Chapter 10

Nightfall


The group chased Roxas as he sprinted out the doors of Castle Oblivion. He summoned a short keyblade to his hand and threw it to the sky. It spun for a few seconds before being engulfed in light and flew back down to earth in the shape of a large surfboard. Roxas jumped aboard and placed a hand on the peice of armor sending another flash of light flowing around his body. When it faded Roxas stood covered head to toe in a metal suit. He kicked back on his board and flew off into the sky. "Roxas, wait! We need a plan!" Sora called out but Roxas was already out of earshot. Axel drew his chakrams and pointed the flat end toward the ground and fire began to pulse under each one. "Did you forget Roxas?" He yelled "No matter how far you run I'll always be there to bring you back!"

The fire began to push Axel upward but he didn't make it very far. He was barely off the ground, when something fast and covered in flames hit him sending him spiraling to the ground. Axel jumped to his feet and readied his weapons in defense from a second attack just as another arc of flame flew towards him. However, instead of dodging he held up a chakram that began to spin just in front of his outstretched palm. The flames hit the disk and began to spin along with it, forming a blazing spiral that he sent back from where it came with the wave of an arm. The inferno streaked through the sky and collided with the figure who had sent the first scorching attack at Axel. The flames engulfed their body in swirling pillar for a few seconds, then a sliver of blood-red metal cut through the wall of fire. They slowly began to funnel into the blade of the sword held above the attacker's head. As the blaze cleared, Sora got his first look at the figure. It was a woman, dressed in a black tank top with bright red shorts. A red bandanna covered all of her face except for her bright brown eyes and a hat the same color as her leggings, but the most striking thing about her was her hair. The roots of her hair were a dark red but as it worked its way down her neck it became lighter; from crimson to orange to golden blond. Just like the element covering the blade of her sword, her hair was like fire.

Axel scowled at the woman as he readied his chakrams for another attack. "Who are you?" he barked at her, "You've followed me for days and now you're attacking me! What's your problem?" The woman spoke from behind the cloth obscuring her mouth. "You murdered my friend, and your existence is an insult to his memory." Axel smirked at this, "I think you have that bandanna on too tight. I never killed anyone unless you count Vexen. And I wouldn't exactly call that murder. " The woman barked back a reply "I could care less for that barbaric scientist," she said, "The boy you killed was..." her voice caught in her throat, " his name was Lea." Axel's eyes shot open. "No! You couldn't be...Ash?! The woman pulled the bandanna from her face revealing the rest of her face. "You may have the memories of Lea, but I assure you I will not refrain from ending your life traitor." And she attacked.


Just after leaving Disney Castle the Gummi Ship's radar picked up a large mass floating through space. The creatures had left the Destiny Islands and had split into two groups. The larger of the two had proceeded out to space and was floating idle in space. The second however had turned and headed straight for Yen Sid's tower. Donald and Goofy instructed Bobby to follow the group to the tower to protect the king. When they landed they found the tower overrun by the creatures. Bobby flew around the tower while Max manned the cannons blasting the creatures off it and landed the ship. Donald, Goofy, Max, PJ, and Roxanne dismounted and swiftly ascended the tower to the study. They found the King and Yen Sid standing around what was once the portal that had led them into Castle Oblivion, but was now just a shining oval on the wall. The old wizard was mumbling incantations trying to coax the portal to reopen while Mickey paced worriedly behind them, so much so that he didn't notice the new arrivals until Donald came squawking into the room. "You Majesty! Are you OK?" Mickey barely looked up. "I'm fine Donald, but the portal closed behind us before Sora and Riku could get through."

Yen Sid dropped his hands and turned to the group. "The portal will not open again," he announced, "It seems the enchantments that Master Eraqus put in place to defend the castle were triggered by some malevolent force gaining entry into the castle. In an attempt to rid itself of the intruder, the castle broke all the bonds with the outside world that existed at that time." Mickey closed his eyes as if deep in thought, "So you're saying that Xehanort sent someone into the castle just to separate us from Sora and Riku?" The wizard now sat at his desk stroking his beard, "It is a possibility." Max spoke up for the first time, "So why are we wasting time here? We need to get to this Castle Oblivion ASAP." Yen Sid turned his focus to Max. "You must be Max, King Mickey has told me about you." The wizard stood and waved his hand over his desk where a group of translucent orbs began to float in the air. He pointed to a black mass that was speedily making its way through space. "This is why we are not going to Castle Oblivion." The map magnified the black mass revealing it as the once stationary mass of creatures that Bobby had picked up on the scanners before choosing to follow the group to the tower. Mickey examined the map for a few seconds and announced his conclusion "These creatures are heading in the opposite direction of the castle!" "Correct" said Yen Sid. "So then where are they headed?" asked Roxanne. Yen Sid traced a small line with the tip of his finger from the swarm of monsters to the world that lay in their path. Max pulled his radio from his pocket. "Bobby, set a course for Twilight Town and make it fast!"


Ash lunged at Axel, slashing her flame covered sword with deadly accuracy. Axel dodged and blocked her blows, but it was starting to take its toll on him. Not to mention this was Ash, the girl he and Isa had grown up with in Radiant Garden. Axel thought that she had been lost to darkness when Ansem took over or at least that is what Isa or rather Saix told him. The last time he had seen her was when they had argued over Axel's plan to sneak into Ansem The Wise's laboratory. He had ignored her and snuck in and had been captured by Xehanort. Isa had come after him and had also been captured. It was that day that Xehanort had used his machine to split his heart from his body, as well as his apprentices'. Lea and Isa watched in horror as the heartless who called himself Ansem drew a keyblade and stabbed his assistant Braig. And then he turned to the two prisoners and did the same. Isa tried to fight him off, but his only reward was an X-shaped wound upon his brow. When Lea next awoke he was laying in a bed in The World That Never Was. Xemnas had stood over him and said things that he could never remember except for the last sentence: "Join me and we can bring her back." Then his name had appeared in shining blue letters above his head. The spun around for a few seconds and then spelled out his new name: Axel.


Axel managed to knock Ash back far enough to stop her constant barrage. "Ash, stop it!" He yelled at her, "Lea isn't dead, I am Lea!" Ash scowled and swung her sword. "LAIR!" She yelled as a flame shot from her sword. Axel dropped one of his chakrams and grabbed the flame with his bare hand. Using its momentum he sent the flame flying into space. "What is it going to take to convince you!" He shouted throwing his other chakram at his feet. "So be it." He threw out his arms and stood facing her. "Maybe Lea did die that day. As Axel a I have done so much damage, maybe I can't ever pay for the hearts I've stolen." He looked directly at her "Do what you came to do, and maybe one day those hearts choose will forgive me." Ash looked at Axel with the same blank stare, until a strange sound came from her lips. The sound began to become louder until Ash's calm collected demeanor was replaced by a gut-busting laughter. "Hahahahah!" She had dropped her sword and was holding her sides trying to hold back tears. "You're Lea alright," she managed between breaths, "only he would say something that stupid." Axel snapped, "WHAT!" He stormed past her pushing her to the ground where she continued to laugh hysterically. "Get a move on! We've got to help Roxas." Sora and the others, who had been watching the fight and now were utterly confused, took a few steps after him. "What was that all about?" Reno asked Rude. "Absolutely no idea." He answered gruffly.


As the creatures began to break free of the prisons, Aqua quickly threw her cloak to Kairi. "Put this on and grab Namine!" Kairi quickly donned the coat and pulled her nobody out of the chair. Aqua reached out and pressed her hand against a round piece of metal on her arm. Her body was engulfed in light that faded to reveal a full suit of blue and gray armor. She held her keyblade out in front of her and it changed into a glider. Aqua jumped on and pulled Kairi on behind her. The craft gave a powerful roar and plowed its way into the tunnel. Beams of light shot from the gliders wings clearing a path through the waves of creatures flowing from the cells. In a matter of seconds they had broken into the room with the spiral staircase. The glider shot straight upward, followed by several of the winged beasts. As they emerged from the tunnel the creatures were inches away from them. Kairi had one arm grasped around Aqua and the other around Namine's unconscious body. In order to put up any sort of defence against them it would require her to let go of one of them. It was then that Namine's body stirred. Her arm extended toward the swarm and an elegant keyblade wrapped in chains appeared in her hand. In barely more than a whisper she muttered "Aurora." Jets of multicolored light shot from the end of her keyblade piercing the dark figures sending them spiraling to the ground. Kairi watched till the creatures were out of sight then turned her gaze to Namine who lost consciousness again and let her keyblade dematerialize. "Are you two ok?" Came Aqua's voice from behind the helmet. "We're fine," Kairi answered "Where are we going?" Aqua kept her gaze transfixed on the horizon. "I've been away for too long." Aqua answered, "I need to figure out what's going on."


Roxas landed in Twilight Town and ran as fast as he could toward the small room that his friends used as a clubhouse. He pulled back the drapes to find the room empty. "No!" He said in panic. "Hayner! Pence! Olette!" He turned and ran out off the alleyway down into the town. Before he could get to far however, a group of people emerged blocking his path. "Where are you off to so fast Rucksack? Said the mocking voice of Sifer. Behind him stood Rai, Yuu, and Vivi. "Get out of my way Sifer! I don't have time for you!" Then something clicked in Roxas' head. "Wait you know me?" Roxas asked. This Sifer shouldn't know who Roxas is. Roxas only ever interacted with the digital version of Sifer in the computer DiZ had imprisoned him in after leaving the organization. "What kind of question is that?" Asked a confused Sifer. "Off course your Roxas ya know!" Rai chimed in. "Shut up Rai." Sifer said pushing him back. Roxas drew Oblivion in his hand, pushing this discrepancy aside. "Last chance Sifer, move of get moved!" Sifer laughed and reached for the gunblade holstered to his hip, but before he could even touch it Roxas slammed the butt of his keyblade into Sifer's midriff. Sifer let out a grunt and doubled over. Roxas ran past and headed further into town.


Axel stood struggling to keep the corridor of darkness in front of him open. "Geez, this is a lot harder with a heart." he complained. Riku walked up and used his darkness to help stabilize the portal. "Thanks." Axel said wiping his brow. "This should land us in Twilight Town if whatever is threatening it hasn't disabled corridors of darkness like he did Yen Sid's portal." Sora frowned, "You don't sound very sure Axel, or Lea or whoever you are now."
"Axel's fine, and I have a hunch that this is the same way these creeps are traveling. They wouldn't cut off their own mode of transportation now would they?" Cloud pushed his way through the group, "Whatever. Let's just keep moving." He briskly stepped through the portal, followed by Reno and Rude. Sora was about to enter when a voice called out from behind them. "Wait up! I'm coming too!" They turned to see Ash, who had recovered from her giggle fit. "Not with us you're not." Axel said stepping between her and the portal. "Yeah? And who's going to stop me, Gel-For-Brains?" she snapped back. "You just tried to kill me! What makes you think I would be OK letting you anywhere near me?!" Axel yelled at her. Ash groaned, "Oh come on! I was just making sure you weren't still with those Organization geeks. Give me a break! Besides who is going to save your scrawny backside from immanent death if I'm not there?" Axel stood his ground, "I was doing just fine till you showed up and tried to slice my head off!" Ash pretended to clean the wax from her ears, "What's that? I thought you said you were doing fine. Unless there is a definition of 'fine' that I'm not familiar with it doesn't mean committing suicide to erase a few dusks!" "Last time I checked several hundred didn't qualify as a few!" Axel barked. "Hey are you two lovebirds going to get moving any time soon?" called Riku who was already following Sora through the portal. "SAY THAT ONE MORE TIME! I DARE YOU!" the fiery duo said in unison drawing their fiery weapons and running at full speed toward Riku. Riku simply stepped through the portal and stuck his leg in front of the opening. Axel and Ash ran through and both tripped over his outstretched limb. "Told you I could get them to move." He said to Sora as they proceeded down the lanes between.


Roxas scoured Twilight Town from top to bottom, but couldn't find a trace of Hayner, Pence, or Olette. At last he found himself outside of the train station, and on top of it was the town clock tower. From his viewpoint on the ground Roxas could barely make out three pairs of feet hanging over the side of the tower's balcony. Relief crossed his face as the realization that his friends were safe for the moment hit him and he hurried to the top of the tower. He rounded the last corrner, but what he found took him by surprise. Instead of his friends, he found a boy slightly older than him dressed in one of the all too familiar black coats. The boy sat gazing out over the city the wind gently blowing his silver hair over his dark skin. "Such a strange world this is." he said rising to his feet. Then without blinking he took a step off the tower. Roxas lunged forward to grab him, but came up empty-handed. He looked up expecting to see the boy, but instead saw the figure of a girl with black hair standing in mid-air. He blinked and the girl was gone and the boy was standing in her place, back towards him. "A town so close to the darkness yet it clings to every strand of light that passes its way." He raised a hand skyward and an orb of darkness appeared in it. "Let us see how easily these strands break." The orb exploded sending dark tendrils shooting off in every direction and for the first time anyone could remember, they sky over Twilight Town went black.


3D spoiler's start next chapter so get playing ;D

Also I'm going to stop naming the chapters ahead of time as it made this chapter drag on a little too long to make the chapter fit the title. Hopefully this will keep things going faster. Keep on being awesome!