.:. Maiden .:.

Disclaimer: I do not own Kingdom Hearts or Square Soft, nor any of the characters rightfully owned and portrayed by Disney, Tim Burton, or Warner Brothers Entertainment.

Setting: Post-Kingdom Hearts II. Sequel to Waiting No Longer.

Rating: Rated Mature for Violence, Mild Language, and Lemons

Prologue

Death held no fear for her. Her life harnessed only vengeance. With what determination remained in her, she would exact the pain on those who crippled her life and her dreams. By the dark waters, she found a boat man. In the river of no reflection, she sat in stoic silence. Her eyes glistened with the ripeness of purpose. She had harvested an opportunity with a king, and would lay her life for him. Without him, she had no chance of punishing those who maimed her. Without him, her life was hollow.

"Never seen th' likes of you in the flesh here before." She did not reply to the boat man. He paused for a reply, but he shrugged his bones, pushing against the deathly waters. Her gaze was intent on the apex of the cavern; there she would find what another had found. A wind from this dreary plane had brought a whisper of an object that held some key. A key, her new king observed, that could potentially bring them closer to the conclusion of their journey. Or his journey really. She was only there to reap the benefits of his success.

She leapt from the boat as the boat man went to tie it to the dock. He looked on curiously.

"I'm just the ferry man." With that, he pushed off to see if any visitors were to be collected. Inside the skull structure, she could hear rejoicing. A dissonant duet sang repetitively, while a deeper life seemed to be raking in joy. The deeper voice was obviously the Lord of that world.

"Well, boys, looks like Zeus won't be th' one wielding the power anymore."

"We found the Princess! We found the Princess!"

She stood in the shadows, Cerberus having been released to torment souls in joyous triumph. She felt the impulse to grab the bottle; it was in plain sight before her, the object rolled inside. It was perched before the Lord of the Dead on a table of skulls, as two of his demons danced awkwardly about it. She so desired to grab it and race from the Underworld, but she knew time would yield the bottle to her.

"But, uh, Boss..." The dancing stopped, but Hades continued in his rejoicing. He continued to drag on a rather expensive looking cigar.

"...even though we, uh, have the bottle...what does it mean?" Hades stopped the sweet sucking and stared down at the marine and magenta demons.

"What he means tah say is, uh, how can we use what it says?" Hades laughed.

"Simple, simple! Every god knows that Kingdom Hearts is the ultimate gig, right?"

"Yeah, but, uh..." Hades manifested beside the two jumpy demons in a plume of midnight smoke.

"The one who controls Kingdom Hearts controls the world. Well, Kingdom Hearts won't give itself to anyone. It needs someone to take it. There are nine keys, three for each Divine Trinity. What's with the whole trinity things anyway? Yeesh. So, fellas, we just found the ninth key. All we gotta do is liberate the key from its chest."

"But, uh...what if...and I mean this hypothetically...we...lost...the bottle?"

"Well, then I'd have to kill you."

"Oh." The demons, Pain and Panic, suddenly rushed off. As Hades turned, he noticed something different. Or, the lack of something. His eyes widened.

"PAIN!! PANIC!!"

Hellfire burst from the skull cavern as she glided across the dark Styx, the bottle tucked safely in her chest. It seemed to sear her heart, warm, but bitter in irony. She knew what was supposed to be held in the bottle, and it only soured her own heart more. The ferryman, Charon, watched as she landed deftly and rapidly on the foot of the staircase ascending into the living world. Vengeance was all she lived for. And her king would see her through.



Author's Note: This is the prologue to the sequel for Waiting No Longer. It is currently underway, and I should be updating the latest chapter to Maiden in a couple of weeks. The sequel is for all of you who need more, want more, and just find pleasure in Kingdom Hearts fanfictions. I hope the sequel will receive such a wonderful audience as Waiting No Longer; the sequel will be lengthier, more profound, and contain action as well as romance.