Chapter V: I Won't Say I'm in Love
"Hmm, where exactly am I?" a woman with cat ears poking out of her white hair walked down the dark path of the Underworld, the feeling of souls guiding her way. "The spirits here are in fear, fleeing from a supernatural force."
A woman's scream from the cave alerted her. She took off running, looking for the innocent.
"Are you sure this is the Coliseum you talked about so much, Sora?" Kairi felt extremely drained by the dark foggy cave. This place gave the Beast's Castle a run for its munny. "This doesn't feel like a place heroes would hang out and train in."
"It's that way," Donald pointed to stairs that led to a warm comforting light.
"Oh, guess I was a little er…off?" Sora said, shrugging with a stupid grin.
Kairi raised an eyebrow. "Only a little?"
Two strong Lights rapidly approached them. An ear piercing scream startled the gang. Turning around they saw a woman in a purple dress flee from little rabid Heartless dogs. She collapsed to the ground, holding her ankle.
"Heartless!" Sora exclaimed; he and Kairi summoning their keyblades to their hands.
A small shield formed around the woman, forcing the dogs to retreat back into Darkness as the gang ran over to her. Another woman, one with cat ears and a tail, approached with her staff in her grip.
Sora held out a hand to the woman in purple, but she waved him off. "Thanks, I'm fine," she said.
"Your injury to your ankle says otherwise," the woman with the staff said, casting a cure spell on the woman in purple's ankle. It healed, but a small scar remained along with an ache. "The pain should not persist after a couple of days."
Kairi looked into the pale eyes of the healer. She couldn't see, or that was what Kairi thought.
The woman in purple got up. "Thank you," she looked at the odd group before her: a woman with cat ears, a talking duck and dog, and two teenagers in odd looking attire. "And you're supposed to be?"
"I'm Sora, this is Kairi, Donald, and Goofy," Sora said.
"Greetings. My name is Y'shtola," the cat lady said, putting her staff on her back.
Kairi waved. "A pleasure to meet you, Y'shtola."
"Likewise, Kairi," Y'shtola bowed to the gang. Hmm, a strong and strange power rested within the redhead. It piqued Y'shtola's interest.
"Why are you here?" the woman in purple asked.
"We came to see how Hercules is doing," Sora answered.
The woman raised an eyebrow. "You know Wonderboy?"
Donald grinned with pride. "Yeah because we're heroes too!"
"Junior heroes, Donald," Goofy whispered.
Kairi bit her lip, trying to not to laugh. So the boys were junior heroes?
"That's not funny Kairi," Sora pouted.
Kairi busted out laughing. "I'm sorry…but it is hilarious. Junior heroes?"
Sora was about to protest until her ringing laughter made him take pause. It was such a melodious laugh that it made his heart flutter. He turned away from the laughing Kairi, fighting a smile on his lips.
The woman laughed. "Looks like we have a friend in common. Name's Megara. My friends call me Meg."
"A pleasure," Y'shtola said. "Might I inquire as to what our location is?"
"This is the Underworld, Hades' domain." Meg pointed to the stairs leading to the golden light, "That is where the Coliseum is, along with the world of the Living."
"Why are you down here, Meg?" Kairi asked. She could tell the Heartless must run rampant in a dreary soul sucking place like this.
Meg sighed. "Wonderboy is duking it out at the Coliseum every day. Ya know, 'a hero's job is never done' and all that. These foes are special deliveries from Hades himself. Wonderboy is ready to drop though. He's reaching his limits."
"Hades is sending these opponents?" Donald raised his fist, wanting to punch Hades in the face.
"Yeah. He keeps sending them every day. I was going to go talk to Hades, convince him to give Wonderboy a break. If anything happened to him..." Meg looked down, her hand near her heart.
"Gwarsh, sounds like you're more than just friends," Goofy commented.
Meg snapped out of it, her face turning red. "Oh…uh I mean…"
"Does this Hades seem like a reasonable figure? If he's sending countless foes at Hercules…" Y'shtola said.
"He'll probably listen to us since we've encountered him before, and beaten him might I add," Sora said. "We'll go talk to him for you Meg, I'd hate for the Heartless to attack you again."
Kairi agreed with Y'shtola's observations, but Sora seemed confident enough in convincing Hades to chill. But something nagged at her; something told her encountering the Lord of the Dead was a bad idea.
Meg raised an eyebrow. "You'd do that? Well if you know what you're doing; I guess I will take you up on that offer. But, can we keep this our little secret for now?"
"Our lips are sealed," Goofy performed the motion of zipping his mouth shut.
"I do have to warn you, the Underworld zaps your strength and there are always falling rocks. But I'm sure you can handle it," Meg informed them.
Y'shtola put a finger on her chin in thought. "If the Underworld impairs your strength, it would be my pleasure to come along with you."
Sora and Kairi nodded. "Happy to have you along, Y'shtola," Sora said, giving a thumbs up. He marched off with Donald and Goofy in tow into the Underworld, straight to Hades' personal domain.
Kairi shook her head. "He's always up and ready to help people at the tip of his hat."
Y'shtola chuckled. "Such a blithe spirit."
Pete marched on up into the chambers that belonged to Hades. A small red imp and his friend a blue imp led the cat up stairs.
"You have a visitor, your most perniciousness," the red imp said, the two presenting Pete to Hades, who sat on his throne.
"Ah, Pain, Panic, who is this?" Hades said, still annoyed that Jerkules tossed his rock monster into the sun.
Pete pointed to himself. "A pal of Maleficent's. I'm here to gather Heartless into a mass army. Surely the Lord of the Dead has plenty of beings to turn into a Heartless."
"Hmm…" Hades thought to himself. "And why did you come here of all places?"
Pete crossed his arms. "Because of those Organization XIII guys are interfering everywhere else. Buncha guys in black coats who keep running around messin' with everything."
Hades looked at Pete standing by the door. A black speck was peeking in behind him. "I'm assuming the guy behind you is this Organization?" Hades asked.
Pete turned around and spotted No. IX spying on them. "Wha?!"
Hades, with a bored look on his face flicked a fireball at the member. But No. IX saw it coming and screamed, sprinting away as fast as possible.
Hades sat back in in his throne. "Where do they dig these guys up? Geez Louise."
Pete sat down on a window sill. It looked like he wouldn't be having much issue with the Organization here. "Oh they're nothin' but trouble, the whole lot of them. So uh, whadda gonna do about Hercules? He's made mincemeat outta every fighter you sent at him. Pretty soon the Underworld will be standing room only." Pete paused, an idea forming. "Say, why don't ya just pick someone already dead and save 'em the trouble?"
Hades was about to smite Pete for his suggestion until he thought about it. "Dead...Dead is good and I know just the warrior."
"What brings you here, Y'shtola?" Kairi asked as the gang walked through the dark caverns, souls whispering by.
"A teleportation spell had gone awry and brought me here to this world," she stated simply. "I must recant the spell again to hopefully return to my friends. It will take some time before I have the ability to use it again."
"Man this curse is really dragging on me," Sora said, crushing another heartless with a great amount of effort than usual.
Kairi felt the claws of a shadow draw across her arm, cutting deep enough to draw blood. "Ack," she shook off the Heartless. Y'shtola used her extremely powerful magic to heal the wound, leaving a scar. "Thank you."
Donald and Goofy were exhausted. They were only halfway to Hades' main domain.
"The curse here truly is formidable. To countermand it we will need a power source from this world," Y'shtola noted. "The people here might know of such a source."
"Perhaps we should turn back then," suggested Goofy.
Kairi agreed. "We should turn back and go ask Hercules, he might know of something if he's a famous hero."
Sora wanted to continue forth but he relented. "You're right. Let's head back."
Number IX of Organization XIII ran past the gang, in a panic. Everyone except Y'shtola summoned their weapons for battle. "Run, run away!" he screamed, fleeing into a dark corridor.
Sora and Kairi didn't know what to think of the cowardly member. "Okay…" Sora deadpanned.
"Who was that?" Y'shtola asked.
"Organization XIII, though I've never thought one of their own would be so frightened," said Kairi.
Donald and Goofy looked into a crack in the wall that lead to the road into Hades' direct domain. "Wak!" Donald yelped as he got smacked into Goofy by a blur of red.
A man holding a katana on his shoulder ran out of the crack in the wall. "Run! We cannot fight him here!"
"Who?" Sora asked. The man stopped.
"Hades. We are weakened here and he's after me. Run!" he exclaimed. A ball of fire exploded from the crack in the wall, sending Donald and Goofy flying.
The wall was wide open, showing a rather angry Hades with the flames on his head red, and Pete with a swarm of Heartless.
"You again?!" Hades shouted, lodging fireballs at Sora, Donald, and Goofy. Y'shtola leapt into action, creating a barrier to absorb the flames. Kairi and Sora helped Donald and Goofy up.
The man in red gestured to the exit. "Go now!"
The gang fled, fireballs and Heartless hot on their trail.
Fleeing outside of the passageways into the main entrance of the Underworld, Heartless continued to rain upon them even if Hades wasn't following anymore. A group of soldiers with lances charged at the gang, who were still weakened from the Underworld's curse. The man with a katana leapt forward and with one swipe eliminated every single heartless.
Sora, Kairi, Donald, and Goofy were out of breath and exhausted from running. "You're really good," Sora commented. "Are you some kind of hero?"
The warrior shook his head. "No, I'm no hero. I'm just an…"
"Huh?" Sora said. This guy had to be a hero, he was incredibly strong.
"Auron," he finished.
Y'shtola nodded. "A pleasure to meet your acquaintance, Auron. My name is Y'shtola."
Sora jumped up. "I'm Sora!"
"I'm Kairi," she joined him.
"Donald!" said the duck, leaping onto Sora's shoulders.
"Goofy!" the knight captain added, leaning on Donald. Sora couldn't hold the weight of his two friends anymore and collapsed, sending the three to the floor.
Auron was amused. "Hm, seems we were fated to meet. Maybe you're in need of a guardian."
Kairi helped each of her friends up. "I think we're good, thank you for the offer, Auron."
Y'shtola crossed her arms, a finger on her chin in thought. "We should find your friend Hercules and inquire about lifting this constant ailment in this realm."
"Good idea, Y'shtola, before we lose Sora here to the curse," Kairi teased, trying to keep the poor boy steady.
"Kairi I'm fine," he pouted. "Perfectly fine." He took four steps before feeling wobbly again. "This curse sucks!"
"I've got Heartless all over the underworld now, so you can leave those pipsqueaks to me," Pete said, as the Lord of the Dead sat upon his throne in contemplation.
"If I remember correctly, that brat's keyblade can open any lock?" Hades asked suddenly.
Pete looked at him in confusion, before figuring it out. "Whatcha gonna use it for?"
"Have I told you about the Underworld's coliseum, it makes the one upstairs look like an Olympic kiddie pool. Zeus locked it up, though. All we gotta do is swipe that key, and then re-open the Underdrome. End Jerkules' winning streak."
Pete agreed with this plan, but there was only one issue. "Hate to tell ya, but that key is kinda particular, it won't work for just anybody and those two kids ain't no pushovers."
"Did you say…two kids with keyblades?" Hades asked, his intrigue in the Keybladers rising.
"One of them's the Princess of Heart," Pete declared.
"Hmmm…" Hades snapped his fingers. Two holograms of Sora and Kairi appeared in the center of the room. If he couldn't get the prisoner to eliminate Jerkules then he could at least weaken the so-called hero in his own realm, using his pathetic little friends.
A great burden was lifted from the group's shoulders as they ascended the stairs into a bright golden town. Before them was the coliseum gate, with great big statues of golden soldiers bearing blades over the large doors. The light of the sun was so blinding compared to the darkness in the Underworld.
"That curse hampered our combat ability. I feel so much more capable of magic with less extraneous effort now," said Y'shtola, embracing the warmth of the bright sun. "Truly a marvel this place is."
Kairi gawked in awe at the gates to the coliseum. "Wow, is this where heroes come to prove their worth? I wonder if I could one day be tested there."
Sora stared at Kairi's amazement. Ever since his first journey, he wanted to show her everything he saw, and now here they were. If only Riku was also here to see this marvel…
"Where's Auron?" Goofy asked, snapping Sora out of his thoughts.
Indeed the warrior had taken off. "He can take care of himself," Sora said. He had to question why Auron took off so quickly though. It was probably nothing.
A loud rumble and the gates opened up, being pushed by Hercules himself. He was throwing his entire body into the act. His muscles ached. Bags formed underneath his eyes. Megara was behind him, saddened at the worn hero. She was surprised to see the gang back so soon. Something must've come up.
Hercules looked up, warmth filling his heart at the sight of his friends before him. They had returned, one year later.
"Sora! Donald! Goofy!" he greeted them. Sora gave him a high five. "What are you guys doing here?"
"Just tracking down some friends, wiping out some Heartless," Sora answered.
Hercules noticed the two figures standing behind Sora, Donald, and Goofy. "And who are your new friends?"
"I'm Kairi, nice to meet you, Hercules," she said.
Y'shtola bowed. "Greetings, I am Y'shtola."
"Nice to meet you guys. So, I see you found one of your friends Sora," Hercules said, looking to Kairi. This was girl he mentioned seeking out.
"Yeah, we're still looking for Riku though," Sora added.
"But we'll find him," Kairi said. "We believe it."
"Yeah, we're working on it, when we got here we ran into Meg...a trouble though," Sora said, catching himself.
Kairi raised an eyebrow. Sora was not good at this. Y'shtola smiled in bemusement.
"We tried to teach Hades a lesson or two but the Underworld's curse zaps our strength," Sora finished.
"Are there any sources of power to countermand the realm's curse upon heroes?" Y'shtola asked.
"Oh yeah, there is a stone that guards against the Underworld's curse," said Hercules. "The gods on Mount Olympus use it whenever they have to go down there."
"Mind if we use it?" asked Sora.
"Sure!" Hercules said, smiling. "Anything to help you guys out." He turned to Megara. "I'll meet you back at my place."
Megara nodded. "Alright Wonderboy, don't push yourself too hard, okay?"
"I'll be fine Meg, what does a hero need rest for?" Hercules said, flexing. The bags underneath his eyes proved otherwise.
"Real nice of ya to let us borrow it," Goofy said.
Hercules nodded. "But Hades is no pushover, even if you got the Olympus Stone. I'll be back." He walked out of the area and marched up to Olympus.
Megara sighed once Hercules was out of sight. "I can see the Underworld's curse dragged you down?"
The gang all nodded.
"Follow me," she gestured up a path. "I'll make something for dinner."
Kairi, Y'shtola, and Megara were in a garden full of olives, grapes, and flowers of all types. Kairi picked up one particular pink bloom that was on the ground and slowly withering.
"This flower was left alone with no support," mused Kairi. "I hope Hercules knows we support him as his friends." And Riku. Where ever Riku was, she hoped he too knows that he's not alone.
Megara smiled at Kairi's words as she picked grapes off a vine. Y'shtola inspected the plants all around her, smelling the sweet aromas.
"Hey girl, why you so down?" a woman's deep voice spoke, almost singing her words.
Kairi nearly dropped her flower. "Who is there?"
"Over here," another voice spoke. Megara pointed towards the fountain, and Kairi spotted five short women made of stone standing on a platform.
"Fascinating, animated statues," Y'shtola commented, looking over them in awe.
The tallest one bowed. "Hello Princess! We are the Muses! Goddesses of the arts and proclaimers of heroes! I'm Calliope, muse of epic poetry."
"I'm Clio, muse of history," said the second tallest.
"Muse of tragedy, Melpomene," said the one with long curly hair.
"Call me Terpsichore, muse of dance," said the second shortest one.
"I'm Thalia darling. Comedy is my expertise." The shortest muse grinned. "Been a while since we had a heroine princess."
Kairi pointed to herself. "Me? I'm no hero. Sora is the hero."
Clio raised an eyebrow. "Princess, that boy still has a lot to learn as to what being a hero means. Although, he's getting pretty close. But you, you're just as close to figuring it out as he is."
Calliope nodded. "Besides, a heroine princess is a rarity. Oh sure you've heard of other princesses overcoming trials and such, but one who is willing to brave the battlefield? How many of those have you heard of?"
Clio opened her scroll. "Not very many in history."
Terpsichore twirled around. "In any case, hello!"
Kairi waved, wondering if she should tell them that technically she's not royalty. "Um well actually…"
Megara leaned over to whisper to Kairi. "Don't bother convincing them that you're not royalty. They're goddesses."
"You tell legends and tales of heroes and gods?" Y'shtola asked.
"Yep! We follow the stories of heroes and the like," Melpomene explained. "We know all about the story of Sora and Kairi."
"Y-You do?" Kairi stuttered, hoping it wasn't about some sort of romance or anything. They were friends…Only friends.
Calliope cleared her throat. "Of course! There was an island of destiny, where three friends named Sora, Riku, and Kairi grew up together. It was a happy time before the Darkness came. Then came the legendary weapon, the unbreakable…"
"Unbeatable…" Clio added.
"Unstoppable!" Thalia finished.
"Keyblade!" the five sang together.
Calliope continued telling the story. "It chose the mature Riku, but it denied him at the sign of a corrupted and foolish heart. Then it came to Sora, who braved the worlds and the Darkness to find the lost Princess of Heart, Kairi."
Melpomene pulled out a sad mask. "Oh how tragedy struck. Kairi's heart under siege by the darkness, hid away within Sora. They call him a junior hero at first, a boy stumbling through his journey, touching the hearts of many."
Calliope nodded. "Then in a twist of fate, he sacrificed himself to save the Princess of Heart."
Thalia fanned herself. "Oh how I fainted when that happened."
"His Heartless never let go, he saw the truth even in the deepest Darkness, the Light of the Princess' heart guided him back…"
Clio pretended she held a blade. "And he made his way to slay the leader of the Heartless."
Melpomene gestured to the stars. "Now that the worlds were restored, the pair must find their lost friend Riku."
"And that…" Calliope bowed. "Is how the best love story goes."
Y'shtola chortled while Megara sent a very bright red Kairi a sly smile. "Love story eh?"
"I uh what? Sora is my best friend! Nothing interesting going on between us, nope, none."
Y'shtola bit her lip, trying to not chuckle at the bright red Kairi. "Your response tells us all."
"I do not have feelings for Sora! He's my friend, through and through," Kairi declared, going back to looking at the flowers.
Thalia shook her head. "Keep telling yourself that girl."
Kairi, Y'shtola, and Megara returned back inside Hercules' home, a wide open space with the entrance only supported by columns. Curtains were draped all over, and sunshine flowed through the gaps between the columns. Donald and Goofy were admiring the busts sitting about. Megara set down her basket of food on a table and began to sort through it.
Kairi still had the pink bloom in her hand. "Where's Sora?"
Donald and Goofy stopped staring at the busts and turned to Kairi. "Uh, we thought Sora went to go help ya," Goofy said.
Donald crossed his arms. "Probably got lost on the way. He'll be back."
Hercules marched up to the house with a small satyr in tow. "Now champ you gotta get some rest because no one will pay to see a puffy eyed worn out hero, capche?" the satyr lectured. Hercules walked over and passed out on a couch.
"Herc!" Goofy said, hoping his friend was okay. "Oh heya Phil!"
"Wonderboy you just rest now," Megara said, handing him a towel to wipe the sweat off.
Hercules smiled. "Thanks Meg."
Phil turned to Kairi and Y'shtola. "Haven't seen you two around here before."
"I'm Kairi, Sora's…friend."
"I am Y'shtola."
"So you're Sora's friends eh? You two look like fighters. Since Herc here is passed out, how about some training while we wait on dinner?" Phil asked, pointing his thumb to outback of the house to a training area with barrels and dummies. "Herc told me about you fools trying to stand up to Hades. Zeus knows you're gonna need all the training you're gonna get."
Kairi raised an eyebrow. She wasn't sure if she should be insulted or not. She nodded.
Phil marched off to the dummies.
"He seems straight to the point in his words," Y'shtola said.
"You can say that again," Kairi said. She followed Phil to the training area. He pushed up a bunch of barrels to the center of the pit of dirt.
"Okay girly, see if you can handle crowd control by smacking these things away from you," Phil explained.
Kairi summoned her keyblade to her grip. She moved forward and smacked the barrel in front of her. It was sent flying, but there was more to deal with. She paused, thinking of how to deal with the encroaching barrels. She spun around, like how she saw Sora do many times over. She called upon her inner strength, imagining the barrels as a swarm of Shadows.
A burst of Light exploded out from the blade, extending its reach out and slamming all of the barrels away into the bushes and high into the air.
She turned around to face Phil with a smile. The satyr and cat woman had ducked behind a pillar of the power blast.
"Whoa…" Phil gawked at Kairi.
She looked at the destruction she inflicted. "Sorry about that."
Y'shtola crouched down at the marks left by the Light blade. "Your abilities are a powerhouse of magic and Light. Tapping into it without much control can cause unintended consequences."
"You've got potential kid, just gotta work on control," Phil added, still hiding behind the pillar.
Kairi agreed. "Thank you."
Walking back into the main room of Hercules' house, Herc had sat up with a towel in his grip. "Sorry guys, got bad news," he said. "The Olympus Stone was stolen."
Donald's feathers were ruffled. "What?! Stolen?"
"By who?" Goofy asked.
"We don't know who did it yet," the hero looked down at his towel. He failed his friends. "All we're sure of is that it was a guy in a black-hooded cloak. And he was accompanied by creatures in white."
Donald stomped his foot. "That no good Organization!"
Kairi tightened her hand into a fist. "We'll track them down and stop them."
"Hyuck if we get the stone back can we borrow it fer a while?" Goofy asked.
Herc gave the three a smile. "Sure." He looked around. "Shouldn't Sora be back by now?"
Kairi's blood ran cold. It was definitely not like Sora to get lost like this. Something definitely went wrong. "Where is he?"
"Oh what's wrong, Princess, fearing something is amiss?" Kairi felt a hand on her shoulder. The voice belonged to one way too amused Hades.
She whipped around and summoned Destiny's Embrace to her grip and pointed it right at the god. The others also drew their weapons. "What did you do with Sora?!"
"Oh nothing much, he went and got himself lost in the Underworld somewhere, man who knew he was so susceptible to darkness?" Hades explained, like it was just another Tuesday for him.
"You…You mean…" Kairi had a powerful anger plague her. No one and she meant no one is allowed to harm her best friend ever. "You kidnapped him!"
"Well maybe…But why get caught up in the details?" Hades said, not caring if anyone answered or not. "Your boyfriend did put up a fight but man, Keybladers just aren't made very strong these days, you know?"
"How do we even know you're telling the truth?" Donald said, ready to throw a thunder spell at the god.
"Would I really ever lie to you on such a dire matter as the fate of your dear friend?" The answer everyone thought was yes. Hades turned away. "Besides, you can't exactly rush off to find out since Wonderbreath here is looking a little under the weather. Who knows what kind of accidents might happen if you left the place unguarded."
Kairi glared at the god. "And I suppose Sora getting 'lost' in the Underworld was also an accident?"
"Like I said, details, who needs them?" Hades disappeared.
Kairi turned to Hercules. "I'm so sorry about all this Herc. I promise, we'll find Sora and we'll protect the coliseum." Fear rose in her heart. Sora was kidnapped. She had to doubt Hades' words, but if what he said was true, Sora was in definite danger.
Hercules nodded. "Go, find the Olympus Stone and bring back our friend Sora. I believe you guys can do it."
Kairi, Donald, and Goofy nodded.
Y'shtola decided to stay and help Herc recover from ache and exhaustion. "Remember Kairi, strength of heart matters as much as will," she said.
"Right," Kairi agreed.
Sora didn't remember much as he awoke in a dark cave with his hands and legs bound. He remembered Hades and Pete appearing before him, he got mobbed by Heartless and blacked out. He sat on the floor of the cave, looking at Pete and Hades talking.
"Ngh…" he groaned. What exactly happened, why was he here?
"Oh looky it's the key brat," Pete said, turning to face the awakening Sora.
"What do you want Pete?" Sora said, glaring at the cat.
"I need yer girlfriend to do as we say and then you can go home, but hmm, Maleficent did teach me how to turn people into a Heartless, maybe once we get what we want from the Princess we can turn you into a Heartless."
Pete held out his hand and summoned a dark flame in his grasp. Dark flames tried to release from Sora but he easily fought it off. "Guess again Pete, I'm not going down to the Darkness that easily."
Hades waved him off. "Ignore that kid, knowing him he'll just somehow bust himself out if you poke him long enough."
Sora gritted his teeth as he struggled about. "Kairi won't give into your demands so easily."
"Oh I highly doubt that, kid." Hades smirked. "Just wait and see."
Kairi, Donald, and Goofy felt the heavy pressure on their shoulders return the second they entered the Underworld.
"Where could they have taken him?" Donald asked.
Kairi looked around the entrance. There was the cavern towards Hades' domain and then another cavern farther into the Underworld. "To be honest, I'm not sure where they could have taken Sora."
Goofy thought about it before arriving at a conclusion. "Gawrsh Kairi, maybe you just gotta let your heart guide your way to Sora. After all you guys have a connection, right?"
"Hmm…" she placed her hand over her heart. "You're right. I will find you, Sora, no matter where you go." She held out her keyblade before her and focused on finding Sora. An orb of light formed at the tip and shot out towards the deep caverns of the Underworld. "Let's go!" she declared as she ran off after the light.
"Wait up!" Donald huffed, as he and Goofy followed after the determined princess.
Even as she got deeper into the Underworld, the curse wore down on Kairi more and more. But her determination would not waver. "Sora!" she called out amidst the dead souls crying in soft whispers.
She jumped down farther into the dark caves, her body aching, her will being worn down, her strength fading, but her willpower grew. Heartless appeared before her, bats and ghosts standing in her way. Lifting her keyblade up, she fired out blasts of fire to dispatch the enemies, but only sent them flying instead. Donald and Goofy caught up with her. Goofy body slammed one of the ghosts out of the way. Donald casted some blizzard to freeze the bats in the air.
"Come on, we can't fight these guys here yet," Goofy urged the two on. Kairi agreed, taking off running up a set of stairs. The light floated to the top of the stairs and disappeared.
A figure in black stood before a large sinister looking door.
Kairi stopped, immediately noticing the man. "Who are you?" she said, pointing her keyblade at him. She felt nothing coming from the man…or so she thought.
"Oh," he turned around and took off his hood, bearing a mullet of dirty blond hair. He squinted at Kairi. "Ah! You! Naminé? It's me, Demyx."
She tilted her head. "Excuse me? Who's Naminé?"
"Hmm…maybe they were right after all," Demyx muttered. He reached into his pocket and pulled out a card. "Let's see here, 'if subject fails to respond, use the girl to liberate his true disposition.'" He put the card away and reached into his other pocket. "Right…Ugh they really picked the wrong guy for this." Demyx pulled out the golden Olympus Stone.
Goofy pointed at him with a glare. "He's gotta be the thief!"
Demyx with a partial smirk said his rebuttal. "Now that's just plain rude."
Kairi, Donald, and Goofy pulled out their weapons. "You stole it alright," Donald declared.
Demyx's eyes widened. "Uh okay this might be where the show is over and I should uh…yeah, Naminé, be sure to tell Roxas to come back to us. Thanks, bye!" He disappeared in a dark corridor, dropping the Olympus stone on the ground.
Donald picked it up and raised it up, the stone granting the three freedom from the curse.
"That's a much unexpected type of person to be in the Organization," Kairi said, feeling the burden lift off her shoulders. "Who is Naminé…?"
"Naminé, what's happening to me?"
That was what Roxas said to her, but she had no idea what their connection was. "Let's go, Sora needs our help."
They barged through the doors, weapons at the ready to fight Pete and Hades. Only a single green light was in the center of the empty room.
Kairi knew this was where Sora was being held. His light was near. "Let's go." Running right into the light, discarding her safety, Kairi found herself in a dark cave. "Sora? Sora where are you?"
The lights turned on. Sora was still tied up in the corner. "Eheheh hi guys."
Goofy and Donald arrived behind Kairi. "Sora!" the two cried out as they ran over to him. Kairi summoned her keyblade to destroy Sora's bonds. The three were blasted back by a fireball.
Kairi slammed into the wall of the cave, her grip releasing Destiny's Embrace.
"Uh uh huh, now that would be just too easy," Hades said. "Now you and your boyfriend can go once you do me one little favor." He snapped his fingers and with bright flames in thin air appeared a keyhole. "You use that special little key of yours and open up the Underdrome."
Kairi glared daggers at the god. "And what if I refuse to help you?"
Hades smirked. "I don't think you're in a position to refuse, little girl."
Pete stepped out from behind Hades and raised his hand. With a maniacal laugh, he lifted Sora up using wisps of Darkness. "Succumb to the Darkness within!"
A horde of Heartless appeared before her, blocking her way to Sora. Sora emitted cries in his struggle. "Don't…Listen to them…Kairi…I…will…be fine…ahhh!" he shouted to her.
"You won't use me like this!" a familiar voice unlike Sora's came out of his mouth. "Don't…let them…win!"
Y'shtola looked over the feverish Hercules, casting a mild cure spell to mend his ailing body. "The exhaustion opened him up to a cold. It will take some time for him to recover but he shall be fine," she explained to Megara and Phil.
A roar thundered close by. "What was that?" Hercules said, barely able to keep his eyes open.
A purple monster with spikes on its back crawled up to the house by the coliseum and tore off the roof. The monster with the roof in its teeth tossed it at the four. Y'shtola whipped out her staff and stood in front of the three. The roof destroyed the entire house in one fell swoop. Y'shtola generated a large bubble shield just in time. The debris fell off the bubble and onto the ground.
"Gods, that's a Hydra!" Phil exclaimed. "We gotta get Herc outta here, can't fight that thing in his current state."
Megara took the delirious hero's arm over her shoulder and pulled him off the couch. "Y'shtola, can you hold that thing off?"
The woman nodded, still holding up the bubble. "I will do my best to distract this creature before it does any more harm. Escort Hercules out of here."
Megara and Phil agreed, pulling the sick hero along and down the side of the hill.
The hydra roared, Y'shtola lowered her bubble down as she saw the three move out of sight. With her staff raised, she was ready to parry the Hydra's incoming tail swipe.
The impact never came. "Need help?" Auron asked, his katana colliding with the tail.
"Of course, always appreciate the assistance," Y'shtola replied.
The Hydra screeched, shaking the hill once more.
Kairi stared at the keyhole while blocking a Heartless soldier. Sora still was being tormented by the Darkness Pete was trying to bring out.
Her heart didn't know what to do. Give in and do what Hades wants, or let Sora suffer?
The Heartless were encroaching closer. A Shadow took a swipe at her leg, cutting deep enough to draw blood. She looked to Sora, still being attacked by raging flames of Darkness.
"Well little girl, what will you do about your precious boyfriend?" Hades asked, mocking her weakness.
Her heart refused to give in. "I'll…I'll do what you want. Let him go."
Pete whistled, making the Heartless back off. Without a second to spare Kairi lifted her keyblade up at the lock, and turned it to Sora. A beam of light shot out and broke him free of his bonds. Sora collapsed to the ground.
"What?!" Pete exclaimed, shocked. Sora summoned Kingdom Key to his grip and uppercut Pete in the face, knocking him down. Kairi leaped over the Heartless swarm to Sora, Donald and Goofy despite her leg wound. Touching his shoulder with her hand, she granted him protection from the Underworld's curse.
Sora raised his keyblade into the air. "Heal!" he shouted, unleashing a powerful cure spell and healing Donald, Goofy, and Kairi of their wounds. "Sorry Hades, but it takes more to prevent us from being apart," he mocked.
Kairi agreed, falling into her battle stance. "Together we're stronger than anything you've ever seen."
Hades turned bright red, his anger making his eye twitch. "You pathetic brats dare refuse me?! This is my territory!"
"So?" Sora smirked. "Doesn't mean you can control us."
Hades was so furious when Pete stood back up; he was backing away from the god. "Get them, Pete!"
Pete snapped his fingers and summoned more Heartless. "With pleasure!"
Bats, ghosts, shadows, soldiers, and lance soldiers crowded the tiny cramped space. "Goofy!" Kairi called out to him, smacking a shadow out of existence.
Goofy got her message. "Got ya!" he moved to her side and back to back, the two spun around in an impenetrable shield tornado, pulling in half of the Heartless and blasting them away with the keyblade.
"Come on, Sora!" Donald said, hopping on Sora's shoulder. Sora threw his keyblade in a narrow line, Donald summoning a large barrage of fireworks to finish off the Heartless colliding with the keyblade.
The cave was cleared away. Pete had nowhere to go. Hades had ditched amidst the battle. Pete's eye twitched in annoyance. "That no good God of Death ain't helpin' ever. I'll get you two yet!" He shook his fist at the gang.
He ran off into the light that permitted an exit.
"Let's get out of here, I don't wanna face Hades again," Kairi said, grabbing Sora's hand and practically dragging the teen out of the cave. The duck and dog followed suit.
"No kidding…Kai…He was…Obnoxious…" Sora said, trying to keep up with Kairi's urgency as they ran through the deep caverns.
"I'm just scared he'll hurt you again," she explained, keeping her eye out for more Heartless on the path ahead.
It clicked for Sora. "Oh, yeah that…Sorry if I worried you, Kairi."
She paused and turned to face him, her hand still holding his. "You're okay, that's all that matters, you silly goof." She hugged him, tightly. "Don't apologize Sora, Hades is the one who should be apologizing."
He hugged her back. "Yeah. We'll make them pay."
Donald and Goofy snickered. No one harmed Kairi's friends, ever.
Hades returned to his throne, a sinister smile on his curled lips. "Wait until those brats find the lovely surprise I left them upstairs. Wonderbreath is history at this point."
Arriving at the top of the stairs to the Underworld, the gang was greeted by a Hydra stomping, now with more heads grown. It had destroyed most of the Coliseum by then, with Auron and Y'shtola hanging back and just trying to keep the monster's attention without creating more heads.
"Oh no!" Kairi shouted, seeing the destruction wrought by the Hydra.
Megara and Phil were behind some rocks, a giant winged horse by their side. "Sora! Kairi!" Meg waved to them.
"We could use a hand here!" Phil said, throwing another barrel towards Auron, who slammed it into the Hydra's face like a golf ball.
Donald and Goofy raised their arms. "We gotta help!" Goofy declared.
Sora and Kairi linked arms. Raising their keyblades they together activated the powers of their garments. "Give us strength!" they shouted to the sky, their clothes transforming to red. Sora leapt up with his two keyblades and bashed in one of the Hydra's heads. Kairi remembered her training earlier, being able to unleash a giant blade of Light from her own heart. Channeling the words of Y'shtola and Phil, the girl ran off low on the ground, catching the attention of the other head of the Hydra. Creating a large Light blade out of Destiny's Embrace, she whirled around and sliced off the head of the Hydra.
Donald stunned the third head with a thunder spell, allowing Goofy to throw his shield and cut off the head from its long neck. Sora with a kick off of his Hydra's head tossed Star Seeker at the neck and sliced it off.
Y'shtola lowered the bubble formed around her and Auron at the back of the Coliseum and ran to the sides of Sora, Kairi, Donald, and Goofy.
Cutting off 3 heads of the Hydra made 9 more instantly grow back from the open slices.
"What is the plan?" Auron asked, blocking a dive-bomb from one of the Hydra's heads.
"Maybe forget about the head-slicing thing?!" Phil shouted from the distance.
Y'shtola furrowed her eyebrows. "The wounds left behind after the heads are removed are open, allowing it to regenerate. If we cauterize the wounds, it cannot regenerate the heads."
"We'll need to do it as soon as we slice the heads off then. It regenerates faster than we can possibly cauterize it, said Auron.
Donald shouted "Fire!" and coated the keyblades in flames. "Now we'll be quick!"
The 9 heads darted down towards them, Y'shtola reflecting them back and stunning them. Two of the heads bit down on Auron's sword. He held them in place. "Go!"
Sora crouched down and Kairi hopped onto his back, pushed off and sliced the two heads at the base of the neck with her flaming keyblade.
"Go Pegasus!" Megara said. The giant winged horse flew down from the sky, and Sora hopped onto its back. He flew around the other stunned heads and cut off each head with a spin of both keyblades. The wounds were instantly cauterized. One by one, Sora was able to cut off the rest of the heads.
He and Pegasus landed back down on the ground. Kairi was in awe. He sliced through all of them in a matter of seconds. His power was amazing.
But she had to wonder, how did one acquire two keyblades? She had no time to dwell on it because the heads of the Hydra flailed about in the air, screeching in agony. The body with its heads shook and stomped the ground until it stopped. The Hydra was finished.
Sora and Kairi reverted to normal. "We did it!" They pumped his fist in the air.
Calliope, Clio, Melpomene, Terpsichore, and Thalia stood upon the broken pillars. "Poor Hercules, worn out and exhausted, lost the coliseum, thanks to Hades," Calliope narrated.
Clio opened her scroll. "But at least the Princess and Hero of the Keyblade learned something today."
Melpomene agreed, putting her mask away. "In the face of possible tragedy, the Princess remained strong and used her heart to guide her way."
"And the Chosen One of the Keyblade," Terpsichore, span around in her white robes. "Might have learned a thing or two about his inner darkness."
Thalia held the pink bloom that Kairi had in the gardens earlier. "I just wish those two would admit their feelings already! Ugh! They're perfect together!"
Calliope side-eyed the muse of comedy. "We just have to be patient. Their story is far from over. Now we must watch and see what happens to them. Hades is just the beginning. Hercules has endured so much; it will be a matter of time before Hades returns."
Indeed, the muse of poetry was correct. Hercules lied upon a slab of stone with only a pillow on it by the ruined gardens, a fever burning. "I failed…" He moaned.
Megara shook her head. "It's not your fault. Even a god would be exhausted."
"I let everyone down…I'm just a…I'm just no use." The glow and color on Hercules faded, his fighting spirit broken and lost.
Sora, Kairi, Donald, and Goofy looked upon the fallen hero with sadness. "She's right. Give yourself a chance to rest."
Phil placed a damp cloth on Herc's forehead. "A hero needs his rest after all."
Y'shtola nodded. "The only cure for an ailment such as this is water and sleep."
"Where's Auron?" Donald asked. "He disappeared again."
The warrior clad in red was nowhere to be seen. "He's capable of watching himself," Kairi answered. "He's like a lone wolf…Kinda like Riku."
Sora smirked. "More like Riku was a lone wolf because he just wants to be cool like Auron."
Kairi poked his arm. "So does that mean you don't wanna be cool?"
Sora placed his hand over his heart. "You wound me with your words Kairi! Are you implying that I am not cool?"
Kairi placed her hands on her hips. "Maybe I am, maybe I'm not. Point is Sora, you gotta obviously be a lone wolf if you wanna be cool."
He smirked. "Then I would have to abandon you, Kairi."
She grabbed him by the jacket, giving him the most frightening death glare. "You leave me behind Sora, and I promise that you will face a great fury from my keyblade." She winked at him.
"Okay okay, Kairi I concede your point. Besides, I'm already cooler than Riku anyways," he stuck his tongue out at her.
Hercules let out a weak chuckle. "I wonder if they met the Muses yet…" he muttered, coughing.
"Gwarsh, I hope you feel better Hercules," Goofy said.
Kairi turned to Y'shtola. "So now what?"
"It will still take a considerable amount of power to recharge my teleportation spell," she explained. "I'll stay and help Hercules recover."
"Oh right! The Olympus Stone," Sora said. Kairi pulled the stone out of her pocket and handed it to Hercules.
Megara faced the gang. "Sora, Kairi, Donald, Goofy, I owe you big time."
Sora shook his head. "It's no big deal. Just let us know if Pete or Hades start acting up. We'll take care of it."
Donald struck a flex pose. "Yeah that's what heroes are for!"
Megara and Phil looked at them with eyebrows raised. "When did you three make hero?" the woman asked.
"Uhh, we'll save that for another time, we have to hit the road," Sora changed the subject.
"Junior heroes…" Kairi whispered, trying not to giggle. Sora blushed.
Megara didn't buy it, but didn't care anyways. "Heh, okay, don't be strangers."
Phil waved to them. "Take care guys, we gotta catch up on some serious training next time."
In Hercules' grip, the Olympus Stone glowed. Sora looked to his friends and grinned. Another gateway was revealed.
Missing Journal Entry 10
Number IX is the worst partner to work with. I do all the work, he sits around and naps. At least everyone else pulls their weight.
Images of a guy in red appeared in my head today as I (not IX, he did nothing) investigated a giant coliseum. I swear he looked almost just like me.
VIII was my friend, or at least he was closest to a friend I could get. I find myself opening up more now, even if I have nothing to say. We talk about nothing while upon that clock tower, and when the ice cream's all set and done, I see him off to the castle and sneak my way down to the abandoned mansion.
She…She was there as always, drawing pictures in a sketchbook. And with her, I felt I could also talk all day about nothing. And nothing was nice. Too bad my visits with her were much shorter due to not wanting to arouse suspicion in VII or any other Organization members for my lateness. Perhaps one day I could introduce her to VIII so I could spend more time with her.
A/N: Thank you so much for reading this chapter!
A great thank you also to threedegrees for beta reading all of this fic! It means a great deal to me. Also thank you to DieWalkure for also giving me feedback on this chapter.
Feel free to leave a review. :)
As a side note, I have come to the conclusion that Pride Lands will not be included in this fic for various reasons. It doesn't contribute much to the overall plot and will have a major conflict with something later down the line so unfortunately I will be able to include it (despite having Lion Sora and Kairi would be adorable)