…New Hallow Bastion…
Maleficent sat on her throne of darkness as she and her pet raven watched a summarized version of the events that had happened on the Shinobi world, from the battle at the Heartless rift, to the demise of Ulrik, to the capture of Sasuke, culminating in the sealing of the Hidden Leaf Village Keyhole. With that our heroes returned home, or did they?
"Another world that will not be devoured by darkness," said a disappointed Maleficent.
"Tough breaks, Mal," said Hades, "you win some, you lose some."
"If I had been in charge of plunging that world into darkness," said Ursula, "things would have gone much more in our favor."
"Of that I have no doubt," said Maleficent, but the sorceress had her own doubts as to Ursula's competence.
Chapter 10: The Adventure Continues
"It's a shame about that Ulrik boy," said Ursula, "he had potential, not to mention a good looker to boot."
"I've heard that the Hakonians were, to say the least, weird," said Hades, "but to be able to merge with Heartless, now that's what I call hot stuff. Shame that they die when the Heartless they merge with dies."
"Not all of us are at risk when we merge with Heartless," said a female voice that was cold and calculating. From the shadows emerged another of the seven that Pete found; a Hakonian like Ulrik and Erika. This one was a girl who appeared to be in her late teens. She had waist-length black hair with indigo highlights and was braided. Her eyes were dark green that were behind horn-rimed glasses. She wore a green blouse and jacket over a tan skirt and high-heals.
"Ulrik was one of the lower-level Mergers of our people," said the girl, "and he knew it. He knew that to join with a Heartless would mean certain death, but he was willing to sacrifice his life to prove his people's worth to the mistress of all evil."
"And prove yourselves you have, my dear," said Maleficent, "your people, the Hakonians are more than welcome to take residence here in New Hallow Bastion."
"I shall deliver the news to them with great honor, great one," said the girl as she bowed with her right hand over her dark heart and her left behind her back, "my people have lived as nomads for generations. It will please us to finally find a home where are talents are appreciated.
"That's great, little lady," said Hades, "just as long as you and your people know who's in charge around here."
"We know where are allegiance lies," said the girl, "And my name isn't 'little lady.' It's Rakel, Rakel Mindblighter. Where as many of my comrades delight in wholesale slaughter of their enemies, I prefer not to leave a mess behind when I destroy a foe. Instead of taking a life, I take a mind, leaving behind an empty shell."
"Makes you wonder where these people came from," said Ursula.
"It's complicated," said Rakel.
Just then Pete entered the throne room. "I found her, oh great and terrible Maleficent. The little troublemaker thought she could leave, but when you summon someone, they come, no matter what."
Two goblins frog marched Erika into the throne room, "Let go of me you filthy beasts!"
The goblins shoved Erika to the floor in front of the throne. "I cannot understand why you insist on being so difficult, Erika," said Maleficent, "if only you had come when I called for you, this unpleasantness could have been avoided."
"Guess I'm a nonconformist," said Erika as she stood up, "or at the least, an anarchist."
"You're an annoyance, Erika," said Rakel, her voice heavy with disgust and contempt, "you've been like a skin growth in a sensitive place. If I had my way, you would have been removed long ago."
"So you're part of this conspiracy as well, Rakel," said Erika, her voice also dripping with contempt, "you always hated me."
"I have nothing to do with your predicament," said Rakel, "yet even I could have predicted you'd end up in this situation with our new mistress, sooner or later." She looked at Maleficent, "if I may speak," Maleficent nodded, "I wish to report that the others who came with me here, we have all successfully found the Keyholes of the worlds you sent us to and have opened them, flooding those worlds with Heartless.
"These worlds have had no prior experience dealing with Heartless. It is only a matter of days, hours even, before the worlds are devoured by the darkness. I cannot ascertain as to the level of progress my four comrades are at in flooding their worlds with Heartless, but I estimate the first of my target worlds will be consumed in three hours from now."
"Excellent," said Maleficent, "five more worlds drowned by the darkness, and soon there will be more. These more than make up for the loss of the Shinobi world."
"But what about the Keyblade brats?" Pete asked.
"They are of no immediate concern," said Maleficent, "I have taken measures that will ensure that they are out of the way while the targeted worlds are consumed by the darkness."
"Then I have your leave to return to the work?" Rakel asked, "to proceed to the next world on my list?"
"You may go, Rakel," said Maleficent, "carry out your dark purpose."
"I live only to serve you, Maleficent," said Rakel. She bowed again and left, but not before having some last words with Erika, "I told you when first arrived here that you needed to change your attitude, that it would get you in trouble. Thank you for proving me right." She then left.
"Bitch!" snapped Erika, "I'll get you for this!"
"You're in no position to do anything, young lady," said Maleficent, "rather, you should be begging for mercy. Perhaps you will find me in a merciful mood today."
"Like that's going to happen," said Hades to Ursula.
"For what should I beg for mercy?" Erika asked, "I've done nothing wrong."
"You disobeyed my orders," said Maleficent, "you were supposed to work with Ulrik and cover the world of the Shinobi in darkness. Instead that world's Keyhole has been sealed, thereby protecting that world from the darkness. It will be months, if not years, before we can circumvent the Keyhole and try to corrupt that world again.
"And let us not forget that you abandoned Ulrik to his doom, and for what? To satisfy your petty self-indulgence? There are greater forces at work than you can possibly understand. I had hoped that you could put aside your personal feelings and assist the darkness in devouring a world. Apparently I was wrong."
"So kick me out of this dump already," said Erika, "I'm so done with you and your creeps."
"I am not done with you," said Maleficent, "it is clear that you need to learn how to pull your own weight. So be it." She raised her orbed staff and cast a spell, "I've just outfitted a dungeon with a fitting punishment. Erika, you will be placed in a machine that will force you to pull a large object that has been set at your own body weight, and you will keep it moving at a specific speed. If you fail to maintain this speed until told to stop, you will suffer more pain than you can possibly imagine."
"Well I have a pretty big imagination," said Erika as she grinned defiantly as a pair of goblins seized her, "I doubt that anything you've got can break me."
"We shall see," said Maleficent. She signaled to the goblin guards to take Erika away, "if my 'toy' fails to teach you a lesson, I have other's we can try. After all, I to have a gifted imagination." With that the goblins dragged Erika out of the room.
"That little girl is more trouble than she's worth," said Ursula.
"Perhaps," said Maleficent, "but she may prove useful in time, once she's been tamed."
"Well if she doesn't work out for you," said Hades, "I get dibs on what's left of her, if only as a chew toy for Cerberus."
"I'll keep that option in mind," said Maleficent, "now, for you two," she called forth a scroll for Hades and one for Ursula, "these are the worlds I wish for you to go to. Find their Keyholes and flood them with darkness. But most of all, keep your eyes open for more potential allies. There is still so much to do and there simply isn't enough help to do it all.
"I need dark souls who will work with us in controlling The Heartless and Nobodies. I need warriors and magic users who are affiliated with the darkness. I need more advanced forms of Heartless and other foul creatures that can be bent to our will.
"But most importantly…I need to find another seven Princesses of Heart."
"Another seven?" Ursula asked, "why? The first set we got for you aren't good enough any more?"
"Those seven girls were perfect," said Maleficent, "all that was missing was to recover the heart of the last one, Kairi. But the Heartless of Xehanort ruined everything when he took possession of Riku, and then Sora had to return Kairi's heart when he unlocked his own as well, eventually resulting in one door to Kingdom Hearts being sealed permanently.
"When that happened the conditions that made the seven Princesses of the Heart; Kairi, Aurora, Jasmine, Belle, Snow White, Alice and Cinderella, the magic that bound them together was lost, but not for good.
"That magic has found its way to another seven girls who are separated by time and space. I want them found and brought here so that we can use their magic to unlock Kingdom Hearts once again."
"And you really think that'll work?" Hades asked.
"Of course it will work!" snapped Maleficent, "I am the mistress of all evil! When I say a plan will work, it will!!"
"Okay, okay!" said Hades hastily, "don't blow a fuse. We'll get right on it."
"We will?" Ursula asked.
"Unless you want to get fried with purple lightning," said Hades, "you may look more or less human on the outside, but you're still a sea creature in essence. And remember, water conducts lightning."
"Of course we will," said Ursula hastily, "worry not, Maleficent darling. We'll find your new set of Princesses."
"Excellent," said Maleficent. With that Hades and Ursula left. "Those two may just provide the results I desire."
"You really think that charbroiled god and that there sea slug of a witch can find them new Princesses of Heart?" Pete asked.
"If not," said Maleficent, "then I can always count on you, my loyal friend. And if you cannot produce results, then I will find someone else."
"Well…I…err…that is…" sputtered Pete.
"Oh relax, you bulbous buffoon," said Maleficent, "I have a different task for you, one not even a moron such as yourself can fail at. I need you to find Sora and his companions. They have been prevented from returning to their universe, but they are still a threat. I want them found and destroyed."
"Where do I start looking?" Pete asked.
"Anywhere but here," said Maleficent, "go, Pete, and do not return until you've accomplished your mission!"
"Yes, oh great and terrible Maleficent!" said Pete. He saluted and ran out of the throne room.
"I may have to replace that lummox yet, my pet," said Maleficent to her raven, who then flew to his mistress' shoulder. They then went to a balcony and observed the countless Shadows that were swarming the streets of The World that Never Was, waiting for their chance to flood another world with darkness.
King Mickey nervously paced back and forth in his study, a look of deep concern on his face, while Queen Minnie worriedly looked at her husband. Pluto sat nearby, chewing on a bone.
"I'm sure they're on their way back," said The Queen, "or maybe the portal hasn't reached them yet. After all, some worlds have a different flow of time."
"I know," said The King, "but I sent the portal to Sora and the others hours ago. I know that it may be nothing, but I can't help but feel that something terrible has happened to them. Gosh, I just wish I knew if they were alright."
"Sora and his companions are not in immediate danger," said a voice at the doorway. There stood a wizard with gray hair and a gray beard, wearing blue robes with a blue hat with yellow stars and crescents.
"Master Yen Sid!" said a surprised King Mickey as he and Queen Minnie bowed, "you should have told us you were coming, we would have prepared a better welcome."
"I did not wish to have my presence here known for all the universe to know, my friend," said the Sorcerer, "even in this world that has been purified of The Heartless, Maleficent still has eyes and ears."
"That witch," said Queen Minnie, "she has something to do with why Sora and the others aren't back."
"True," said Yen Sid, "my visions have revealed that Maleficent has used a spell that has diverted the portal Sora and his friends used, taking them to another world that is beyond our universe."
"They can be anywhere then," said The King, "in any time."
"But where?" The Queen asked, "I'm sure we can send another portal to pick them up."
"I have yet to determine which world they have arrived on," said Yen Sid, "nor am I certain that another portal will successfully bring them home. The spell Maleficent used is still in effect. Any attempt to bring Sora and his companions home at this time could send them to yet another world in another universe."
"Then what can we do?" King Mickey asked.
"The first thing we must do, my former apprentice," said Yen Sid, "is determine where Sora and the others are, and we must do so quickly. No doubt Maleficent has sent her agents to find and destroy them.
"We must also determine the exact spell Maleficent used to send Sora and his friends off course, for my visions have told me that it is truly a complicated piece of dark magic that only a Sorceress of Maleficent's caliber can cast."
"Then let's not waste any time," said The King as he bent down to scratch Pluto behind the ears, earning a happy leg-thumping from the faithful dog, "I'm ready when you are, Master Yen Sid."
"Sora, Riku, Kairi, Donald, Goofy, please be safe until we find you," prayed Queen Minnie, while King Mickey and Yen Sid got to work.
…Somewhere in Time and Space…
"This sure don't look like home to me," said Goofy.
"Oh really," said Donald, "ya' think?"
Sora and his friends had found themselves in the middle of a great desert that flowed in all directions to the horizon. Even after Sora had High Jumped and used the Glide ability to fly and look around, there was no sign of civilization as far as he could tell. The sun was high overhead and the temperature was more than uncomfortable, although it was a dry heat, that Sora and his friends were grateful for.
"We're not at Agrabah, that's for sure," said Sora, "this is another world in another universe, that I'm sure of."
"Something must have gone wrong with the portal," said Riku. "For all we know, The King and Queen have no idea where we are, or how to find us."
"So we're stuck here," said Kairi, "wherever here is."
"Or whenever," said Riku, "different realities can have different flows of time. We could be in the past or future for all we know."
"So what do we do?" Donald asked as he wiped sweat from his face, "I'm starting to get warm here."
"Well we shouldn't just wait around here under the sun," said Sora as he held his hand up to block the intense light beating down on them, "we need to find shelter before we try to figure out what to do next."
"And where do you suggest we go?" Riku asked in an irritated tone, the heat was already beginning to wear on his nerves, "we're in the middle of a frigging desert!"
"Well you said you wanted to try to use magic from Harry Potter," said Sora, "try finding North."
"Oh," said Riku, "okay." He held his Keyblade in his hand, focused his magic and said, "Point Me." His Keyblade then moved like a compass needle and pointed to his left.
"That's North for this world," said Riku.
"That's good enough for me," said Kairi, "We'll try looking for shelter that way. Who knows? We may even find signs of civilization that way."
"If there's anything on this world that's alive to begin with," said Riku.
"We won't know if we don't try," said Sora, "let's go." With that they started north. They had very little supplies left in terms of recovery items, and even less of water. But they had each other, and for Sora, that's all that mattered.
The end of Volume 2.
Alright! This fic is done! I hope you all enjoyed reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it. Don't worry about Sora and the others, they'll be alright until the start of my next Kingdom Hearts fic.
Though they don't know it yet, they've arrived on the world of Fullmetal Alchemist, one of my all time favorite Anime. So keep your eyes open for the next edition of Beyond The Door to Light…
Volume 3: Rise of the Keyblade Alchemist
See you then!