Chapter 155: The Gathering of Heroes
Brian sighed in relief as the shield was dropped, gaining his breath from the amount of energy that he had been using to keep Sora, Roxas, Ventus and Naminé from the Unbirth, as well as recovering from his attack. Feeling Naminé's eyes resting on him, he placed his hands in his pockets and turned around, seeing that the memory witch was over Sora with concern. "What's wrong?" He asked.
"I dunno." She mumbled softly as she checked the boys. They had no clue on whether the battle with Sky was over. The two shot back as forms of darkness started to cover the Keyblade Master. "You don't think—" Naminé spoke with worry.
Concern filled the Endless' face. "We may have cured him but his heart is falling.." He said as he waved to the others.
Riku looked over to Brian's waving, only to see Sora shrouded by darkness while Ventus and Roxas remained knelled like statues. He looked back over to the dying Link, who was being guarded by Kairi, Donald and Goofy while Aqua and Mickey were discussing about the last container while Hikari searched the room for remaining Unbirth that were hiding in the shadows.
Approaching Kairi, Donald and Goofy, The Wielder of Dawn stormed over, keyblade in hand as he pointed at Link's neck, making his three friends jump with surprise. "Riku! What—" Kairi spoke in surprise.
"How do we help him, Link?" He growled.
"My name is Leo." The Remorse Endless spat as his brown hair fell in front of his eyes.
"How do we help him?!" He repeated, ignoring his comment.
"What makes you think I know?!" Leo responded with pain and annoyance as he grabbed his chest. "I followed my master's orders. That is all."
"LIAR." He forces Leo off the ground and slammed him back down with hard force. When he was going to lift him again, Kairi quickly pulled him away, looking at him to tell him to knock it off. With a breath of restraint, he walked away from the Endless.
Meanwhile, Aqua looked up at her captured friend, seeing that the container holding him is jammed with the keyhole blocked with rubble from the battle with Link. As she had been clearing the rubble with King Mickey, she explained how she was trapped in the realm of darkness when Snake had appeared, promising her a way out. Snake had pretended to be on their side, saying that he was trapped here by Vanitas. By time they had reached the realm of light, Snake had revealed his true nature and quickly outnumbered her before going out cold.
"I feel like a fool." She told Mickey as they moved the rubble out of the way. "To believe that I fell for his play." She shook her head before looking up at the frozen Terra. "Why gather us thought?"
"Vanitas wanted Sora to be evenly powered to him, giving the power to summon the X-blade. Thought instead of fusing his body into Sora like he had previously done with Ventus, he took the power from Sora's heart by balancing him. As all Unbirth and those infected are under his control, it was simple. But the power could not be gained without gathering twelve Endless for his powers of darkness and six people that Sora had strongly connected with… those that linked him to the keyblade." King Mickey explained, looking over as the others bring Sora, Roxas and Ventus to the middle of the room.
"But how did Sora connect to me, Ven and Terra?" She asked.
"Because…" Mickey looked at the others, seeing that they were all listening. "Long ago, Sora's heart had prevented Ven from disappearing after Vanitas was born. When Vanitas was originally defeated, Ven's heart returned to Sora to sleep and recover. That is how Sora is connected to you and Terra, through the friendship that you hold with Ven."
Aqua looked over to the knelling Ventus. "Then how did he wake?"
Mickey hummed at the question. "I'm not sure." He spoke. "I can imagine that when Sora sacrificed his heart for Kairi, it had released Ven's heart back to where it belonged but because the heart had not fully recovered, Vanitas came out of the darkness from where he faded, along with the powers to infect and Ventus would still sleep."
Hikari raised an eyebrow at this. "Then how did Ven wake up? Where was his body?"
"In Castle Oblivion." Everyone looked over to Brian, seeing that he had spoken up. "Shortly after coming here, Nikolai, Aiddie and I stumbled upon the Castle, seeing Naminé leaving with some pods. We had checked it out and we found a hidden room, needing a keyhole to get in. I used my keyblade and found Ven sleeping. Before I could do anything, the keyblade acted as its own and reawakened him." He shook his head. "It doesn't matter how everyone is connected, we need to save them." He pointed to the three boys on the floor, watching as Roxas was now beginning to be covered in darkness.
"I think it does, Brian." Goofy spoke up.
Donald looked at him in question. "How so?"
"Well…" He walked towards where Sora laid. "Maybe Roxas and Ventus are trying to help Sora out of the darkness. Maybe if we get those connected to dive into his heart, we should be able to dive into him." He theorized.
"You really think that is what Roxas and Ven are doing now?" Hikari questioned.
"It's the only idea we've got." Xion pointed out. "Besides, Sora is the reason that we are all standing here." Everyone nodded in agreement with that statement. Infected or not, Sora would fight for his friends.
"So what do we do to help?" Naminé asked.
"For that to work, we would all need to wield keyblades, circle around Sora like Roxas and Ven are doing." Brian pointed out. "Some of us could help but Naminé doesn't wield the keyblade and that guy—" Aqua quickly interrupts by saying 'Terra'. "—Terra is still stuck in the container."
"Maybe Kairi and Riku can take their places." Mickey suggested to them.
The Wielder of Dawn looked at his weapon before looking at the comatose Terra. "I do remember him." He looked back at the group before looking at Kairi. "Do you wanna try?" He asked her
The Princess of Heart nodded to this with no question, thinking that her connection to Naminé might allow her to swap places but she wanted to help Sora no matter what. The two stepped beside the knelled Roxas and Ventus, as well as Xion and Aqua. Along with the others, Kairi placed her keyblade in the ground and knelled down, closing her eyes before feeling a strong pull of her heart as she dived into Sora's.
Riku breathed calmly before opening his eyes, seeing that he was the only one that was not in a trance, seeing that Kairi, Xion and Aqua shrouded in a faint light. He shook his head before getting up. "How what?" He asked the others.
"Isn't it obviously?" Hikari pointed to the comatose Terra. "We wake him up!"
A laugh was heard from across the room, the remaining group looked over to see Leo coughing in a laughing fit. "That would be entertaining! Release the person that took over your body." He spoke manically.
Brian looked at Terra before looking at Riku. "Wait? Terra is Xehanort?!" He spoke in disbelief.
"No." Mickey spoke up. "Terra was a young keybearer, who cared about his friends to the very end but Xehanort had lead Terra down the path of darkness and made him his vessel. He had eventually locked his heart away so that he couldn't get controlled by Xehanort anymore." He explained.
Goofy jumped slightly. "We had fought him before too. He thought that Sora was Xehanort."
"I'm waking him." Riku spoke abruptly, pointing his keyblade at the container, only for Hikari to block his way. "What are you doing?" He questioned.
"What if he takes you over again?" Hikari spoke with concern.
Riku shook his head at this. "Do you not have any faith in me?!" He questioned her before looking away. "We have six of our friends that are in trouble and if risking the chance to lose my body again, so be it." He looked back at Hikari, with only stern look. "I have done once, I can do it again."
"Well, I'm glad to be here for this!" Leo coughed. "I can watched him rip you all the shreds and take your hearts as his own, allowing my master to destroy these—" He was unable to finish his sentence as Brian stormed over to the dying Endless and punched him across the face, knocking him out cold.
The Aversion Endless walked back to Riku before summoning the keyblade. "If he attacks, I'm by ya." He grinned before pointing his keyblade to the container, firing as soon as Hikari moved out of the way. Soon King Mickey joined in and three beams of light pointed at the container, creating a huge crack before the container broke, making the others shield their eyes as the glass shot everywhere.
Gravity didn't exist in the darkness. It felt as if you was falling at the constant speed, or even floating down with no ending. The heart was clear of the infection that had once dominated but with a price…the heart was now dying. With his eyes closed, the memories of his friends flashed part him as the darkness around began to grab hold of him. I remember this feeling. He was beginning to forget his life, his face, his name…
His eyes opened slowly, the life in his eyes had faded as he looked up to see two figures float down beside him. He watched them land on their feet, walking on the emptiness of the darkness. One was armoured fully while the other wore a black coat. He couldn't remember who they were. Who were they? What are they doing here? As he was questioning their appearance when he saw them wield huge keys-blades? They slammed the Keyblades in the ground, feeling an electric pulse run through him.
A bright light appeared around him and the two figures, creating a complete circle. Where the wielders stood, parts of stained glass formed underneath them, as if they were trying to complete a puzzle. He still couldn't remember who these people were but the black coat looked faintly familiar….as if it would belong to a group….or a band? They kept calling him a name as they stood on their respected placed of stained glass, why were they calling him Sora? Isn't Sora a girl's name….His mind was going blank.
As some of the stain glass was cracking from the waves of darkness against it, more people began to float down. Another armoured person….Another person dressed in a black coat…..more stain glass appeared from underneath them. Yet he still felt like he was fading away in the dark. His eyes turned to someone else though. A girl with auburn hair floated down within the circle created by the others. He felt more alive as he looked at her, knowing that she was important to him, that he would have followed her anywhere. As she repeated the others, showing the keyblade, having stain glass appear underneath her; a breath went through him.
The five of them was doing the same thing, they were calling to him. They were calling him, 'Sora.' As he stood for himself and tried to step on the stain glass to approach the girl they caught his eyes. The stain glass cracked underneath his feet, making the girl in front of him look at the others with concern. The flooring that the five people in front of him was whole but not strong enough. The darkness was still crashing against it, it was slowly cracking.
He looked around at the people around him, watching as the darkness around them approached them. He couldn't just stand here. He couldn't watch his friends fall for him, he needed to save them. The thought caught him by surprise. His friends. Are all of these people here his friends? He turned back to the first two that came down, to see that their platforms were nearly gone. He tried to run over to them but his body felt slowed, he was running but he wasn't going anywhere. Before he knew it, the darkness grabbed hold of him….he was sinking into the darkness.
He looked at the others, watching them call to him as they tried to make their way off their guarded platforms. Since the first two platforms made had nearly been destroyed by the darkness, the two figures jumped into the darkness and began to try and pull him out. Soon, the girl with the auburn hair jumped off and started to pull as well, followed by the last two. With the strength of five, it was a tug of war against the darkness. But the darkness was winning; he could feel himself being pulled in, no matter what the others did.
A slam was heard crash into the ground, making the darkness lose its grip as he came out of the shadows flying, crashing into the others. He was free. He was out of the darkness. He looked over to see one more armoured figure, taller than the others. Who was this person? He wondered as the others returned to their placed and slammed their keyblades once more. He could only gasp as the light overcame him.
Mickey watched in amazement. As Sora began to glow, so did the others. The glows from Kairi quickly transverse to Naminé, making her gasp in surprise. "Woah!" He smiled with joy.
The others looked over to see what was going on. "What's happening?" Hikari asked.
"They did it!" Riku smiled.
"But why the glowing?" Brian questioned, having Donald and Goofy questioning the same thing.
From his shoulder, Jimmy appeared once more, beaming just as much as Mickey was. "Don't you see?!" He exclaimed. "Those connected to him were those that were trapped, lost and hurt. Sora's heart is fixing the hurt."
Mickey nodded in agreement. "Ventus' heart is being healed. Roxas, Xion and Naminé are gaining their own hearts.." The comment had made the memory witch gasp in surprise. "And Aqua and Terra's pain and hurt are being healed." He turned to them in joy. "This is what the power of the chosen Keyblade Master is! He had never needed a master because he and the key are one."
As the others smiled at the hurt being healed for the others. Brian looked away, looking at his gloved claw once more, seeing it fade away. The pain was horrific. He could only keep the charade up for a little until he felt Hikari's glaze. He forced a smile as he turned to her, holding his arms behind his back. "We did it." He grinned. "We saved Sora." Before she could say anything, everyone started to wake from their positions, including Sora with a huge yawn. Avoiding Hikari and approached the group, he placed his hand on his shoulder, "You had us worried for a sec." He grinned, placing the badge on him that most of the others wore before stepping back.
The Keyblade Master grinned, feeling Kairi and Riku come down to his level and hugged him tightly. "Awww guys! I wasn't going anywhere." His grin only brightened when Kairi kissed him on the cheek. "I'm sorry for all the trouble I've caused." He looked over to Kairi. "Especially to you Kairi." He looked over to everyone. "Can you guys forgive me?"
Riku laughed as he grabbed his friend's head and began to rub it with his knuckles. "We're just glad that you're back to your cheery, goofy self."
Roxas stood up, only to be rushed by Naminé and Xion with both of the girls, both speaking over each other with excitement and joy. "Hey. Hey. One at a time!" He told them before at Naminé. "What's going on?"
"We have hearts!" She told him, explaining that by saving Sora, his power had managed to give them their own hearts. "We're real."
Shock overcame his face. He was real. He was a living person. He can finally go and live his own life. He looked over to Xion, seeing that she looked away slightly, looking upset. "Xion. I'm sorry." He apologized, mainly for his anger towards her.
"No. I'm sorry Roxas." She told him. "I should have never gotten so selfish to try and get a heart. I should have kept my faith in Sora." She held out her hand. "Can we be friends again?" she asked.
Roxas grinned as he took her hand. "After all of this is over, how about we get some sea salt ice cream?" He asked the girls, both of them nodding in agreement.
Ven opened his eyes, to see Aqua standing in front of him. "AQUA!" He screamed with joy as he glomped onto her, hugging her tightly. "I'm so glad you're okay." He sobbed slightly as tears fell from his eyes.
"I am too, Ven." She smiled before looking at him. "The three of us are together again."
"The three of—" The two looked at the young man that they once knew long ago, for him to look away in shame. "Terra?" He walked to him slowly. As soon as he saw a glimpse of his face, "TERRA!" He jumped onto the unexpected man, catching him by surprise. "It's really you."
"I don't deserve this, Ven." Terra tried to push him off. "If it wasn't for me, all of these people wouldn't have gotten hurt." He spoke sombrely. "I let Xehanort do so many things. I wished I could have stopped him."
"I don't care about that!" Ven told him, catching Terra by surprise. "All I care is that after twelve years of being apart, we're back together again. We can go home together!" He told him before hugging again. "I missed you, Terra."
From the power of Ven's hug and the gentle smile that was coming from Aqua, the Keyblade wielder gave in as he smiled back, swinging Ven around in a tight hug. "I missed you guys too." He said softly, enjoying the freedom and the reunion of his friends.
As soon as everyone had recovered from their shocks, surprises, reunions, the group looked at the large portal in front of them. The door that will lead them to Kingdom Hearts….the door where their final battle will take place.
"Sora, Kairi, Riku." Terra spoke to the three. "If it wasn't for you, I would have never been able to free myself from Xehanort. You managed to do the job that the three of us failed to do long ago." Aqua and Ventus nodded in agreement. "We will cover the castle to make sure the portal doesn't close. It's time you finish your adventure."
Hikari nodded to the words. "Some of us will head back to Little Devon, giving you some more time. Right Brian?" His answer was distance but one in agreement.
Sora looked at his two friends, seeing if they were ready for this, only to see their determination in their eyes. It's time they finished this adventure. The trio quickly said their goodbyes to everyone. Sora held Donald, Mickey and Goofy tightly, remembering all of the adventures they have shared together. Riku shook hands with Terra, promising them that they will finish the job. Kairi held Naminé tightly before wishing Roxas and Xion all the best, telling them not to be strangers before rotating themselves to say good bye to everyone else.
Once they had done, the three of them approach Hikari and Brian, leaving their goodbyes with them until last.
"Thank you, Hikari, Brian. For everything." Kairi smiled as he hugged both of them tightly. As she finished hugging Brian, she added. "Thank you for giving me a second chance to live."
"Just live life to the fullest." Brian forced a smile before hugging Kairi once more.
Riku breathed in heavily as he looked at Hikari. "This is farewell then." He said before placing his hand to shake with her. The action had caused Sora to ask about their 'alliance', only to be elbowed by Brian. The tomboy shook his hand before letting go. The Wielder of Dawn got the message as he spoke, "I'm sorry for everything." before going towards Brian, giving Sora the chance to say goodbye to her.
"Goodbye Captain!" He smirked as he shook Riku's hand. "It's been great working besides you."
"Stay well, Brian." He told him.
He could only chuckle at the response. "No promises." He chocked slightly before adding, "You never know what will happen in Little Devon."
Riku only shook his head at this. "See ya later, Brian." He hugged him and patted him on the back before stepping away.
With Kairi and Riku's words riddled inside him, it was hard to hold his fake smile for Sora. He can't let them know that anything is wrong. He just can't. "Hey there, Keyblade fool." He grinned.
Sora only pulled him into a deep hug, surprising the Aversion Endless. "Thank you for everything, Haru. Your father would be proud. I know I am just by being your friend." He smiled at him. "After all of this, I hope you finally get to live a peaceful life."
Finally breaking, he hugged Sora tightly, hiding his head in his shoulder to hide his tears. He pulled away as soon as he believed he would hide his fears and worries again. "Don't forget about us." He told him.
"We will never forget you, Brian." Sora smiled in return, assuring him before joining his two friends.
The Aversion Endless could feel Naminé glaze towards him with a look of concern, as well as an expression that told him to 'tell them the truth'; only for him to shake his head. They were about to head into the final battle; they didn't need to know that he won't be here when they come back. There are more important things than his own life at this moment.
With no clue to Brian's health, the three islanders healed themselves up and prepared themselves for the battle ahead. Kairi grabbed both Sora and Riku's hand, looking at them as she said. "Together." The word made the boys smile with determination as they stepped through the battle, not looking back.
A/N: Hey guys. It's nice to get to write a bit more now. I'll try and update a bit more.