Hey, guys! It's been a long time. The following is a re-write of the first of many rewritten chapters of the Axelerate series.
First, an extensive author's note:
1) THIS ACCOUNT WILL HAVE NO NEW STORIES POSTED TO IT. All my stories are being placed upon my personal website, and my new fanfiction account, "tonystarktheautobot".
2) ALL STORIES ON THIS ACCOUNT WILL EVENTUALLY BE FINISHED. Most of them are years old, and in an attempt to continue them, I am re-writing them so I can start fresh. These will all be on my new website, a link to which will be in the author's description of both my fanfiction accounts.
3) I have yet to decide whether I will post the rest of the rewritten chapters of this story solely on my website, or as a new story on my new fanfiction account. If you have an opinion on what I should do, please share, and I'll take it into consideration.
All of that said, enjoy the rewritten first chapter of 'Kingdom Hearts: Axelerate!'
It was only a few months after the Organization XIII's defeat by the key-masters' hands… After the death of one and the birth of the Bond of Flame…
It was then that a new adventure began, and old enemies rose to life at the hands of others...
THREE MONTHS AGO
Silence reigned over the graveyard - or, what appeared to be one, given the rows of raised headstones and the solemn air. In a way, it did symbolize the 'deaths' of some, if those kinds of 'people' could die. It was a place called the 'Proof of Existence'.
In the center of this place stood a woman beneath a long cloak of midnight blue. A crescent moon ran over the shoulder of the cloak, stood out bright in the darkness of the room, and in her hand was a staff. Short as the forearm, with a small red star rotating freely in the hold of the crescent moon on the staff's end.
What could be seen of her body was lean and lanky, almost skin and bones, feet scarred and bruised with anklets on either ankle. A short skirt, black as pitch, clung tight to her thighs, and just beneath it the edges of a tattoo shaped like the sign of a Nobody could be seen. Hands lifted above her head, heavy shackles linked her wrists to the "tombstones" spread across the room.
Cracked, dry lips opened and released a voice with depth like the ocean and force like the wind.
"(Blood in my veins, searing my Heart, lifting my Soul, manipulating my Body, connecting my Being, driving me Insane. I Bleed; I Live.)"
A blue ring of light sprung into being as the woman spoke in a language unrecognizable. The ring grew, in size and brightness, and the tattoo began to glow as well, until she spoke again, in a more common tongue.
"The Superior, the Freeshooter, the Whirlwind Lancer, the Chilly Academic, the Silent Hero, the Cloaked Schemer, the Luna Diviner, the Flurry of Dancing Flames, the Melodious Nocturne, the Gambler of Fate, the Graceful Assassin, the Savage Nymph, the Key of Destiny."
A look of wonder, of religious rapture, overtook her face as she removed a knife from her belt. With no hesitation, she sliced her palm open, and walked from stone to stone, spreading the red liquid across each one. Once she had marked all twelve, she bent down and began drawing upon the floor with her blood.
"The Superior," She muttered again, whilst drawing a symbol upon the ground, and in doing so, forced the chains upon her to move. One of them connected with the Freeshooter's stone, and like lightning striking electricity, the stone sparked and pain radiated through the woman's body. With a huff, the woman stood and adjusted the chain so that it didn't touch the stone, and the pain vanished. She returned to her drawing.
Her hand would bleed no more - so she cut the palm of the other hand, and drew a girl upon the ground, her hand outstretched as if holding someone else's hand, but no one was there. The woman drew a circle around the nothingness next to the girl, then stood and put her bleeding palms together in prayer.
"(Blood in my veins, searing my Heart, lifting my Soul, manipulating my Body, connecting my Being, driving me Insane. I Bleed; I Live.)"
The whole room began to glow as she spoke, and the wounds in her hand healed with a quick flash of light and an intake of breath. Every tombstone was now glowing, along with the woman's tattoo. Letting her hands fall to her sides, the stoic woman stood in wait, watching.
"Let my blood heal them." She whispered. "Let my blood flow through them. We will be connected, and I pass this connection on to the Princess of Nothing. Let them have second chances to have Heart; Even those", her eyes fell down to the Superior's drawing symbol. "That threw away all chances. Let them feel the earth and the sea and the sky…" And with that, the woman let her hands lift up, holding her palms to the ceiling as her head fell back.
With a scream, the room was engulfed in light, and 12 souls rose again as the woman's heart split into fifteen pieces. Agonizing pain overtook her, and tears split out of her eyes as she sobbed and collapsed to the ground, not caring that the chains holding her hit against the tombstones again. 12 bodies began to form on the ground from nothing, and once they were fully formed, fell boneless to the ground.
The woman watched, shaking with the pain, as one by one the souls came from the tombstone and flew to their corresponding bodies.
She knew they wouldn't be human, not yet. They would be like ghosts, with bodies, their powers stripped but their forms not completely mortal. It would take time for them to fully change.
Once the bodies and souls were complete, the woman sniffled and let out one last sob, before placing a hand over her shattered heart.
"Here!" She called. "Take them! I give them to you! Use them wisely, and do not falter. Try to be the humans you once were, and be worthy of the gift I grant you." Slowly, her hand fell away, and she gave a breathless sigh.
All was still. Mist floated above the bodies of thirteen lifeless bodies.
A small light grew in the woman's chest, and she coughed and heaved as it did. The light escaped, and in the free air shone bright red, then began to beat like a heart. AIt had a rhythm to it, a small one, but it was there nevertheless. It whirled and twirled and spun around the woman.
Chuckling, the woman spoke to it. "Wispy, carefree, but also lazy." With one last chuckle, the woman pointed to one of the bodies. "It's the Melodious Nocturne for you, little one." The woman smiled at the small fragment of heart, and after twirling around the woman's head one last time, the heart-piece flew to the Nocturne and dove inside. Immediately, his skin brightened, and his body took an unconscious deep breath.
Again, another heart came from the woman, and with a small painful gasp, it was let free. This one was yellow, and flew in sharp lines, deadly, yet cautious. The way it moved, it was as if it was looking the woman over as the woman examined it.
"Attitude, huh? And spunk. But also… sadistic". With a quick nod in the other woman's direction, the woman directed the heart-piece. "The Savage Nymph." With a sharp dive, the heart-piece disappeared inside the Nymph, giving her new life – and new heart.
Yet another heart-piece appeared, and another decision was made.
"A bit of the rebel? Fire. But definitely cocky. Yes, you are definitely the Flurry of Dancing Flames' type of heart." The woman told the red heart-piece, and somehow the bright light seemed to almost saunter into the body of a spiky-haired red head.
"And, you", She told the next heart-piece. "A calm and collected heart, though sorrowful, for the Luna Diviner." Without pause the bluish-purple soul was whisked away inside the body of a blue haired man.
And so it went, through all twelve bodies, until only one was left. This last heart-piece was purplish-black, and appeared to be attempting to dominate the woman, hovering above her head and leering down.
"And you", the woman's voice sounded amused. "What are you really? Just anger and hate? Insatiable curiosity, manipulative and power-hungry? Hardly rare traits among these people." She chuckled.
"What to call you? Perhaps there's not a name. Just a knowing feeling in the pit of my gut that you are the Superior?"
With that, the mist in the room began rotating around the heart, and the body that had been on the floor now stood transparent before the ragged, tired woman. With a cold sneer, the Superior looked the woman over, who took his hard stare with a wry smile and bright, amused eyes.
"How does it feel, Superior?" She taunted. "How does it feel to have the numbness fade away from nothing to nothing? To have a heart once more?" The man's eyes grew wide.
"I gave it to you. Take care of it. And until I know you can…" She whispered as she began to lose steam. "You and your others will be watched over." Stretching out her hand, she grasped part of the man's cloak. Two last heart-piece's came from the being, one a light cream and the other a deep brown. With a blink of her eyes, transparent chains attached the Superior to the creamy light, and the chain stretched to the others in the room.
The Superior noticed that the chain was connecting to the very chain that was on the woman. And that this chain was connected to all in the room… but one.
"Axel stays." The woman stated. She reached into her pocket and took out a letter. Tucking it into the chain links, she looked the Superior in the eyes for the first time. "Give that… to the Seventh Princess, counterpart to the Nothing Princess." The Superior gave an irritated growl as the lights began to glow, and he and his brethren began to fade out of the room. Just before he disappeared, he whispered.
And with that, the woman's eyes rolled into the back of her head. The room began to rumble and fill with mist as the chains on her wrists tightened, pulling her through the air to be held tight against the wall.
One last body was in the room other than the woman. As the mist grew heavier, the platform the woman and the unconscious man flew upwards, like an elevator, careening through the misty, clouded air.
Axel's eyes fluttered open for just a moment, before the toxic mist kicked in, and he fell into deep slumber.
And the two would remain in deep darkness of slumber. They would wait for however long it took the stars to deem them free. Suddenly, with a violent jerk, the elevator screeched to a halt, and began plummeting downwards, past the Proof of Existence and deeper still. The two would remain asleep.
Until the Nobodies crowned their Princess.
As I said before, It was only a few months after the defeat of Organization XIII. The three heroes who had, twice over, saved the universe were staying at Hallow - that is, Radiant Garden, aiding their friends in the planet's restoration. They actually stayed in Castle Hallow Bastion, previously Maleficient's hideout, which was a veritable paradise of exploration and discovery, with floors upon floors of secret rooms and old treasure troves, not to mention the fabulous view of the Great Maw. Most everyday, the three children left their home-away-from-home to traverse the Maw and visit Castle Radiant Garden, where their friends stayed. If it seems odd that the children would elect to live in a dilapidated ex-villain's lair, and not in comfort with their friends, then the simple explanation would be that it made quite the perfect place to train.
Of the three keyblade masters, Kairi had grown most in the last few months; granted, she had the least experience of the three and the most ground to cover, which was perhaps why she was pushing herself so hard. Having been on the sidelines of the last two adventures, Kairi was adamant that she be prepared for the next one, so that she would not simply be dead weight while her two friends continued to prove they were heroes.
Riku, on the other hand, was adjusting to fighting without the powers of darkness, in his own body again, no less. It was a strange transition, but a happy one, and though at times the boy seemed to miss the powers once granted to him, he never slipped back into the mode of shadows and secrecy.
As for Sora, well, he was just… being Sora.
On this particular day, three months after our prologue, the three were especially excited for their visit to Radiant Garden - because today, the King himself was planning to visit, and was bringing along his Head Knight and best Magician, naturally. Sora couldn't wait to be reunited with his friends
Now, that's enough narration from me, the woman in the whole "Three months ago" bit. I know; I'm supposed to be asleep. I am. This is my dream. Ok, so it's a dream of reality, of what's really happening outside my head. So I wanted to keep an eye on the Key keeper while I waited - what's the harm in that? It's just one of the perks of being a shaman...
I probably shouldn't have told you that.
"Kairi! Come on, wait up!" The young keyblade master, Sora, called out as he hopped on one foot, attempting to shove his shoe on without untying the laces. He wasn't usually so lazy - well, most days - but today he was losing the race to Radiant Garden because Kairi was cheating. He could see her darting ahead out the window, already on her way, and he didn't even have both shoes on.
Kairi, meanwhile, saw it as fair play. Given how many more years of training and experience her friends had, they always won the races to Radiant Garden. Today, she was going to win - and if it was because she was technically cheating, she would just call that inventive thinking.
Sora was still putting on his shoe when Riku ran past him, pulling on his white jacket. He vanished out the front door just when Sora lost his balance and fell on his rump. "Guys, come on!" Surrendering to the fact his shoe wasn't going to slip on his, he tore at the strings and slipped it on, not even bothering to tie them before he leapt up and chased after his friends.
Kairi grinned at her friend's antics, and felt a rush of joy that she was managing to keep her lead... which lasted only five seconds. Riku bounded ahead of her in no time, and a sharp stab of disappointment hit Kairi as his back appeared in her line of sight. With an exasperated sigh, she kept pushing on, taking comfort in that fact that at least she would be second, not third. Sora was still way behind.
Riku, confident in his victor, spun around and ran backwards with a proud smirk. In doing so, he didn't see the black clad figure standing behind him, and collided with him. It was only years of training that kept the man from falling forward over the edge of the cliff he was perched on, and his quick thinking was what kept Riku from the same.
"Whoops. Sorry, Cloud." The man gave a nod, his firm grip loosening on Riku's shoulders enough to let the man stand. Flustered by his mistake, Riku didn't snap out of his embarrassment until he saw Kairi zoom past him. "Hey! Wait a minute!"
As for Sora, he was finally catching up to his friends when he came upon Cloud. He gave the man a wave, which was returned with a stoic nod, and it was then that failing to tie his shoes caught up to him. He tripped on the laces and slammed face first into the ground, a cloud of dust swarming over him. Sputtering and spitting, he sat up and glared at his shoes, until he lifted his gaze to see both his friends running up the stairs which lead to Radiant Garden.
"Ah, man," The boy groaned, head falling back. "This sucks!"
Cloud showed his first emotion of the day then, allowing himself a small smile at Sora's childish misery.
When Sora arrived at Radiant Garden, he was covered in dirt and sweat and swearing profusely under his breath. His friends, of course, were already there, and seemed mostly unfettered by the exhaustion and irritation dogging Sora. Riku was leaning against the railing in front of the Radiant Garden Restoration Committee's main base, while Kairi was sitting cross-legged on the ground, chest heaving and a bright smile on her face. Her expression, so filled with pride, made some of Sora's bad mood melt away, and he smiled back at her.
"What happened to you?" Snapped out of his reverie by Yuffie's voice, Sora lifted his head. The ninja was smirking, eyebrows raised as she looked Sora over. With a half hearted glare, Sora trudged over to the wall and collapsed against it.
"Nothing - just a bad morning."
"Yeah, yeah," Waving her hand, Yuffie gave a bright grin. "That's what they all say."
"Glad you finally made it." Leon stepped up behind her, a slight smirk on his usually distant expression. Sora frowned in reply.
"What, does everybody know I came in last?"
Leon ignored him, the teasing look darkening as he crossed his arms. "We've got a problem." Just like that, the light-hearted mood evaporated.
"Problem?" Kairi leapt to her feet as Leon nodded.
"Eleven problems, exactly." The three teens and Yuffie shared confused looks, even as Leon gave an exasperated sigh.
"Nobody panic." Cid's voice joined Leon's as he exited the house across the way and walked up to him. "But there is some weird shit going on around here!"
Leon continued for him. "We've got... uh," A hand raised to rub at his forehead. "Some newly resurrected... formerly dead people in the base."
"Like Auron was?" Sora's gaze darted to the door, curiosity burning him up inside. Who could've been brought back? And how in the world was it done?
"According to what we think we know... and I'm not even certain it's true... they've been stripped of most of their powers and been put on a sort of leash, one that you," He nodded to Kairi, hands on his hips. "Can control." Cid, who had let Leon take over speaking, had fallen into cursing God and the Devil up and down while pulling a cigarette out of his pocket. Sora watched the mechanic's version of nervous fidgeting with ever growing nervousness.
Leon gave one last sigh. "I guess I should just show you."
The three friends shared apprehensive looks. Kairi, though nervous, was maddeningly curious about these dead souls and her supposed power over them. Riku, meanwhile, radiated anger and protectiveness, the drive to keep his friend's safe putting a firm scowl on his face. Sora, meanwhile, was simply baffled. What was going on, and how in the world were the dead coming back to life? And most importantly, who was it that it had Leon and Cid so keyed up?
Gesturing towards the door, Leon moved to the house and the three followed, Yuffie and Cid in tow. Then, Leon stepped aside, to allow the teens to open the door and take a peek inside. Riku elbowed into the front, and was the one to place his hand upon the doorknob. Sora, meanwhile, shared a nervous glance with Kairi, and reached out to take her hand. She squeeze his in reply.
Riku took in a deep breath, then turned the knob. The door swung open.
A muffled scream came from Kairi, Yuffie winced, Riku's eyes went wide as his mouth fell open, and Sora just gawked.
In the room was Merlin, first of all, and as soon as the door was open, he scrambled out of it, throwing insulting and fearful glares back at the inhabitants of the room.
At the computer was Demyx, who was singing loudly, happily, and terribly off key, as he typed randomly into the computer with flare and pizzazz, almost as if it were a piano and not a piece of technology. Sitting on the desk was Xigbar, who was grinning and singing as well, a bit more to the tune, but still lacking anything remotely resembling talent.
Vexen stood beside Aerith's plants on the far wall, and seemed to be examining them as possible future experiment subjects. Marluxia stood right at his shoulder, barking something about leaving well enough alone and don't you dare, while Luxord watched the two intently as if sharing a private bet with himself over who would win.
At the table in the center of the room sat Xaldin and Zexion, both of whom were laughing incessantly at what appeared to be nothing at all. The empty bottles on the table - taken from Cid's stash, no doubt - seemed to indicate they were very drunk. Xaldin continuously looked about the room, laughing and pointing, as if the very fact that things existed was funny, whereas Zexion's shrieking was both somewhat terrifying and vaguely like a miracle in that he could laugh at all.
Laxaeus and Saix were fawning over Leon's collection of old books, and if the look on the RGRC leader's face meant anything, he appeared to desperately want to pummel them both to death for it, but was restraining himself.
In the center of all this was a tall silver haired man with tan skin and golden eyes, who, for all else appeared to be smirking just a bit, as if he wished to laugh with them but refused to, yet couldn't keep all his amusement tucked inside.
It took perhaps ten seconds for the three teenagers to take all of this in, share gasps of horror and shocked expressions, and then slam the door shut. Sora immediately summoned his keyblade and stuck it through the door handle to bar the way, while Riku turned and stomped off in the opposite direction.
"Keep that door closed!" He called back as he disappeared down the stairs, running back towards Hallow Bastion.
Kairi ran over to the railing and looked down over him, calling after. "And what are you doing?"
"I'm going back to the Castle," His tone was dark and filled with ire, "to look up the worst of Maleficient's spells I can find, and use it to find the deepest darkest pit in the universe, and throw them in it!"