I'm back! And I have a chapter that was really fun to write. Nice to do a fight scene without Heartless for once…

Riku: "Why is that?"

It shakes things up a bit.

Riku: "Alright. Anyway, DK owns nothing as you very well know by now."

!

Chapter 135: Monsters, Aliens, Pirates

The Falcon hovered over the world of Olympus. It had been a little over a day since it had left Radiant Garden.

Bariss leaned back in the pilot's seat for a moment, gazing down fondly at the world. She only now realized that this world meant quite a lot to her.

She remembered the 'incident' in the Underworld during their last visit, when Larxene had practically fried Nehrut just to keep them and Yuffie in captivity. That had been a terrifying experience for her, seeing Nehrut fall. She hadn't been able to breathe properly until he had regained consciousness.

She also remembered their face-off against the Ice Titan. He had been willing to sacrifice himself to make sure she stayed safe, before she had talked him back into fighting shape.

And that was the first time she had kissed him...

Olympus was probably where she had started to fall for him.

She smiled to herself, touching her fingers to her lips, as though she could still taste their last kiss. She got up out of her seat, and stepped onto the transmission pad.

!

Bariss appeared on the steps of the coliseum. Unexpectedly, the loud sounds of dozens of roaring creatures assaulted her ears.

She looked out at the courtyard, and her eyes widened in shock.

From the steps leading up the mountain, and down to the Underworld, there came a lot of angry-looking creatures. She gulped in nervousness, recognizing one of them from her brief look over Jiminy's reports.

The massive, black-furred Cerberus was charging up the stone steps, ripping them apart in its haste to reach the top. It trampled smaller creatures under its huge paws, sending their remains flying down the side of the mountain. Its six red eyes glinted malevolently with the desire to destroy.

"Not good..."

The massive coliseum doors opened up behind her. The familiar figure of Hercules rushed through them, a sword in his hand, and a bronze shield strapped to his back. He nearly ran right into her, and barely stopped in time to avoid her.

"Hey Bariss." He greeted with a slightly confused expression.

"Did I come at a bad time?"

"Kind of." He gestured to the monsters approaching. "I could use a hand, if you don't mind?"

"Sure. But after we're done, I have something I need to talk to you about."

The two of them ran to the top of the stairway, and looked down. The majority of the creatures were approaching fast, and were about half-way up the stairway already. Cerberus was closing the gap particularly quickly, and was now slightly ahead of the rest of the horde.

"Any bright ideas?" Hercules asked.

Time seemed to slow down for a moment, while Bariss thought. She looked around, and her eyes fell upon the two massive gladiator statues standing sentry on either side of the coliseum doorway. An idea popped into her head.

"Hercules, get those statues." She said, pointing at them.

Herc followed her pointed finger, and seemed to catch on to what she had in mind. He ran to the first one, and crouched down at the base of the statue. He plunged his fists into the platform beneath its feet.

With a grunt of exertion, he pulled upward, slowly separating the statue from the ground. It only took him a few seconds, and he was holding the massive thing over his head. He barely even seemed to be straining himself.

Hercules walked forward as fast as he could, carefully balancing the statue over his head. He was just barely able to slip through the gates with it, and Bariss had to edge out of his way.

The monsters were drawing ever closer.

"Throw it!"

With a shout, Hercules threw the statue down the side of the mountain with all the force he could muster. Cerberus, being in the lead, saw it first. It was just barely able to dodge out of its way as it tore up the side of the mountain.

But, the creatures below weren't so lucky.

They howled in surprise and panic upon seeing the huge projectile flying at them. Their howls turned into cries of panic when it slammed into them at high speed. The dozen or so in the lead were smashed against it. Pieces of the statue broke off from the main body, and fell down the mountain.

This actually seemed to help matters more. The pieces spread out, crushing still more of the oncoming creatures as they fell down the slope. By the time that the statue was in so many pieces that they were too small to cause any more damage, over fifty creatures had been taken out of the battle before it had even started. But, the pieces of the statue had triggered a number of small rockslides, which only added to the chaos.

"I hope that was insured." Bariss said to Hercules.

"We'll send you a bill later."

"Technically, you broke it."

They stopped, and drew their weapons, because suddenly Cerberus was at the top of the mountain.

With a loud roar, its center head lunged down at them, mouth open wide to bite down on them. Bariss dove straight back, away from the creature, while Hercules rolled forward between its two front legs.

Before the dog was able to back away and try to attack again, Hercules grabbed one of its front legs. With a shout, he was able to toss the dog into the nearest wall of the courtyard. It left a large crack in it, and Hercules rushed after it just as it was getting back on its feet. It growled, fixing its six eyes on the demigod.

Bariss ran to join Hercules, but stopped in her tracks just in time to avoid a massive double-bladed battle axe, which slammed into the ground where she would have been standing.

She looked at its wielder, finding a heavily-muscled, eight-foot-tall minotaur glaring down at her. Its black hair was long, coarse, and knotted. One of its long horns was broken at the tip. The foul stench it was giving off was almost unbearable.

It snorted at her, its dark eyes filled with malice.

She leapt away from it just as it wrenched its axe free of the ground, and swung it at her forehead.

Bariss held her whip in her right hand, and her newly-reworked shield in her left. She glanced quickly back at the gates behind the minotaur and saw ten others like it pouring through them into the coliseum courtyard. These were slightly shorter than the one who had already attacked her, indicating that this one before her was their commander.

But, she took comfort from the fact that no more were following behind them. The statue trick she had come up with must have been more effective than she had guessed.

Seeing Hercules occupied with Cerberus at the other end of the yard, the minotaurs seemed to decide that they could let the dog handle him. Soon, she had eleven minotaurs advancing slowly toward her, snorting, and braying loudly at her as they approached with weapons bared.

The first traces of panic began to worm their way into her head. Not only was she outnumbered, but she was totally without help for the first time in several months.

Then her worries vanished completely, to be replaced by pure determination, and an intense focus on the situation. She had too much to live for now.

These minotaurs were just obstacles. She'd gotten through tougher obstacles before.

"Who wants to be first?" She challenged.

Two of the ox-men rushed toward her with massive broadswords in their hands. The first of them slashed at her knees, only to have her jump completely over the blade, and land with both feet on its flat side. She dropped her whip, and drew her sai from her belt.

She lunged forward, stabbing as deep into the minotaur's chest as she could, and then kicking off of its chest to land several feet away. The creature dropped its blade, and staggered backwards, clutching at the bleeding wound in its chest. The minotaur that had attacked with it roared, slashing repeatedly at Bariss with an identical broadsword.

Bariss caught each of its attacks with her shield, deflecting them easily aside as she backed slowly away from it. As another two of the creatures rushed to back up their comrade, she threw her sai into its face, felling it instantly.

She ran over its body, snatching the sai from its head, and slipping it back into place on her belt. She picked up her whip as well, and flourished it around her body.

A minotaur with a large axe slashed at her neck, aiming to remove her head from her body. She ducked under the strike, and cracked her whip at its face, nearly removing its eye. Two more attacks created a bleeding slash across its chest, and chipped off part of its horn.

The winded creature was at last defeated by a slash across the neck, which killed it almost instantly.

An arrow shot past her ear, startling her. She twisted around, and saw that two of the minotaurs had dropped their close-combat weapons, and had drawn long bows. They didn't seem to have very many arrows on them, but if their aim was just a little bit better, they wouldn't need any more.

The second arrow would have hit her in the face if she hadn't raised her shield in time to block it. She began to charge at them, but was interrupted by a pair of the minotaurs slashing at her from either sides with battle axes.

Bariss was forced to launch herself forward to avoid the two massive blades, and lost a lock of her hair to another arrow. They were working as a team now; it was time to get serious.

She sprinted toward the minotaurs with the bows, and placed the whip between her teeth so she could pull her sai from her belt. She threw it with all her might at one of the creatures just before it fired its next arrow.

It struck it in the chest, and the thing fell backwards with a loud cry of pain that faded into a low groan before it went quiet forever.

Its partner, momentarily distracted by the sudden death of its comrade, accidentally fired its next arrow into the sandy ground. Bariss grinned fiercely. She held her whip in her right hand again, and gripped her shield as tightly as she could in the other.

In the moment the minotaur wasn't looking at her, she smashed the shield into its chest with enough force to knock the air out of its lungs, and bring it to its knees. She then brought her knee up to the point of its chin, knocking it backwards. With a wide slash of her whip, she ended its life.

The two who had attacked her from either side seconds earlier had now caught up with her. As she ripped her sai free from one of her dead opponents, she looked past them to see how Hercules was faring.

He seemed to be doing quite well. He was on top of Cerberus's center head, bashing his fists into its skull with enough force to make it tremble and yelp. Its other two heads were doing the best they could to snatch the man from his perch, with little success.

That was the last Bariss saw before the other two minotaurs were all over her. They were surprisingly fast, and were able to keep her on her toes. Things didn't improve when two more minotaurs carrying broad swords rushed in to back them up.

Bariss thought quickly, and came up with another idea. She seemed to be coming up with a lot of them lately, and then remembered that the magic headband she wore improved her focus in stressful situations. She smiled.

She abruptly turned away from her opponents, and shot toward the remaining gladiator statue at the right of the coliseum gates. Using the same athletic prowess that had gotten her into Disney Castle and so many other places, she scaled the statue in a few short seconds.

Perched atop the gladiator's bronze helmet, she looked down to see the remaining six minotaurs cluster around the base of the statue. They snorted and brayed up at her, furious that she seemed to be running away from their fight.

She chuckled. They were grossly unintelligent, and overconfident. A dangerous combination.

Well, it was a dangerous combination for them, anyway.

She raised her shield, and angled it carefully. The sun was still fairly high in the sky, and shining bright gold in the otherwise empty blue sky. The reflective surface of her shield caught the sunbeams, and flashed down into the eyes of the minotaurs.

Bariss had to wonder whether Vexen had designed the shield for a strategy like this, because her sunbeam trick had a greater effect than she had anticipated. The creatures below her howled in agony, covering their eyes from the intense light aimed directly at them.

She wasted no time, and jumped from the top of the statue, holding her shield beneath her feet. She came down with the force of a meteor onto the head of one of the minotaurs, cracking its thick skull, and dropping it instantly.

Before the rest of the stunned creatures could recover from her trickery, she had slashed open the throats of two others.

And then, only three were left, including the leader who had first attacked her. They had barely brought their weapons up into defensive positions when Bariss slashed deep into the face of one of them with the end of her whip.

As it fell, the next minotaur stabbed at her with its sword. Bariss sidestepped the blade, dropping her shield, and taking both ends of the whip in her hands. She quickly wrapped the whip around the creature's blade, and gave a firm tug while the thing was still unbalanced.

She wrenched the sword from the minotaurs hand, sending it sliding across the ground. In the split second while its guard was still down, Bariss pulled her sai from her belt, and plunged it deep into the creature's throat.

It fell to the ground, and Bariss was now faced with only the minotaur boss. If the creature was at all unsettled by the loss of all of his allies, it didn't show it. It snorted once, waving its huge axe before it.

Bariss put her sai back into her belt, and clutched her whip in her hands, having an idea how to bring it down.

With a loud roar, the minotaur charged at her, covering the ten feet between them in an instant with its long strides. Bariss smiled fiercely and ran to meet it halfway.

The instant before she collided with it, she leapt into the air toward his head, narrowly avoiding its axe blade as it flashed toward her midsection. She clutched the ends of her whip in both hands, and looped them around the minotaur's neck as she passed over its head.

She landed on its other side, pulling it backwards a small bit as the end of the whip tightened around the creature's neck. It suddenly began gasping and sputtering for air. It dropped its weapon, and reached up in an attempt to wrench the makeshift noose away from its neck.

Bariss wasn't about to allow that. Her grip on the ends of her whip was vise-like, and she pulled with all her might.

A few tense minutes passed while the minotaur struggled for air. Bariss gritted her teeth, refusing to give it any room to escape. Soon enough, the creature's hands ceased to claw at the whip, and its arms slowly dropped to its sides. It twitched slightly, and a few flecks of foam escaped past its lips.

Bariss put it out of its misery with a vicious tug backwards, which snapped its neck like a toothpick.

The minotaur slumped forward, and she uncoiled her whip from its neck, securing it to her belt again. As she retrieved her shield, she looked over at the fight taking place on the other end of the courtyard.

Hercules was handling himself quite well. Cerberus's left and right heads seemed to be unconscious, and it was stumbling repeatedly into the walls, which were getting cracked repeatedly. Hercules was situated in between the giant dog's front shoulder blades, at the base of the middle head's neck.

He had fistfuls of the dog's fur in his hands, and was wrenching them in either direction to goad the creature into smashing its head over and over. This strategy seemed to be working quite well. Just minutes after Bariss had finished the final minotaur, Hercules steered the dog toward the remaining gladiator statue.

Bariss sprinted out of Cerberus's way, and was just over twenty feet away when the center head smashed into the gladiator's chest.

The whole thing crumbled, and Cerberus fell heavily to the sandy ground. Chunks of the statue rained down on top of it.

The fight was clearly over, and Bariss smiled in satisfaction. But she quickly donned a look of horror when she realized that Hercules hadn't dove free when the statue had fallen onto Cerberus.

She rushed over to the unmoving dog, hoping to dig the demigod out of the pile of rubble on its back.

Fortunately, she was spared the trouble. A large section of stone fell away, and Hercules emerged a moment later. He was quite dirty, but didn't look to be at all hurt. He hopped off of the creature's back, landing a few feet in front of Bariss. He dusted himself off casually, as though he did such things every day before lunch.

"Luckily," He said, "that's not nearly as much damage as it could have been. Phil and the guys should have this stuff fixed up in no time."

"Good." Bariss smiled, looking over his shoulder. "You should probably consider a new building material, though."

"I'll think about it." He grinned, extending his hand, which she shook. "So, what brings you back to this neck of the woods?"

"We're almost ready to take the fight to the Brotherhood." She said. "Cid is back at Radiant Garden prepping some ships to take us to Pax Pacis. We can't take the world on alone, though. We're forming a task force called WASP to assault the world. Interested in joining?"

"You know it!" Hercules replied without hesitation. "Maybe once this is done, I can stop worrying about this kind of craziness." He hiked a thumb over his shoulder, indicating the unconscious Cerberus.

Bariss hoped so, and looked at the dog. Her eyes widened in shock.

"Long time no see."

Hercules turned, and saw what Bariss was looking at. Sitting on what had been the statue gladiator's forehead was Ruxik.

Having apparently just arrived, Bariss dearly hoped that he hadn't heard what she'd just been saying about WASP. She drew her whip, while Hercules pulled his sword from his belt.

Ruxik's eyes fell upon Bariss. "Well slave... What are you doing here without your new masters?"

"'Masters?'" Her eyes glinted dangerously.

Ruxik smirked, knowing he had touched a nerve. "What? You think that they're your friends? You really are pathetic. Right now they need you because you're familiar with our ways, and you're a passable warrior."

He stood up, and leaned against a larger piece of rubble. "But, when they're done with you... They'll cast you out like a leper. After all, what use would you be to them after this is all done? You're just a gutter rat who can contribute nothing of any real value to society. Maybe it'd be simpler for you to just drop dead right now. I'd be happy to help."

With a cry of anger and pain, she rushed at him, wishing for nothing but the chance to wipe that smug look off his face.

He merely continued to smirk, before opening up a massive corridor of Darkness to swallow up both him and Cerberus. It closed again before Bariss arrived.

She came to a halt, growling in frustration. She kicked a piece of the statue across the courtyard, seething with anger. She closed her eyes, and let a wave of calm envelope her.

She sighed softly, letting the magic of the headband do its work. Logic slowly managed to worm its way into her thoughts. She had no 'master' any longer. Of course Sora and the others were her friends. There was too much comaraderie and familial love between the group for them to be anything else.

And there was, of course, the small matter that she was in love with Nehrut. And that she knew he felt the same way for her. He had already proposed to her, after all.

Feeling infinitely better, she opened her eyes again. She found Hercules looking cautiously at her, as though worried she would blow up again. When she smiled, he looked very relieved.

"Get whatever you need, Herc." She said. "We'll leave as soon as you're ready."

Hercules left to talk to Phil, assuring her he'd be back soon. Bariss took a seat on the steps of the coliseum. She produced her communications device (simply called a 'commlink') from one of her many pockets, deciding that it would be best to notify the rest of the crew of what had happened.

Resisting the urge to call the Coterie first, she punched in the code for Radiant Garden. Aerith answered.

"Nice to see you, Bariss." She said, sitting at the desk in Chancellor Leonheart's study. "How is Olympus?"

"Well, things got a little heated, but everything's fine, now. Hercules has agreed to join."

"I'm glad to hear that. WASP needs people like him."

"Yes, but there's something else. Ruxik was here. He took Cerberus with him. Probably back to Pax Pacis."

Aerith looked worried. "Do you think he knew about our plan?"

"It didn't seem like it. Probably, he just wanted to cash in on the huge supply of monsters around here."

"Let's hope so. The offensive will go a lot easier if they don't have time to prepare for us... I'll let the others know about what's happened."

"Thanks, Aerith." Bariss smiled. "How are they doing, by the way?"

Aerith looked to check something on the desk before her. "Most of them are still en route to their destinations. But Roxas and Namine are on the way back, and should be here in an hour or two. Hayner, Pence, and Olette have agreed to help us, as has the Disciplinary Committee."

"That'll be fun."

"Also, Axel is coming back from the Cimarron with Midnight. He'll be here soon."

"Got it. If anything happens, keep me in the loop, please."

"Of course. Aerith Gainsborough out."

!

"You must admit that this would be a wise arrangement, Calypso." Yen Sid said.

The wizard was on the world of Port Royal. He was now standing on the ocean floor, hundreds of miles from any form of intelligent civilization. His blue robes fluttered slowly around his body, reacting to the slow current. A small pocket of air was suspended directly over his mouth and nose, giving him a steady supply of breathable air.

Before him was the intangible figure of a dark-skinned woman. Her form seemed to flicker briefly in and out of existence before him, as though she was deciding whether or not to completely come into focus.

"I mus' admit to notin' Masta' Yen Sid." Calypso replied. "I am quite safe here in my own domain. An' de dead be needin' de Dutchman's cap'n. I will not let 'im go jus' because your 'Brotherhood' is scarin' you."

Yen Sid grimaced. He had known this wasn't going to be easy, but he had prepared for such an argument.

"Should the Brotherhood succeed," He said, "Nobody will be safe. Not even you, with all of your power. They will take Kingdom Hearts for their own, and use that incredible power to dominate everything they see. They will not allow someone as dangerous as you to live. They will destroy you. Or, if nothing else, they'll return you to your human form."

Calypso scowled, as though remembering her old form caused her physical pain.

"Allowing William Turner to leave the world with his ship and crew is a necessary evil. If we are successful, they shall only be gone for a matter of days. In the meantime, you can surely find a temporary means to give the dead passage to their next life."

Calypso fixed the wizard with a steady, calculating gaze. Yen Sid fought back the urge to smile in satisfaction. He had her swayed already, now he just had to make sure he didn't give her reason to change her mind.

After what felt like hours, but was only a few seconds in reality, she spoke. "Him hav' ten days off dis' world."

Now Yen Sid allowed himself a smile. He bowed respectfully to her. "Your assistance in this matter is most appreciated, Calypso. I promise you it will not be forgotten."

When he looked back up, Calypso had vanished without a trace.

!

"So, do we have an accord?" Jack Sparrow extended his hand.

The deck of the Black Pearl –which was out in the open ocean, a few miles away from a small island- was crowded with pirates. Three separate crews were present. One was the crew of Hector Barbossa, which consisted of the former members of Sparrow's crew. After the second mutiny, only Joshamee Gibbs had stayed with him. So, this two-man crew was the second on deck. The third consisted of several Singaporian pirates under Elizabeth Swan's command.

Elizabeth stood before Jack and Barbossa, watching the situation carefully to ensure that nobody shot each other. As Pirate King, it was part of her job to oversee the occasional dispute between the pirate factions under her command.

In this case, she and her men were watching the negotiations regarding the proper ownership of the Black Pearl. Jack had some form of bargaining chip that she wasn't fully aware of, but apparently it was valuable enough to where Barbossa would rather have it than Sparrow's life.

Things stayed frozen in place like this for a long time, with Jack's hand extended for Barbossa to shake, and the rest of the pirates ready for a fight to break out.

But finally, Barbossa wore an expression somewhere between a smile and a grimace, and shook Jack's hand. "Agreed."

"Agreed."

The ship breathed a collective sigh of relief, and people dropped their hands from their weapons.

"Alright, let's get sailing." Jack said, clapping his hands together once. He looked at Elizabeth. "Thank you, Your Highness. Your participation in this matter of upmost sensitivity and general lawlessness is most appreciated, and shall not be eclipsed in the events of recent months until I get staggeringly drunk and forget."

He said this all so quickly that Elizabeth wasn't entirely sure what he was saying.

"I'm fairly certain that was a thank you." She said to him.

"Perceptive lass, as always." He winked at her. He then raised his voice to address the rest of the crew. "Lads, we're celebrating the return of the Pearl's rightful captain!"

Gibbs walked up to him, and muttered something.

"And the unification of our crews!"

The pirates were fairly silent.

"Drinks are on me in Tortuga!"

The dozens of pirates on the deck of the Black Pearl suddenly burst into wild cheers, some of them discharging their sidearms into the air. Jack smiled in satisfaction, and walked up to the bridge. Gibbs followed close behind.

"Sir, are you really going to buy all these men drinks?"

Jack looked at him as though he'd gone insane. "Since when does anybody pay for anything in Tortuga?"

"Ah. Shall I tell the men to ready us to sail?"

"Make it so."

Jack stepped up to the helm of the ship, where Cotton had his hands on the wheel. Barbossa stood near him.

Jack put his hands on the railing, patting it affectionately. "Well Hector, I'm glad we worked this whole messy business out."

"Just don't make me regret it, Jack." Barbossa fixed him with a steady gaze. "I assure you, if you give me an excuse to kill you, I'll do it."

"Ah, I love you too, Hector."

Barbossa rolled his eyes in irritation. Elizabeth stepped onto the deck. "Jack."

"Eh?"

"Stay safe, will you?"

He grinned, and removed his grubby tricorn, inclining it toward her. "So somebody around here really does care for old Captain Jack, eh? Well, before I go, we could always..."

"No, Jack."

"I had to try, Love. For old time's sake, and all that."

Elizabeth half-smiled, and turned to look at her first mate. He was a slightly short, Asian man with thin, dirty hair, weather-beaten skin, and a woven straw hat. His name was Tai Huang, and he had served alongside the original Pirate Lord of the South China Sea whose place she had taken: Sao Feng.

"Tai Huang, prepare the Empress. We're going back to Shipwreck Cove."

"Aye, Captain." The man bowed slightly, and began ushering the rest of Elizabeth's crew toward the ship tethered alongside the Pearl. It was a larger-than-average Chinese junk, with a green wooden hull, and aerodynamic, orange-painted sails.

"I hope to see you again soon, gentlemen." Elizabeth told Jack, Barbossa, Cotton, and Gibbs. Each of the men bowed in respect to her, as a parting gesture.

The moment before Elizabeth turned her back to leave, the voice of Ragetti called out, "Oy! We've got company!"

All eyes shot toward the pirate, who was pointing to some point beyond the starboard side of the Pearl. Then, they could each make out the form of a large galleon approaching them on an intercept course.

"Cannons at the ready!" Barbossa howled. "She's not flyin' any flags, and she hasn't tried to hail us!"

The crews of the two ships rushed to prepare for what they assumed would be a fight to the death, and Elizabeth hurriedly ran to the Empress before the boarding ramp was taken away.

The pirate ships were nearly ready for action, when Jack suddenly called out, "OY! Hold fire!"

All action abruptly stopped, and people looked at the captain with surprised expressions. "She's a friendly vessel."

Elizabeth took a closer look at the incoming ship. For a moment, she couldn't understand why Jack had called it a friendly vessel. It still wasn't flying any flags, and nobody seemed to be making any attempt at communication. Then, she gasped. She recognized the ship.

The Flying Dutchman was approaching them.

She ran up to the bridge of the Empress, and instructed Tai Huang to meet the vessel half-way. The Pearl followed their lead, angling toward the supernatural galleon. In a few moments, Elizabeth was able to see the captain standing on the deck. She had to fight back the urge to cry happily.

Will hadn't changed.

The Empress beat the Pearl to the ship, and slid to a stop at its starboard side. On the other end, a pair of the now-human crewmen extended a wide boarding ramp toward the smaller ship, which Elizabeth and her crew were quick to secure. On the other side of the ship, the Pearl was going through the same process.

The Dutchman's crew ushered some of the men aboard, and Elizabeth stepped onto its deck at the same moment Jack Sparrow did.

"Welcome aboard the Flying Dutchman, Your Highness." Greeted a crewman, smiling. Elizabeth instantly recognized him as Boostrap Bill, her new father-in-law.

She saluted him, and smiled. Her eyes drifted up to the bridge, where Will stood, looking down at her with an identical smile. Not hesitating, she rushed up the steps to meet him, and instantly pulled him into a fierce kiss.

Jack, Barbossa, Gibbs, Tai Huang, and Boostrap stepped onto the deck as well, some of them smiling at the sight.

After a long time, the two parted. "What are you doing here?" Elizabeth asked breathlessly.

"A friend came calling." Will inclined his head in one direction.

For the first time, the newcomers noticed Yen Sid, standing to one side of the bridge.

"Captains Swan, Sparrow, Barbossa." He greeted. "I have a proposition for you."

!

It had been just over two days since Riku had left Radiant Garden. He was moments away from emerging from warp space over Hawaii, and he was currently talking with Yuffie via commlink.

"How're things going?" He asked her.

"Yen Sid's on his way back with a whole lot of pirates." Yuffie replied. "Let's hope that none of them try to steal anything."

Riku smirked. "I thought the Great Ninja Yuffie Kisaragi wasn't afraid of thieves?"

"Yuffie Kisaragi fears nothing!" She proclaimed, making him laugh.

"Make sure they know that, then." He smiled. "I've gotta go."

"Tell Lilo and Stitch I said hi!"

"I will. Love you."

"Love you, too." She smiled fondly, cutting the connection.

Riku turned his attention to the controls of his ship, and brought the Redeemer out of warp space.

!

All seemed calm when Riku first stepped foot on Hawaii. He had wound up somewhere in the tropical forests of the main island.

The Keybearer took a look around looking for anything significant. There wasn't too much around him. He could hear what sounded like a waterfall nearby, as well as the chirping of various species of birds.

He took a moment to enjoy the scenery, before a section of a nearby tree trunk suddenly burst apart with a splash of fiery energy.

Quickly, Riku summoned his new Keyblade Breaking Dawn, and twisted around. His attacker was standing just over ten feet away from him. There wasn't a doubt in his mind that he was looking at another one of Jumba Jookiba's experiments. He looked too similar to Stitch.

The creature before him was smaller than Stitch, and looked something like a reptilian, six-legged dog with red, orange, and purple skin. It had short little ears and a purple horn-like growth in its forehead. Its snout had a hole at the end of it, which was smoking lightly, and was apparently the source of the attack that had just missed Riku. It had Stitch's same dark eyes.

This little experiment growled at him, and appeared to size him up. The two very different opponents stared at each other for a moment, before the experiment decided to act first.

More fiery projectiles burst from its snout, shooting at Riku at high speed. The Keybearer rolled out of its line of fire, then leapt back to his feet and rushed at the creature with his blade held in front of him.

The experiment continued firing at him, but Riku's blade parried any projectile it sent his way. He closed the distance between himself and it in just seconds, and slashed down at it with his Keyblade.

With surprising agility, it dove backwards away from him, landing another ten feet out of his striking range. It resumed firing at him, though with greater force than before. Riku was forced to hold his ground as he deflected each plasma blast that came within an inch of striking him down.

He quickly summoned the Guardian from behind him, and ordered the creature forward.

Suddenly, its path was blocked. A second experiment had appeared between its cousin and the Guardian. And it had actually been able to block the Guardian's advance.

This new experiment was larger than its smaller counterpart, with shaggy purple hair, and a Tasmanian-devil-like appearance. It had four large, muscular arms, which each had three fingers on each paw. It had almost no neck, small ears, and small, beady eyes.

The new experiment had blocked the Guardian's massive fists with two of its own. Though it appeared to be straining itself, it had enough energy to drive its other pair of fists into the thing's stomach.

The Guardian couldn't feel pain, but the force of the attack was enough to knock even it backwards a few feet.

"Crap." Riku muttered to himself. He extended his hand. "Ray of Dawn!"

The Guardian sank back into Riku's body as the silver-haired teenager released a huge burst of Dawn energy in the form of a large beam directly at the two experiments.

The creatures leapt out of its path, leaving it to slam into the side of a large boulder. It blew into pieces, creating a temporary shower of newly-formed gravel. Almost immediately, Riku was assaulted with more fiery projectiles from the first experiment's nose.

Riku deflected the attacks as he had last time, making a break for the relative safety of a large, thick tree. He paused behind it for a second, while the experiment hammered away at the trunk of the tree, gradually chipping away at the thick bark.

Suddenly, the tree splintered, and Riku leapt away. When he landed, he realized that the other, four-armed experiment had smashed through the tree with a single massive punch. It growled at him, and charged, its four fists flying.

Riku answered with a blast of Dawn aimed directly at the creature's face. Surprisingly, the thing juked to the side of the blast, pausing only for the briefest of moments before charging at Riku again.

He was impressed at its resolve to smash him into the ground, but that didn't mean he was about to let it succeed.

He waited for it to come to him, and dodged agilely around each of its fast, powerful strikes. There were more than a few narrow misses, and as a result, trees and rocks ended up smashed all around them.

Riku leapt away from this experiment, and was immediately fired upon again by the other one. He growled. Every time he got away from one, the other one was ready and waiting to attack again.

The Keybearer punched out his hand at the smaller experiment, sending a few blasts of Dawn shooting at it. The creature dodged nimbly out of the way of each of the attacks, and returned fire every time it could.

Then, predictably, the other experiment was punching and kicking at Riku again.

This is just getting ridiculous.

Riku kept trying to attack either of the experiments, looking for some opening. But, the two seemed to be a perfect team. Riku's eyes constantly scanned the environment in search of something he could use against them.

He didn't see anything, but after a few minutes, he heard something.

It sounded quite like an engine, and it was accompanied by the sound of lots of branches and twigs snapping. The sound of voices soon followed. He smirked. Those were reinforcements.

Right on cue, the familiar red doom buggy burst from the tree line just a few feet away from Riku. Jumba was in the driver's seat, Lilo was positioned in the back, and Stitch was in the front passenger's seat, plasma pistols ablaze.

Riku hopped into the back seat with Lilo. Now it was a fight.

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Another one down! Hope you enjoyed!

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