Olympus - Thebes

With one final swipe of his rapier, the last… thing, he really needed to get names for these things, was destroyed. The adventurer looked back to the party that had jumped in to help, and who was currently helping the lady down from the pillar. That brown-haired boy didn't look like much, but he had been a veritable lightning bolt, darting from one enemy to the next with quick strikes from that key. While they lacked power, they hit with precision and the fast strikes took down the smaller ones in a couple hits.

The dog managed to prove a deft hand with the shield. He'd thought that the shield lob that he'd seen G'dhap do was impractical, but this canine used it as a full-fledged weapon. Not only bashing enemies with it, but throwing it in ways that he'd not thought possible. Lastly, the duck proved to be a pretty good mage. He could see it being very welcome at the Thaumaturge's guild back home…

He paused for a moment, wondering what exactly had happened, before walking over as the lady made her exit.

"Not bad, you three," He said, "Haven't seen that sort of fighting before. What are your names?"

The three looked at each other and back to him, before the boy spoke up, "I'm Sora! This is Donald, and Goofy!" He gestured to each one in turn.

"Well then. My name is Josh Corvus. Now… Forgive me for being presumptuous, but you fought those things with some degree of familiarity. What are they?" the finally named Josh asked.

"Heartless. They grow from the darkness in people's hearts and cause problems all across the wo-" His mouth was suddenly covered by the duck, whispering something in his ear about the World Order or something.

"Interesting…" Josh turned from them, staring at the sky trying to puzzle something out, "Makes sense why they would have appeared back home… But why would they go after that… I think it looked like a keyhole?"

"A keyhole?! Where?" Josh jumped back as Donald was suddenly in his face.

"I'd advise you not to do that again, years of adventuring have left me jumpy. As to where I saw it… It was back home, right before a swarm of those creatures plunged into it. Next thing I know, I wake up here." Josh said, watching as the duck fell back to the ground.

"Oh…" Sora suddenly seemed to deflate, "I'm sorry."

"About what?" Josh was very confused.

"They stole your world's heart. But it'll return! All we have to do is beat the Heartless again and Xehanort!"

"You speak as though my home is gone," Josh said… before it finally hit, "It is, isn't it… Shit… Shit shit shit…"

He wandered off a little bit, his face pale as he rapidly tapped his ear, "Static… static… static… Come on, somebody pick up… Shit…" His arm fell to his side as he started breathing rapidly. "They'll be alright, they have to be. All the static means is that they aren't in range right now. We've faced worse than this… Haven't we?"

He walked back over, "You, Sora."

"Yes?" Sora snapped to attention.

"You're going across these… they are worlds aren't they? Completely different worlds? To fight these Heartless and this… Xehanort?"


"Well… If you'll let me, I'd like to come with. Whatever those things did to my world, they will pay. And if there's any chance that my friends are still alive…" He broke off. Sora reached up and patted his shoulder.

"Hey, they'll be alright. Trust me!" He said with a grin.

"Somehow, beyond all logic, I think I do. Lead on, kid," Josh said, as they turned to proceed.

As he moved forward, he noticed that Sora had vanished. His unasked question was swiftly answered as a statue crashed through a wall and Donald's voice echoed from the new hole, "Tell me you meant to do that."

BGM - To Fire and Sword - FFXIV Shadowbringers

They soon slid down a hill and more Heartless appeared as they came to a pit filled with fire. As Sora jumped forward, Josh started swiping his rapier, sending shockwaves straight to the flying Heartless. It didn't take long for Sora to move to climb a wall and take on the Heartless on top of it as Josh started firing spells again and his swords.

When the fight ended, Sora hopped down on the other side leaving Josh a bit… stranded.

"Come on! You can do it!" he shouted from his perch on the far side.

Josh stared at the pit, then at the wall. After a minute he took a deep breath and ran at the wall. To give him credit, he made it halfway. And then promptly fell into the pit to Sora's shocked cry. A few seconds later, a charred glove clamped on the edge, with Josh pulling himself up immediately after.

"That… was not fun." He grumbled, dusting off the soot on his clothing.

"Are you alright?" Sora asked.

"Yes, I've been through hotter fires before. But that was unpleasant. How likely is it that we're going to have to do that again?"

"The fire or the running?"


"Probably very likely."

"Great. I'll get used to it then. Right, I'm good. Lead on."

Sora gave him a concerned look before moving on. It didn't take long for them to come across civilians being attacked by the Heartless. It also didn't take long for their combined forces to outright obliterate the Heartless. As Sora spoke with the civilians and got them out, Josh took a moment to look around.

"Hey Donald, Goofy. Over there. Is that someone watching us?" He motioned towards a far building where he thought he saw someone. Goofy looked over there and shrugged while Donald tried to get a better look.

"I don't know… Maybe?" Donald said.

"Might be my imagination. Never mind." Josh said, "You good Sora?" He asked as the boy approached again.

"Yeah, let's keep going!"

They continued forward, taking on the Heartless and saving the civilians. Josh noted how often Sora scaled the walls to get extra stuff at the top of the walls. And a few occasions he saw Heartless come flying off. He also caught on that Donald and Goofy were scaling them as well. He tried to scale as well. He really did. He just couldn't run up them and was stuck climbing normally. By the time he reached the top, Sora would have finished his search and would be hopping down, leaving him to drop down.

As they continued moving forward, they came across a path of fire. After a few moments, Sora and Donald hopped on Goofy's shield as Goofy pushed it forward and hopped on, sending them sliding through the flames, completely safe from harm. With a slightly twitching eye, Josh pulled out a small vial, chugged its contents and started walking through the flames after them. It stung, but the potion helped matters a bit. He hoped they wouldn't run across many more, if only because the recipe had been lost and he didn't have many of these potions.

He announced his presence by firing his ethereal swords at a group of the archer Heartless that Sora and the others were facing. It didn't take him long to take the Heartless out and for them to keep moving, minus a small glare from Josh. It didn't take long for trouble to find them… again.

They heard crumbling and dashed into the area to see a crumbling building with screaming inside. Despite his misgivings, Josh followed the rest of the party into the building to see civilians frozen in terror and… one man holding up the building.

"What?" He breathed in shock.

"Sora!" The man shouted, "get these people out of here!"

And of course, as he said that, more Heartless appeared.

"Sora, do as he says," Josh called out, flipping his rapier and causing it to vanish as a long staff appeared in his hands. His outfit also changed in a flash of blue light. No more was he in his red dueling gear. Instead a black hat appeared on his head, with an eyepatch over his right eye and his robes changed to black robes. "I can handle this. Now let's see how much I learned."

BGM - From Fear to Fortitude - Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn

With a quick focus, a circle filled with intersecting lines appeared under his feet and a swirling blizzard hit the Heartless, drawing their focus to him. A small sigil appeared in front of him and quickly vanished as he then cast two more of the blizzards, stopping them in their tracks. Redirecting his focus, he sent a storm of lightning into a group sneaking up on him before casting a small series of explosions onto one of the Heartless, firing off a couple more large Flares into the first group he hit, destroying them.

He noticed the lines under him vanish as he sent another swirling blizzard at the second group, noticing a third group warp in.

"The buggers are determined. I'll give them that. Still, it looks like I'm remembering things. Like this." He mumbled, sending a swirl of ice energy into himself and repeating the trick before sending another lightning storm to the third group.

"Alright… Foul!" He intoned as he fired a mass of dark energy into the center of the Heartless, destroying a good portion of them and leaving a small amount left to mop up, which only took a few more fire spells. By this time, Sora had managed to take the last of the civilians out of the building.

"Come on, time to go!" He called. Josh nodded and started running out.


"Hercules!" Sora called… right as the building collapsed with the man underneath the rubble. "No!"

Sora looked at the ground, not able to believe what had just happened. Josh wasn't quite sure how to respond and simply gave a comforting pat on the back.

"Take your time kid. I'll be just up ahead when you're ready," He said, letting him have time to process.

As he walked on ahead, he took a look at the city, noting the smoke plumes had died down, but there were still some left that needed dealing with. As he stared, he got the feeling of a presence and turned to his right to see another man standing next to him.

"Man, that's a lot of destruction," The man said. He had dark, spiky hair with a red headband on. His pants, for lack of a better term, looks more like yellow and grey rags. On his left arm, he had some greaves and a strange black tattoo on his torso. And finally, in his right hand, he had a large sword. A sword that reasonably should not be wielded one hand, but his build made it seem like he would have no issues doing so.

Almost as if sensing the tension, he said, "Take it easy. Not here to fight. Yet at least. Just scouting out the competition."

"Competition?" Josh muttered.

"Yep, you ain't the only one out of their world. And there's folks who don't want that crystal back."

"Are you saying you're an Ascian, or affiliated with them?"

"Not a chance. Don't even know what that is. But you think the rock had only one enemy? Heh, that's wishful thinking. And put the weapon down or I will hit you." He said, glancing over to Josh, who had switched back into his red attire and had his rapier out again. Josh grudgingly sheathed the weapon.

"That's better," the man said. "Now look. I'm one of the few who're gonna actually treat you with some decency. The others, some just want a good fight, others have completely lost it. Not exactly a tight group, eh?"

"And what is your group even trying to do?"

"That's actually not my role to tell. I ain't the leader and frankly, I still don't know. But it ain't a good idea to try to attack the guy who brought you back to life. So I follow them for now."

He cast a glance over his shoulder, "Looks like we gotta wrap this up. Sorry in advance, but I gotta keep up appearances." Before Josh could say anything, the man turned and buried a fist in his stomach. After a second of intense pain, Josh flew backwards and bowled over… Hercules?

The strange man vanished as Josh got to his feet and helped up Hercules, leaving no trace of his existence except the small slit in the ground where he had been and the feeling of a fist in Josh's gut.

"Alright, level with me… How are you alive?" Josh gasped out, still hunched over in pain.

"Being the son of a god has some perks," Hercules said, helping him stay up.

Sora also looked troubled, though for a different reason. Turns out, while Josh was having his talk with the strange man, one of Sora's enemies had spoken with him and left on a very cryptic note. Apparently, this was one of the man's normal traits. Didn't make things any less suspicious. Regardless, they had to continue on. There was one last area they had to clear. A swift slide down the hill to one of the enclosed areas, and bursting through a weak wall revealed the last Heartless, a large giant, terrorizing the town center. With five people working against it, and Sora pulling a giant ship out of thin air to blast it with water(seriously what the hell?!), the Heartless fell in quick order.

Hercules checked in with the flying horse, woman, and… weird… goat human thing that flew down. It didn't take long for him to get them to agree to stay safe as he rejoined the group. Josh had been staring with a twitching eye at the floating Moogle hologram, which stood there with a sweat drop on its face. It took Sora calling him to get him to return as they headed out of the city.

A couple hours later, they reached what Hercules called the base of Mount Olympus. As they moved onward, Hercules noted that the river wasn't usually this active, and indeed the waters were rushing in a rather dangerous manner. The reasoning behind it was revealed shortly after Heartless burst out of the river. More watery ones burst from the river itself, and Air Pirates descended from the sky, only to get fried by a burst of lightning and a red flower following it. Sora managed to take down the water Heartless with some blasts of fire and help from Donald.

The scenario repeated itself, but more water Heartless instead of the Air Pirates. Once again, they fell rather quickly and Sora's attention was drawn to something in the clearing as the river died down.

"Hey, what's that?" He wondered as he walked towards it. Josh caught sight of it as Sora got close to it. A crystal, of pure blue, and from it he felt pure light. More to the point, the sensation was just like… Home? As he saw Sora reach out to touch it, he called out.

"Sora, don't!" Sora turned around, his hand brushing the crystal as the boy wondered what was going on. And that touch was more than enough to trigger it. The crystal began flashing rapidly and light began flowing out from it. The ground began cracking and the mountain began to rumble as the crystal glowed brighter and brighter. Under their feet, the ground began shifting from grass and rock to blue crystal and metal. The mountain began shifting as the light impacted it. And soon, the light grew to be too blinding for anyone to see and they shielded their eyes.

When the light died down finally, and they unshielded their eyes, all they could do was stare in amazement.

"What happened?" Donald wondered.

"Where are we?" Goofy asked.

As Josh stared at the sight that was now in front of them, he knew exactly where they were. As the crystals covered the ground they were on, a metal plate extended in front of them. Assorted floating fish hovered over the ground leading up to the mountain. Except there wasn't a mountain now. Instead a gigantic wrecked metal object rose in front of them, with a scaled skeleton coiled around it.

"This is the wreck of the Agrius. But how? How did it get here?"

Twilight Town - The Forest

"Flare!" The woman called out, obliterating the last of the Heartless in a giant fireball. As the smoke cleared, she put the staff back on her back and gave a heavy exhale.

"That wasn't even a workout. What were those things anyways?" She muttered to herself.

"Excuse me?" She heard behind her and she turned around, seeing the three she'd protected.

"Oh. Are you all alright?" She asked, searching them with a critical eye.

"Y-yes! Thank you!" Pence said

"Hey, who are you anyways?" Hayner asked.

"Hmm… Call me R'idill. Tell me, what were those things?" She asked, taking a gaze around the forest.

"They're called the Heartless," Pence said, "They're made from the darkness in people's hearts. But they haven't been around for awhile."

"I see…" R'idill mused, "Tell you what, how about I accompany you at least until you are done at this… mansion, was it?" she asked, getting a nod from the trio. "Right, the mansion. Better to be prepared in case those things attack again, right?"

"Hey, where'd Olette go?" Hayner asked as Pence gave another nod, the question was answered shortly after as Olette ran back up from the mansion.

"Guys! There's something odd in front of the mansion!" She said, panting with her hands on her knees.

"Odd?" R'idill asked. Olette simply waved her hand, motioning to follow her. It didn't take long for them to arrive at the mansion's entrance. And sitting in front of it was a blue crystal.

"Now what have we here?" R'idill muttered, kneeling in front of it. "Feels like the light of the Mothercrystal."

"The Mothercrystal?" Pence asked.

R'idill seemingly didn't hear him, or if she did she gave no response. She reached out and placed a hand on it. And in response, the crystal began flashing rapidly. The ground rumbled, and the mansion trembled. As light engulfed the trio, the mansion began shifting to take a more… ominous appearance.

"What in the seven hells?" R'idill gasped as her eyes recovered from the burst of light. She recognized the mansion. How could she not? After all… Haukke Manor was one of their more iconic fights… and they had to do it twice!

A.N. Apologies for this taking so long, schoolwork and constantly getting sidetracked with games does not help! I need to replay KH3 as well so there's that little bit. Anyways! One of the first new antagonist has made an appearance and the replacement for the portals and podiums has appeared! And it's a lot more dangerous to the ordinary person. Here's hoping you enjoy, and hoping that the next one doesn't take so long to write.