This is Part 2 of "Kingdom Hearts III: The Heart's Greatest Weapon"
Kingdom Hearts III: Eternal Light
Chapter 59: His Name is Vanitas
In Radiant Gardens, Sora and his friends have returned after their last adventure in the Pride Lands. But something has been happening as of late. Despite returning back alive, Sora has been very depressed. Even his friends can't figure out what is wrong with him.
"Man. What has gotten into Sora lately?" Genis asked. Raine sighed.
"I wish I knew. Lately, he has just been sitting by himself. I fear something must've happened on his last trip." Raine said. Sora sat in the city park by himself, giving a heavy sigh. He rested his hands on his lap and thought back to when he fought the Emperor.
"I...I felt so weak. Weaker than I ever have." Sora thought, looking at his hand. He groaned, remembering he left a confused and tear eyed Kairi before facing them.
"What would Kairi have said...if she saw me like that?" Sora thought. Just then, he saw two pairs of feet coming towards him. He looked up and saw Donald and Goofy.
"Sora? Is everything okay?" Donald asked.
"Yeah. You've been acting glum ever since we came back. Is something troubling you?" Goofy asked. Sora sighed.
"It's...It's nothing guys. Don't worry about me." Sora said. Donald and Goofy, worried that something was wrong, turned to each other with a worried look on their faces.
"Sora, if something is up, you've gotta tell us!" Donald shouted. Goofy nodded.
"Yeah. After all, we're all best friends, aren't we?" Goofy asked. Sora looked away.
"Really guys. It's nothing. Just...don't worry about me." Sora said again. Donald groaned and grabbed Sora by his shirt.
"Sora! What is WRONG?" Donald squawked. Sora groaned and forced Donald off him.
"I said it's NOTHING! Now leave me alone!" Sora exclaimed. He then stormed off, leaving the two of them behind. Right about now, Donald felt pretty stupid about what he just said. Goofy groaned softly, looking at Sora walking off.
"Sora..." Goofy mumbled. Meanwhile, at Ansem's Study, Ansem was looking over a few of his notes before he suddenly got a smirk.
"There we are. Now then, I'd better see how SORA is." he said. He suddenly got up and walked out the door, closing the door behind him and smiled. Sora continued to walk down the streets alone. But then, he passed by Presea, who stopped to look up at him.
"Wanna talk about it?" Presea asked. Sora sighed and figured Presea might be the best person to talk about this with. The two of them sat on a nearby wall and Sora told her everything that he was feeling after his battle with the Emperor.
"You were afraid of facing all that darkness, weren't you?" Presea asked. Sora nodded.
"I couldn't help myself. My friends were pinned down, I felt like I was slowly losing my energy and...I felt so ashamed, especially after how I left Kairi when I hurried after Simba." Sora said. Presea looked away, pausing to think of what to say.
"Well, I think the best way for you to get over this is to talk it over with Kairi. If you tell her what happened, I'm sure she'd understand." Presea said. Sora glanced over at Presea.
"Thanks Presea. Somehow, I bet anyone could feel better after talking with you." Sora said. Presea smiled.
"I do what I can." Presea said. Sora climbed off the wall and decided to go see Kairi. Presea looked on, thinking also that Sora would need all the privacy he could need right now. So, when she found most of the others back at the base, she asked them to please let Sora be for the time being. Zelos scoffed.
"Sure. I betcha all he needs is a good old fashion dose of "best friend" interaction to get him going." Zelos said. But as he passed by, Presea grabbed Zelos by his ear and yanked him down to her level.
"I said to let Sora be. Maybe you didn't hear me up there." Presea said. Seifer chuckled.
"As if that mop top really has anything up IN there anyway." Seifer said. Zelos looked back and growled. Out in town, Sora was walking alone with Kairi and telling her everything that went on.
"Oh. I see." Kairi said. Sora sighed.
"Kairi? I'm...I'm sorry. After I left you and Riku, I wanted to make sure I came back alive. But...I was actually thinking that I wasn't going to. I felt like...I felt like I let you down." Sora said. Kairi rested her hand on him.
"But you didn't. You came back Sora. And...I'm just happy about that. Even if you were too scared to move, I always knew you'd come back." Kairi said. Sora looked at Kairi, gently resting up against him as they walked.
"So...you aren't ashamed of me or anything?" Sora asked. Kairi shook her head.
"No. I never will be. If you're so worried that you'll ever hurt my feelings Sora, then...next time you're in a predicament like that, I'll be by your side." Kairi said. Sora was a bit surprised by Kairi's words, but they made him smile again.
"Thank you Kairi." Sora whispered. The two continued on as Richter was listening to what happened at the Pride Lands from Regal.
"So, that crazy loon of a lion finally got what she had coming. Hmph. I suppose we SHOULD be lucky that one of those Legion goons are gone as well." Richter said. Regal nodded.
"But there's no telling how many more of them are waiting for us...or if they are as strong as the Emperor." Regal said. Richter crossed his arms.
"Well, anyway, you should probably make sure that Leon hears about what happened too. Lately, they've been worried about..." Richter said before they both saw Ansem coming by.
"Hmm? Ansem the Wise? What brings you out? I thought you said you were going to be in your study for the night." Regal asked. But suddenly, Ansem glared at the two of them and his eyes flashed gold. Regal and Richter gasped.
"Hey! Wait a minute! You're not...!" Richter shouted before a giant flash of light blinded them. When the light faded, both Regal and Richter were gone. Ansem smirked and continued on. The next two he came across was Yuffie and Sheena. And just like earlier, he flashed the same light on them and they vanished.
"They ought to make the perfect bait. Just the bait I need to lure in Sora..." Ansem said. He continued onward, constantly using his strange flash everytime he came across any of Sora's friends. As the moon was starting to rise over the city, he finally found Sora and Kairi. Riku was just coming over to talk with Sora.
"Sora? Is everything all right? I know Presea said that you wanted to be alone. But, I was just too concerned to stay away." Riku said. Sora shook his head.
"Everything's fine now Riku. I was able to get over what was bringing me down." Sora said. Riku sighed.
"Well, I guess that's only natural. I get worked up about you and when I go to see you, you're all right again." Riku said. Sora, Kairi and Riku then laughed together as Ansem approached.
"Ah! Sora! There you are!" Ansem called. Sora looked back and saw him approaching.
"Hey there Ansem. What's up? I thought you were going to be in your study all night tonight." Sora asked. Ansem cleared his throat.
"Well, I had some news to tell you. Your friends seemed to have gone missing. I can't find them anywhere." Ansem said. Sora and Riku gasped.
"What? Where...Where they'd go?" Sora asked. Suddenly, Ansem started to chuckle and stared at Sora with a menacing glare.
"I'm glad you asked SORA!" he yelled. Suddenly, the same flash appeared and it engulfed all four of them. Sora could feel himself getting sucked in and the force caused him to pass out. When Sora awoke, he groaned and clutched his head.
"Oh man. What...What just happened?" Sora groaned. He sat up and looked around, finding himself inside the world of the Awakening. The image on Sora's platform appeared to be himself, Roxas, Ven and a strange man connecting all three together.
"What? Where...Where am I?" Sora asked. Just then, Sora saw his other friends around him, but no in the state that he hoped they were. Pete, Leon, Regal, Richter and everyone else from Sora's group had been turned into petrified stone statues. On all of their faces was a shocked expression.
"What...What the? Leon! Pete! Regal! Guys! What happened to you?" Sora shouted. He then heard someone chuckling behind him. Sora turned and found Ansem.
"Ansem! What's going on? Have you gone mad or something?" Sora shouted. Ansem continued to chuckle and extended his right hand. Suddenly, a black light flashed and it became a mysteriously shaped Keyblade with a blue eye on the handle.
"But...that's...that's...a Keyblade!" Sora gasped. Ansem smirked, suddenly showing gold eyes to Sora.
"All right Ansem! What's so funny? Talk!" Sora shouted, drawing his Keyblade. Ansem slowly reached for his face.
"Ansem? You've got me all wrong boy. I am NOT that old wash up geezer." Ansem said. Sora raised an eyebrow.
"All right then. If you're NOT Ansem, then who are you?" Sora shouted. Ansem began chuckling and grabbed his own face, tearing it off like it was a mask. Underneath was a large black helmet and he soon tore off his other clothes, showing the figure of the mysterious man that saved Sora.
"Wait a minute. Are...Are you...? Are you the one that saved us yesterday?" Sora asked. The masked man chuckled.
"Yes. It is me. However, I didn't SAVE you. I just wanted the pleasure all to myself...the pleasure of finally being the one that KILLS you Sora." he said. Sora groaned, tightening his grip.
"All right then! Out with it! Who are you?" Sora asked. Suddenly, the mask on the man began to fade away. And the face underneath shocked Sora. His opponent had HIS face, but with black hair and gold colored eyes.
"My name...is Vanitas! And, my dear Sora, today...I will be your opponent!" Vanitas shouted. Vanitas then started to laugh as Sora was in sheer shock, with his eyes opened as wide as possible. He couldn't figure out why Vanitas had his face.
"No way. He...He can't...He can't be ME!" Sora thought. Vanitas smirked and faced Sora, suddenly calling for his large weapon, a strange sword that appeared to be two Kingdom Keys crossed with one another.
"If you want your friends back Sora, well, you'll have to get through ME first! Now raise your Keyblade and fight me! But if you don't have the will to fight again, then you'll NEVER be able to defeat me!" Vanitas shouted. Sora groaned and gripped his blade tighter.
"Don't count on it you imposter! I'll show you who the REAL Sora is!" Sora shouted. Vanitas smirked.
"Fine by me. Let's dance." Vanitas said.
TO BE CONTINUED...