Chapter Three: The Man Named Leon
A soft groan escaped his lips as his eyelids fluttered open to reveal aqua eyes. Staring into his was another pair of them. He yelped as a wet tongue lapped out of the creature's mouth and began licking his cheek. After closer inspection, Riku discovered that the creature was a dog. It drew back, panting excitedly, as he stood up, almost unwilling to realize what was happening.
"…W-where am I?" he asked no one in particular; staring around the alleyway they were located in. This didn't help. Sighing, Riku turned to the dog. "Do you know where we are?" The dog merely panted some more, tongue hanging out, before bounding out of the alleyway. Riku made a noise of protest, reaching out a hand to try and stop the canine, but allowed it to flop back to his side again when he realized it was pointless.
Bringing his hand to his head to rake it through silvery tresses, Riku turned and walked, a little hesitantly, out of the alleyway to stop when another sight greeted his aqua eyes. Destiny Islands definitely did not look like this; therefore, he concluded that it was another world. But, for once, he didn't seem at all excited about different worlds now. No, his prime concern was to find Sora, Kairi, and Kaiya again.
Pursing his lips momentarily, the platinum-haired boy spun around and eyed a glowing sign, his eyes fleetingly averting to other beings that were in the vicinity. One was a strange creature with a large pom-pom coming out of the top of its head, and several other humans strolled around casually.
Nervously licking his now somewhat chapped lips, Riku stepped over to the entrance a shop labeled the "Accessories Shop" and reached a hand over to the door, pale fingers curling over the smooth metal of the handle. He swung it open, walking through, allowing the door to close shut once more behind him. His pointed stare around the area granted him full permission to inspect the inside. It was a simple shop filled with several couches, a fireplace, and in one corner was a counter. Standing behind it was a blonde man, a toothpick held in between his lips.
"How can I-" began the man, but cut himself off, a small grin lighting his face. "Feh. It's just a kid." Immediately, an indignant expression sprung to Riku's face.
"My name isn't kid!" he shouted at the man, a scowl making its way onto his lips. "It's Riku." He then allowed a sullen sigh escape his lips once more, a glum expression replacing his indignant one.
"…So then…" started the man once more, propping himself up on the counter with his elbows. "Why the long face, Riku?" The boy raised his head, pacing forward to slightly lean against the counter.
"…Destiny Islands…" he murmured, almost to himself. "…My home. My best friends. Sora, Kairi, Kaiya. They're all gone now. These strange black creatures invaded it and then after fighting them for a while, I ended up here…" It was a short version of what had occurred, but nevertheless, it was quite accurate.
The man paused, an almost sympathetic look crossing his face. "Sorry to hear that then, Riku. But I think 'yer island is long gone now. This is Traverse Town."
Riku inhaled a sharp intake of breath. "Traverse Town, huh? I'll remember it… but for now… I'm going to look for my friends." He turned to leave, but the man's voice interrupted him.
"The name's Cid. If you run into trouble, just come to me. I'll look after you." At this, the adolescent smiled for a moment before nodding without turning back to him and exiting the shop. Taking his time to examine the area once more, Riku randomly picked a direction and followed it. Very soon, he reached a set of large doors. Mentally encouraging himself to proceed, he shoved the door open and walked through, neglecting to find out what lied beyond.
The place, which had a sign of "Second District" labeled on the wall, had one level higher than the other, which was the one he stood upon. Around him were the windows of shops, slightly glowing from lights that illuminated the insides. A hotel entrance stood in one direction. A flight of stone steps led to the bottom section of the district, which had a fountain standing in one side, strange images of bells around it. Near there was the entrance to what looked like an alleyway, and in another area was an alleyway that led somewhere else. He decided to check where that led to first.
Before he could take another step forward though, rushed footsteps caught his undivided attention. Riku watched helplessly, as though he were trapped behind a wall of unyielding glass, as a man stumbled past and tripped, resulting in being sprawled across the ground. However, a noise of trembling metal sauntered toward the man, revealing itself to be one of those shadows. This time, it was a taller one that wore a helmet. This creature plunged its eager claw into the man's chest and withdrew a glowing, radiant heart-shaped object. The man's limp body disappeared to become another one of the creatures, and both vanished through portals.
Gradually pulling themselves out of the ground were the shadows Riku had fought on the island. They circled him, trapping the teenager like he was mere prey. Clenching his teeth, the male winced, scrunching his hand into a fist almost when he tried to call the Keyblade to him. Then, a small flash of light ensued, and there it was, gleaming in all its glory. Grinning, Riku leapt, gracefully jumping over the cluster of creatures. Whirling around, Keyblade spinning with his movements, he destroyed all of the nearby ones in a matter of seconds.
"That was easy," he remarked, but reminded himself to not get too cocky, an important fact he always happened to overlook. Underestimation of the enemy's skills led to one's downfall, as Kaiya had once lectured to him. A wrench of nostalgia swept over him like a stubborn cloud of bees at the thought of his light red-brown haired friend.
Dashing through the district, Keyblade swishing to and fro as metal met darkness, more and more of the creatures were destroyed as his curiosity led him towards the alleyway that winded on. As he followed it, the male was soon led to a large door. After defeating another horde of emerging shadows, he shoved it open and walked through, marveling at the brightness of everything in the next area. It was purple, lights glowing everywhere. A staircase led to the lower area of this district, the third, where another door was, though locked.
Riku glanced around, idly destroying a nearby creature, and sighed. "Nothing here. Might as well head back to the first district," he muttered, turning around and heading back up the stairs. Running through the entire district back to the second, he suddenly remembered that he had not entered the hotel or the "gizmo shop", as it had been labeled, when he passed the two buildings. However, through a quick run through the hotel, he found, to his distaste, that no one was there. At the gizmo shop, all he saw were those shadows, which he quickly destroyed.
Now, he stood, leaning against the doors leading into the second district, since he was now in the first. Breathing heavily, Riku wiped beads of sweat from his forehead and made his way back to the accessory shop.
"Still haven't found 'em yet?" came the gruff voice of Cid. Riku swallowed, and muttered under his breath, "No…"
"Take another look 'round town," coaxed the blonde man, swatting at Riku for him to go with his hands from the area he stood. Riku blinked briefly at him before turning his heel and exiting the shop. As he stepped outside, Keyblade at ready, though the look on his face was rather grim, he perked up when a voice issued from the shadows in a corner.
"They'll come at you at of nowhere, so long as you continue to wield the Keyblade."
Riku spun around to face the region the voice had come from. "Whose there? Show yourself!" he called out, albeit a tad nervously.
A man stepped out from his spot in the shade, revealing his appearance. He had hair of brown color that seemed slightly spiky, reaching a little below his shoulders. A white shirt was clad on him, a black jacket of leather worn over. Black pants, also leather, were worn as well, two brown belts looping around his waist to create a skewed X. An ornament remained suspended around his neck, the shape much like a lion in a way. Held in the man's grip was a long, sleek gun-like weapon of silver.
"Yet… why would it choose a kid like you…?" the man murmured softly to himself, almost silent enough for Riku to not hear him, despite their close distance. Riku's eyes narrowed. He hated being called a kid. The adolescent chose to remain silent. "…Now then. Let's see that Keyblade."
"Over my dead body!"
The man sighed, a look in his eyes telling those who looked into them that he was slightly annoyed. "Have it your way then."
In a matter of seconds, Riku had moved, quick as his legs could carry him, toward his opponent, Keyblade swishing through the air as it was pulled back and then thrust forward. Swift as lightning though, the man had dodged, now behind Riku, and readied his gun-weapon, slicing it towards Riku's unprotected back. The younger male instantaneously snapped his weapon around to parry the blow, moving backwards as he did to place some distance between the two.
"Fast…" he hissed, leaping overhead and landing near the man's back to strike. But he had landed there just in time to receive a face-full of flame, knocking him backwards into the solid wall of a nearby building. Hissing out as he ignored the pain, Riku flinched at the noise of cracking bones, and hastily moved to run. He was too late though. In a blur of body and weapon, the man had dashed over, knocked him over the head, and caused his vision to blacken until all went numb.
The man's stoic gray eyes flashed as his ninja ally came along, calling out to him. "You found it! Good going, Squall!"
"That's Leon," the man corrected, continuing, "But things are worse than we thought. A lot worse."
The ninja glanced at the fallen boy now sprawled on the ground. "…"
A voice called out, as though reading a passage from a slip of paper.
"If the door has been closed by the key known as the Keyblade, you probably cannot reach that world's heart again. Before the one with the Keyblade appears in this world, I must take measures to do something.
"Supposing that there is a close relationship between the Princesses and the Keyblade, it seems likely that they will resonate with each other...
"I have chosen two special girls. I do not know if they possess a power like that of the Princesses. But, there is a chance, and this is an experiment. They may lead me to the place where the one holding the key is..."
There was a long silence as the voice paused, soon sounding like it was no longer reading, but thinking…
"Two others have potential to wield this weapon known as the Keyblade. These two girls may be the keys to finding out which will be able to. They have connected bonds…"
There was a flash. Two figures stood to replace the one that had vanished.
One was dressed in black and purple robes, a long staff held in their free hand. What looked like the shape of horns protruded from their head as their slender fingers reached beneath the chin of a brunette, though they were just a bit taller. She smiled maliciously.
The boy shuddered and a single tear slid down his right cheek from his blue eyes. He closed them.
Red replaced blue when his eyes reopened.
"Sora!" he called out, immediately springing up from his position on the bed, sitting up. Breathing heavily, Riku blinked. 'Just a dream…' he thought absently, reaching a hand up to rub his temples.
He glanced up at where the voice had come from. It was Kaiya. Blinking, he numbly nodded, but deep down, he was mentally questioning why she wasn't stuttering.
"Those creatures that attacked you are after the Keyblade…" she murmured almost thoughtfully, turning to stare around the room. "…Still… it's your heart they really want, because you wield the Keyblade…" Prying her gaze away from a nearby painting, Kaiya turned back to stare at him in the face.
"…Well…" started Riku, lifting his chin to stare into her eyes. "Still, I'm glad you're okay, Kaiya…"
The girl suddenly jumped back, staring at him weirdly. "What're you talking about?" she asked. "I'm the Great Ninja Yuffie," she boasted cheerfully.
Kaiya's features melted away to reveal a girl dressed in a rather skimpy outfit of a green top, headband, yellow scarf, and yellow short shorts, a rather bright blue belt looping her waist. She had short black hair that just about reached her shoulders.
"I think you overdid it, Squall," the ninja called over to a corner. Then, coming from the shadows was a man. The same man that had knocked him out. Riku's eyes narrowed considerably.
"That's Leon," the man corrected crisply.
Riku chose this time to speak. "Keyblade…?" he murmured softly, almost questioningly, eyes blazing with curiosity and wonder.
"Yup," interjected Yuffie, willingly taking part in the explaining. "We had to get it away from you to shake off the Heartless," she said, sighing. "Turns out that that was how they were tracking you."
"It was the only way to conceal your heart from them," Leon spoke up. "It won't work for long, but still… it's hard to believe that you… of all people… are the chosen one…"
Riku rolled his eyes, somewhat irritated at how everyone kept on commenting with "You're a KID, so HOW are YOU the chosen one?" hidden within its deepest chambers as a veiled meaning.
Leon took the Keyblade from the ground, hoisting it in his hand, and swung it through the air. The Keyblade burst into flashes of bright light, vanishing from Leon's grasp and reappearing in Riku's. The astonished boy gazed at it with a look of fair interest.
Leon sighed. "I suppose beggars can't be choosers."
Riku opened his mouth to speak, annoyance coming into play, when he was interrupted by a sudden, sharp knock on the door. Without waiting to be accepted into the room, it swung open to give entry to a tall, regal figure carrying a lengthy, skeletal sword in hand. They swung it onto their shoulder, resting it there for several moments before lifting it back up and stabbing it into the ground, wiping the little sweat they had from their forehead.
"The Heartless are here. They are sensing through our attempts to mask the Keyblade master from them. Our time is running short," they continued curtly. Riku stared wide-eyed at them, enthralled at the beauty the newcomer possessed.
Long hair of the darkest color of night flowed gently past their shoulders like an unstoppable cataract, only ending several inches below their mid-back. It was silken and lovely; enough to make others around probably surrender to the desire to run their fingers through it. A pale face of the whitest alabaster was before them, silvery eyes of endless depths gazing calculatingly at them. Nearly blood-red lips coiled into a faint smirk. Their cheeks were tinted with a faint pink glow, despite their paleness. The person's figure was definitely too curvy for their age, slender and willowy. Their movements were quite graceful and fluid. They were clad in a dark outfit of midnight blue that was nearly as dark as their hair. Fingerless, black gloves kept a firm grip around their hands. A short-sleeved shirt with a modest collar was worn as a top, shorts worn on their lower body. Black sneakers clothed their feet.
Then there was that skeletal, ominously dark sword. It winded this way and that, almost as though it had a life of its own. The material it was crafted with didn't even look like metal. It looked like something else… something more… powerful. Something more… It was nearly five feet long in length, and looked sharp enough to slice through flesh like it were mere tissue paper of little value.
Riku took another moment to stare at them before reopening his mouth to speak. "Who are-"
The group was interrupted by the appearance of a dark portal and a creature – no, "Heartless", as Yuffie and the newcomer had stated – popped out. Only this time, it wore a large helmet and was seemingly different from the other creatures encountered earlier. Riku stared at it in shock, only snapped out of his trance a swish later when the newcomer sliced the Heartless in half using their sword with ease.
"Leave, Yuffie," they shot at the ninja, who blinked, narrowed her eyes at them for half a second, and turned her heel, fleeing from the battle site. She slammed open another door, somehow causing a loud shriek and quack to emit from the other side, and continued through, vanishing from view.
"An'ya, Riku, let's go!" Leon called out, dashing past to another door. He slammed it open and ran outside, jumping over the ledge of what Riku guessed was a balcony. The girl that had been called An'ya followed, swinging gracefully over the edge and landing perfectly on her feet. Riku did the same.
"Don't bother with small fry. Find the leader!"
Then Leon left, leaving Riku with only those words as his company. That is, except for-
"Did you not heed him? Search for the leader," An'ya cut in, pulling her arm back and then forward again, releasing her sword to allow it to swing in circles like a boomerang and destroy all the nearby Heartless that surrounded them. "If you wish to die now, be my guest."
Riku narrowed his eyes and turned to leave. An'ya merely chuckled and followed him. Very soon, he appreciated her company; even though they were only running past Heartless, some still strayed after them, seeking to do harm. With An'ya's help, they were quickly destroyed.
"Third District, if you will," commented An'ya dryly from behind him. They were in the second district again after running out of the alleyway, standing near the fountain. Riku pursed his lips and let her do the leading. After all, she did seem to know where to go, didn't she?
"How do you know this stuff?" he called out as they ran.
"I sense the presence of a Heartless with greater power than these pathetic Soldiers and Shadows," remarked An'ya. "Quite simple. If you are skilled in the art of magic, it is likely that you will be able to do things such as these…" They reached the door leading into the Third District. Riku pulled it open and walked through, unfazed by the slam that was heard when it closed.
Dashing down the stairs, Riku stopped when he heard some yelling, and looked up just in time to see two figures fly down. He jerked and attempted to run, but was crushed under the weight. An'ya, fortunately for her, jumped out of the way and landed back at the top of the district near the door they had come from, watching them as she casually leaned on the ledge.
Riku blinked, and registered what the two figures that had crushed him had said. Well, duh, the Keyblade was technically a key. They didn't have to announce it to the world all proud and-
Suddenly, pillars sprung up at all the stairways, blocking any attempts at escape. The Heartless that had worn helmets popped out through portals, jerking back and forth in an almost drunken manner as they wobbled over to the trio.
Immediately, the duck and dog people that had fallen on him sprung off, charging into battle. The duck continuously called out "Fire" and would blast a nearby Heartless with a small fireball, but effectively destroy it. The dog would keep on charging at the black creatures with his shield.
Shrugging, Riku leapt into the fray, slicing Heartless here and there. Copying An'ya's attack from before, he pulled his arm back and thrust it out, flinging the Keyblade. Like he had predicted, it swerved in a circle, killing numerous Heartless, and swung back into his grip. He caught it and moved to kill a Heartless that was wobbling around in a corner.
This one proved that it held more intelligence than the rest. It jumped and began to run around in circles. Riku chased after it, Keyblade brandished angrily, swinging wildly after it. "Get your butt over here!" the silver-haired boy yelled indignantly, finally managing a long leap and landing right in front of it. With one deft swipe, he destroyed it, making the Soldier Heartless disappear in a flurry of black particles that eventually faded from existence.
Then, it happened.
A large, purple, thing fell from the sky, landing right in front of all three of them. Riku, the duck, and the dog.
The Heartless' "hands" and "feet" swung about threateningly, clinking and clanking this way and that as they smacked against walls and even the main torso section of itself. Once, one swerved rather close to Riku, missing him by a centimeter.
Annoyed, Riku dashed after it, launching that same boomerang trick that he had picked up from An'ya, calling out, "Strike Raid!" He believed it was a suitable name for the attack.
His aim was true. The attack struck the hand that had almost clawed him and then sliced through it again to get back at him. This caused this hand to instantly dissipate and vanish. Riku grinned. That part was easy.
Just then, the other hand slammed into him, sending him flying backwards into a nearby wall. The sickening sound of cracking bones filled his ears, resonating until he personally wanted to become deaf. Wobbling slightly, Riku shook his head and leapt back to the fight.
Both duck and dog had demolished the two feet. That was good to know.
Riku inhaled sharply and dodged another swipe from the clawed hand and used Strike Raid again, hurling the Keyblade at the hand. It missed and struck the torso instead, but on the way back, it hit the hand and destroyed it. The duck finished off the torso with a cry of "Fire" once more.
The three watched cautiously as the armor trembled. Then, a large heart flew out of the head of the Heartless, soon vanishing. Then, the entire Heartless vanished. Riku panted heavily. He voiced everyone's thoughts aloud just then.
"Oh? So Leon and Yuffie forgot to give you an explanation? It most likely slipped their minds," chuckled An'ya, a faint smirk gracing her tender lips as she gazed into Riku's frustrated face that was riddled with annoyance. It was obvious that he was pissed.
"You ran off at the last second!" he shouted at her, eyes narrowed into slits as he pointed a finger accusingly at her.
"I suppose I did," admitted An'ya, "however, it was for your own good. My skills in battle are polished and ready. However, you, on the other hand… your ability has rusted. If you do not train yourself, you will surely perish in battle. I suppose that is not desired for, since you are the Keybearer, despite how… arrogantly impossible and different you seem." Riku's glare did not soften, but he sighed anyway and shook his head in exasperation.
"You still owe me an explanation."
"Very well," An'ya sighed, adjusting her position so she could properly lean against the wall. Her sword vanished instantly, as it was not needed at the moment. "The weapon you wield is what we entitle the Keyblade. It is a legendary weapon of colossal power with the power to destroy the darkness and save the worlds… or turn against the light and wreck havoc amongst the worlds. It depends on whether or not the wielder wishes to join the dark or the light. So… which will you choose? The light?" She didn't bother waiting for an answer. "I assume that you have decided to side with the light."
"Y-yeah…" Riku stuttered, confused with her words. "But why did the Keyblade choose me?"
An'ya's gray eyes flickered to his face, staring so intently at him that it felt like they were boring holes through his head. "The Keyblade chooses whoever has the potential," she answered at last. "It chose you because of that reason." She pushed off the wall and began striding towards the duck and dog. "Well, I shall leave you three to discuss things on your own. Call me when you are finished… if you will." She turned her heel briskly and left. Riku stared after her for a moment before turning to the duck and dog.
"Who are you?" he shot at them.
"Ay-uck, my name is Goofy, captain of the guard," greeted the dog with a wave, grinning goofily. Riku understood why the dog had that name now.
"I am Donald, the king's most trusted mage!" the duck boasted, throwing out his chest in a display of pride. Riku chuckled lightly at that, and the duck rounded on him with a glare. "What's so funny?"
"Here, take this, ay-uck." Riku reached out and grasped what Goofy offered him and felt a sudden burst of energy run through his veins. Donald huffed for a moment before shoving something into his hands. Riku blinked and tried to grasp it, but it sunk into his skin before he had the chance to. A downpour of warmth flooded through his body.
"Now you can cast Fire…" Donald trailed off.
"Gawrsh, you didn't tell us your name before," Goofy tried. "Couldn't ya tell us now?"
Riku sighed. "It's Riku."
He predicted that it would be a long day…
I'm so sorry for not updating in like… forever! I promise like I'll work on this more.
Oh, and don't worry. There will be plenty of male OC people too… well, actually, maybe not, because I don't want many OC people at all.