Harsh waves crashed against the rocks as the Mother stood on the ship's deck waiting for the Dutchman. Everything was working out brilliantly and exactly according to the Guardian's instruction. So far the Nobody had not been here, but she was due to arrive at some point. This was, after all, one of the recommended worlds: one of the ones that the Nobody wanted to visit. Why, she had no idea, but still... It may be interesting to come up against those keybladers. The Mother flexed her claws. It had been a while since she had been on the front lines herself, even though she was considered one of the most vicious Generals. She missed it.
Suddenly, a Dark corridor opened behind her. A few Neoshadows crept out of the darkness and stared back into it, as though expecting something. The Mother approached them and stroked the head of the nearest.
"What is it, baby?" she asked, but her question was made irrelevant before she could receive an answer. The Strategist swept through the opening, followed by two Bookmasters, each holding on to the unconscious woman that hung between them. The Mother folded her arms and looked disapproving. "What do you think you're doing?" she hissed at the Strategist. "This is my turf, Ienzo; so scram before I have to make you." The Strategist looked decidedly apathetic.
"I knew you would not understand," he said.
"And yet you ran straight into my army's world," said the Mother. "What is it?"
"This is the Cetra from Radiant Garden..."
"Yes, I have eyes," sighed the Mother. "Your point?"
"You were not involved in the project, Arlene. How could I expect you to understand the reasoning for the SOLDIER's return."
"That's it? You went through all that to track down that whiny SOLDIER boy?" asked the Mother. "Explain to me, Ienzo, why are you a General again?" The Strategist chose to ignore the insult and carried on regardless.
"For the time being, we need somewhere for her to be safe."
"And being here has compromised that," pointed out Arlene. "A blind Nobody could find two Heartless Armies in one world."
"What was that about Nobodies?" came a horribly even voice as another Dark Corridor opened and Roxenasha swept onto the ship's deck.
"Nothing..." said the Mother in an unbelievably annoying singsong tone, causing the Strategist to roll his eyes. Roxenasha lowered her hood in crackling electrified petals and spoke.
"Nice to see you both here. I hope you enjoy the party. It seems your antics back in Radiant Garden caused quite a stir, Zexion. Sorry. I mean 'Ienzo'." The Strategist glared at the Nobody with complete and total loathing, but spoke anyway.
"You would not understand."
"I understand more that you think. I know that what you are hiding in the castle needs protection, and so you need to find Cloud Strife to do it for you. You're afraid that I will also damage that chance and so you don't want me to know either. The only thing I'm unsure about is what is the Angel you are so desperate to protect? You could tell me," she added as an afterthought. "I doubt it would be of any use to me." The Mother raised an eyebrow at the Strategist. For a Nobody, this girl was not half bad. Ienzo glared up at them both with more hostility.
"That is considered need-to-know only," he said curtly. Roxenasha raised her hands in surrender.
"All right. I know when I'm not wanted. However, you taking the Cetra girl away from Radiant Garden has actually been more useful to me than I could have anticipated. It keeps me one step ahead." The Fifteenth smiled. "Keep her here. They're looking for her. There are keybladers coming. If you want Cloud to return to Radiant Garden you'd better hope it happens soon. They will be here shortly. I knew that the Red Herring would be useful?"
"Red Herring?" asked the Strategist. Roxenasha laughed.
"Never you mind, kid. Good luck with the plan." She turned and opened a Dark Corridor. "Oh, and Arlene... Once news comes in of those keybladers I want to hear. And if you run into any pirates around here, choose your own path. Now, I'd better be going. I should be in Halloween Town by now. Revoir." Then she disappeared.
"I like her," said the Mother decidedly. "For a Nobody she isn't that bad."
"She's like you, you mean," said the Strategist, feeling ruffled. The Mother waved her clawed hand dismissively.
"I'm insulted that you would even imply that," she said haughtily. "She's still a Nobody." The Strategist rolled his eyes.
"So now what?" The Mother shrugged.
"What does that mean? We're so close to taking this World anyway. Oh, how did your battle go?"
"What? Did she just walk up to you? I bet there was a fight. I'm jealous. I missed it! Hopefully I'm going to have some fun over here."
"Do you know anything more of what's happening?" asked the Strategist. The Mother clicked her claws together.
"I know who's where," she said. "And I have a theory as to why."
"Say 'please'." The Strategist scowled at her.
"Tell me," he repeated.
"I think she's trying to undermine us with her own Organisation."
"How can she? They're all dead, except..." The Strategist faltered. The Mother raised an eyebrow, looking intrigued.
"I saw Lea's Nobody and we know that he was dead. That means that it is possible to bring them back."
"Not without memory," said the Mother.
"And you know that how?"
"Just because I don't have some secret project up at Ansem's Castle with Even does not make me ignorant, you little weasel," snapped the Mother. "She needs memories to bring back a Nobody: memories from a complete being. But there are some who won't be remembered: my Nobody is one, Lumaria's is the other. No one remembers them, therefore she needs Naminé, and Naminé is gone."
"She can't manage it then."
"I don't know," said the Mother. "I've just got the suspicion that we're being played." She gave a short mirthless laugh. "Why am I even considering this? I'm thinking like Even. That's scary. I'll stop. You look after the girl. I'll go and find some pirates." She vanished into thin air, her bodyguard going with her, leaving the Strategist with Aerith as the rain began to fall.