear to where his weapons were thrown to catch them. However, Axel wasn't solely a ranged fighter. With a firm grasp on the cross shaped handles of each chakram, Axel Teleported and reappeared behind Sora to let loose a chain of close-range attacks. But once Axel had switched to close quarters combat, he left himself open to a counter attack. Sora let loose his own chain of attacks, but Axel was able to teleport afterwards and recommence his own attacks. Sora's strategy was to avoid Axel's attacks whenever possible and build up a small stockpile of friend cards. Once that was done Sora was ready to attack in full force. "Donald!" the blue clad duck wizard cast a blizzard spell which seemed to be especially effective against the fiery assassin. Followed by a cure spell healing Sora of his wounds. "Goofy!" Instead of his usual tornado attack, Goofy used his shield to knock Axel in the air with a powerful uppercut which was followed up by sora leaping into the air and sending Axel flying up higher with a strike from his keyblade, and finally with Goofy meeting Axel at the apex of the launch and smacking back towards the ground with a shield bash. Axel chuckled as he stood up from his prone position. "Not bad kid. But I've still got a trick or two up my sleeve." Axel out stretched his long arms to either side of his body and his Chakrams began to spin becoming engulfed in fire. "Let the flames burn you. Firewall!" Axel became surrounded by a pillar of flame that quickly expanded its radius creating an all-encompassing wave of fire. Sora braced for the attack, but even so it did a significant amount of damage. 'This is bad. One more attack like that and I'm finished.' Axel once again hurled his chakrams at Sora prompting him to dodge again. 'that attack was definitely stronger than his other ones. So, it's probably a sleight. I'll have to counter with another one and hope that the numbers are higher.' Axel once again prepared to unleash his firewall attack and Sora was prepared to risk it all on this next set of cards. "Kirito!" in a flash of light, the black swordsman Kirito had appeared with keyblade in hand poised and ready to strike. Kirito began to charge energy into his keyblade and when the wall of flames approached, it was dispersed by a single thrust of his blade "Vorpal Strike!" the attack let loose a highly concentrated beam of light that was heading straight toward Axel. "Aw, man give me a break." the light beam connected and in the wake of its blinding brilliance Axel had vanished. A blue card picturing a ball of fire in its artwork descended in front of Sora who promptly pocketed it with the rest of his now growing collection. Sora and company were transported back to the floor they had arrived at prior to their battle against Axel. Another set of cards was floating in front of them enveloped in a golden light. Sora claimed the cards from the air. "More cards? What do they do?" Goofy asked. "They look like the card you used to make Traverse Town." Jiminy noted. "Then I guess we'll need them to keep going." Sora said. "That's right." a voice called out. We looked to see Axel casually standing against the wall with his arms crossed and a mischievous grin on his face. "Axel!" Donald cried. "You survived that?" Kirito asked. Axel then began to walk towards us. "Did you really think after that introduction that I would give up oh so easily?" he said rhetorically. "So, you were testing us." Asuna answered. "And you passed. Congratulations Sora. You're ready now—ready to take on Castle Oblivion. You will need to follow your memories. Trust what you remember and seek what you forget. Then you will find someone very special. Axel said. "you mean like King Mickey and Riku?" Goofy asked. "Heh. You will just have to give some more thought to who it is that's most important to you. Our most precious memories lie so deep within our hearts that they're out of reach. But I'm sure that you can find yours Sora." Axel explained. "Why me?" Sora asked. "You have lost sight of the light within the darkness. And it seems that you've forgotten that you forgot." Axel said. "The light within darkness..." Was Axel, right? With his memories in their current state, could he have truly forgotten something so important? Axel held out his hand towards Sora in a beckoning manner. "Would you like me to give you a hint?" he asked. "Sora - do ya need it?" goofy asked with a concerned tone. Sora was internally struggling with himself trying to find the right answer. With a situation as desperate as this could he really afford to turn down Axel's offer? And what would his friends think? Sora turned to look at Kirito, Asuna, Yuuki, and Strea. He had expected them to be as equally confused by all of this as he was and yet when he saw the looks on their faces, they were all smiling. He could feel a sense of confidence and faith from each of them. As if they were saying that no matter what, they would trust that he would do what was right. he had found his answer. "I'll figure it out myself. And if you're in my way-" sora said. And so, each of them drew their weapons once more. "Then we'll clear the path." Kirito finished. "Hmph. Good answer. Just what I'd expect from the keyblade masters." They tightened their grips on each of their weapons ready to strike if another fight broke out. "But be forewarned...When your sleeping memories awaken, you may no longer be who you are now." Axel then conjured a black portal like the stranger before him and it swallowed him up as he teleported away. Our heroes progressed to the next floor of the castle. Jiminy Cricket was sitting comfortably in Sora's hood and hummed deep in thought. "What's Wrong Jiminy?" Sora asked. "Well, ya see, what Axel said back there worries me. What could he have meant by 'You may no longer be who you are'?" he pondered. "I may no longer be me? How could I be anyone else?" Sora replied. Jiminy gave a good nature chuckle at Sora's simplistic answer. "Of course. Still, ya can't be too careful." he said. "Yep, feels like just about anything can happen here in castle Oblivi-Oblivi-Oblivi-" Goofy fumbled "Castle Oblivion." Donald corrected. "Yeah that's it." Goofy said. "Don't worry. Whatever happens we can handle it together." Asuna said. "Yeah. Just like when we were at that other weird castle with all of those magical doohickies." Yuuki replied. "Um, when was that?" Sora asked. Strea pressed her index finger against her chin trying to recall the memory. "I can't remember. What was that place called?" She asked. "Gawrsh, oh it was, uh... Holla...Holly...Holler..." Goofy struggled to remember. "Hollow Bastion." Kirito replied. Everyone turned towards Kirito. "I could never forget that place. It's where we sent Yui after we went to fight Ansem. Among other things." Asuna gasped and covered her mouth with both of her hands. Her eyes widened in shock that she had forgotten such an important fact. How could she forget the place where she and Kirito had left their own child? "That's right. We sent her off all alone. We left her there so that Leon and the others could take care of her. How could I forget that? And more importantly, how come you're the only one of us that remembers? Kirito... what's going on?" Asuna asked. Meanwhile, in another room of the castle, Axel along with the mysterious stranger that had guided our heroes to the castle and one other observed them through a crystal ball. "Well now, this is an interesting development." Axel said. "Interesting my foot, he has to be cheating somehow." the other stranger in the room, a blonde-haired woman with green eyes dressed in the same black coat as Axel and the other was. Seemed to be quite perturbed. "Calm yourself Larxene. They are only on the first floor. However, it is troublesome. His memory retention poses an issue to our security. If it continues, we may need to isolate him to the basement floors." the stranger said. Larxene grew a wicked grin across her face as an idea came to her. "Did you here that sweetie? If you don't get to making him like the rest of his little friends, they're gonna be very upset. You wouldn't to worry your precious hero, now would you?" Larxene taunted. The girl in the white dress stiffened. Her sketch pad shook like a leaf in her hands as the thought played out in her head. "Y-yes. I'll try harder next time." she stuttered. 'Sora, Kirito, please be strong.' and so she began creating more drawings.
  4. Chapter 4 Beware of your Memories Our heroes went to the second district of Traverse town where they Came across Cid. Like Leon and the others Cid Remembered us despite not knowing who we were. Sora asked him if he had seen his friend Riku, "Your friend huh? Lately all this town sees is heartless. Can't even take two steps without gettin' attacked. In fact, this plaza's the worst. Word is, a jumbo sized heartless shows up when that bell rings." Cid said. The bell he was referring to was the bell in the clock atop the gizmo shop. "if you value your hide, you'll get out a here while the gettin's good." Cid warned us before walking off. "Gawrsh, maybe we should leave." Goofy said. "Aw, but I wanna see the heartless." Yuuki said. "Why the heck would you want to see the Heartless?!" Donald asked. "I think I can answer that." Jiminy stated while hopping on Sora's shoulder. "This world is where our journey began. It wasn't until later in our journey that Yuuki joined us. And if my hunch is right, the big heartless Cid mentioned is the one that brought us all together as a team." Jiminy said. "Yeah. It's like we're starting our journey all over again. Only this time, we're all together." Yuuki Said. "When you put it like that, I guess there is a bright side to this ordeal." Asuna said. "Yeah, you're right. Let's start over from the very beginning!" Sora said while holding his hand out. "I'm in." Kirito said. Placing his hand atop Sora's. "Me too." Asuna said while placing her hand atop Kirito's. The others briefly followed placing their hands atop one another in the circle. The bell rang shortly after and from the sky came pieces of a large armor like heartless. The torso floated above the two legs and the arms flew to it's left and right followed by the head which fell on top of the torso with a loud clang. The battle started with Sora attacking the Guard armor's legs. As soon as one of the legs was destroyed, a green card came hopping out of it. Sora grabbed the card expecting it to be one of his friends, but was surprised to see the emblem of King Mickey. "What the? This isn't a friend card. What does it do?" Sora wandered Aloud. When he looked closer he saw that the card's number was Zero. Remembering what Leon taught him, Sora waited until the heartless attacked to use the unknown card. A light shined from it and the armor's body shook like a rattle before collapsing motionless on the ground. Seizing the opportunity, Sora attacked each of the armor's limbs until they were destroyed obtaining more friend cards. However the stun effect was short lived. The guard armor floated back up an recommended its assault. Remembering what Leon said about Mixing different cards for sleights, Sora grabbed Kirito's friend card and 2 attack cards. Once kirito was summoned, Sora threw his keyblade at the guard armor's head knocking it off. Kirito tossed his other sword to Sora and the two of them ran towards the heartless dealing the finishing blow with a combined attack on its torso. Once the heartless was defeated, a black card fell from the sky depicting the guard armor heartless. Which Sira placed in his pocket with the rest of his cards. Once the battle was over, Leon and the others came to thank us for defeating the heartless. They even offered to help us look around town for Sora's missing friend. "Sorry guys. I don't think I'll find him in this town. But he's somewhere in this castle. I just know it." Sora said. "Castle? Like this whole town's inside some humongous castle? Hoo, that's rich!" Cid laughed. "He's probably right Cid. We might not understand what's going on, but Sora does. Sora can see that reality is bigger than just this world." Leon said. "I wish I was that sure." Sora replied. "You'll be okay, Sora. No matter what shape reality takes, you can handle it. I may not remember you, but I know you in my heart." Leon said. "Leon..." Sora said. "Take care." Yuffie said. "I'm a little lost... but best of luck anyway." Cid bade farewell. the two groups left the second district, however Sora and Aerith remained. "I don't have all the answers, but I had to tell you something. Your memories created this town, right?" Aerith asked. "That's what the guy who gave me th card said." Sora replied. "If that's true, then tis town is just a figment if your mind... and so are we." Aerith said. "But...you can't be a figment! You're standing right here. This town is here too!" Sora argued. "But I'm not really me. I don't know the things I should. And I sense things I shouldn't. Sora, beware your memories. In the journey to come, you'll be faced with more illusions. Sometimes the shadows of your memory will deceive you. Try to lead you astray." Aerith said. "So... what does that mean?" Sora asked. "I'm sorry. I'm just another illusion. the truth is out of my reach." Aerith said. "Don't say stuff like that. It's depressing..." Sora said. "Stay strong Sora. don't let the illusions distract you from what's truly important." Aerith said. "Will do." Sora replied. "Sora!" Donald called. Sora turned to see the rest of his party waiting for him in the alley. "Are you ready to go?" Goofy asked. "Yeah, be right there." sora replied. "Well, I'd better get going." however when Sora turned, Aerith had vanished "Aerith?" Sora said "Aerith!" he repeated while searching for her. "What about Aerith?" Strea asked. "Where did she go? I was just talking to her!" Sora said. The others shared a look of confusion and concern. "Aerith left with Leon and the others, remember?" Asuna said. "HUH?!" Sora gasped "You worried us. Just standing there by yourself." Yuuki said. "Is this what she meant?" Sora wondered aloud. we opened the door connecting the third and second district of traverse town. However instead of the third district, we found a wall of light similar to the one in castle oblivion that lead us here. once we went through, we were back in the marble white halls of Castle Oblivion. and awaiting us was the stranger in the black coat. "Well, Sora. did you enjoy meeting your memories?" he asked. "Yeah, it was good tp see everyone, but what do you really want from me?" Sora asked. "What do you have to give?" the stranger replied. the man in black started to approach us which prompted everyone to call out their weapons. However the man stopped when another dark portal opened up. from it another man dressed in the same black coat. however unlike the one before us, the newcomer's hood was lowered exposing his shoulder length spiky red hair, green eyes, and reversed tear marks below his eyes. "Hello!" he greeted. "What do you want?" the first stranger asked. "No hoggin' the hero!" the new comer complained. the stranger let slip another card from his sleeve and tossed it at the red haired man like a dagger. He caught it with in his hand and gave a large grin. "Perhaps you'd like to test him?" the stranger asked sarcastically before opening up his own dark portal. "Perhaps I would." the red haired man replied. "My show now Keyblade master! Who am I? My name's Axel. Got it memorized?" Axel said while poking his index finger toward his head. "Uh, sure." Sora said. "Good! you're a quick learner. So, Sora, now that we're getting to know each other better..." Axel raised his hands above his head before spreading them out calling wheels of fire in his hands. the flames quickly dissipated and from them came two chakrams. the red and silver disc like weapons had eight spikes along the rim. the top, bottom, left, and right spikes were attached to a circle that intersected with the rim connected to the weapons cross shaped handle which was clad in a black leather. "Don't you go off and die on me now!" Axel said.
  5. Chapter 3 Reunion Traverse town was exactly how Sora remembered it was. Everything from the Starry night sky to the candle dim orange lamp posts. Even the heartless were ones he was familiar with. However due to his new found reliance on cards and the fact that he had to fight the heartless alone meant he had to fight more carefully. Luckily the heartless also used cards for their attacks. When Sora used them right, he was able to counter their attacks. Still he missed having his friends to back him up. So whenever he saw a friend card hopping around, he always went out of his way to pick it up mid battle. Since Sora had so many friends, he had a large variety of ways to fight off the heartless. Donald would cast a plethora of spells. Goofy had his tornado attack. Kirito would perform a similar move where he would let loose a single powerful spin with his two swords that knocked back any enemies in the radius. He called the attack double circular. Asuna unleashed a highspeed lunging attack with her Rapier. Yuuki dashed across the field slashing at enemies with her short sword using a skill called horizontal square. And last, but not least Strea used her great sword to deal massive damage to any nearby enemies with a single swing. Though as great as having so many friends to rely on was, the friend cards themselves would only seldom appear so he wasn't able to use them as much as he would like. After Sora cleared out the first district, he wandered towards the third district. Once there he thought back to the battles he had up to this point and realized that fighting alone was much more difficult than he thought it would be. He began to feel lonely without his friends to talk to and as if in response to his loneliness, six lights descended from the sky. Each light carried a card containing one of Sora's friends. Upon reaching the ground, the cards materialized and each of them stood behind Sora much to his surprise. "Hey, don't pop out of nowhere like that!" Sora exclaimed. "It's not our fault! We don't know what's going on!" Donald said. "Hey isn't that the dog we found carrying Mickey's letter?" Kirito asked while pointing ahead of them. Sora looked behind him and saw a yellow furred canine wagging his long wiry black tail back and forth. "things just keep getting weirder. What's Pluto doing here?" Donald asked. "There's nothing strange about that. We came to Traverse town with Pluto, didn't we? Goofy said. "Did we?" Donald asked. Jiminy hopped out of his cozy spot in the hood of Sora's jacket. "No, wait! According to my journal, it was before you met Sora, Kirito, and Asuna that you came to town with Pluto!" Jiminy said. "Wak! He's right!" Donald exclaimed. "So that means that this Pluto is the one from our memories?" Asuna said. "Nice catch with the journal Jiminy. Be sure to keep updating it. I feel like it's going to come in handy the further we go into this castle." Kirito said. "but aren't we in Traverse town?" Goofy asked. "No, we're in castle oblivion. That card we got is what created this place." Kirito said. "Aaghh! Who cares about all that? It's too confusing! I don't know where we are, but let's just keep moving forward defeating heartless! We'll get somewhere!" Sora Said. "You'd better be careful, or it's the heartless that are going to defeat you." Sora turned around to see who had spoken up and to his surprise he saw a familiar man with long brown hair and a scar that ran across his face. "Leon, it's you! What are you doing in Castle Oblivion?" Sora asked. Leon gave a puzzled look at his question. "Castle Oblivion? What are you talking about? This is Traverse Town. And how do you know my name? Who are you?" Leon asked to Sora's complete shock. "I've never met any of you before." Leon said. "Quit playing, Leon! We all fought the heartless together! You know that!" Sora exclaimed. "Look I don't know what you're talking about. I don't even know your names." Leon said. "You don't remember us?" Asuna asked. Leon turned his back to us "…Sorry." He replied. "I can't believe it. How can you have forgotten about us?" Sora asked. "I feel for you, but you've got the wrong guy. Happens all the time. Don't take it so personally Sora." Leon said. Kirito and Asuna shared a look after hearing him say Sora's name. "Leon, we didn't tell you our names." Kirito said. Leon's eyes widened in surprise when he realized he did in fact know Sora's despite not having been introduced. "Now, now hold on! Why do I know your name?" Leon said turning back to face us. "Do you think he's kidding around?" Goofy asked. "If he is, it's not funny. Sora's really upset." Donald replied. "Who's kidding around, Goofy? You and Donald are the ones who—" Leon caught himself midsentence when he realized he also suddenly knew Donald and Goofy's names as well. He pinched his brow in complete confusion. "I don't get it… Something's wrong with my memory. What's happening here?" Leon wondered aloud. "I dunno, Leon. Maybe Aerith was onto something after all." Another voice spoke this time coming from a girl with short black hair with a head band and yellow scarf around her neck. "She said she sensed some uncanny kind of power. And asked us to look into it. Well, this is as uncanny as it gets. Maybe you should take Sora to see Aerith." She said. "Yuffie, you know my name!" Sora said. "Yep! Looks like you know mine, too." Yuffie said. "You know him?" Leon asked. "Nope! Total stranger. But I do know his name. Strange, yes, but convenient! We can skip introductions." Yuffie's laissez-faire attitude caused Leon to pinch his brow in annoyance. "how is it that you can accept this situation so easily? I don't get you…" Leon said. "Well, I'm gonna run aged and fill Aerith in. Leon, you give them the Grand tour. See ya later!" Yuffie said. "I guess there's no use pondering over it. I'll show you around town, but there are heartless in town. I'll show you how to protect yourselves." Leon said. "But I already know how to use the cards. What else is there to know?" Sora asked. "There's using cards and then then there's playing them. Now watch and learn." Leon said. He pulled out three magic cards from his pocket. "Just using cards one by one can only get you so far. If you use them together in what's called a sleight, you can use much more powerful attacks. Firaga!" he shouted and the cards produced a third tier fire spell that shot towards Sora who promptly blocked the incoming fire ball with his keyblade. "Now you try." Leon said. Sora did as he was told and grabbed 3 cards from his deck. He concentrated on the attack cards he had chosen and felt a surge of power flow through his body. The cards vanished and then Sora hurled his keyblade at Leon performing his strike raid skill. However Leon simply batted it away with his gun blade. "how'd you do that?" Sora asked. "Do you see the numbers in the bottom right corner of your cards? Each card has a number ranging from zero to nine. The higher the card's number, the more damage it does and the harder it is to break. That's another reason why sleight are so powerful. A sleight adds the total amount of the cards used in it's attack. However, Zero cards are special. They have the ability to break a card or sleight no matter how high the opposing number is. But it's a double edged sword. Just like it can break any card, any card can break a Zero. You have to use them carefully. One more thing, the first card used in your sleight vanishes from your deck after it's used. Don't worry, it's not gone forever. It will reappear after the end of battle." Leon explained. "Wow, this card stuff is a lot more complicated than I thought. Anything else I should know?" Sora asked. "Sleight can allow you to perform attacks you might not even know you were capable of. Try mixing different cards together when you use sleights. The result may turn the tide in your favor." Leon said. "Got it." Sora said. After Leon's lesson, he gave Sora another magic card that depicted Simba in the art work. It worked similarly to summon magic in that it Summoned the red Maine lion to fight at Sora's side when he called on him. We followed Leon through town and Arrived at the small house he and his group shared. It was here that they met with Aerith. "I don't know whether to say nice to meet you or good to see you again. I don't think I know you, but I feel like you belong here." Aerith said. "Yeah, exactly! Like we've never met, but it still doesn't feel weird knowing your names." Yuffie agreed. "But I'm telling you, we HAVE met. We took on the heartless together. We were a team!" Sora said. "It feels like you're right… But I can't remember." Leon said. "Then I guess you won't remember what you told us at Hollow bastion. 'We may never again…'"Sora lead "…but we'll never forget each other" Leon finished. "See, you do remember!" Sora said. "He's right Leon. I remember you saying that too." Yuffie replied. "I guess I can't right it off as a coincidence, then. I don't have any memory of it, but somehow I still remember. I think your heart is doing the remembering for us. "Leon said. "my heart?" Sora asked. "We don't know you Sora but your heart is full of memories of us together. Those memories must resonate in our hearts, too. Maybe they tell us things we wouldn't otherwise know." Aerith hypothesized. "So you're saying that Sora's memories are affecting ours?" Leon asked. "They do seem to have a certain power." Aerith said. "maybe it's like that guy said. This town is just an illusion created from my memories." Sora Said. "And there's someone special to you in this town." Aerith replied. "How did you—Ah, I get it. My memories are resonating with yours, telling you what happened. Yeah. A friend of mine is somewhere in traverse town- I mean Castle Oblivion." Sora said. "Castle Oblivion? What's that? There aren't any castles around here." Yuffie said. "That's not quite what I mean. Sora said. "You're still no sure about what's going on yourself right?" Aerith Said. "Right. We just got here, after all. I want to take a better look around." Sora replied. "Then go have a look around town. There are Heartless, but that's no problem for you." Leon said. Sora placed his hands behind his head and grinned "So you know I can fight." he said "I can't say I know, but I feel like believing you. let's leave it at that." Leon said.
  6. Chapter 2 the world of cards Asuna cradled Kirito's head in her lap. A look of worry etched on her face as she gazed at his unconscious form. Questions upon questions formed in her mind as she wondered what or who could've caused her fiancé to collapse. "Kirito… please wake up." Asuna said. "Gawrsh! You don't think that fellah in the black coat could've done something to him?" Goofy pondered. "Well if he did, he's gonna pay for it!" Sora angrily remarked. "Yeah, let's get him!" Donald said. "Did you forget what happened just now? Our abilities are gone! We can't fight anyone until we figure out how this cockamamie castle works." Asuna said. "But-" Sora said before being cut off by Asuna again. "No Buts! We're not going anywhere until Kirito wakes up." Asuna said firmly. While Kirito slept, his dreams brought him to a familiar place. A round, gothic column with a stain glass floor depicting himself, his loved ones, and the floating castle Aincrad. From what he could gather, this place existed inside of his heart. Although the only times he had been to this place, was when his mysterious tenant, Master Eraqus, had called for him. He hadn't figured out why he chose him of all people, but Eraqus had been a source of guidance for Kirito in the past. Perhaps he could help explain their current predicament. "Eraqus! Master Eraqus!" Kirito called out. "I need some answers. What is Castle oblivion? Who is that guy in the black coat? And who was that kid I saw?" Kirito asked. A ball of light floated towards the station from the inky darkness surrounding it. Once it reached the station's center, the light intensified for a second before Eraqus resumed his human form. "Apologies, Kirito. What you experienced was one of my memories. It seems this castle has caused our memories to mix with one another. Allow me to explain. Castle Oblivion as it is now known, was once my home. Light and darkness exist in equal balance here. The masters before me devised a certain… trick to keep people from abusing such neutral ground. Before it became what you see now, I lived here as its protector and was tasked with training keyblade wielders so that they would one day become masters. Before I passed, I taught one of my students how to turn this place into the castle you see today. The memories of all who enter this castle are lost to Oblivion. Hence the name." Eraqus said. "So that splitting pain in my head was one of your memories. What did you do?" Kirito asked. "Let's just say it's something I regret and leave it at that. Now, on to more important matters. Those strangers in the black coats are trespassers. They have to be dealt with." Eraqus said. "Okay, and the boy with the blonde hair?" Kirito asked. "One of my students. Now if that's all, I believe you have a more pressing matter to attend to." Eraqus said curtly. He then turned back into a ball of light and floated off to some other corner of this imaginary space. "Well he's as cryptic as ever." Kirito said. Back in the castle foyer, Kirito groaned as he woke from his abrupt slumber and saw Asuna looking down at him with an expression of concern. "Hey Asuna." Kirito greeted. "Kirito… You dummy." Asuna scolded while tearing up. "Can you get up?" Strea asked. "I think so." Kirito responded. "Here, let me give you a hand." Sora offered while extending his arm toward Kirito. Kirito took the offered hand and with sora's help he was soon back on his feet. "Gawrsh. Are ya sure you're okay Kirito?" Goofy asked. "Yeah. It was just a head ache." Kirito said. "You passed out! That's more than just a head ache. You probably have a concussion." Yuuki said. "It's fine. I know what happened. Eraqus explained it to me." Kirito said. "Eraqus?" Donald parroted. "The knight from my dreams. Eraqus is his name. He said that this is place is going to mess with our memories. I guess it started with me. One of my memories was swapped with his. I don't know what it was, but it hurt. A lot." Kirito said. "To find is to lose, and to lose is to find. So we lose our old memories and find new ones?" Asuna said. "I think you just hit the nail on the head Asuna." Kirito said. "Well I know one thing. That guy in the coat is trouble. But maybe if we go to this card's world, we'll be able to beat him and get our memories back." Sora said. "That's the first thing I've heard that makes sense today. Let's go." Kirito said. Sora held the card out towards the door. The card sparked with light and the door opened revealing a veil of light. When Sora passed through the light he found himself in a familiar place. The brick houses, cobblestone ground and dim orange lamp posts lighting the starry sky. "Wait, this can't be right. We're in Traverse Town!" Sora exclaimed. "What you see isn't real." a voice spoke. The man in the black coat stood directly behind Sora. Sora turned to face him, but yet again the stranger vanished through a dark portal and reappeared behind Sora again. "This town is an illusion created by your memories ingrained in that card." The stranger said. "My memories?" Sora said as he turned to face him. Then Jiminy Cricket hopped out of his place in Sora's hood and onto the ground. "Forget about that Sora. We lost everybody!" Jiminy exclaimed. Sora turned around yet again and surveyed the area for his comrades, but no one was in sight. "Donald? Goofy? Kirito? Asuna? Strea? Yuuki? Guys! Where are you?" Sora called. "What did you do with them!?" Sora asked. "They are at the mercy of the cards now. Master the cards, and their strength will be yours again." The stranger said. Suddenly Sora found that his pocket was full of an assortment of cards. And a green card with Donald's face appeared and was bouncing on the ground. "The laws of the castle require that your friends be transformed into cards. I f you value your friends, you won't fail to pick them up. Cards you pick up will be added to the top of your stack. Use them, and your friends will come to your aid." As the stranger had instructed, Sora went to pick up the bouncing card. When he neared it, the card flew into his pocket with the rest of his cards. Sora fished the friend card from his pocket and looked at Donald's frozen visage. "Well, here goes. Donald!" Sora called. Light sparked from the green card and Donald was summoned in a flash of light. The wizard waved his staff and cast fire and blizzard magic at the stranger. However, the stranger merely dodged the offensive magic. "The cards you use vanish, but they will reappear to aid you time and again. Cards are the hearts of your friends. Everything in this castle is ruled by cards. Whether an enemy or a door confronts you, cards are the only way to proceed. But you mustn't forget your own strength. Now come at me." The stranger said. Sora didn't need to be told twice. He ran towards the stranger and swung his keyblade at him. The stranger merely blocked each of his swings as if the keyblade were nothing more than a child's toy. "Each action you take uses up one of the cards in your deck. Without any cards, you can't do anything. However if you merely concentrate, the cards you used will return." The stranger explained. Just as he said, Sora was unable to attack without using a card. Seeing no alternative, Sora heeded the stranger's advice and concentrated on his deck. The cards he had used previously had returned to his pant pocket. "Good. You understand the fundamentals of combat in the castle." The stranger said. After imparting his lesson, everyone else ran to Sora's side. "What happened to you guys?" Sora asked? "You tell us! When you opened the door, we saw a strange light. The rest is kind of a blank." Donald said. "Gee, that doesn't help. Try to remember what happened. I have to keep my journal up to date." Jiminy said. "Hey, Donald, Where'd we get the new clothes?" Goofy asked. Donald was now wearing a blue tunic with pockets to his left and right and a third in the middle. He also had a hat with a lot of zippers on it. Goofy was wearing a green turtle neck sweater, black vest, yellow pants, brown loafers, and a yellow hat with a pair of goggles. "The cards again?" Sora asked. "That is for you to ponder. Master the cards and make your way through the castle. But from here, you walk alone." The stranger said. "Alone!? We can't let Sora go alone!" Goofy said. "Yeah, Sora can't do anything without our help." Donald said. "Way to egg him on Donald." Asuna said sarcastically. "You want me go alone, Fine. I can take care of myself." Sora said. "Hmph, the hero speaks boldly. Go, then. The rest of Castle Oblivion awaits. Walk avenues of latent memory, and you shall meet someone dear to you." the stranger said. He then opened up another dark portal and vanished. "I've got a bad feeling about this." Jiminy said. "Welcome to the club." Kirito said. "Relax, guys. I'm ready for any tricks he has up his sleeves. How hard can it be to figure out these cards?" Sora said.
  7. Sword art online Hollow Heart: Chain of Memories Chapter 1 Castle Oblivion My name is Kazuto Kirigaya. My friends call me Kirito. I'm currently laying down in a field of grass staring up at the night sky while my fiancé, Asuna Yuuki, is quietly snoozing next to me. Why am I in a grassy plain in the middle of nowhere you ask? Well that's because I went on this crazy world hopping quest with this spiky haired kid named Sora, along with a talking duck and dog named Donald and Goofy. See, Sora was chosen by this mystical weapon called a keyblade. A magical key shaped sword with the ability to lock or unlock any lock in existence. The keyblade chooses its wielders based on the strength in their heart. I guess that means I have a strong heart as well since I was able to call upon one of my own. The duty of a keyblade wielder is to protect the worlds from these creatures of darkness called Heartless. The Heartless are spawned whenever a person succumbs to the darkness in their heart. The heartless Posses the ability to steal their victims hearts. So when one spawns, more of them follow. The end goal of the heartless is to enter a world's keyhole so that they can enter the world's core and steal the heart of that world, thus dragging it into darkness. That's where Sora, and now I come in. The keyblade can lock these keyholes and prevent the heartless from destroying that world. Unfortunately, neither, Sora or I were in possession of the keyblade until after the heartless destroyed our worlds. So, Sora and I journeyed across space to various worlds in order to seal these keyholes while looking for our friends and a way back home. Eventually we found the mastermind behind the heartless. A man by the name of Ansem. His goal was to gather the hearts of people and various worlds in one place in order to force open the door to darkness and locate Kingdom Hearts. The fabled birthplace of all hearts. Ansem believed that all hearts were born in darkness and that Kingdom hearts was darkness in its purest form. And though Ansem did succeed in opening the door to darkness, he quickly discovered that Kingdom Hearts was actually the purest form of light. The light of Kingdom Hearts destroyed Ansem. And we sealed the door to darkness away. After Ansem and the heartless were defeated, the hearts of the worlds they stole were returned to their place in the stars. So now we're looking for Sora's friend, Riku, along with Donald and Goofy's King, Mickey Mouse. The door to darkness could only be closed and locked when there were people closing and locking it on both sides. So Riku and King Mickey stayed in the realm of darkness in order to lock the door while Sora locked it from our side. After we find them we can focus on Reuniting with Yui. The daughter of Asuna and I, Then we can finally go home. After this journey was over I planned to marry Asuna and settle down with her so that we could Raise Yui and our other Daughter Strea, together. Then I was going to create a vrmmorpg based on our adventures and cash in on the royalties. Sounds easy right? Wrong. You see, we're kind of lost right now. We have no idea where in the universe we are. And without a gummi ship, we couldn't leave. And even if we did have one, the walls separating the worlds were restored. So we wouldn't be able to leave whatever world we were currently on anyway. Anyone else would say that we're in a hopeless situation. Although anyone who says that clearly hasn't met Sora. That kid makes the impossible, possible. With Sora at our side there is no doubt in my mind that we will accomplish all of our goals. Speaking of Sora, Kirito noticed that Sora was walking off without them. So Kirito decided to follow him. Sora and Kirito walked until they reached a four way intersection in the road. It was the first one they had seen since arriving in this strangely empty world. "Along the road ahead lies something you need." A voice said from behind us. The voice in question belonged to a man in a hooded black coat. Startle by the sudden appearance of the stranger we turned around to see who it was. Only to find no one there. We knew that the man wouldn't have gone very far since he had taken the trouble of speaking with us. And when we turned around again, we saw the cloaked individual standing before us. However—in order to claim it, you must lose something that is dear to you." He said. Kirito summoned his keyblade and let loose a battle cry as he attempted to run the man through, but the stranger vanished just before the blade connected. "What was that about?" Sora asked. "I don't know, but I've got a bad feeling about this." Kirito replied. Meanwhile, a blonde haired girl with blue eyes was drawing a picture of the castle she was currently at in crayon on her sketch pad. The girl was wearing a white sundress and sky blue sandles. The room she was in was entirely alabaster white. Her room didn't have much. Just a stool and a bird cage holding a tiny stuffed doll in her likeness. The doll was practically a symbol of her current imprisonment. But if what her captors said was true, she knew that there would soon be visitors. She only prayed that Sora and his friends would be able to escape the trap that was waiting for them. A trap that she herself was a part of. And was helpless to stop. Our heroes stood before a strange looking castle. The castle itself was a golden color and had blueish triangular roofs on each of its spires. The spires themselves jutted out every which way and some of the rooms appeared to be tilted. Near the upper most level was a demonic gargoyle and above it was a stain glass window depicting a bright yellow star. The land and air around the castle was similar to the heartless world they had previously been to. When they looked at the castle they felt a strange feeling. As if everything they were searching for was in the castle's depths. Kirito in particular felt a strange sense of familiarity. As if he had seen this castle before. He also felt a sense of foreboding like going into this castle would be dangerous. However the castle was the only place of shelter, and perhaps people, they had seen so far. With no other options, the seven of them entered the strange castle. The castle's interior was completely white. Except for the pale yellow doors at the entrance and back of the large foyer. The walls were lined marble columns. Between those columns were alabaster crests. And below those crests were white ceramic podiums topped with white ceramic flowers. The floor had diamond shaped patterns on either side of the center. "Hey, ya think it's okay to barge in?" Goofy asked. "But we've gotta do it. If we're gonna find the king." Donald replied. "The King! King Mickey's here?!" Goofy gasped while frantically looking around the foyer. "What makes you think that your king is here?" Asuna asked. "Something just told me he'd be here, okay?" Donald said. "Really? Cause now that ya mention it, I was kinda thinkin' the same thing. A-hyuck." Goofy replied. "Seriously? Me too! One look at this castle, and I just knew. Our very best friends—they're here." Sora said. "A-hyuck. Guess great minds think alike." Goofy said. "Wait, hey, hold on! It can't be just a coincidence!" Jiminy cricket said while hopping out of Sora's hood. "You don't mean that-" Kirito said before being cut off. "Yep, I had it too, mm-hmm! I had the exact same feeling." Jiminy said. "Maybe it's contagious." Yuuki said. "You have to admit that something strange is going on." Strea said. "We've gotta take a look around." Asuna said. "Right." Sora replied. He then turned around and was about to walk towards the door at the end of the room when he was stopped by Donald who asked where he thought he was going. "That way. To the door." Sora pointed out. "Are ya scared?" Sora asked while grinning cockily at Donald. "Aw, don't be ridiculous! Come on, let's go Goofy!" Donald ranted and then stomped towards the door. "Hey, fellahs, shouldn't we shut the door behind us before we go?" Goofy asked. However when he turned towards the entrance door, his eyes widened in shock when he saw a man in a black coat standing at the entrance. The door behind him creaked as it slowly closed. "That's it! Who are you?" Sora asked while calling out his keyblade and getting into a fighting stance. The rest of us drew our weapons and did the same. The stranger seemed totally unfazed as he slowly walked towards us. "Wak! Heartless! Oh yeah? I'll try some magic!" Donald said while hopping on one of his webbed feet and waving his staff to call out a spell. "THUNDER!" He shouted. Normally this would be the part where a bolt of electricity would strike the intended target, but for some reason nothing happened. "Come on. THUNDER! THUNDER!" Donald shouted to no avail. What was going on? Donald is an expert wizard. A simple thunder spell should have been no issue for him. "Come on… Blizzard? FIRE!" Donald futilely tried. "Why isn't it working?" Donald asked. "I should think it's obvious. The moment you set foot in the castle, you forgot every spell and every ability that you ever knew." The stranger said. 'Every spell and ability? Then that means…'everyone felt as if their reality was shattered like a baseball flying into a window 'OUR PROGRESS HAS BEEN RESET!' "In this place, to find is to lose, and to lose is to find. That is the way in Castle Oblivion." The stranger said. "Castle Oblivion?" Kirito parroted. The stranger was then enveloped by a dark portal and vanished before us. Then another portal opened and he reappeared behind us. "Here you will meet people that you have known in the past. And you will meet people you miss." The stranger said. "I miss?" sora wondered aloud before an epiphany struck. "Riku! You mean Riku's here!?" Sora asked. "If what you want… is to find him…" the stranger trailed off as he raised his hand toward Sora. A gust of wind and cherry blossoms blew from his palm. The wind was as strong as a spring gale and sora was barely able to keep his footing. While the wind blew, the stranger ode with the wind he created and phased through Sora's body. When the wind stopped, Sora jumped in the air and swung his keyblade down towards the stranger's head in an overhead strike. However the man simply vanished and left cherry blossoms in his place. The man then reappeared in front of the door at the back of the foyer. "What'd you do?" Sora asked. "I merely sampled your memories. And from them, I made this." The man said while holding out a card of some sort. The card had crown shaped points at the top. The frame of it was a sky blue color. And the artwork of the card depicted Traverse Towne. Although part of the picture was covered by mouse logo with a crown in the bottom left corner. And on the back of the card was a heart shaped logo with a crown inside it. "To reunite with those you hold dear-"he then tossed the card like a throwing knife towards Sora who promptly caught it. "What's this, a card?" Sora asked. "It is a promise for the reunion you seek. Hold the card to open the door. And beyond it, a new world." He then gestured to the pale yellow doors behind him. "Proceed, Sora. To lose and claim anew, or to claim anew only to lose…" the stranger said before vanishing once more in a dark portal. Ever since the stranger mentioned the name of Castle Oblivion Kirito's head began to throb. As time went on, the pain in his head increased further and further. Like a knife that was slowly being twisted and driven into his skull. This castle was starting to overwhelm him and when the stranger disappeared, he collapsed. His vision was getting hazy. He knew at some point he heard Sora and Asuna rush to his aid. He saw Asuna, but instead of Sora, he saw a boy with spiky blonde hair, blue eyes and a black and white jacket that was pleaded red on the inside. The boy's facial features bore a resemblance to Sora though. Kirito had no idea who this boy was, but for some reason he felt a sense of remorse towards him? As if he had done something terrible to him. As his consciousness slowly faded he uttered one last word. "Ventus…"
  8. Chapter 49 epilogue A day has passed since the worlds and the walls dividing them were restored. The light of the sun shined down on the island that Kairi and her friends called home. The young red haired girl decided to visit the secret place where she and her friends would scribble on the walls. She crawled through the hole next to the waterfall and began walking through the cave. The cave consisted of only one room with a wooden door at the back. The door had been there for as long as anyone could remember but no one had been able to open it. Kairi began reminiscing as she gazed at the drawings she and sora had carved into the cave walls. Everything was exactly how she remembered it. All save one. She remembered drawing Sora's head while he drew hers on the wall, but something was added to it. Beneath the depiction of sora's head was an arm stretched out towards her head. In his hand he was holding a star. Likely a paopu fruit from the tree they hung out at. Seeing this new addition filled her heart with joy. She smiled and tears rolled down her cheeks. "Oh, Sora…" Kairi said. After her tears stopped, she grabbed a rock and began carving her own arm and paopu fruit into the picture. Thanks to the efforts of our heroes, all of the worlds taken by the heartless were restored. Everyone who had lost their world was returned to their home. The princesses returned to their loved ones. Pinochio had become a flesh and blood boy and lived the rest of his days with his father Geppetto in Traverse Towne. Kirito's sister and his other friends returned to Japan. Lisbeth and Silica went back to their routine of going to school and playing games together. Suguha had gained a sparring partner in Philia who came to visit and train with her in her family dojo. Agil and his wife Cathy returned to the dicey café and reopened their business after their forced departure. And last but not least, Yui had stayed in Hollow bastion with Leon, Cid, Yuffie, Aerith, and now Cloud and Merlin. Cloud ventured to hollow bastion when the games at Olympus coliseum ended. And Merlin sought out to reclaim his previous abode in Hollow Bastion. Now that the black hole created by the heartless was gone, the ocean that encompassed everything but Ansem's castle had receded. Leaving a dark blue valley that stretched out for miles. If one looked closely, they could see the remains of an old town. Yui believed that Hollow bastion would be the first place that Sora and her parents would go when they returned. So until that day came, she would patiently wait for them while helping leon's group restore Hollow bastion to what it once was. She would also go on to study magic and science under the tutelage of Cid and Merlin. For a time, everything was peaceful. The forces of darkness were defeated. But they knew that this period of peace would one day be broken when the heartless returned. Our heroes found themselves walking down a dirt road surrounded by a large grassy field. For some reason, Donald and Goofy's clothes had changed after leaving the abyss. Donald was now wearing a blue sailor's suit with red bow tie and a cap with a black tassel. Goofy was wearing an orange turtleneck sweater, yellow vest, blue jeans, brown loafers, and a tall green hat with a black hat loop. Sora was walking between the two of them with his hands held behind his head and walking like this was an ordinary stroll in the park while the rest of us were walking behind the trio. "Well, now what do we do?" Donald asked. "We've gotta find Riku and King Mickey." Sora said. "But, uh, where do we start lookin' for that there door to the light?" Goofy asked. Goofy had just asked a very difficult question. One that not even Sora or Kirito could answer at the moment. We walked for a while each trying tome up with our own solution. But we all slumped when we couldn't come up with anything. It was then that a large dog with bright yellow fur, a green collar, black droopy ears, and long thin black tail walked across the field and on to the dirt road. The dog was carrying a white envelope with a green mouse seal on it. "Pluto?" Donald called. The dog then turned his attention towards us when his name was called. "Hey, Pluto. Where have you been?" Goofy asked. "You guys know this dog?" Kirito asked. "Uh-huh. Pluto is King Mickey's loyal pal." Goofy said. "He's got something in his mouth." Asuna said. "Gawrsh, that's the king's seal!" Goofy said. "Hey, Have you seen king mickey?" Sora asked. After everything they had seen thus far, Kirito half expected the dog to speak in a rich British accent like Charles Dickens. Instead Pluto simply turned and ran further along the road. Since Pluto was our only lead at the moment we ran after the golden dog. Perhaps if they followed Pluto he would take them to the king or a way back home. That letter could provide the very clue they needed. With our spirits renewed, we ran after that dog from dawn until dusk. When we managed to catch Pluto, we grabbed the letter and opened it up. It simply read, "Remember Sora. You are the one who will open the door to the light."
  9. Chapter 48 The World Of Chaos When the light from the trinity spell faded, Ansem was nowhere to be seen. The barrier to the arena lifted, allowing the rest of the party to join the Sora, Kirito, and Asuna in the dark area. "Is it over?" Donald asked. "You guys did beat him this time right?" Yuuki Asked. "He has to be gone. I mean, what could survive that attack you guys used?" Strea said. "But if anyone could, it would be him." Kirito said. "In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if he was only using a fraction of his power." Kirito followed. "But why would he do something like that?" Goofy asked. "So he can surprise us with overwhelming power, and crush any hope we have left." Asuna said. "That does sound like something he would do." Kirito said. "But we still could've beaten him right?" Sora said hopefully. "Sora, look around you. If Ansem was really gone, then this place should be disappearing right before our eyes." Kirito said. Before Sora could respond however, the bright blue sky of destiny islands suddenly turned pitch black. The darkness was all consuming. Our heroes could barely see what was in front of them. "Wha-?" Sora gasped. "Behold the endless abyss! Within it lies the heart of all worlds: Kingdom Hearts!" Ansem's voice rang out. The only thing in the dark abyss that we could see however was a big white set of doors with stain glass windows. The door was standing tall on a small isle of gray rock. If one looked closely they could see the silhouette of a giant heart behind the doors. "Look as hard as you are able. You'll not find even the smallest glimmer of light. From those dark depths are all hearts born. Even yours." Ansem said. As he spoke each of us were searching the black void for where Ansem might be. "Um Guys…" Yuuki said while pointing at something directly in front of us. When we turned to where she was pointing we saw what looked like a massive battleship shaped monstrosity. The hull of the ship was made of twisted discolored flesh. The deck was long and flat. Behind the deck was a dome shaped area containing what appeared to be some kind of organic power core. The ships figurehead was literally a giant head with yellow eyes, pointy chin, jagged teeth and veins popping out on its forehead. Beneath the figure head was a long pointy battering ram. Behind the ram was a lower set of wings carrying demonic heads along the length of each wing. Likely either for bombing or spraying fire over a widespread area. And above the core chamber was Ansem. His coat and shirt were gone leaving his muscular torso completely bare. His pants and boots were now outlined with a golden filigree of some kind. And he was carrying a double bladed halberd that looked like Riku's Soul eater sword. The blades were connected by the bottom of their handles. Ansems guardian had grown larger and more demonic in appearance. It had attached itself to the roof of the core chamber. It now had long sleeved arms with sharp pointy claws. Its insides were completely exposed. Its spinal column and ribcage were completely visible. And its intestines were connected to Ansem's back. Around its neck was a golden ring with dark red demonic heads on each end. The guardian's own head had sprouted long pointed horns. Its face was covered by a black mask that only exposed its bright yellow eyes along with its dark blue mouth and pointy white teeth. "Darkness, Conquers all worlds!" Ansem bellowed. Since we no longer stood on solid ground, we all began to fall into the abyss. As if to spite us, Ansem opened a set of dark portals to swallow up our friends. Asuna, Strea, Yuuki, Donald, and Goofy were sucked into the portals. Leaving Sora and Kirito to fall into the abyss. As the two of them fell they began to wonder if this was really how it was going to end. Their friends were taken captive while they fell to the infinite darkness. Had Ansem actually triumphed in this battle of good and evil despite their effort? Then sora heard Riku's voice in his head. "Giving up already? Come on Sora, I thought you were stronger than that." Riku Said. Meanwhile Kirito was hearing master Eraqus in his head again. "You've done well to come this far Kirito. There is but one more obstacle for you to overcome. Now, go!" Eraqus said. And so, Sora and Kirito fell into the abyss. Only to come flying out of it seconds later. The two of them flew up to Ansem's level, Sora with his one keyblade, and Kirito with his keyblade and black sword in his hands, ready to take on Ansem. Believing that Ansem himself was still the primary weak point, the two key bearers went to attack him. Ansem attacked with broad sweeping motions and spin attacks from his halberd. The two of them made sure to avoid the range of his blades entirely to avoid taking serious damage. He was only able to attack three to five times before he took a moment to rest. The two of them attacked Ansem during that time. However doing so was more difficult than anticipated on account of these dark spheres that fired lasers at us to keep us away. Ansem would also conjure up these little bat like heartless to defend himself. The bodies of these bats were tear shaped with pitch black skin and yellow eyes. Their only attacks were head butting us and they were quite agile. Sora opted to take out the bats while Kirito focused on attacking Ansem. Due to the near constant laser fire, it was difficult to pull of long combos like starburst stream and Ars Arcanum. Eventually the two of them wore Ansem down to the point where he retreated into his guardian's ribcage. A heartless crest appeared over his chest forming a barrier that we could not penetrate. Then a dark portal appeared in front of Ansem. Believing that they could find their friends if they entered it, our two wielders went inside. The portal lead to a dark chamber with a heartless crest glowing a dark blue on the ground. In this chamber, they found Yuuki fighting off a hoard of shadow heartless. "About time you showed up!" Yuuki said while striking down another shadow. With the keyblade wielders at her side, the tide of battle shifted in their favor. Yuuki could fight these heartless all day, but without a keyblade, they would just keep popping back up. After the waves of shadows were defeated, a strange vein like organ with a blue glowing core at its center appeared. Sora struck at the organ and then it exploded. The dark portal opened and the three of them were able to exit the portal. When the three of them exited the portal, they found that the battle ship had grown a number of organic cannons that fired ice and fire magic while Ansem's guardian waved its arms to create powerful gusts of wind to blow us away from it. After taking out these cannons one by one, another portal opened up and the three of them went inside. The area that they entered was identical to the one where they found Yuuki. But this time they found Goofy and Strea fighting off a hoard of dark balls. "Sora!" Goofy called. "Kirito!" Strea followed. The five of them were able to fight off the hoard of the heartless. Thus causing another organic core to show up, this time glowing yellow. Sora struck at the organ and it exploded again. This time when the five of them exited the portal, the figure head of the battleship was moving as though it had a mind of its own and called lightning down from the sky to attack us. And more of the cannons from earlier spawned to aid its assault. Strea and Yuuki dealt with the cannons while Sora, Kirito, and Yuuki attacked the bulbous forehead of the monstrous figure head. The demon's head roared and unleashed more lightning to strike us periodically. After the cannons were destroyed, Yuuki and Strea joined the assault on the head. The two of them gouged out the head's eyes while Kirito stabbed both of his swords into the monster's massive cranium. The figure head let loose its last guttural roar before it went slack jawed and stopped moving entirely. Then another portal opened up in its massive maw. Our heroes went into yet another dark chamber, this time locating Donald and Asuna who were fighting off a group of invisibles. "What took you so long?!" Donald asked angrily. "Just be glad that they're here Donald." Asuna said. With all of our heroes reunited, they were easily able to fight off the heartless hoard. Then another organic core showed up, this time glowing red. Sora destroyed it and the entire group was free to escape the dark chamber to take on Ansem. When we left the portal in the figure head's maw, the head exploded and left behind a purple stump from where it used to be. The barrier around the core chamber vanished allowing us to attack it. However there were even more magic cannons that we had to deal with before attacking the core itself. The primary core was a large deformed purplish organ with a glowing skull like face. Each of us attacked the core until it began glowing a bright light. We all flew away from the core as it exploded. With the primary core destroyed, Ansem undid the seal that kept him safe in his guardian's ribcage to deal with to fight us. Ansem's fighting style hadn't change since their earlier bout when it was just Sora and Kirito. But now that the full party was here we were able to combat Ansem more effectively. Asuna and Donald made sure that each of us were protected by the aeroga spell. Goofy and Strea tanked any attacks that were heading their way, while Sora, Kirito, and Yuuki were attacking Ansem. The mouths on the guardian's main head and two smaller ones began to glow and Asuna could tell that the guardian was siphoning their magic for its own use. Fortunately they had brought plenty of ethers with them, so the magic drain was only a minor nuisance. Then Ansem held out his halberd skyward and a black hole formed that drew us in while simultaneously firing a rain of laser fire. Knowing that getting too close to that attack would be dangerous, team B flew away from Ansem's attack before it detonated. Between Ansem's attacks and the cover fire from his guardian, it was a very long battle. But our heroes came out on top when both Sora and Kirito dealt the final attack by slashing at Ansem's chest and leaving an X shaped gash where their keyblades connected. Light spilled out from the wounds and the guardian cried out in agony. With its master defeated, the ship exploded in a great ball of fire and the guardian was destroyed. Leaving only Ansem. Ansem, now in his original form with his coat, gloves, and his previous set of pants and boots, floated before us. He grasped his aching shoulder with his right hand while his left arm hung limply at his side. "It is futile. The keyblade alone cannot seal the door to darkness." Ansem said. He then turned his back to us and reached his hand out towards the large white door in one swift motion. "Kingdom Hearts! Fill me with the power of darkness…" Ansem pleaded. The doors began to open at his command. As they slowly moved outwards shadows spilled from the cracks. "Supreme darkness…" Ansem said. "You're wrong! I know now, without a doubt, Kingdom Hearts… Is light!" Sora said. And just like that, a radiant light shined when the doors opened. Ansem winced as he was bathed in its holy glow. "Light… But… Why…?" he feebly asked. The light from the door intensified and it eradicated Ansem completely. When the light faded our heroes flew towards the isle that the doors were standing on, landed, and ran towards the doors. Sora, Kirito, and Asuna pushed on the right side of the door while Donald, Goofy, Yuuki, and Strea pushed the left side. Despite their efforts, the doors barely moved when they pushed. At one point Goofy peaked inside the doors to see what was behind them. Donald berated goofy for his slacking but then he looked inside the doors himself. Behind the doors was a cave. And in that cave were hundreds of heartless. "The heartless!?" they cried. "Hurry! Asuna said. "It's too heavy." Kirito said. "I can't…" sora said. Then suddenly a gloved hand grabbed the door from the other side. "Don't give up!" he said. The hand in question belonged to Riku who was pulling the door from the other side. "Come on, Sora. Together we can do it." Riku said. With Riku's help the doors then began to move. It was then that Kirito recalled the database on Ansem's computer the door had to be closed from both sides. That's why they hadn't been able to move them until now. As the eight of them struggled to close the door, two Dark side heartless spawned on Riku's side of the door. Intent on stopping the door from being closed. "It's hopeless!" Donald screamed. However the two giants vanished nearly as soon as they appeared. A golden light shined like the sun and from that light, leapt a small person with big round ears and a mouse tail wearing red shorts, White gloves, and big yellow shoes. "Your, Majesty!" Donald and goofy called out. The mouse king then pulled out a Keyblade of his own. In appearance it was identical to Sora's. However the blade was gold, the piece connecting the blade to the hilt was red, and the hilt was silver. "Now, Sora! Let's close this door for good!" Mickey said. "Close it, quick!" Donald said. "But…" Sora remarked "Don't worry. There will always be a door to the light." King Mickey said. "Sora, you can trust King Mickey." Goofy said. "If Goofy trusts him, that's good enough for me." Kirito said. "Now! They're coming!" Riku warned. "Donald, Goofy, Thank you." King Mickey said. As the doors closed, Riku made one last request of Sora. "Take care of her." He said smiling. Sora nodded in response and renewed his efforts to closing the door. When it closed a bright blue light flashed from the doors indicating that they were properly sealed. Sora leapt back ward and raised his keyblade in the air. Stars gathered around it as the weapon worked its magic into locking the door. On the other side of the door, Mickey was doing the same with his keyblade. The doors were enveloped in bright golden light, and then they vanished. Revealing a road into the great unknown. As our heroes gazed heavenward, Sora began recalling the moments of friendship he had with Riku. How they just hung out at the docks and the paopu tree. And the noogies all of the noogies from Riku he had recieved on his spiky haired head. And the race they had the day before their adventure began. Those were memories that he would always cherish. When he turned around, he saw that Kairi was there with them but Sora knew that she was back on destiny islands by now, but by a stroke of Fate he had been allowed to see her one last time. Sora ran off to speak with her. Donald gained a sad look in his face and he attempted to call out to Sora, However Goofy placed his gloved hand on Donald's shoulder. Goofy understood exactly what Donald was feeling. Because he was feeling it to. But he knew that this was something Sora had to do. Kirito and the others watched with smiles on their faces as Sora went to speak with Kairi one last time they wished that they could have a similar send off with their friends and loved ones, but if only one of their group could have such a moment, they were glad it was Sora. Kairi slowly backed away as the sand native to destiny islands she stood on slowly receded from the gray isle of rock Sora was at. The ground shifting caused her to lose her balance and nearly fall, but Sora caught her by her hand and helped right her balance. "Kairi, Remember what you said before? I'm always with you, too. I'll come back to you. I promise!" Sora said. Sora held onto Kairi's hand for as long as fate would allow and in the last moment before the two of them would be forced to let go, Kairi replied "I know you will!" and so the two of them let go. Sora remained in the abyss with his friends while Kairi was returned to destiny islands. Little specks of golden light fell from the sky like snow when they made contact with the ground, a spectacle of light erupted as the islands were restored. The trees along with the ramps, ladders and walkways literally sprouted from the ground. The ocean tide came in and as the light and Sora faded from Kairi's point of view, it looked as though stars were shooting out of the ocean back to their place in the night sky.
  10. Chapter 47 Ansem Seeker of Darkness When Sora opened the door, we were bathed in a bright golden light and transported to the last place they had expected. A white sandy beach with a bright blue sea, sky, and fluffy white clouds. The island was teaming with giant trees wider than a house and ramshackle walkways, docks, and store houses. Sora's eyes widened as he took in the familiar view. "Is this… is this my island?" He said aloud. "Your island? So this is the place you and your friends grew up?" Kirito asked. "Yeah, but it just feels off somehow. Look, the waterfall is all dried up. And the bridge connecting to the paopu tree is gone. And the paopu tree looks like it's dead!" Sora said. Looking at his favorite hangout spot in such poor condition saddened him. "What's a paopu tree?" Yuuki asked "Oh, right you weren't around for that talk." Asuna said. "Sora, if you want to talk more about it, we'd be willing to listen." Strea suggested. The former psychiatrist A.I. thought that getting Sora to talk about his home would bring his spirits up. And if this really was his island, he would know it best. "Well, the paopu tree is my favorite place to hang out with Riku and Kairi. The tree was bent so we could sit on it like a bench. And it grew this star shaped fruit." Sora said. "Star shaped fruit?" Donald parroted. "The paopu fruit. There's a legend behind it. They say that when two people share one, their destinies become intertwined. They'll be a part of each other's lives forever." Sora said. "Awwwww. That's so romantic. Kirito I want one." Asuna said. I think you're gonna have to wait Asuna." Kirito replied. Just after he spoke the rock where the paopu tree stood disappeared along with the tree itself. More and more Trees and foliage then began to disappear around the island. And the sea turned from a bright blue into a rancid purple color. Then the island itself began to shake. "This world has been connected." Ansem's voice rang out. "What was that?" Goofy asked. "Tied to the darkness…Soon to be completely eclipsed." "Come out! Show yourself!" Kirito demanded. "There is so very much to learn. You understand so little." "We'll beat you Ansem. No matter what!" Asuna said. "A meaningless effort. One who knows nothing can understand nothing." Ansem said. The island was now suspended in the air. Chunks of rock and sand pulled out from the sea bed were removed and floating along the island edge. Reality itself seemed to have been twisted and pulled apart as the heartless world and the island began to merge. And on the island's outer edge stood Riku in his dark form. "Take a look at this tiny place. To the heart seeking freedom this island is a prison surrounded by water." However when 'Riku' spoke it was Ansem's voice coming out of his mouth. Then 'Riku' raised his hands in the air. "And so this boy sought out to escape from his prison. He sought a way to cross over into other worlds. And he opened his heart to darkness." Ansem said. As 'Riku' turned around a dark Aura enveloped his body and Ansem's body took his place. "Riku!" Sora cried out. "Don't Bother. Your voice can no longer reach him where he is. His heart belongs again to darkness. All worlds begin in darkness, and all so end. The heart is no different. Darkness sprouts within it, it grows, consumes it. Such is its nature. In the end, every heart returns to the darkness whence it came." Ansem said while teleporting behind us. "You see, Darkness is the heart's true essence." Ansem said. "That's not true! The heart may be weak. And sometimes, it may even give in. But I've learned that deep down, there's a light that never goes out!" Sora said. Ansem then levitated himself higher in the air. "So, you have come this far and still you understand nothing. Every light must fade, every heart return to darkness!" Ansem exclaimed. Then a heartless appeared behind Ansem as if he had called it. The heartless floating behind Ansem had was Humanoid with big muscular arms and pectorals. The heartless' head and chest were covered in bandages in an X shaped pattern, it had two large antennae on its head similar to the neo shadows, and its tail was ironically, connected to Ansem's shadow. There was also a large heart shaped hole in its chest. The fight started with Ansem laughing as his heartless threw energy discs of energy at us. Having seen a similar attack from Riku everyone knew to dodge this attack. The discs continued their arc until they buried themselves in the sand leaving deep gashes in the earth. Ansem and his heartless were levitating throughout the entire battle only engaging one of us at a time. With Ansem's heartless at his back, attacks from behind were nearly impossible to pull off. At one point Strea had leapt into the air and swung her great sword at Ansem. Normally an attack like that would be difficult if not impossible to stop considering the blade's mass and the rate at which she was falling. However, Ansem called his heartless which he had dubbed guardian to protect him from the red-eyed girl. The guardian demonstrated its incredible strength by grasping the blade with one hand and tossing it and Strea towards the empty store house causing the door to break when she collided with it. "Strea!" Kirito called out. "I'm okay… but I'm kind of seeing stars right now." Strea said. Donald then cast a curaga spell on Strea to heal her. "Better?" Donald asked. "Thank you." Strea said while walking out of the building. "How are we supposed to beat that thing?" Asuna asked. "We may not have to. Remember how Ansem reacted to Strea's attack?" Kirito said. "What are you getting at?" Goofy asked. "The guardian went to Defend Ansem from the front and left his back exposed. So all we have to do, is attack Ansem while keeping it occupied." Kirito said. "Alright. Sora, Donald, Goofy, And Yuuki, you're team A. Keep Ansem busy while the rest of us on team B attack him while he's open. We'll switch roles when the guardian switches places. Got it?" Asuna ordered. "Yes!" everyone said. With their strategy in place, our heroes set out to defeat Ansem. Team A was attacking Ansem from the front while team B provided support as needed. When Ansem called his guardian to protect his front, Team B attacked from behind. Only to have Ansem fly away from them. "Did you think I would fall for such a pitiful strategy like a common beast? Allow me to show you the gravity of your mistake!" Ansem said. He then flew before Kirito. "Submit!" Ansem ordered. The guardian Struck, condensed itself into a baseball sized dark sphere and entered Kirito's chest. "What'd you do?!" Kirito demanded. "Come, open your heart." Ansem responded. Ansem then engulfed himself in a cage like sphere of dark energy that sparked and crackled like electricity while slowly floating closer to his opponents. The guardian sprouted from Kirito's shadow, grabbing the swordsman's arms in its vice like grip and held him in place while its dark master floated closer to his intended victim. The cage grinded against Kirito sending volts of energy coursing through his body making it feel as if his body was on fire. The black swordsman gritted his teeth to keep himself from screaming in pain. "This process will become easier if you submit to my will. Just like Riku did." Ansem said. "You don't get it at all do you? You and Maleficent might have steered him wrong, but everything he did was to protect his friends. That means that there is a part of his heart that you can't touch. As long as that light burns in his heart and ours, you will never win!" Kirito said. Suddenly gashes sprouted from the guardian's arms as though they had been cut. Light spilled out from the wounds and the guardian cried out in pain, releasing its prisoner, much to Ansem's surprise. "Impossible! No one has ever harmed my guardian! What manner of trickery is this?" Ansem ranted. 'I guess Ansem doesn't know that I've got my own "guardian". Thanks Eraqus, you really saved my skin.' Kirito thought. 'That's Master Eraqus to you. Now, I've weakened his guardian for you. Finish him before he recovers!' Eraqus commanded. "You don't have to tell me twice." Kirito said. He then pointed his Keyblade at Ansem. Light gathered at the blade's tip and a beam of blue light shot towards his foe. The beam pierced Ansem's chest causing him to be sent flying towards one of the island's large trees. His body disappeared and for a moment our heroes believed they had won. However the ground began to shake and the tree split itself in two. Revealing an area similar to the terrain of the heartless world. And right in the middle of it was Ansem. After using items to restore their strength, Sora, Kirito, and Asuna ran to engage Ansem in battle once more. However after the three of them crossed the threshold of the heartless space, a barrier formed and prevented the rest of their party from joining the fight. Ansem opened a dark portal in the ground and sunk into its murky depths. Then the portal expanded and an enormous heartless emerged from it. The heartless was roughly two stories tall, humanoid, and had large muscles. Similar to Ansem's guardian, it had a large heart shaped hole in its chest. It had bright yellow eyes, a small pair of wings on its back, and its face was covered by its long hair like tendrils. "I recognize that heartless. It was there on the night my island disappeared. It made this big dark sphere that swallowed everything up." Sora said. "Big dark sphere… Kirito this is-" Asuna said before being cutoff. "The Heartless that can destroy worlds. Ansem just made this fight even more personal." Kirito said. The Dark side heartless gathered energy in its fist and then sent it crashing to the ground. The resulting shockwave was followed up by a portal opening at the point of impact. The portal sprouted multiple shadow heartless to attack us. Kirito and Asuna dealt with the minions while Sora jumped on the giant's arm and ran up its length to attack its head. Sora must've already known that the head was a weak point if he was attempting to attack it. The giant heartless then stood back up, causing Sora to lose his balance and fall off of it. The heartless then knelt on the ground and plunged its arm into the ground again its head was low to the ground as though it was searching for something. Of course we attacked its head again while it was open to attack. The heartless then rose and pulled out a large dark sphere from the ground. It's offhand grasped the arm holding the dark sphere the heartless was concentrating to control the dark energy. It then sent the orb flying into the air and then it burst and released a rain of smaller dark spheres. The three of us cast the aeroga spell to mitigate any damage we received from the orbs in the event that we weren't able to dodge it. The heartless then concentrated more dark energy in the hole in its chest. The heartless crossed its arms over the hole to contain the energy, then it knelt to the ground. The energy reached its apex and the heartless unfurled its arms, releasing even more dark energy projectiles to attack us. The dark side heartless repeated this process of spawning shadow heartless and gathering energy to rain down on us until we defeated it. After the dark side heartless vanished, a dark portal opened and Ansem emerged along with his guardian heartless, completely restored. "Take this!" Ansem exclaimed. His guardian floated in front of him, created an energy shield, and the two of them charged at us at blinding speed. They hit the three of us like a truck and ricocheted off of the arena walls to attack again. Fortunately Sora held out his keyblade to guard against the attack and stopped it in its tracks. The guardian then gathered energy in its hands and swung, unleashing two energy waves that traveled straight at us along the ground. Since the attack was fired at close range it proved difficult to avoid. Then Ansem Used attacks from our previous encounter such as having the guardian swipe at us with its fists and possessing our shadows to restrain us. However Ansem avoided using the possession technique on Kirito in order to avoid repeating whatever had caused harm to his guardian previously. We figured out that the cage magic he used to simultaneously attack us and defend himself only lasted for so long. And without his guardian to fight for him, Ansem was an easy target. We by figuring out the intervals between the possession technique and the cage attack, we were able to safely attack Ansem and defend whoever was possessed at the same time. However, Ansem had one more attack up his sleeve. He moved to the center of the arena and his guardian flew into the ground. The guardian heartless then flew out of the ground unleashing a shockwave as it launched beneath our feet like a rocket. The guardian managed to grab Sora by his arms and took off with him. Then it came crashing down to the ground with Sora in tow. When they made contact, Sora hit the ground hard while the guardian went underground to continue its assault. Eventually the guardian returned to its master and released shockwaves of dark energy in all directions Asuna cast the curaga spell to heal Sora and get him back on his feet. The fight continued on in this manner until Ansem used his guardian's ultimate attack again. But this time our heroes were ready. Sora, Kirito, and Asuna surrounded Ansem in a triangular formation. Each of their swords raised while a golden light appeared in a magic circle beneath them. The guardian tried to attack Sora, but the seal of the circle kept it imprisoned. "What is this magic?" Ansem asked. "It's over Ansem." Kirito said. "This all powerful magic spell will be the last thing you see." Asuna said. "With our powers combined, we will light the darkness." Sora said. "TRINITY!" They said simultaneously. The light from the magic intensified and Ansem and his guardian were bombarded by the trinity's holy light.
  11. Chapter 46 The end of the world "Remind me why we are going into a black hole of all places?" Donald asked. "It's a near perfect hiding spot." Kirito said. "It's a near perfect hiding spot. A normal ship wouldn't be able to withstand the intense gravity. It's also packed with dark energy. A perfect place to build an army of heartless. Or for Ansem to power himself up." Kirito said. "And if that's where all the heartless are coming from, then it's likely that all the hearts of the worlds they took are there as well." Sora said. "Even more of a reason for Ansem to be there." Asuna said. When the gummi ships entered the vortex, everything went pitch black. All they could see was an eerie purple light up ahead. As they flew closer and closer to it, they saw that the light was coming from what appeared to be a world of sorts. A large pink and purple mass was sprouting from what looked like a miniature galaxy. And if you looked above it, you could see thin blue streams carrying hearts into it. Our Heroes teleported down to a cave in the strange world. When they exited it, they saw that it was actually a small island in a large purple lake. Fortunately they were able to walk on this water just like in hollow bastion. The lake itself was filled with dozens of rocks and on the other side was a portal. "Gawrsh, is that all that's left of the worlds taken by the heartless?" Goofy asked. "Those worlds will be restored if we beat Ansem right?" Sora said. "You betcha." Donald replied. "But, if we do beat him, and all of these worlds become restored and disconnected, what's gonna happen to this place? And to us?" Sora asked. "Well, Uh…" Donald tried to answer. "This is a heartless world. So maybe it'll just disappear." Goofy hypothesized. "You're probably right." Kirito concurred. "But, no worries. Even if this place goes poof, our hearts ain't goin' nowhere. I'm sure we'll find our pals again. Yup, I just know that we will." Goofy said cheerfully. "Yeah, you're right." Sora said while looking at Kairi's good luck charm. 'I'll return this. I promise.' Sora silently vowed. "Yui, you have to take the ship back to hollow bastion. And don't try to come back for us." Kirito said. "I know. I'll be safer there right? And when you beat Ansem, this world will probably disappear, and I won't be able to find you again. I know that's the most logical thing to do, But I wish that I could be of more use to you." As Yui spoke, her eyes began to water as they filled with tears. "As I am now, all I can do is pilot the ship. If I could help you in battle like Strea, then I wouldn't have to say good bye to you." Yui said. Then the little girl began crying at her own helplessness. Seeing their daughter in tears, Kirito and Asuna embrace her in a group hug and wait until her tears stop. "Please don't cry Yui. I Promise, I'll do everything I can to make sure you see your mom and dad again." Sora said. "Do you mean that Sora?" Yui asked. "Cross my heart." Sora replied. Sora's promise was enough to cheer up the young girl and she smiled, knowing that Sora would do everything he could to keep it. "Okay. I had best get going then." Yui said. And so Yui remotely activated the ship's teleporter to beam her up. The young raven haired girl gave one last look at the heartless world before she departed for Hollow bastion. When we entered the portal we came across a large chasm filled with crystals and other strange rocks. While we traversed that we found another portal directly below one of the ledges. So we jumped from the ledge and like one would jump from a diving board into a pool of water. This portal took us to a world nexus of sorts. There were large towers equal to the number of worlds we had visited. Each tower held a specific area from that world filled with heartless that we defeated to advance. However when we got to the tower that housed Hollow bastion, the area was one we hadn't found before. There was a hallway and a door to the left. The room the door led too housed a large machine and a terminal to access it. Kirito accessed the terminal and read aloud what the database provided. "Ones born of the heart and darkness, devoid of hearts, ravage all worlds and bring desolation. Seize all human hearts and consummate the great heart. All hearts to be one, one heart to encompass all. Realize the destiny: The realm of Kingdom Hearts. The great darkness sealed within the great heart. Progeny of darkness, come back to the eternal darkness. For the heart of light shall unseal the path. Seven hearts, one keyhole, one key to the door. The door of darkness, tied by two keys. The door of darkness to seal the light. None shall pass but shadows, returning to the darkness. Ones born of the heart and darkness, Hunger for every heart until the dark door opens." Kirito said. "Guys, I think this is Ansem's computer." Kirito said. "And he laid out his entire plan on it. But, why would he leave it for us to find?" Asuna asked. However as soon as she finished speaking, the doors closed and heartless appeared in the room. "I hate these kinds of traps!" Kirito said. Thankfully the heartless they encountered were ones they had fought before back in the hades cup. And with the curaga spell at our disposal, we were able to survive the ambush. The door unlocked and seeing no other way, we went back through the portal that brought us here. When we returned to the tower, the portal collapsed and in its place was a hole in the floor. The hole took us to a large open area with a mountain below us. Fortunately, in this space we could fly like we were in Neverland, so we didn't fall to our deaths on the mountain side. As we descended the "mountain" began to move and we found out that it was actually a gigantic horned demon with razor sharp teeth, pitch black skin, glowing yellow eyes, and a wing span that was longer than a soccer stadium! The demon was standing in a fiery pit, no doubt drawing power from its hellish depths. The demon roared as its arms and wings stretched out. "What the hell?!" Asuna said. "I think that's exactly what it is. A monster from the pits of Hell." Yuuki said. The fight started with the demon calling dozens of souls to chase and attack us. Much like our battle with Ursula, our only point of attack was the head. However the demon's fiery Breath attack along with its ability to manipulate the wind to push us back with a powerful gust kept us at bay. And when it got really mad, it could call upon the fire from the pit to envelope the entire mountain in a column of hellfire. The heat of the demon's fire was quickly overwhelming our heroes, however Yuuki didn't seem phased. In fact she appeared to be growing stronger as the fight went on. Her dark form was providing her with even more strength and speed than it had done before. The demon ignited its hands managed to close both of its hands around her in thunderous clap hoping to squash her like an insect. The demon smirked believing its prey had been killed. "YUUKI!" Kirito exclaimed. However the demon felt resistance with in its fiery grasp. It strained its enormous muscles trying to contain the purple haired girl, but its grasp broke with a single burst of power. Yuuki's dark form had dissolved, however she was now sporting a pair of black wings on her back and her usually white dress was now pitch black. "Okay, now I'm mad." Yuuki said. The demon roared in frustration and sent more spirits to attack, but this time they were solely focused on Yuuki. The wings on her back provided an extra boost in maneuverability and she was able to dodge them easily. The demon used its breath attack to engulf her in flames, but to its surprise, the girl flew though the flames and harnessed them around her body as she flew faster and faster towards it. "Have a taste of your own medicine! Hell fire charge!" Yuuki shouted. As the name implied, the attack involved Yuuki ramming her flame covered body straight at the demon, piercing its chest. The demon cried out in agony as it was incinerated in its own fire. The demon and its fiery pit vanished before us and we stared in awe of what Yuuki had done. But the moment was short lived when the wings on her back disappeared and she began falling toward the mountain. Fortunately Asuna was able catch the purple haired girl before it was too late. "Yuuki! Yuuki! Are you alright?" Asuna asked. "I'm exhausted. I never had to use that much power before. I'll be okay, but I don't think I can do what I just did again anytime soon." Yuuki said. "Thank goodness. But maybe you should lay off the dark form for a while. We don't know how using the darkness might affect you in this world." Asuna suggested. "Okay. Even though I really like the new wings, I don't want to bite off more than I can chew." Yuuki said. Thanks to Yuuki's power play, we were able to descend into the mountain crater. We found yet another portal that took us deeper into the mountain's depths. The portal took us to a series of cave like chambers filled with thorns and architecture from worlds that they didn't recognize. They were likely the remains of worlds that the heartless had taken. The last portal took us to a large cave with a glowing green floor and a heartless crest towards the back. Inky black pools of darkness appeared on the floor and the heartless crawled out of it. These heartless were similar to the shadow heartless in that their color was purely black and they had bright yellow eyes. But these shadows were humanoid and had long antennae on their heads that drooped down their backs like long hair. This new breed of shadow heartless were faster and stronger than their imp like predecessors. They had similar abilities and attack patterns, but the neo shadows had possessed a spin attack that allowed them to hurl their bodies horizontally through the air like a discus. Their claws were sharp enough to cleave through stone so we made sure to avoid the attack at all costs. As we defeated each heartless, a piece of the heartless crest at the back of the cave would crack and fall off. When we defeated the last one, the crest had completely vanished and in its place was a door made of light. When our heroes entered the portal they found themselves in a small chamber with an ornate pink door in the back. When Sora approached said door he heard a voice "Careful, this is the last haven you'll find here. Beyond, there is no light to protect you. But don't be afraid. Your heart is the mightiest weapon of all. Remember, you are the one who will open the door to the light." the voice said.
  12. Chapter 45 A brief respite Our heroes had returned to Traverse Towne. Asuna and Yui had opted to go and get ingredients for tonight's dinner while Donald and Goofy went to restock or supply of potions, ethers, and elixirs. So the rest of us went to the accessory shop to catch up with Agil and the girls. "Well, if it isn't Kirito." Agil said. "Hey Agil. Still ripping people off with your high prices?" Kirito asked. "Hmph. I'll have you know my goods are reasonably priced." Agil retorted. "And what about you? Ya found a way to get us home yet?" Agil asked. "We're very close Agil." Kirito said. "Yup. As soon as we take Ansem down, everyone will be returned to their home worlds." Yuuki said. "Not me though. I can't go home until I find Riku and the king." Sora said. "Sounds tough. Of course, everything worth doing is that way. Just keep doing what you're doing. You'll find them." Agil said. "Thanks Agil." Sora said. "Agil. Is someone here?" Lisbeth called from the second floor. "Yup. It's you know who." Agil said. "Kazuto!" Suguha exclaimed. The door on the ceiling opened and then she descended the ladder. When she reached the bottom, she ran up to Kirito and hugged him. "Come on, Sis. I wasn't even that long." Kirito said. "You're off gallivanting and fighting monsters for a week and I'm not allowed to worry? Sorry big brother, but you owe me this." Suguha said. "Would it help if I told you I brought a present?" Kirito said. "A present?" Suguha asked. Kirito then dug out the necklace he had received from Philia back in Agrabah. "Oh, Kazuto. You shouldn't have." Suguha said. "I didn't. This is from Philia. I'm just the delivery man." Kirito said. "Well, remind me to thank her." Suguha said while placing the necklace around her neck. "This really is a beautiful necklace. I guess I can let you off the hook. For now." Suguha said. Agil closed the shop early so that we could use the store to host our dinner party. We all waited for hours while Asuna, Suguha, Lisbeth, and Silica were preparing what was bound to be a mouthwatering feast on the second floor. When the girls told us it was ready, we literally could not wait any longer. The girls had really gone out with their cooking this time. Silica had cooked up the bean buns that her food stand in sword art origin was famous for. Suguha had whipped up her brother's favorite spicy curry and rice. Lisbeth brought out a roasted ham. And Asuna baked a red velvet cake with cream icing and sprinkled with cinnamon. "Thanks for the food!" everyone said. Of course while we ate we recounted all of our adventures thus far to catch everyone up. The girls were pleased to hear that they would soon be returning home soon. And they were surprised that Kirito had recently come to possess a keyblade of his own. "Well what do you know? Now we got two chosen one heroes. That Ansem guy doesn't stand a chance." Agil boasted. "I wouldn't get my hopes up just yet. The fact that Ansem masterminded everything up to this point, must mean he has a plan for dealing with us. He just might be the most difficult opponent we've faced." Kirito said. "Well, I know one thing. And that's no matter what Ansem has lying in store for us, He's going down." Sora said. "HAHA! Now you're talking." Agil said. He then grabbed his cup and held it in the air. Knowing a toast was coming everyone held their drinks aloft as well. "A toast. To our brave heroes. And all that they've accomplished. Cheers!" Agil said. "Cheers!" we all said. Eventually, our heroes once again headed to the inn for some much needed bed rest. Sora, Donald, and Goofy were snoring away in the green room while Kirito and Asuna were once again in the red room. Yuuki and Strea were in the blue room. Asuna had finished tucking Yui and went to join Kirito out on the balcony. "Looking up at the stars again?" Asuna teased. "Yeah. All of the stars up there are different worlds. I never imagined that traveling to those worlds was possible in my life time, but here we are. In a world not so different from ours." Kirito said. "But, once we defeat Ansem, the walls will be restored. And we'll have to say good bye to everyone. Aerith, Leon, Merlin, even Sora, Donald, and Goofy." Asuna said. "You heard what Aerith said, our hearts will reunite us again someday." Kirito said. "Funny, I thought you would've quoted Leon." Asuna said. "I didn't because he's wrong. We will meet again someday." Kirito said. "How can you be so sure?" Asuna asked. "Call it blind faith if you want, but something tells me, that Sora will make it happen somehow." Kirito said. "Heehee. You're right. There's just something about him that makes you want to believe. You're similar to him in that regard." Asuna said. Kirito looked at Asuna, puzzled as to her meaning. "Kirito. You have this knack for bringing out the best version of a person. You're like a beacon of light, inspiring everyone around you." Asuna said. "Asuna…" Kirito said. He then wrapped his arms around her waist and pulled her in for a kiss. One that Asuna happily reciprocated. When Kirito broke off the kiss, he stared into her eyes. "I think I've put this off long enough." He said. He then dug around in his coat pocket and pulled out a silver band. Asuna gasped at the sight of it and placed her hands over her mouth. "Asuna, when we get back to our world, I don't just want to go back with my girlfriend. I want to go back with my wife. So, let's get married." Kirito said. "Oh, Kazuto. *sniff* Yes. Of course I'll marry you." She said with tears of joy in her eyes. Kirito then placed the ring around her ring finger and dug out another ring for asuna to do the same with him. "It's perfect. Where did you find these?" Asuna asked. "The cave of wonders. While I was looking around, I saw that out of all the treasures in that room, these were the only rings made of silver. So I thought they were special." Kirito said. "You're too good to me." Asuna said. "Come on, let's go to bed. We have a lot to do tomorrow. Husband of mine." Asuna said. The next morning our heroes departed from Traverse Towne towards their final destination. If they failed to stop Ansem, it would be the end of the world as they knew it.
  13. Chapter 44 the mysterious stranger Our heroes walked back to the castle chapel and saw that the dark portal Maleficent had created during their first battle had reappeared. "Shouldn't that have disappeared now that Maleficent is gone?" Yuuki asked. "Not if there was someone else sustaining it." Donald said. "I can feel it. Whoever, or whatever is behind that portal is very powerful. They might even be as strong as Ansem." Kirito said. "Well whoever it is, I'm sure that all of together can take him down." Sora said. When our heroes entered the portal to the atrium, we saw nothing was there. Even the tattered remains of Maleficent's robes were nowhere to be found. The group split up to search the Atrium to search for anything that might have caused the portal to reappear. But unbeknownst to them, a mysterious stranger in a black coat walked in after them. Sora felt something off and slowly turned around and saw the black cloaked person walk through him as though he were only air. When he did this Sora felt a rush of memories run through his head and he fell backward. The stranger the others turned when they heard Sora fall and immediately gathered around him. "Who are you?" Sora asked. "Ah, it seems you're special, too." The stranger said. "Ansem?" Goofy asked. "That name rings familiar." The stranger then conjured a sphere of electricity in his hand. "You remind me of him." He said. "What's that supposed to mean?" Sora asked. Then the man fired electrical blast at Sora. Fortunately Sora drew his keyblade and blocked the attack before it caused any serious harm. Then Sora batted away the ball of energy. Causing it to crash into the sealing. Dust and debris fell to the ground from the impact and the stranger said "It means you are not whole. You are incomplete. Allow me to test your strength." The stranger said. The stranger shot more electrical blasts at us. The spheres detonated when they reached their intended targets and electrocuted both Asuna and Donald in the process. "Asuna!" Yuuki shouted. "*cough* I'm fine. Just give us a sec to heal." She said. "You're gonna pay for that!" Kirito said angrily. The black swordsman went to attack the hooded man, but he raised out his hand and created a rectangular barrier. The moment Kirito touched it he felt volts of energy surging through his body. The man then produced a bright red energy blade similar to the photon swords he had seen in Gun gale online. However the blade came from there didn't appear to be a hilt for the blade in his hand. Rather the energy blade looked as though it had sprouted from the palm of his hand. The man then swung the blade at Kirito and sent him flying. The man then conjured a ring of energy spheres around him and those spheres turned into laser bolts that were fired at us. Yuuki tried slashing at him, but the man enveloped himself in a dark sphere and moved away from her. The sphere moved towards Sora and the stranger reemerged from it. Then he began to electrocute Sora with his lightning. The energy raised Sora's body into the air then Sora suddenly dropped. The man's attack had stopped, but the energy was still lingering in Sora and causing him a great deal of damage. Fortunately, Sora was able to expel it from his body before it did him in. Having recovered from their prior injuries, Asuna, Kirito, and Donald rejoined the fray. Donald cast a curaga spell on Sora to bring him back to full health while Kirito attacked the stranger "So you're one of the keyblade's chosen as well. Interesting." He said. The Stranger was a very difficult opponent. He was able to switch from offense to evasion seamlessly. His movements were like a dance without any wasted movement. And his reaction time was equal to if not greater than Kirito's own. If someone like him was in SAO, then he would've been the one to obtain the dual wielding skill. As if the man were reading his thoughts, he produced another red blade from his off hand. Then his attacks became more aggressive. Between his ferocity and impregnable barriers, it was like we were fighting Kirito and Heathcliff in the form of one opponent. We were able to work around the barrier by having someone behind him to attack whenever he put it up, but he was still a fearsome opponent. At one point we all tried rushing him at once, but then he produced a large sphere of energy around his body that shot energy beams at us. The attack caused severe damage to anyone it hit. The beams were random and most of them missed, however no one was able to even touch the stranger while the attack was active. When the sphere vanished, the man knelt on his knee. The attack must have been a last resort to finish all of his foes at once. Seizing the opportunity, Sora and Kirito dealt a swift powerful strike to the man's vital areas. After the twofold strike, His body began to fade. The man clutched at his chest as blue energy began pouring out of him. But suddenly the man waved his hand and the energy vanished. By all appearances it looked as though he had completely recovered. Or was that we had failed to cause any kind of damage? "Impressive. This will be enjoyable." He said. "What are you talking about?" Sora said. The young boy then ran towards the stranger and leaped into the air for one final attack. However, the man vanished and reappeared behind Sora after he landed. Whether it was his speed or teleportation, nobody could tell. "It is beyond your comprehension, for now. Until we meet again." He said. "Wait, what are, you-" Sora was about to ask what he meant, but the stranger's body began to fade away again. And he left us with these final words. "I am but a mere shell." When the Eight of us exited the portal and returned to the chapel, it vanished. Meaning that it was in fact, linked to the mysterious stranger. We were about to return to the castle library to check on Yui, But the little girl had come to meet us in the chapel instead. The girl was carrying thirteen pages clutched to her chest and panting heavily. The girl had no doubt ran as fast as her legs could carry her to meet us. "Yui. What are you doing here? Did something happen?" Asuna asked. "Th-there was… a man in the library. In a black coat." "WHAT?!" Kirito exclaimed. He then knelt down too her level and grabbed her arms. He was checking to see if the she might have been hurt. "Did you see him too?" Yui asked. "We didn't just see him. We fought him. He was ridiculously strong!" Yuuki said. "Mhmm. He had lightning and barriers and lasers. So many lasers! I thought I was in gun gale again, but I didn't have my mini gun or my rocket launcher! "Strea said. "Did he say anything to Yui?" Sora said. "No. but he left this behind." Yui said showing them the pages she had brought with her. "It's Ansem's report. He documented all of his studies and experiments on hearts and the heartless. Apparently he was even able to create them artificially. And that's not all, he also deduced that the gummi blocks were made from the walls that separated the worlds. And he even sent a girl from this world to find a keyblade wielder." Yui said. "That girl was probably Kairi." Sora said. "Wait, I thought you and Kairi were from the same world?" Asuna said. Sora shook his head negatively. "She just washed up on the beach one day. On the night of a meteor shower. Plus she kinda told me while we were alone together." Sora said awkwardly while poking his fingers together and blushing. "Idiot! That was a very important detail!" Asuna said. "There's more. The portal device that you mentioned before, it's a door to this world's heart. Ansem's plan was to discard his body so that he could enter that door." Yui said. "Maybe that's why he took Riku. So he could have another body to use once he got through." Kirito said. Sora tightened his hand into a fist. Angry that his friend had been used in such a way. "Sora, I know where your head is right now, but we can't go rushing in halfcocked. We need to rest and prepare for the battle ahead." Kirito said. "We're running low on healing items. We should head back to Traverse Towne and resupply. And while we're there, I can throw that dinner I promised." As though it had a mind of its own, Sora's stomach growled at the mention of food. "Okay. We'll eat and restock in Traverse Towne, but then we have to go find Riku and the king. No more side stops." Sora said. "Right." Everyone else said. "Does the report say anything else?" Kirito asked. "There is one more page, but I don't really understand it. It says that when a person loses their heart and their body disappears, that it's possible to exist in two places at once. The "self" of the original exists in another place, while the body exists in a different place. But because the "self" exists, then the other entity can't truly exist. It doesn't belong anywhere. It's simply a shell of its former self. A Nobody." Yui said. Meanwhile, in a place far from where our heroes were, the mysterious stranger was sitting on a rock at what appeared to be a beach. The light of the moon shining down on the dark shore providing the only source of light. Then a portal appeared. And another person in a black coat walked out of it. The new arrival approached the stranger hoping to speak with him. Fortunately the stranger spoke first. "I've been to see him. He looks a lot like you." He said. "Who are you?" the boy asked. "I'm what's left. Or, maybe I'm all there ever was." He said. "I meant your name." the boy asked. "My name is of no importance. What about you? Do you remember your true name?" the stranger asked. "My true name is…"
  14. Chapter 43 the final keyhole "How're things looking up ahead Yui?" Kirito asked. "Pretty good dad. The nav gummi we got in Traverse Towne is providing us with a very safe route. We should be reaching our destination any minute now." Yui said. "Good job Yui. When we get back, I'll be sure to cook up something extra sweet for you." Asuna said. "Yay!" Yui cheered. "I want something sweet to!" Strea said over the comm. "Me to, me to!" Donald said. "Alright, alright, I'll make something for everyone." Asuna said. "Really?" Sora asked. "Of course. After everything we've been through, I think it's only Right that we have a nice dinner party when we get back to Traverse Towne." Asuna said. "You heard the lady. The sooner we get this done, the sooner we get yummy food in our bellies!" Yuuki said. "Full speed ahead." Kirito said. "Aye, aye captain." Yui said. Meanwhile, Riku wandering in a place shrouded in darkness. The silver haired boy was filled with regret about his previous wrongdoings. For a moment he thought he was dead. Trapped in an afterlife and meant to be punished for eternity. "I'm not ready. Not until I see Sora and Kairi again." Riku said to himself. That's what he thought, until a voice called out to him. "Riku? Can you hear me? I'll be there soon." The voice spoke calmly. "Who is that?" Riku asked while turning around. "I have the other keyblade. The one that belongs to this world. I've been trying to get through to you, but the darkness in your heart kept me away." The voice said. "Who are you? What's happened to me?" Riku asked again. "Your heart won the battle against darkness, but it was too late for your body. That's why you're here. In this place of darkness where hearts are gathered." The voice said. "So what do I do?" Riku asked. "The door of darkness will open soon, but it's a door we can't enter. It has to be closed from both sides. To do this, you need two keys and two hearts. Maybe you're here for the same reason I am. Maybe it was fate." The voice said. "Fate huh? You seem to know everything, don't you?" Riku sarcastically remarked. "Then, tell me. Are Sora and Kairi okay?" Riku asked. "Don't you feel the echoes of their hearts? You already know the answer. Look inside your own heart." The voice said. The voice was right. Deep down Riku, could feel that Sora was still off gallivanting to save the world. Which meant that Kairi had to be okay to. "Okay." Riku said. And so, Riku followed the mysterious voices guidance as it lead him through the realm of darkness. As soon as we arrived at hollow bastion, we saw that the beast was standing near the inverted waterfalls where we first met. However there was no trace of belle or any of the other princesses. When we asked where they were, the beast said that they were still in the castle. "I wonder why? Donald asked. "Let's go ask them." Sora said. "You may need my strength. I'll go with you." The beast said. Upon the beast's suggestion, we headed to the castle library. According to the beast, Belle was an avid bookworm. If there was one place she would definitely be, it was there. Sora immediately recognized it as the library he had seen Kairi and her grandmother in his vision. The library was two stories tall and the bookshelves were equally as high. And as the beast had predicted, belle was on the second floor perusing the shelves. Much to the beast's relief, she appeared to be well. As the two of them slowly approached one another, the beast grasped Belle's small delicate, hand in his own large, beastly palm. Then belle rested her head against the beast's chest, relieved to see her beloved again. The scene our heroes bore witness to, was heart meltingly sweet and even left some of them a little teary eyed. After the brief reunion, Belle told us that the reason she and the other princesses stayed behind was so that they could keep the darkness that was raging in the keyhole in check. Then she pressed a large red button on the wall, revealing a secret passage behind the book case. "This will take you to the chapel where the other princesses are. Please, be careful." Belle said. "Got it." Sora said. "Hm. If the princesses are there, then the heartless shouldn't be there. You could come with us if you want Yui, but I'd feel better if you stayed here in the library." Asuna said. That's okay. I wanted to stay here anyway. I know I'm not much use in a fight, but I figured that maybe I could find some useful information here. This is the library of our enemy's base of operations after all." Yui said. The little girl's words caused belle to giggle. "A girl after my own heart. I'll help you look. The two of us are bound to find something." Belle said. "Thank you princess." Yui said. "Please, call me Belle." Belle said. While our heroes were away, Belle and Yui were scouring the library for any bit of information on the heartless and the worlds they could find. But unbeknownst to them, there was someone else in the library with them. A man, dressed in a black coat whose face was shrouded by its hood. The coat went down to his ankles and was closed by a long zipper. The tab was zipped down to his waist. "Interesting." He said. The mysterious stranger approached the young girl, however she was unable to see or even hear him. The man walked through Yui as though she were only air and in that moment, he harvested some rather intriguing data. "Very interesting." He said. The man was about to leave, but a thought occurred to him. The girl had helped him, all be it unintentionally. It was only fair he aided her in turn. So the stranger walked towards the bookshelf, and pulled out the "book" that she had no doubt been seeking. Then he made himself visible. When Yui turned around, she saw the mysterious stranger for the briefest of moments before he vanished in a dark portal, leaving behind several pages scattered on the gound. The young girl went to pick them up and saw the manuscript was titled "Ansem's report." When Sora and company arrived at the chapel, they found the other five princesses waiting for them. The group recognized Alice and Jasmine, but did not know the other three. "Hello, I'm Snow White." The ebony haired girl introduced. "How do you do? I'm Cinderella." The blonde haired girl in the white ball gown greeted. "So you're Cinderella. We've heard of you from the fairy god mother." Kirito said. "You know my fairy god mother? Where is she? Is she alright?" Cinderella asked. "She's fine. She was actually more worried about you. This place is so close to the darkness that it was probably keeping her away." Kirito said. Cinderella sighed in relief knowing that the person who had made her dreams come true was okay. "I'm Aurora." The girl in the blue dress said. "Thank you for coming so far to help us Sora. Coming from the same world as her, I know Maleficent was very difficult to deal with. But you must hurry. We can't keep the darkness at bay much longer. You must seal the keyhole." Aurora said. "We're on it." Sora said. Our heroes made their way to the dark machine where Sora and the possessed Riku fought. They went through the portal that the machine had created, and entered a void of sorts. The void was split in to colors of red, blue, and green. At the void's edge was the keyhole placed on a flaming heartless emblem. And from it, emerged a behemoth of a heartless. The behemoth was roughly the size of a two story house. It had two tusks curving upward like bull horns and a single conical black horn on its head. The ground shook as its cloven feet hit the ground. The behemoth roared and leaped to close the distance between us and it. When the fight started, everyone surrounded the behemoth and attacked it from all sides. Then Kirito climbed on the behemoth's back to see if he could find a weak point up there. As he climbed, he began to worry that this behemoth that this heartless had no exploitable weaknesses. When he reached the behemoth's head he noticed that dark energy was pouring out of the monster's head. "Well, might as go for broke and see what happens." The black swordsman began attacking the horn. With each strike, the energy around it dissipated. His attacks bore fruit when the behemoth collapsed, temporarily stunned. "The horn is its weak spot. It'll take some time, but we can beat this thing." Kirito said. The behemoth didn't stay down for long though. And when it got back up, it roared and called down purple lightning in large amounts to attack us. The dark energy reappeared around its horn and we repeated the process. However this time the behemoth was charging energy in a dark orb at the horn's apex. And none of our attacks were able to delay or prevent it from charging. When it finished, the behemoth sent it into the air and a barrage of dark orbs scattered through the air and attacked everything in sight. The orbs did a number on anyone that they hit. So we set up a system where half of us would attack while the other half would heal with magic. When the attackers took to many hits, one of the healers would heal them, and then they would switch tasks so that the former attacker could recharge his or her mana with an ether. With this strategy we were eventually able to vanquish the heartless behemoth. "A-hyuck, now let's go and seal that big keyhole!" Goofy said. "Sora, Kirito, you guys did it." Leon said from the other side of the portal. "Leon? What's he doing here?" Strea said. "Wanna find out?" Donald said. When we left the void where the keyhole was, we saw that Leon was here along with Yuffie and Aerith. "What are you guys doing here?" Sora asked. "We came on Cid's ship." Yuffie said. "This is our childhood home. We wanted to see it again." Aerith said. "It's in worse shape than I feared. It used to be so peaceful…" Leon said. "Don't worry. When you defeat Ansem, all should be restored. Including your home worlds." Aerith said. "Really?" Sora asked. To which Aerith nodded. "That's great. We'll finally be able to go home. And with Yui and Strea to. Everyone will be so surprised." Asuna said. "But it also means good-bye…"Yuffie said. "Once the worlds are restored, they'll become separate again." Aerith said. "Everyone will go back to where they came from." Yuffie said. "Then we'll just visit you guys in the gummi ships." Sora said. "It's not that simple." Leon said while crossing his arms. "Before all this, you didn't know about other worlds, right?" Yuffie asked rhetorically. "Because every world was isolated. Impassible walls divided them." Aerith said. "The heartless destroyed those walls. But if the worlds return, so will the walls." Yuffie said. "Which means gummi ships will be useless." Leon said. "So you're saying we'll never…" Sora trailed off. "We may never meet again, but we'll never forget each other." Leon said. "No matter where we are, our hearts will bring us together again." Aerith said. "Besides, I couldn't forget you guys even if I wanted to." Yuffie said. "What's that supposed to mean?" Sora said. "Um, I hate to interrupt, but we should probably hurry and seal up that keyhole before all the darkness comes rushing out of it!" Strea said. Just as Strea had said, waves of dark energy were beginning to spill out of the portal device. So Sora and the others hurried back in to seal the keyhole. Sora pointed his Keyblade at the heartless emblem, and once again stars gathered around the keyblade before shooting a bright blue beam into the keyhole. The heartless emblem disappeared and with it, the Keyhole.
  15. Chapter 42 the hades cup part 2 With a new keyblade in hand, Kirito commenced his attack with a vengeance. His two black blades and Heathcliff's white shield and sword, fiercely clashing. Kirito was striking away like a tempest waiting for the moment when Heathcliff's guard would slip. And Heathcliff, the stalwart knight, was defending against Kirito's blistering assault. At one point Heathcliff disarmed Kirito and tossed the keyblade aside, but then Kirito quickly circled behind him, called the keyblade back to his hand, and swung both of his swords at the commander's back. The sneak attack knocked Heathcliff to the ground, but the commander stabbed his sword into the ground to keep himself from falling flat. "My, my. I've never seen such an interesting sword before. Tell me, what is it?" Heathcliff asked while standing up. "It's a keyblade. Believe me, I'm just as surprised as you are." Kirito said. "Well, its appearance certainly suits you." The commander then began to laugh. "This is exactly how I imagined it. The brave hero obtains a powerful sword, and uses it to defeat the final boss. Now if the setting was inside the ruby palace, then it would be perfect." Heathcliff said. "Eh, been there, done that." Kirito retorted. "Ah, so the game didn't end after our duel. And you actually completed it. So assuming everything else went as planned…" He trailed off. "Yup. The 'seed' you left us has grown. Thanks to it, VRMMO's didn't fade into obscurity. Even SAO has been recreated as a game that everyone can enjoy." Kirito said. "It's just like that person said." Heathcliff muttered. The commander then grasped his sword with both hands, and swung it downwards, Kirito dodged and cast thunder magic. Due to Heathcliff's metallic plate armor, the normally random bolts of electricity homed in on the commander as though he were a lightning rod. However, the commander raised his shield over his head like an umbrella to block most of the damage. Seizing the opening, Kirito unleashed his ultimate attack. A devastating 27 hit combo called the eclipse. An attack that could only be learned by mastering his proficiency in the dual wielding skill in SAO. On the last stroke of the attack, Heathcliff was flung back against one of the arena pillars. Causing him to drop his sword and fall to the ground. Once again the Commander was defeated by the black swordsman. "Well done, Kirito. I'd offer my applause, but it looks like they've got it covered. Plus I am way too tired." Heathcliff said. Sure enough, all of his friends in the stands were cheering in their own unique way. Sora and Goofy tossed Donald in the air, much to the latter's dismay. Asuna held Yui as the little girl squealed in delight. Strea had caught Yuuki in one of her infamous bear hugs and was suffocating the purple haired girl in her large cleavage. And at some point Leon, Yuffie, and Cloud had showed up. The two latter of the three were passing munny over to Leon. "You guys were betting on me?!" Kirito shouted. "It's not like we were betting on you losing." Leon said. "We were betting on how you'd win." Cloud said. "See, Cloud and I bet that you'd have to borrow Sora's keyblade again, but Lucky Leon here, bet that you'd summon your own. And now my purse is crying because of how empty it is." Yuffie lamented while holding an open coin purse upside down. "How did you know that would happen anyway?" Cloud asked. "Call it a hunch. Plus a bet with Yuffie isn't a gamble. It's an investment." Leon said coyly. "Oh foofie!" Yuffie cried. "As interesting as this is, aren't you forgetting something?" Heathcliff said. "Huh?" Kirito said. "My life. This is a fight to the death after all. For this to end, you must kill me Kirito." Heathcliff said. Suddenly everyone quieted down. The tension from Heathcliff's words was thick enough to be cut with a knife. "This is a rare opportunity for you Kirito. It isn't every day that you get to kill the same person twice. Especially when that person is responsible for the death of thousands. You can exact vengeance on me again for all of your grief and frustrations. No one here would blame you. I'm already dead anyway. There is no shame in killing a dead man." Heathcliff said. "…You know, for someone who's supposed to be a genius, you're pretty stupid." Kirito said. "Huh?" Heathcliff said. "It's just like you said. I already killed you once. I can't put out all my frustrations on you because I already did that. Don't get me wrong, I still can't forgive you for what you've done. But, I just can't bring myself to feel hatred towards you anymore. And even if I did kill you, there's nothing stopping Hades from reviving you again. And then I'd have to kill you again and again and again. The cycle would never end. And there's also this." Kirito said while holding out his keyblade. "The keyblade isn't meant to hurt people. It's meant to help and protect them. And besides, what you said before, about not letting Hades have his way. That was pretty awesome." Kirito said. "I never thought I'd see the day where I received a compliment from the famous Kirito." Heathcliff joked. "Don't mention it. Seriously don't. Hades is going to be mad enough as it is." Kirito said. "Duly noted." Heathcliff said while retrieving his sword and walking back to his steed. "And Kirito, if you ever want to know, the real reason that Akihiko Kayaba created Sword art online. Then come find me again." Heathcliff said. The commander hen mounted his horse. The dark steed unfurled its large bat like wings and flew off into the horizon. After the battle, the others walked back to the arena to congratulate Kirito. Not only for once again defeating Heathcliff, but also for summoning a keyblade for the first time. "Dude, you did it! You're a keyblade wielder now, welcome to the club." Sora said enthusiastically. "I knew you could do it. A-hyuck" Goofy said. Asuna then hugged kirito and kissed him on the lips. "Ugh. They had to make it all mushy again." Donald complained. "I am so proud of you Kirito." Asuna said. "Thank you Asuna. I couldn't have done this without you. Any of you for that matter. But now isn't the time to be resting on our laurels. We still have one more opponent to face." Kirito said. "Hades." Sora said. "Speak of the devil and he shall appear." Hades voice rang throughout the Arena. Then Hades appeared from a plume of smoke and fire. "Yo, hey, how're you doin', everybody, yeah. Got a minute? Hades, lord of the dead. Nice to see you." He introduced. "Hey guess what? I've got a place for you down under!" Hades said. The fight started with hades spraying a steady stream of fire from his hands and floating towards us. When he did this half of us would run behind him and attack while the other half stayed in front to draw his attention. However Hades was quick to anger. Every so often his skin would turn a bright red and his flames would intensify. He moved to the center of the arena and held out his hands to either side and sprayed a wall of flames from them. Then he would rotate and try to fry us like a microwave. At the snap of his fingers hades could conjure small explosions right in front of us. And he shot fireballs at us that were similar to what Cerberus would fire. Fortunately, we were able to block the fireballs and redirect them back at Hades. More fortunately, his "rage mode" only lasted for so long. However, his short fuse meant he could rage again almost as soon as it went off. And on top of that Hades was more durable than any other enemy we had faced before. However his anger made him very sloppy and predictable. Eventually, we were able to wear him down to a point that we were able to finish him off with an all, out blitz of our special attacks. Kirito attacked hades with his starburst stream, then switched with Asuna and Yuuki who double teamed hades with mother's Rosario. Then they switched out with Strea who unleashed her ultimate attack, calamity. An attack that deals six very powerful hits. And finally Sora unleashing a new move on hades called Ragnarok. The attack involved Sora letting loose a flurry of attacks in midair, then charging up energy to fire off a volley of magic missiles at point blank range. The attack sent Hades flying into the cage where the monsters were kept. Hades cowered as the caged beasts loomed over him and he begged to be let out. However the bars of the pit lowered and left him with no escape. Back in the coliseum lobby, Phil placed the trophy for the hades cup next to the brazier like the other three trophies we had earned. On the right side of the room was the small golden cup from the Phil cup and the plaque from the Pegasus cup. And on the left was the large golden trophy from the hades cup and now, the azure blue trophy from the hades cup. To anyone else these might be indications of glory and entitlement, or even just empty cups. But to Sora and his friends, they served as reminders of where they once stood and how far they had come since then.
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