Good day guyz! It's me… AGAIN! Woohooo!! Lakers are going to the WCF!! Goddd!! I'm shaking in my boots (ok… so technically, I'm not even wearing boots) right now! Three years of mediocrity and that not-so-great summer and NOW were finally back were we belong!! And to think that I would have been ecstatic if we just got the 8th seed and now after all that has happened (Bynum rising, PAU trade, 1st seed in the WEST, KOBE MVP, and a trip to the WCF) this is almost a dream season and the only things that are missing are (1) Championship and (2) Kobe finals MVP. And next season were gonna be deadly with a healthy Bynum and Ariza! Anyway, sorry for the long homer rant. So here's chapter 3.


CHAPTER 3

Sora, Olan and Agrias continued to tread the eastern side of the forest surrounding the Village of Gongaga. After a few minutes, the three of them stopped as they heard the sound of Olan's cell phone. He quickly took the phone from his pocket and read the text message that their comrades had sent them.

"What does it say?"

'It looks like they found something.' Olan answered.

"Alright… I guess we better get going. You two, follow me."


Ramza, Mustadio, and Rafa stared at the being in front of them in complete disgust.

The shadow that had appeared from out of the murky depths of the forest was truly revolting. Though it resembled the appearance of their other four-legged adversaries it was at least three times bigger. Its body was covered by jagged scabs that were oozing with puss. The metallic scales on its back were bathed in blood as the carcasses of other fiends were embedded on its tips. The red glyph on its forehead shone brightly like a raging flame. Its eyes were filled with the bloodlust of a wild beast as its acidic saliva dripped from its great gaping jaw.

Mustadio couldn't help but express his revulsion.

'Holy shit!! That is one ugly son of a…'

'Yes Mustadio, we know!' Ramza quickly cut him off. 'Rafa, back us up. Make sure that the other shadows don't overwhelm us too much. Mustadio and I will handle this thing.'

'Okay.' Rafa nodded.

'Let's do this!' Ramza shouted.

The blonde SOLDIER with red eyes quickly charged at the giant creature in front of them as Mustadio provided some cover fire from the back. Some of the lesser shadows tried to attack them from the side but Rafa, with the use of his lightning spells, was able to prevent them from advancing any further.

Ramza raised his sword and with one powerful swing he slashed at the giant beast, producing a deep gash in one of its massive legs.

The gigantic shadow was enraged by Ramza's attack. In one swift motion it turned its head towards the blonde and tried to bite off the First Class SOLDIER's head. Ramza, however, was able to dodge the attack with the use of his incredible agility.

The beast's red eyes shone even more with rage. The fact that it could not reach its target seemed to irritate it. It began thrashing around, its mouth frothing with acidic foam as the metallic spikes on its back began to quiver.

The monster suddenly curled its body, exposing its spikes as it now resembled that of a gigantic spike ball. It started to spin around and immediately headed straight for the three SOLDIERS.

All three of them were able to evade its attack but it showed no signs of stopping. It ran amuck through the forest, decimating trees and even crushing other shadows that stood in its wake.

Just then, three of the other smaller shadows ambushed Rafa from behind and pinned her to the ground.

Sensing that the brown haired female SOLDIER was now completely defenseless, the gigantic shadow quickly shifted its direction and started bulldozing its way towards her.

'Ah shit! Rafa!!'

Ramza with all the speed that he could muster turned his body and jumped in front of Rafa, sword in hand and ready to block the shadows attack.

Within the span of a single second, the sound of steel clashing with steel echoed through the forest. As the dust finally settled, two blades could be seen; they were crossed together and blocked the massive shadows advance. One of the blades was Ramza's broadsword… the other was a giant Buster sword.

The blonde glanced at the brown haired young man with deep blue azure eyes and smirked. 'Took you guys long enough.'

The two SOLDIER's quickly pushed the shadow back.

"Better late than never, right?" Sora replied with a small grin on his face.

'Umm… guys? Sorry to interrupt but I could reaalllyyy use some help here.' Rafa sarcastically spoke.

"Oh."

The brown haired young man easily discarded the three shadows with one swing of his Buster sword.

'Thanks Sora.'

Agrias and Olan, who had just appeared, made their way to Sora and Ramza together with Mustadio.

'So what do we do now?' Olan asked their leader.

'Rafa, Olan, and Mustadio… you guys take care of the small fry. Agrias, Sora and I will handle this thing.

More and more of their four-legged enemies began to sprout from out of nowhere, surrounding the six SOLDIER's

'Okay! Let's go!'

Sora, Ramza, and Agrias quickly started their assault against the giant shadow that had yet to relinquish its spherical form. The other lesser shadows tried to hinder their advance by overwhelming them with sheer numbers but Mustadio, Rafa, and Olan provided very effective cover fire for their three companions.

Ramza and Agrias slashed at both sides of the curled up shadow while Sora attacked from above. But the hardened skin on the creatures back proved to be more formidable than they thought, not to mention the metallic spikes that protruded all over its body made it difficult for them to deliver more efficient attacks.

'Damn it!' Ramza cursed. 'If only we could get past that things exterior…'

'Here it comes again!' Agrias shouted as the monster started to attack once more.

The three SOLDIERs immediately dispersed as the monstrous spike ball tried to crush them.

As Sora landed a couple of meters from the shadow, he slowly pulled out the giant key-like weapon that was stowed on his back. The spherical monster started plowing its way towards the brown-haired young man.

'What the hell!? Sora, get out of the way!' Mustadio yelled out to him.

But Sora did not move and continued to stare at the incoming death train that was inching towards him.

'Sora! Have you lost your damn mind!! Get out of the way!' Ramza shouted at the stubborn young man who seemed to have a death wish.

Sora smirked as he lunged at the beast with the tip of his keyblade leading the way.

'Sora!!'

Suddenly, a flash of light appeared at the tip of Sora's keyblade. All of them were shocked as Sora easily passed through the creature like a hot knife. As he gently landed a few feet from the shadow, he looked back at the giant hole that could be found straight through the middle of the creature that now lifelessly lay on the ground.

He turned his attention to his comrades.

"Hey guys, I think its time to clean up."

Mustadio smirked.

'Alright, let blow this suckers out of the water!'

The six SOLDIERs then began their assault against the remaining shadows. After thirty minutes, they were finally able to clear the area.

'Whew, finally..!' Mustadio whispered as he wiped the sweat from his forehead. 'Well, I guess that's mission accomplished. Let's report back to HQ, I wanna get back to Edge already.'

'The mission isn't over yet…' Ramza looked at him sternly. 'Our target is still on the loose.'

'What? But didn't Sora just skewer the damn thing a few minutes ago.'

"Ramza's right…" Sora interrupted. "Our target is an A class shadow… and A class shadows don't go down that easily. That thing we fought was a B class at best. Not to mention, based on the footage that the surveillance team gathered, were dealing with something that's as quick as lightning. The shadow we fought was nowhere near as fast as our target."

'Pfft! So we're stuck here for a few more days… grreeeaaaattt…' Mustadio said in a sarcastic manner.

Ramza looked at his watch.

'Okay, we'll head back to the inn and rest up a bit. We'll continue our search in the afternoon.'

As the small entourage of SOLDIERs made their way back to Gongaga Village…

'Sir, that move you just did back there was pretty amazing!' Agrias commented. 'How did you do that?'

'Rookies…' Mustadio whispered. He looked at the key-like weapon that was stowed safely on the back of the brown-haired youth. 'Guess the rumors back in Junon were true then.'

Agrias had a puzzled look on her face. 'Rumors?'

'Back in our academy days, we heard rumors about something called "The Ultimate Piercing Weapon" that some guy wielded.' Olan explained to the blonde haired girl. 'Of course I thought that it was all just a hoax, especially since I never saw anything like that during any of our practicals. But I never thought that they were actually referring to Sora's keyblade.

Mustadio quickly sneaked from behind Sora and playfully put the young man in a head lock.

"Ow! Mustadio!"

'He he he! Hey Sora, how come you never showed any of those moves back in the academy?

"How about you let go of my head first."

As Mustadio gladly obliged…

"Well, the keyblade was actually given to me by Reeve."

'Wow!' Agrias looked quite astonished. 'So the commander was the one who gave you the keyblade.'

"Yup. He and my dad knew each other during AVALANCHE's heyday. When Reeve gave me the keyblade, he told me not to use any of its special features during practicals."

'Why is that?'

"Beats me. I think he didn't want me to get too reckless."


As the group arrived at the inn in Gongaga Village…

'Good mornin!' Mr. Patch greeted them. 'It looks like you guys didn't have a great start today. How bout you all rest up and get your strength back up.'

As the five SOLDIERs climbed up the stairs of the inn, Sora stayed behind and walked in front of the counter.

"Hey, Mr. Patch?"

'What's up kid?'

"Do you know a girl named Saya?"

'Saya… yeah. Wait, are you an old friend of hers?'

"No, it's just that I met her last night at the rooftop."

'Ah, same old Saya. That girl's one tough cookie you know. I guess that should be expected, after all Sister Anne was the one who took care of her since she was a baby. She works hard and absolutely loves the kids in the orphanage.' Mr. Patch then glanced at Sora with a huge grin on his face.

Sora, perplexed at why the big-bodied adult was looking at him slyly, raised an eyebrow.

"Umm… why are you looking at me like that?"

'You like her, don't ya kid?'

Sora immediately started to babble defensively at the man.

"What!? No way! I mean… its not like she's not cute and all but we just met and besides I already have some-…"

Mr. Patch immediately burst out laughing.

"What?! What's so funny?"

'Easy kid, I was just messin with ya. Anyway, you better get some rest. You and your friends have the whole day ahead of ya.'


Sora was quietly lying on his bed as he looked at the ceiling of his room. They had spent the entire afternoon and most of the evening trying to locate their target but to no avail. With the way that things were going it seemed as if they would be spending a few more days in Gongaga Village.

He glanced at the small wall clock hanging at the corner of the room. It was already past midnight but he still couldn't sleep which was strange since he usually felt more at home on the second night of his stay in an inn. He quickly rose from his bed and walked towards the keyblade that was placed at the corner of the room together with his Buster sword. He slowly reached for the small keychain that was hanging on the keyblade's hilt. He smiled a bit as he remembered the young red-head who gave the keychain to him.

"I guess I better buy that souvenir soon…"

Just then, he heard the sound of small footsteps traversing through the roof. Someone was trying to cautiously walk on top of the inn.

Sora quickly grabbed his keyblade and Buster sword. Could this be the shadow that they were searching for?

He quietly sneaked out of his room through the window and cautiously made his way to the top of the inn, trying to avoid making any noise.

As he finally reached the top of the inn, he immediately recognizes the silhouette of the figure who was quietly sitting near the edge of the roof.

"Saya?"

The figure turned and smiled in recognition of the brown haired young man who called out her name.

'Oh, hey Sora.' The young female quickly noticed the two blades that the youth was carrying. 'What are those?'

"Oh, these things… I… err… uhh… d-don't mind them."

Saya patted the place next to her.

'Here, have a seat.'

Sora stowed the two weapons on his back and sat next to Saya.

'Having trouble sleeping again?'

"Well… a little."

Saya reached for a small box near her and took out a small bottle of milk.

'Do you want some?'

"Uhh… sure, I guess."

Sora took the small bottle and drank some of the milk inside. He then stared at the small bottle in his hand before glancing back at Saya.

"You must really like milk, huh?"

'Well, milk is good for you. It's both delicious and nutritious. It helps toughen up your bones and keeps you healthy. That's why I think everyone should drink a few glasses of milk everyday.'

Sora started to laugh.

'Hey! What's so funny? Is there something wrong with what I said?' she pouted.

"No. it's not that. It's just that… you sounded like my mom there for a second." he replied with a huge grin on his face.

After awhile, Sora noticed Saya intently staring at him.

"What's with the look? Is there dirt on my face or something?"

She shook her head. 'No… I just thought of something, that's all.' She slowly raised her head to the sky. 'Your mom must be a really good person.'

"Huh? What makes you say that?"

'Well. Since you're a good person then… it's only natural that your parents are good persons too.'

"Well… you're right. My dad is a good person. And my mom was a good person too."

'Was..?'

"She died five year ago."

Saya quickly lowered her head. 'Oh… I… I'm sorry, about your mom.'

"No, don't worry about it."

She glanced at the pink ribbon that was wrapped around the hilt of Sora's Buster Sword.

'That ribbon… was that your mom's?

"Yeah… That ribbon was her favorite."

'Hey Sora… can I ask you something?'

"Sure."

'Your mom… what was she like?'

A small smile appeared at the corner of the young man's lips as he remembered his mother, Aeris.

"My mom… she was the best mother in the world. I remember back when I was a kid, how she used to tuck me into bed and sing to me… And then she'd always kiss me on my forehead and tell me "I love you". Every night she used to do that for me, and she never forgot… not once."

'Sora…'

"The one thing that I'd always remember about her was her voice."

'Her voice..?'

"Yeah… She had a beautiful voice. Whether she was happy, angry, or sad… her voice was always the same. It was always calm… soothing. I'd recognize her voice anywhere."

Saya noticed a small tear slowly running down the brown haired youth's cheek.

"I remember… when my dad told me that she was gone. I couldn't stop crying. Everything was like a nightmare. If it hadn't been for my dad… then I would've probably lost it."

He suddenly felt the young girl's hand wipe away the small tear that traced his cheek.

'It's alright. You can cry if you want to.'

Sora looked at the girl that was sitting next to him.

'Crying isn't a sign of weakness. It's all right for people to cry once in a while… even for First Class SOLDIERS.

"Wait, how did you-..?"

Saya smirked. 'Well, like I said… Mr. Patch is an old friend of mine. I had a little chat with him during the afternoon and he told me that me that you're a First Class SOLDIER.'

As they continued on with their conversation; Saya's attention was caught by the small star-like keychain that hung inconspicuously on the hilt of Sora's keyblade. It glistened through the darkness of the night providing a small semblance of light for the two of them.

'Wow, that keychain is so cute!' she said with glee.

"Oh, you mean this?" Sora spoke as he unsheathed the keyblade from his back and showed the young girl beside him the small keychain on its hilt. "Someone special gave it to me. I consider this keychain as my good luck charm."

'Let me guess…' Saya smiled slyly at him. 'You're girlfriend was the one who gave it you, right?'

Sora looked at her with raised eyebrows.

"Okay… that's just plain weird. How'd you know that?"

It's called woman's intuition. You probably wouldn't understand being a guy and all. Saya slowly reached for the small keychain and caressed it with her fingers.

'Was she the one who made this?'

"No, that keychain was actually given to her by her grandmother. She gave this to me before I left Edge to join SOLDIER."

'She must really like you a lot then…to give you something this important to her.' she smiled. 'She must be a very good person too, right?'

"Yeah… although she does boss me around a bit."

Saya couldn't help but let out a small chuckle.

"What?"

'Well, I kind of figured as much.'

Sora blushed.

The night continued to wane on as both of them spend the rest of the evening talking about anything that came into mind. Some were serious while most were just plain silly.

'Oh, look at the time!' Saya suddenly blurted out as she glanced at the small watch on her wrist. 'I can't believe it's already four in the morning. I better get going.' She slowly stood up. 'Sorry for keeping you up all night,'

"No, it's nothing really." He said as he began to rub the back of his head. "And besides, I think I'm becoming an insomniac anyway."

Saya placed her hands on her hips that sort of reminded Sora of how his mother looked when she scolded him.

'Well you should at least try to sneak in a couple of hours of sleep in the afternoon if you can.'

"Will do."

As the girl in the Yukata made her way to the corner of the inn and was bout to climb down the ladder…

"Hey Saya!"

She immediately glanced back. 'What is it?'

"Err… Are you going to be coming here tomorrow?"

Saya placed her index finger under her chin and seemed to be in deep thought.

'I don't know… maybe.'

"Oh…" he whispered in a deflated tone.

She quickly gave him a cheer-filled smile.

'Well, if you want me to come tomorrow night then okay. I'll make sure to bring a spare bottle of milk for you.'

Sora smiled back. "Yeah… I'd really like that."

'Goodnight Sora. Good luck on your mission tomorrow'

"Thanks… Goodnight, Saya."


Okay, I'll be out for another extended period of time so I'm really sorry if I won't be able to update any of my fics. School work is just hard and getting harder by the day. Anyway, RnR please. Go LAKERSSS!! 8 MORE WINS BABY!!

Author's Note: Since Sora isn't fighting heartless anymore, I decided to change the dynamics of the keyblade. I gave the keyblade 3 special features. One of these features has already been revealed (the ability to pierce through anything like a hot knife through butter), the second feature will be revealed soon while the third was inspired by the original KH keyblade.