Saix raised his palms and gazed to the heavens, smiling.

"Pitiful Heartless, mindlessly collecting hearts. And yet, they know not the true power of what they hold. The rage of the Keyblade releases those hearts. They gather in darkness, masterless and free, until they weave together to make Kingdom Hearts... And when that time comes, we can truly, finally exist."

Saix lowered his gaze back to Sora, Donald, and Goofy, who were watching helplessly. Sora's face seemed etched with confusion and doubt, after the revelation that his Keyblade was actually aiding the goals of Organization XIII instead of defeating them. Suddenly, from behind Sora, a voice interrupted the nobody's monologue.

"What in the world do you think you're prattling on about?" A green flame appeared, and Maleficent took form from within it. "Kingdom Hearts belongs to me! The heart of all kingdoms, the heart of all that lives. A dominion fit to be called Kingdom Hearts must be MY dominion!"

Sora shouted back in dismay, "Maleficent, no! No more Heartless!"

The dark fairy smiled, as if she had noticed Sora for the first time. "Ah, Sora. You always did have a flair for the dramatic. But no, I actually have something quite different in mind." Elegantly, Maleficent produced a small, black lamp from the sleeve of her robe.

The jaws dropped on each of the three heroes. Goofy raised his index finger and widened his eyes, trying to figure out something very important. "Hey, isn't that the, err, uhh…"

Donald leapt in recognition. "It's Jafar's lamp!" he screeched.

As if on cue, a plume of red smoke poured from the lamp that Maleficent held. A gigantic figure was made manifest from the cloud: a muscular, bearded red man with glowing yellow eyes. "You should train your pets to stay quiet, boy," Jafar boomed, "unless they can actually contribute something to the conversation!"

"Bu-but…" Sora stuttered. "But we buried it!"

"So you did," Maleficent nodded solemnly. "Yet when Pete informed me that he had located our old acquaintance here, and enlightened me of his current condition…" Maleficent glanced down to the lamp she was holding, "I was much too intrigued to let a little searching deter me from the reunion."

Maleficent turned back to Saix. "And can you imagine?" her grin widened, as if she were sharing a secret with a close friend. "Pete wanted to turn Jafar here into a heartless, of all things! Another bumbling heartless to add to my personal army, versus the opportunity to have unrestrained control over an all-powerful genie!"

Jafar crossed his arms smugly, clearly pleased with Maleficent's praise.

Saix held no reaction throughout the whole of this exchange. "Fool," he now muttered, snapping his fingers once. Five Dusk nobodies instantly materialized, forming a protective barrier in front of Saix.

Sora's jaw dropped in disbelief. "Oh no!" he shouted, covering his face with his arm.

Maleficent disappeared and rematerialized through another green flame, this time between Sora and the nobodies. Though Jafar gazed on with his arms crossed, his black lamp was nowhere to be seen, for Maleficent had hidden it back within her cloak. "My eyes must be deceiving me. Have you indeed sent a herd of your weakest husks to face me? Me, the mistress of all evil?"

Saix stood unphased. Without emotion, he whispered: "Dispose of them." The Dusk nobodies began lumbering forward.

Maleficent's teeth clenched in rage. "The IMPUDENCE!" Maleficent raised her staff and circled it, creating a swirl of dark clouds above her. As she lowered her staff, a chain of violet-colored lightning struck at each individual nobody. Five bolts vaporized the Dusk nobodies. A sixth bolt struck Saix in the chest, sending him to one knee. A look of surprise was on his face.

"Listen well," Maleficent began as she stepped forward. "I may not know very much about your… organization, or about your kind. But I have learned enough. You are a mere club of misfits, yes? Born from those with bodies but no hearts. Yes, you have some tiny morsel of power to control those who are even less than you. But what you must understand, young husk," she stopped next to Saix, now looming over him, "is that your tiny morsel of power is next to nothing."

"That's enough!" shouted Sora. As he ran forward with Donald and Goofy, however, Jafar raised his palm toward them. They each slammed into an invisible barrier, falling to the ground.

"Thanks but no thanks, street rat." Jafar smirked. "The grown-ups are busy right now."

Slowly, Saix rose from his kneeling position. "Foolish, naïve little witch." Standing straight, he stared into Maleficent's eyes. "If you only understood a fraction of knowledge about light and darkness. About power. But you are just a pawn, a worthless, insignifi—"

Maleficent raised her arms, and a conflagration of green flames engulfed Saix. The nobody fell back to the ground unceremoniously, this time flat on his belly. Pain formed a grimace across his face. He tried to remember what anger felt like, to draw from its energy. But now, the only thing he could remember was pain and despair.

"Stupid little whelp! What do you know of power?!" Maleficent's eyes widened in indignation and rage. "What do you or any of the other little husks in your organization know? I can see you all now, giggling together like princesses. Organizing tea parties. Taking trips to the beach. Having grand balls, as if you were all members of a grade school. Indulging you sensual fantasies of each other. What do you know of power, tiny husk? If you deem yourself so mighty, then try to deal with me – and all the powers of HELL!"

With a downward thrust, Maleficent pounded her staff on Saix's right hand, and the green flames around him blazed and intensified. Finally, Saix's silence was broken, and he cried out in pain.

In the skies of Hollow Bastion, black clouds overshadowed the light of the moon.

Sora screamed, "Stop it, Maleficent! He's had enough!"

Donald hit his staff into his winged fist. "Yeah! Let's see if you can try that stuff on us!"

"That's right!" Sora continued. "Or maybe you're afraid we'll beat you! Just like last time!"

Jafar scowled back toward Sora and his friends, remembering the humiliations of their last encounter. "Maleficent, I tire of the howlings of these dogs. Release me from the lamp as you promised, and let me put them in their place!"

The green flames around Saix died down, and Maleficent turned toward her ally. "Patience, Jafar. Remember that a bound genie is infinitely more potent than one who has been liberated. We would be unwise to yield our advantage in that regard."

Sora tried to bash the invisible wall with his keyblade, with no success. "What are you trying to do, Maleficent? Get the whole Organization mad at you?"

"If so, she succeeded."

The new voice came from the heights behind Saix, who was barely conscious. Standing there now were four figures in black cloaks. In turn, they each removed their hoods. Luxord. Xaldin. Xigbar. Xemnas.

Xigbar waved at the people below. "Roxas! And an old lady!" He wagged an finger at them. "You haven't been good boys and girls now, have you? Taking down two of our members in one day, man oh man. You've really put Organization XIII into a pickle. I guess that's—"

"You can cease your driveling now," Maleficent interrupted. "I only goaded you here so I could see the expressions on your faces, at the moment when you no longer exist." She produced the black lamp from her cloak. "JAFAR, MY FIRST WISH: destroy Organization XIII!"

Jafar glared at the four figures. "Release me, Maleficent, and I shall! Until you do so, I am bound by the laws of lamp. Which means, unfortunately, that I cannot KILL these pathetic upstarts."

Maleficent chuckled. "Oh, Jafar. Do you still not know? Those you see before you are nobodies. They are not truly beings. They do not truly live. As such, they do not truly die. They simply… cease to exist. Therefore, I shall repeat my first wish: Jafar, destroy every member of Organization XIII and every nobody in the universe entire! Rend their empty bodies into nothingness!"

Jafar looked skeptical, uncertain. But gradually, he began to nod. "Yes," his voice echoed, "yes, I do feel it! They ARE nothing!" The red genie raised his fingers into the air, grasping at something that no one else could see. Then, with a single swift motion, he swept his arms apart.

In one instant, Xemnas, Xigbar, Xaldin, Luxord, and Saix ripped apart and dissolved into nothingness. Somewhere away from Hollow Bastion, Axel did the same, as did every nobody who had ever been formed.

"AAAHHH!!!" Sora screamed in pain. He fell to the ground.

"Sora!" Goofy ran to his friend's aid.

"Are you okay, Sora?!" Donald held his friend's arm and shoulder.

"It's… ahhh!" Sora shook his head, delirious. "It's like a part of me died. Just now. I feel… uhhh… I feel broken or something."

Jafar floated in place, hunched over and panting. "That. Was. Invigorating." He shook his head at Maleficent, visibly exhausted. "An entire race, wiped off the face of the universe! I am not one to be easily impressed, witch, but I must say that you have a certain gift for effective wishing."



Maleficent turned back to Jafar, the black lamp still in her hand. "I am a fairy, not a witch. Precision, dear Jafar. Precision."

Sora still lay hunched on the ground, coughing weakly. "I can't believe it. This is so unreal. We've been going around fighting the Organization, all this time. And you… you just. You just." He coughed again.

"Yes," Maleficent's smile returned. "They were just puppets after all."

With the help of Donald and Goofy, Sora rose to his feet. "Well, you may have been able to stop them." The keyblade appeared in his hand with a flash. "But you won't be able to stop US!"

"Indeed," Maleficent answered solemnly. "I would be foolish to underestimate the keybearer and his rabble. JAFAR, MY SECOND WISH: nullify the keyblades and deliver their power to ME, without allowing me to assume any of their inherent vulnerabilities!"

"With pleasure." Jafar extended his right arm, and Sora's keyblade flashed.

"Huh?" Sora held his keyblade and examined it. "No! That's not possible!"

In the same moment, Maleficent began glowing with a newfound energy. Within her being, the keyblades of Sora, Riku, and King Mickey channeled into her, along with any other keyblades that had been unaccounted for. Their legendary weapons had become nothing more than strangely shaped swords.

"Yes, I can feel it!" Maleficent roared. "The power to bind and unlock hearts, it is mine! At last, all mine!"

Jafar hunched over again, even more weakened than he had been with his earlier efforts. "If you are quite finished," he panted, "with forcing me to rearrange the order of the cosmos," he panted again, holding his ribs, "release me from this vile prison! For I have but one wish left to grant you, after which I will be of no use to you as a genie. But, release me, and I shall be free to serve at your side forever!"

Maleficent laughed, her voice echoing through Hollow Bastion. "Dear, sweet, innocent Jafar. You underestimate my resourcefulness. One does not become an all-powerful sorceress without learning a few things about the ways of the worlds."

Jafar, still bent over in exhaustion, raised his head to Maleficent. "What could you possibly be talking about? I'm worthless to you after this last wish, unless you release me! So do so!"

Maleficent shook her head playfully, twirling her finger about the handle of the black lamp. "Dear Jafar. Have you ever heard of a little world called Duckberg? Marvelous artifacts, I have heard. One is of particular interest to me."

The genie threw his arms out in annoyance, "FREE ME! FREE ME, YOU CRAZED CRONE!"

"Mind your tone, slave!" The smile left Maleficent's face. "You had best become accustomed to a genie's life, Jafar. MY THIRD WISH: DELIVER TO ME THE TALISMAN OF MERLOCK!"

Jafar's jaw gaped.

Maleficent nodded. "Deliver me the talisman. Then, we shall discuss my fourth wish." Maleficent gestured to the high ground behind her, "Organization XIII is no more." She then gestured to Sora, who was still trying to comprehend how his keyblade could have become useless, "The keybearer has become a boy with a toy sword." She turned back to Jafar, "And we, dear genie, have a universe to mold in my image. So I order you once more: THE TALISMAN OF MERLOCK!"

"WHY YOU LITTLE…" Jafar scowled at Maleficent and raised his fist in rage. Then, he calmed. A smile appeared on his lips. "But of course, fair lady." With that, Jafar and Maleficent disappeared from Hollow Bastion.

Oh yes, Jafar would bring Maleficent to the talisman of Merlock. And, if the talisman happened to be freefalling into a pit of death from which not even magical beings could escape, then that was just how fate had to work. And if Jafar happened to make it so that the talisman was freefalling into that pit of death, then all the better.

She couldn't escape from something like that, could she?

"Your wish, is my command."