Author: StarLion PM
It all started with the Paopu fruit. Only two people should have shared it, but three shared in this one. Then the storm came and claimed the Destiny Islands, and all hell broke loose...Rated: Fiction T - English - Adventure/Mystery - Sora - Chapters: 94 - Words: 198,532 - Reviews: 100 - Favs: 24 - Follows: 28 - Updated: 02-21-13 - Published: 04-19-11 - Status: Complete - id: 6919503
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
They emerged from the corridor in the same distant part of Hollow Bastion Riku had first arrived at, the ruined, uninhabited part of town spread around them. The reconstruction efforts had advanced a fair ways already, but not far enough to trouble them.
"I thought you said there were Heartless here?" Roxas asked with a faint edge of resentment.
"There are, they're just not here. Look over toward the tower, and in the canyon leading up and around it."
"You want me to fight through all that?" he said in disbelief. "They go on forever!"
"Don't be silly. I'm going to bring some of them here for us to fill your quota." Riku reached out through the darkness, lifted his head slightly as he found some and in a quiet voice commanded, "Come."
"Didn't know you could command Heartless," Roxas remarked, bringing out his unusual Keyblade again.
"There's a lot of things you don't know about me," Riku replied, drawing out Soul Eater. He felt no particular reason to pull out Xemnas' Keyblade, and it would give him an idea of just how much of a benefit Roxas would have on him. "The first of them should be arriving soon. Be on guard."
The first ranks of them were heard more than seen, and were a collection of Soldiers and their larger cousins, though no Deserter Heartless were among them. Roxas fell on them almost immediately, with Riku clearing up any that tried to outflank him. He remained in a position he could watch Roxas fight.
Just like when Roxas had attacked him, he found his peculiar way of holding the Keyblade was strangely effective, lending itself well to fast-paced attacks. Riku kept pace with him, watching the hearts released by him just as closely as he did Roxas's – they too were captured by what appeared to be a very small dark corridor, though unlike their own ones it also appeared to shimmer like a water's surface. Once he caught sight of a bright green light shining back through, but no sign of what it could have been.
"Are you paying attention there?" Roxas's voice cracked. "Snap outta it and start helping, will you?"
Riku smiled to himself, then started throwing darkness behind his attacks to increase their effectiveness. As the Soldiers began to die out the next wave of Heartless approached, Rapid Thrusters, Bolt Towers and Nightwalkers.
"Think you can handle these Heartless?" Riku asked slyly.
"Piece a' cake," Roxas replied. "Just stand back and watch me."
"Trust me. If you're too close you'll only get caught too."
Riku backed away from the main battle surging around Roxas, taking to the remains of a nearby building to watch while fending off those Heartless that got too close.
Roxas meanwhile seemed to have lost his touch with the Keyblade, suddenly wielding it awkwardly. The Heartless appeared to take that as a sign to attack, circling and closing in. When there was a tight circle of Bolt Towers behind the Nightwalkers Roxas grinned, his skill miraculously returning as he fought off the first wave, then plunged his Keyblade into the ground.
Riku felt the light emerging from that long before it became visible, shooting out of the ground in six great blazing pillars of light arranged in a circle, within which was the emblem of the Organization and at its centre, Roxas.
It decimated the surrounding Heartless easily, then as Roxas withdrew his Keyblade from the ground again the pillars expanded and shot outward in lines to carve huge swathes through the massed ranks. The hearts released by that raised up thick and fast, causing what appeared to be a vast pool stretching above them. Riku realised where the light had been coming from with so many hearts flowing through – on the other side, though badly distorted, was Dark City.
"If you've got that kind of power, what's the problem with running down there and using it on the mass down there?" Riku called down to him.
"Because I can only do it so many times in a day," Roxas called back. "It takes a lot out of me just to do it once, if I do it down there the Heartless will come swarming for me, and I won't have enough of a chance to get away."
Riku picked his way back down, considering this. "You know Roxas, you always seem to complain about this, but now I've seen you here..."
"I seem almost too willing to do the work, right?"
"Right. And you know what Zexion thinks about you. There's something that doesn't seem entirely right about you, but I can't put my finger on it."
Roxas regarded him speculatively, with a look that seemed so similar to Sora's that he was almost surprised to see the resemblance in him. When he started to answer though, another voice overruled him.
"Who are you?" Leon demanded.
"Damn," Riku muttered. "Looks like we'll have to finish this somewhere else."
"Going somewhere?" Yuffie's voice came from behind them.
Riku glanced back to see her stood threateningly nearby, ready to strike out at either one of them. Roxas was still ready for a fight, just like Leon. The two of them showed no sign they recognised him, which was just as well with Roxas around.
"Roxas! Deal with her!" he snapped. "Leave him to me!"
"But Riku-" Roxas protested.
"Are you ignoring my orders?"
Roxas shut up with a harsh look at him, then turned on Yuffie who easily evaded his first strike. While they were busy he lunged for Leon, who also cleared his first strike and struck back sending Riku stumbling back.
He tossed Soul Eater to his other hand and brought out Xemnas' Keyblade, using the two blades to outflank Leon by attacking at different angles. Leon responded by drawing back and launching fire magic back at him, but Riku just reflected it back.
Roxas and Yuffie meanwhile seemed almost as if they were dancing instead of fighting, each closing in to try and attack before darting clear again. Both of them excelled at high speed attacks, putting the two of them together put them almost at a complete standoff.
He was going to have to do something to get away from these two, otherwise they'd be here all day, if not in a standoff then because Leon and Yuffie would undoubtedly try to capture them, and they didn't have time for that.
Riku drew back from Leon, launching a dark fireball at him as he reached out to the local Heartless population again, searching through them to find what Heartless were available. He was limited in his selection, but there appeared to be enough to provide a diversion for them.
He quickly evaded another attack by Leon, using his two weapons together to send him flying back and then lash out briefly at Yuffie as she strayed too close, then returned his attention to the Heartless.
"Come," he murmured again, commanding them. He felt them comply, starting to make their way to this ruined area.
The first of them arrived quickly, but were kept out of sight by a quick command. The airbourne Guardians, accompanied by a Destroyer and more Rapid Thrusters remained behind various ruins, occasionally pushing against his command over them as they sensed the hearts of him, Leon and Yuffie.
He didn't like doing this to his friends, but there was no choice. After Roxas's earlier attack the light was starting to become aware of his presence sooner than usual, and he needed to get out before it overwhelmed him.
At last, the lumbering landbound contingent arrived, the ground rumbling as the heavy mass of Land Armour Heartless piled in through all the available exits, closely followed by the flying Heartless. He forced them to leave one exit out of the area, to give the two at least some chance of escape.
With the Heartless almost completely surrounding them, he drew Roxas away from Yuffie, using the Heartless to create a wall between them.
"Love to stay and indulge you some more," he called through. "But we've pressing business in other worlds to take care of, so I'll leave you in the care of our friends here." Then quieter to Roxas, "Go to the islands and see Kairi. You can tell me what you wanted to later."
Roxas nodded, vanishing into one corridor as Riku created his own one, having to force it out as the light started to wear him down. He did leave one last command with the Heartless he'd gathered not to attack either of them unless they attacked first, which there was considerable resistance to until he drew on the remnant of Ansem to force them to comply.
Once Dark City was safely around him he relaxed, reaching back to the Heartless to find out what they were doing. They'd followed, only to fall foul of a new defence mechanism that left the larger Heartless as easy pickings, while they picked off the less powerful flying Heartless with ease. At least he wouldn't be turning any friends into Heartless today.
Now he knew it was safe he turned his attention to the sky above, wandering through the streets until he had a clear view of their as yet unseen Kingdom Hearts, then following the stream of hearts still flowing toward it to its source.
Several times the strange layout of Dark City caused him to take dead end routes or long detours just to reach them, as the city did not appear to be logically arranged at all. It was as if the inhabitants had just built wherever they wanted, but the inhabitants here were only Heartless and Nobodies, apparently going about a facsimile of life.
The source of hearts was further cut off from the city by a tall ring of buildings with no apparent entrance to them. Reluctantly, as if it would trigger some alarm this close, he opened another corridor to the top of one of them, then a second one that took him down into the clearing below.
It was a clear, square area with nothing but a large fountain in. The waters reflected the various multicoloured neon lights of Dark City that adorned even this inaccessible area. As the stream of hearts emerged from the waters, the reflection beyond shifted and shimmered, showing various areas. There were glimpses of Hollow Bastion, and even him and Riku battling the Heartless – apparently there was some delay between what he'd seen there and what he was seeing now – but there was also another area, too dark to make out except for a tall figure with bright blue hair and a Keyblade that seemed almost shaped like an 'E' at the end. She too was fighting Heartless, though he could not tell where or why.
How then to disrupt this stream? If it was cut off entirely Xemnas would surely notice, but what if he restricted the free flow somehow? It would slow the stream, perhaps even cause the hearts to slowly build up beneath whatever barrier he set in place until they blocked it themselves, and hopefully by that time it would be too late to implicate him.
Riku looked about at the various neon light displays, then an idea came to him. No one had yet told him what the darkness couldn't do, and though he was trying to rid himself of it he might as well get some use out of it while he did have it. If he used it in the right way, he could pull the lights down and use them as a barrier. There would be enough here to create a kind of funnel, narrowing down to the point where only so many hearts would be let through.
It took him some time to achieve it, and he quickly found he had to adjust the makeshift funnel so it wouldn't get backed up too quickly, but it gave him the result he wanted eventually.
"Lets see how long it takes them to find out," he muttered to himself, opening a corridor up to the Grey Area. He should still have some time left before the others started to return.