Disclaimer: I do not own Kingdom Hearts or any of the Disney worlds used in this story.Chapter 1: The Message
A figure walked slowly through the eternal night in which he lived. His silent steps brought him towards a crumbling stone castle that still clung to life in the otherwise barren landscape. The figure, still cloaked in shadows, gently put one hand on the wall. Still standing, even after all the time that's past.
"Who goes there?" a voice boomed, breaking the silence.
The figure slowly removed his hand from the wall, turning to face the entryway to the castle. Only moment later, a person clad in white, blue, and gold emerged from the shadows. His hood was pulled up over his head, almost completely hiding his face. He edged the torch he was carrying towards the figure. The light finally revealed the figure's appearance. Like his counterpart, he wore the same white, blue, and gold uniform had adorning his body. Unlike the other, his hood was down, allowing the light to shine upon his face. His white hair had an unnatural, metallic sheen to it. The man with the torch sighed with relief. "Greetings, Zylen. I thought it was an intruder."
Zylen snorted, uninterested. "Let me through."
The man nodded. "Yes, of course, sir." He moved aside, allowing the white-haired man to push through.
Zylen walked through the dark halls of the ancient castle, eyes roaming over it as he stalked forward. "That was hardly a mission befitting for the leader of the Time Racers," a voice stated from the shadows.
Zylen closed his eyes briefly in frustration. "If you are going to speak, Domian, then come out from the shadows."
"Why? They're all we have left, aren't they?" the surly voice replied. Still, he stepped out of the shadows and into the dim, flickering light of the torches. His golden hair, like Zylen's white, seemed to almost be made of metal.
"Not if we can succeed," Zylen hissed. His eyes opened, narrowing slightly. "That is why I had to be the one to go on this mission. If this doesn't succeed, then neither do we."
"Of course, sir," Domian replied, his voice still sour.
Zylen decided to switch the subject to other matters. "Have you seen any more of him?"
Domian seemed to know exactly what he meant. "Not lately."
Zylen nodded with satisfaction. "Good. We'd best make sure it stays that way." He paused briefly, lost in his world of thought. "It would not be good if he were to meet them."
"I'll make sure he stays away," Domian replied.
"Good." He paused only briefly. "Dispatch Hilran. I believe it is high time our guests came to our humble abode."
"So…anyone know where Time Castle is?"
Sora, Riku, and Kairi sat on the beach, listening to the sound of the waves as they lapped upon the shore. The message with the king's emblem was still grasped in Sora's hand, who was looking it over for the third time. At his question, Riku pulled the paper from his grip and he, too, began scanning it for answers. After a few moments he shrugged, letting the piece of parchment fall to the sand. "Not a clue."
"It's so strange," Kairi commented. "The king sends us a cryptic note telling us to go to someplace called Time Castle."
"'There've been some strange activities there,'" Riku quoted. "'Meet me there to help investigate them. Don't worry about transportation; I'll send someone to get you.'"
"I don't see what you two are so worried about," Sora replied, folding his hands behind his head.
"But…we've never even heard of Time Castle before," Kairi commented quietly.
Sora shrugged. "We've been to a lot of worlds we've never heard of before. This is no different."
Silence reigned for a while for the three friends. Sora narrowed his eyes as he stared up into the star speckled sky. Amongst the stars, a shape moved, heading in the direction of their island. "Hey!" Sora cried, pointing a finger towards the sky. "I think our ride's here." The trio jumped to their feet, brushing sand off of them as the shape – a Gumi Ship – neared. It soared over their heads, hovering above the sand a little ways away before it finally landed.
The person who stepped out of the ship caught them off guard. A woman garbed in white, blue, and gold walked towards them across the sand that was steadily cooling in the night air. A hood was pulled over her head, hiding most of her facial features from view. She stopped a few feet before them. "Greetings, Sora, Riku, and Kairi. I am Hilran, sent by the King to take you to Time Castle."
"Really?" Riku asked skeptically.
"Yes," Hilran replied. She cocked her head to one side. "Is something wrong?"
"No, I just wish you wouldn't hide your face like Organization 13."
At Riku's words, Sora felt frustration pulse inside his heart. "Did you need to say that?"
Riku glanced towards him. "Don't let Roxas talk for you," he informed him. Sora blinked once, as usual forgetting that he shared his body and heart with the Nobody now.
"I don't mean to be impolite," Hilran interrupted, "but we really must get going. As for my hood, I have a scar that I don't really like people to see." Slowly, she moved the hood back until the three could see the vicious mark that stretched across her face. After a few moments she lowered the hood back down until it hid the wound once more. She gestured towards the Gumi ship. "Shall we?"
Sora shrugged, folding his hands behind his head once more. "Sure." Both he and Kairi started forward, only to stop a moment later when they realized Riku wasn't coming. Sora glanced back towards his stationary friend. "You rooted?"
Riku shook his head, seeming to emerge from the depths of his thoughts. "No." He began moving towards the Gumi ship, now, too. Sora and Kairi glanced at each other, wondering at his strange behavior. Then they followed him into the Gumi ship.
Inside, Hilran was beginning the startup sequence for the ship. "Everyone take your seats, please." The three immedietly fell into chairs, pulling their seatbelts across them as they did. The engines roared to life, and suddenly the ship was flying through the air. Sora gripped the arms of his seat as the Gumi ship struggled through the air.
After a few moments, the Gumi ship settled down and resumed a more natural pace. Glancing out the window, Sora saw the flickering of stars amongst the infinite space they traveled through. He released his death grip on the seat. "I don't remember riding in the Gumi ship ever being that bad."
Hilran turned her head to look back at him, an apologetic smile crossing her face from beneath the shadows of her hood. "I'm sorry, but our Gumi ship isn't it very good condition right now."
"Really? Who's been taking care of it?"
Hilran hesitated, seeming unsure on how to answer his question. Finally, she stammered out, "Oh, me and some friends. It's been our personal task, since we're so new to Disney Castle."
"Feel free to talk to the others while we travel," she interrupted abruptly. Sora cocked an eyebrow at the woman's odd behavior. While the note had not held any suspicion, this woman certainly did.
His friends seemed to share his opinions. Kairi glanced his way, a nervous expression plastered on her face. Riku's glare was a bit darker, obviously trying to say, 'Something's wrong.' Sora nodded, not daring to say anything aloud and not trusting the Gumi ship enough to try moving. Riku and Kairi both nodded back, signaling that they'd understood. Hilran glanced back their way at the movements, and they immedietly returned changed to more comfortable positions, choosing to talk about ridiculous things with each other instead of thinking about what could possibly await them at Time Castle.
"They'll be here soon," Zylen hissed, glancing up towards the twinkling stars above.
Several people dressed in white, gold, and blue stood in the shadows of the ancient tower, each seemingly anxious for what was to come. Domian stepped forward slowly, his sleeves rolled up to reveal strange and intricate tattoos weaving up his arms. "I'm ready for them."
Zylen glanced back his way. "Patience, Domian. That is the key to this task."
Unbeknownst to them, another had been listening to their conversation. What are you up to? his mind questioned as he watched the scene. Then his eyes widened in shock. No…it couldn't be…could it? Silent as a shadow, he slipped away from the tower. If he's really trying to do what I think he's going to try, we're all screwed. He glanced towards the sky. The pale sheen of the full moon fell down upon him, casting him in odd shadows and causing his dark grey hair to shine like metal. Stay away, he hissed with his mind, even though he knew there was no chance he could contact them. Time Castle doesn't welcome key bearers.
So, what do you think of the first chapter? Reviews are welcome, please!