Disclaimer: I don't own Kingdom Hearts. Otherwise, it would've taken even longer for each instalment to have been released. (Slams head on keyboard)
He didn't feel so good…
That was an understatement. He felt terrible… dizzy, disoriented… ultimately, he was confused. He couldn't move, couldn't breathe… couldn't see what was going on. Yet he still persisted. He still tried to make sense of what was going on. What was happening as he felt several yellow orbs burning into him, as his former brethren took in what was happening.
The Wyvern raised a wing to his pointed facial features.
It wasn't…? What happened…? What was happening? He had those memories… those names, just for a brief moment. They had appeared out of nowhere, and for a moment, they had made sense. He did remember those images. He remembered exactly when they happened. But right after he had bellowed out – when he had seen Sora's heart fall captive, when he had tried to stop the Guard Armor's successful attempt to capture the Keybearer…
…it … it hadn't made sense anymore…
To him… it felt like he'd just read this information out of a book. He knew all this. He knew about Sora and Goofy, what had happened… but…
He didn't remember it. He didn't remember being a part of them, being friends with them… fighting alongside them…
The Wyvern's head sank low, his bright yellow orbs closing in frustration. What was he supposed to do? The light was building up inside him, pieces were rearranging, shattered links were mending, but… he didn't feel ready to leave the darkness. He couldn't. He wasn't prepared… - he was missing something…It's you…
Feebly, the former Heartless glanced up at the surrounding darkness, through which seemingly hundreds of bright yellow orbs peered at him. In their midst, the towering shadowy figure, hardly managing to maintain its grasp on the brightly glowing Keybearer's heart, glared at him in what could only just be identified as disgust.
He swallowed, taking a step back.
You were dealt with, weren't you?
Slowly, ever so slowly, the creature leant forth, its grotesque, gangly, yet intimidating form growing apparent to the former Heartless, who glanced up, it bright yellow orbs wide with surprise.
It wasn't that this had been the only time that the Wyvern had ever seen the leader of this group of Heartless up close and more visibly. But rather, its revealed appearance. Dangling to and fro from several parts of its mangled and shadowed body, were shattered pieces of purple armour. Burnt, twisted, slashed, cracked – yet many parts remained clinging onto the Heartless – even a helmet adorned its head, though half the visor had been torn off, revealing a glaring yellow orb…
… and a mangled, yellow grin.
The Wyvern's orbs dimmed.
'The… Gua… Guard Ar… mour…"
It pleased the former Heartless that it was starting to gather the scattered memories far more quickly than usual. But that pleasure abruptly turned to fear as more shattered links came to mind.The Guard Armour… You were dealt with… You were destroyed… Your heart was taken…
The Wyvern placed both wings to its chest, head bowed downwards. Automatically, the feeling of unease had increased. He couldn't move, couldn't look up at the leader he was now beginning to fear – not out of respect, but now out of dislike.
'I … I never belonged here."
He knew it. He'd known it all along – he didn't belong here. He'd never belonged in the shadows. That was why he'd been so divided from the other Heartless. It was why he'd been so intent on finding the light…
… The light that…
The Guard Armor burst open, the dark aura spilling to the ground. From its depths, black tendrils of darkness lunged forth, lunged towards the Keyblade Master.
Lunged for his heart.
Sora's in trouble…?
I… I'm alright. I'm okay.
But… this isn't right. That kid and the big palooka are in trouble, again…
… Because they're trying to save the castle… Because they're trying to save each other.
… They can't be finished off, this way. It's not right. This isn't right –
They're in trouble… Sora's almost done for – it's almost got him –
It's almost GOT him!
Stay AWAY from them!
Stay BACK, Guard Armour!
Go AWAY! Get LOST!
LEAVE THEM ALONE!!!
His webbed feet flew, without his mind registering his actions. He saw Sora flinching away from the black tendrils, saw Goofy staring at his companion in wide-eyed disbelief, gripping his arm, wrapped in black tendrils. He caught a glimpse of Daisy staring at him from the window, both wings cupped over her bill out of his peripheral vision. And then he saw the tendrils lunging at him.
At his chest.
A glare shot up at the Guard Armour, the glowing, yellow orbs narrowing in rage and hostility. Both wings spread to either side, and the Wyvern stretched a talon back, shaking in anger.
'It… it was you. You did this to me!"
The shadowed creature raised its head in acknowledgement.
I had to start your demise, somewhere. And it started with you, mage.
The former Heartless glanced upwards in mild confusion, trying to make sense of the sentence. He was aware that this creature was attempting to explain his cruel and twisted actions, but…'Mage…?"
I was being taken down again. By you three.
"Us three…?" Sora whispered, a hand still gripping at his chest.
Several times had you dared to stand up against me, and all my efforts had ended in vain. You had escaped without even a scratch – without any pain, whatsoever. Would this round have been any different? If I had faded back into darkness without a second thought?
Yes. And I made it so. I took the mage down with me and latched onto the knight's heart – and I made it different.
Goofy exhaled, softly, trying to take in the information. "Different…?"
I tore you apart for your defeat. I tried to devastate all of you – yet you interfered. You, with no memory of your past self, interfered.
The Wyvern stared up at the creature, who now appeared to be glaring maliciously down at him.
'Because I was with them. I was with Goofy and Sora…"
This could never have happened. Not in your state. A Heartless has no heart, and cannot feel. They only lust for hearts. And you should have stayed as such. Your heart was destroyed.
"But…it was never destroyed."
The Keyblade Master glanced over at Goofy, blinking in slight confusion. "What?"
"Don't ya remember?" The knight said, eyes wide with realization. "You moved in before that 'ol Heartless could finish off the heart!"
Sora rose, one hand still on his chest. The ice-cold feeling still hadn't gone away completely. Still, he persisted, searching his memory. Yes. Goofy was right. He'd cut in, before the Guard Armour had the chance to destroy Donald's heart. It had drifted away, up into the sky, and…
The Keyblade Master's features scrunched in frustration.
"But… where did it go?"
A familiar blue flicker suddenly revealed itself to the former Heartless, once more, and he spun around on the spot in fear. Though this never changed the fact that the newly grotesque Guard Armour still stared at the creature in continuous detest – it remained in the same area spot, the same, position, even as more and more hordes of Heartless began to crowd around the scene, the unwelcome mix of light and darkness drawing them from all corners of the realm of darkness.
At the moment, however, the Wyvern could care less, steadily being drawn closer and closer to the blue-aural orb of light that had been hovering from behind the creature.
And suddenly, the former Heartless was overwhelmed. The sickening feeling had returned, ever so gradually as it continued to approach the light… that light…
Yes… this felt right. This felt right, by all means. This was his heart – this was who he really was… the memories that had been uprooted in his mind suddenly seemed to work – Yes, they had happened. Yes, he had been a part of them. He could see… he could remember…
The Wyvern spun around.
He held both leathery wings before him, and stared, the yellow in his orbs dimming, fading away, to give way to a sky-blue.
The Wyvern's eyes shot up, Sora's scream lingering in his ears, as he caught sight of the intimidating Guard Armour, once more. He saw the claw, still gripped around the Keybearer's Heart, brightening in defiance, scorching the darkness, but the Heartless still persisted. It clamped tightly… tighter…
Goofy hurried to Sora, who collapsed to his knees, doubled over in pain, and grasping at his chest, teeth gritted in agony. Through his fingers, he could see the aura of his own heart flickering violently, the aura extending from his chest and into the knight's view.
The knight suddenly grew angered, grasping at the boys arm, tightly, glancing to and fro, in a desperate manner. It couldn't be fair. It wasn't right. The Guard Armour wasn't done with them, even though it had inflicted more damage than they could ever want. More desperation, more sadness, to him, Donald and Sora.
Goofy glanced at the gasping Sora, whose strained gaze fell astray from his own, beads of sweat forming on his forehead.
And his eyes narrowed.
When the knight had made a friend, any friend – even those who had later deserted the castle or had separated ways from him (Pete had ultimately come to mind; ) – he'd always vowed to protect them. He'd always vowed to do his best to stand up against their enemy.
Even though he was well aware that half of the time, it meant being thrown aside or beaten back by the foe. He knew that physically, he was inferior to several foes – he felt that he could never persist on his own.
To his friends, he never wished to be useless. He never wished to be a coward. No matter how clumsy he got, he never wanted to let anyone down.
Goofy shut his eyes.
So… if he had ever let them down – if this promise had gone awry – if he'd ever given up on them…
"It's gonna stop now." Goofy whispered, silently. Half to reassure Sora of his pain.
Half to promise to himself.
The Guard Armour recoiled with a shriek, as the knight's heart, neighbouring that of the Keybearer's captive heart, joined its companion and glowed with the same ferocity, the same brightness that had scorched the dark and shrivelled claw.
The Wyvern let out a cry.
The inferior Heartless that had gathered suddenly seemed to scatter, crying out in fear and alarm. Yet once more to the former Heartless, it simply sounded like screeches and indistinctive roaring – the language of darkness had further distorted as he had neared the heart.
Yet he was almost certain that they feared being burned, once more, by the light.
Both wings stretched to either side, and he beat them down, throwing himself up in the air full force, towards the two glowing hearts. Towards the claw that held the Keyblade Master's heart captive, towards the Guard Armor…
"LET GO OF HIM!"
… and collided headfirst into the being.
In the quiet, eerie caverns of Hollow Bastion, three cries sounded, bouncing off the canyon walls, reaching ears of those far too distant to aid. From the wreckage of the castle, a Heartless once more breached the link between the realm of light and darkness,
Sora's eyes widened, and Goofy staggered back, automatically, as the being that had latched out onto the Keybearer's heart for so long finally came into view. The mangled Guard Armour came into view, its claw out of sight, its limb visibly plunged into Sora's back.
This was soon ripped out. A cry sounded from the boy's throat, as the claw emerged forcefully from his back. There was no blood, no damage to his skin…
And thankfully, no heart in the shadowed claw's grip.
Goofy hesitated for a few seconds beforehand, before glancing up at the superior Heartless, crying out and clawing at its half-shielded facial features. A leathery-red formed crawled all over it, slashing and shrieking at the being mercilessly, even going as so far as to peck the being several times in the face, before finally being clawed off, and thrown downwards towards Sora. The Keybearer was only just rising, and Goofy, who had dashed back to his former position. Both stared at the Wyvern Heartless who shakily rose on its own, to glance up at the two.
Sora blinked hard, in surprise. Though it hurt to move, his thoughts could now register properly. He caught sight of the Wyvern's chest as it rose all the way, looking up at Goofy, who approached out of sudden recognition, and then to Sora, who gave a small gasp.
Yes. Staring closer, he could see that there was no longer a Heartless symbol upon its chest not even a smear, for that matter. And something else about the creature had changed, too – instead of the usual, Heartless-yellow orbs that had often burned into him, there were a pair of light, sky-blue orbs, staring at him.
Then, the Wyvern glanced back up to the knight, who froze in surprise.
There was a dead silence.
It broke, when a blackened tendril suddenly lashed out towards the trio, who instantly managed to scatter. The tendril managed a crack upon the tile balcony, before lashing out at the knight, who automatically held his shield up, far more warily than usual. He wasn't going to let his past mistakes occur again.
The Wyvern staggered back, with a screech, as another round of tendrils hurled themselves towards the slightly disoriented Sora, who managed to throw himself out of the way, once more. His eyes grew wide, as the Guard Armour once more lunged for the Keybearer trying in crazed vain to reclaim his heart.
Hurriedly, the former Heartless charged forth, dodging his fair share of tendrils as he became airborne through speed. Sora only had seconds to register that the Wyvern was lunging towards him, before he found himself airborne as well, narrowly escaping a full lunge by the Guard Armour, who had hurled its entire mangled body towards the Keybearer.
"Hang on, hang on!"
Sora found himself at least ten feet above the scene, grasping onto one of the Wyvern's furiously flapping wings, and half being held up by one of its mighty talons. With a cry, he hurriedly took the former Heartless's advice, and swung himself up onto its back, hugging round his neck as he caught sight of a fresh round of tendrils shooting upwards from the Guard Armour's current fallen position.
Goofy stared upwards at the two, who swooped away from their pursuers frantically. The Wyvern had hardly made great use of his flying skills before, but however long he had remained in the dark, it had given him enough experience to at least evade the incoming tendrils. Sora maintained his grip, tightly, though both his shoulders still stung unbearably – he'd forgotten to have a potion straight after his battle with Goofy.
The knight snapped out of his hesitation, his gaze fixed onto the flailing Guard Armour, now hardly recognisable as a smoky mass of writhing darkness, the occasional purple armour sliding into view from time to time. Yet he could see that more and more tendrils were rising up, lashing themselves upwards towards the fleeting duo, the Wyvern persisting in evading each and every one. Every failed attempt pulled themselves back into the mass, before lashing out again.
The Wyvern screeched, now falling into a dive in order to outrun the tendrils, still determined to take down either of them. He hurled himself to the right, then the left, then abruptly swooped back upwards, the wind whistling past his wings, trying with all his might to shake them off. But he was tiring. All the Guard Armour was persisting non-stop, and it was apparent that the Heartless was not about to give way.
As soon as a tendril struck inches away from the fleeting Wyvern, a loud screech sounded, and the black mass shuddered and recoiled, to recognise a separate threat – Goofy had hurled his shield full-force into the mass, and in desperation, it had thrown out its tendrils to all sides with an ear-splitting cry.
Sora, watching the scene from the Wyvern's back, grew wide-eyed, his bright blue orbs recognising the threat. This was it. This was the same attack that had taken Donald, that had cursed Goofy. Its overdrive, the attack it had unleashed as a last resort. It was weakening – without its main defence of armour, it had been weakened by the light, and attacks. But, still –
Goofy was already in full range, and…
The Keybearer hurriedly glanced over at the Wyvern, who was staring at the scene, flapping its wings clumsily, in exhaustion.
"Listen… Listen to me for a second… I gotta let you fall for a bit…"
The Keybearer's heart leapt up into his throat, and he stared downwards, eyes wide. The writhing mass wasn't directly under them, nor was it far. Still, he knew it'd be a nasty fall – he was still roughly ten feet up in the air.
With a tired voice, Sora managed, "You're kidding. If I fall that far, I'm a goner. The Guard Armour could get me - "
"Just trust me on this one, Sora."
The boy suddenly froze, glancing back over at the Wyvern. The voice that had entered his mind was no longer the harsh whisper of the former Heartless. No longer garbled by the wall between light and dark. To a person who wouldn't have heard it before, it still indeed would not have been recognisable.
But to Sora…
The Keybearer breathed in deeply, as he spotted Goofy, out of his peripheral vision, managing to hold his own against the Heartless with a tornado-like spin with his shield, much like the last round against the Guard Armour's heavy-metal fists. And finally, he looked at the Wyvern, letting out a shaky, tired breath. But his eyes were focused. He was ready.
"Why… do I have to drop… Donald?"
The Wyvern's orbs grew wide, and tore away from the scene, staring in surprise at the Keybearer, who, despite his firm gaze, also seemed majorly uncertain of the word that had just blurted from his mouth.
The former Heartless's gaze fell astray for a brief second.
The realisation was interrupted when one of the tendrils skimmed narrowly past one of his clumsily-flapping wings. Sora let out a cry, as the former Heartless vanished into an orb of swirling blackness, and he began to plummet almost instantly to the ground. The wind whistled through his hair and clothes, and he hurriedly summoned the Keyblade to his side, cringing in pain at his shoulders.
He had to trust him…
The Wyvern burst back into the darkness, never acknowledging the scene that played out in the darkness that corresponded to the happenings in the realm of light. He payed no heed to the smaller, inferior Heartless that had gathered in his arrival, screeching and baying out in defiance.
"It was round here – It's gotta be here, somewhere!"
He was running out of time – he was already running out of time, and –
A bright blue light caught his gaze, only metres away from his current position. Without giving a second thought, without acknowledging the Heartless beginning to crowd around him, he hurled himself full pelt towards his heart, with a cry as the blue aura lunged out at him, consuming his entire body.
Dizziness crowded his mind, and he let out a large shriek as the light flooded the area. He felt his wings melt away, felt his powerful talons leaving him. He felt his leathery hide fading off his body, giving way to a white, feathery down.
Donald Duck couldn't have been happier.
A bright flash of light down to his left upon the cracked tiles caught Sora's eye for a few brief seconds, as he plummeted downwards towards the hard, tiled balcony. Yet it soon became the least of his concerns. The Guard Armour was still panicking, throwing out more and more of its tendrils in every direction, colliding with pillars, walls and pipes that adorned the ruined castle.
Three tendrils narrowly skimmed past him, attempting to curl around the airborne Keybearer, but he tried with all his might to slash them away, his shoulders still wracking in pain.
He could still see Goofy, fighting off all the tendrils that came near, yet he, too, was starting to struggle. The knight hurriedly glanced up at the Keybearer, and his eyes grew wide as he realised his comrade was plummeting towards the ground. In this brief moment of weakness, several tendrils suddenly hurled themselves from the Guard Armour towards the knight.
Sora grew panicked, and tried to scream out at Goofy, before finding himself, face-to face, with a flurry of black tendrils, heading directly towards the Keybearer, inches from his face.
His breath caught in his throat.
Suddenly, the tendrils that had beelined towards him abruptly scattered upon colliding onto a windy barrier, which had freshly formed around him in a protective sphere. His eyes widening at the spell, Sora was knocked back into reality as he collided into the tiles, the wind spell dissolving as he landed, lessening the force of the Keybearer's fall.
Rising shakily, Sora's gaze rose to Goofy, who, to his confusion, had also been covered with an Aeroga spell and spared the wrath of the blackened tendrils, which were shuddering and recoiling away from both their intended prey.
And then, finally, both turned to face each other, and then a third, who lay on his stomach between them, his mage staff outstretched towards the scene in his shaking grip, his sky-blue eyes tired, but focused.
Goofy stared in shock at Donald, whose staff clattered to the ground, head bowed down in exhaustion. His clothing was tattered and torn, his hat missing. His feathers were ruffled, and a few slashes were present upon his chest, which was heaving in and out in fatigue.
"Am… I late…?" The mage managed, softly, too tired to look up at either Sora or Goofy anymore.
Both the Keybearer and the knight suddenly glanced back up at the writhing remains of the Guard Armour, whose attempt to lash out tendrils as a final strike had ridden it of its strength.
Despite this, however, it received no mercy at all, whatsoever.
It let out a cry as both a shield and a Keyblade were flung into its flesh. With a final shriek, it convulsed and deteriorated into wisps of darkness, vanishing abruptly in contact with the light. The tendrils shrivelled up, fading away into what sun had reached them Remaining in the place of the writhing mass of darkness was a large, black orb, swirling with obscurity, still lingering in the light of day.
The trio stared at the being, their exhaustion finally taking over them. Sora's Keyblade vanished from his grasp and Goofy's shield clattered to the ground. Yet they stared on, breathing shakily. The Guard Armour had indeed lost against them, once more.
But… it hadn't been defeated.
Under the gazes of the trinity, the orb, too, finally vanished in a swirl of darkness.
And Sora, Donald and Goofy passed out on the tiles in exhaustion.
Ow. Ow. I have a headache. Ow…
Well, that was a lot to churn out. I'm sorry if it seemed a little rushed near the end, I had to get this thing wrapped up. But I hoped you liked it.
The next chapter is a sappy reunion. : D And a couple of familiar faces come back on the scene, too…
Hopefully, this next chapter will come out sooner…
… she says, hopefully.
Thank you for reading.