Hey, I know this chapter was a long way coming. It took me a while to find enough time to type this between The Nobody Virus, NaNoWriMo, and all the homework, midterms, and other things I have to do. I had finally sat down and finished this chapter, going on a frantic typing spree. I thought I could do this, considering that I met my NaNoWriMo quota for today. Now, that I'm done this, I have a sad anouncement to make.
This is the last chapter. I'm done. The story has been told, and I am very happy with it. However, rejoice. There will be an epilogue. But, this is the last chapter.
I don't own Kingdom Hearts. Over the course of this story, I have attempted to steal it, but I failed. Obviously.
Asmuth had led Roxel's Birth into the giant castle, waiting for it to lash out at him, but it seemed to be trying to capture him more than hurt him. Asmuth dodged the attacks easily, but he was knocked out of the air by another attack. From someone he wasn't expecting.
The Reject stood along a seemingly invisible floor, shooting at anything that would pass by. He tore the air with jets of fire that sparkled blue with malevolence. Asmuth caught himself, and dropped to the same level as the Reject. He glared at him.
"What do you want now?" Asmuth screamed. "Roxel is gone. You took his heart. And you turned him into this monster."
The Reject shrugged. "I guess I just want to kill you now. I don't know what I want anymore."
Asmuth frowned. He rolled out of the way as Roxel's Birth smashed his body on the ground. Its tails unfurled and waved about, making the very sound barrier shudder. The Reject dug his heels into the floor and sucked the energy Roxel's Birth was releasing into a vortex of darkness. He smirked and redirected the stream of energy at the Birth, which blew several hundred feet away.
Asmuth braced himself against the wall of wind, summoning his own magical energy and casting the Reject's spell away. The Reject growled at Asmuth and disappeared into an oval of darkness. He reappeared behind Asmuth and choked him.
"I know so much, Jack," the Reject whispered. Asmuth choked. "You are better off giving up. You'll live peacefully."
Asmuth slowly lost consciousness, but he realized he was dying and expelled at his energy at once. The Reject waved the fire away without a second thought. Asmuth kneeled before him, not having any other options. He wanted to take the Reject out, but he no longer had the energy to fight, or even to survive. It was over for him.
"So sorry," the Reject taunted. "But, you don't get another chance."
The Reject was just about to slice his head off. Asmuth could feel the heat burning his flesh. He could feel the Reject so close to him. But, a sudden thrust upwards caught them both off guard. The Reject gasped, a huge black claw sticking through his chest.
Asmuth crawled away, as more black tendrils slithered along the ground. "Haji! Don't take me!"
Haji appeared next to Asmuth and picked him up. "It's not me this time."
Haji transported Asmuth to safety. They sat atop a platform that had appeared, probably due to some sort of spell that Haji had cast. Or perhaps it was built or darkness, or made of Heartless themselves. Asmuth wasn't sure. He peered over the edge of the platform at the Reject, who had been speared by Roxel's Birth. The Reject was struggling against his captor, casting magic and using Roxel's old weapon to try to free himself.
All attempts failed, for Roxel's Birth was completely unaffected by the Reject's desperation. It carried him away, tearing his limbs off and leaving them scattered about. If the Reject made any kind of scream, or any indication of pain, it wasn't obvious. Asmuth actually felt a pang of sympathy for the Reject.
"He's gone," Asmuth said.
Haji hushed him. "Not quite. Just dismantled. He'll come back."
Asmuth gasped. "What are we supposed to do now? Roxel's gone. Soriku is in that…thing. And I have no energy."
Haji sighed. "You're going to have to make your choice now. You have one thing that could make this all stop. You can break the cycle. But, you have to find Zexion."
Asmuth swallowed. "I don't know where he is. I told him I would pay his price, but he wouldn't listen to me. Even if I did find him, he would reject me again. I don't have any options."
Haji shook him. "You always have options. Here…" He handed Asmuth a gummi. It was silver and round. "When you get the chance, I want you to take Stitch home."
"You'll know." Haji looked up. "I have to go. There's somewhere I have to be now. I'm sure you'll be able to find Zexion on your own. Just, go where you think he is. He'll probably be there."
"There's not a lot of time left." Haji warned. "Just go. If all goes well, you'll never have to see me again."
Asmuth nodded. "But, I have no energy."
Haji held out his hand, but retracted it. "If I heal you, we'll be connected. I can't be tethered to you anymore. I'm leaving."
"But, you still need to help us!"
"Remember the rules." Haji said. "I can leave whenever I want. Well…I'm leaving now."
Asmuth huffed. But, he stood and pushed Haji. "Fine, then. But you better make this right, or I'll find you and kill you."
Haji smiled. "I hope it doesn't come to that."
Asmuth stood still for a while after Haji had disappeared. His mind was reeling. He was alone, trying to save his friends, and trying to destroy a species that seemed to think three steps ahead of him. He had no other choice but to find Zexion, or die at the hands of his friend's Birth.
It was quiet for a long time. There was nobody else in the room. Roxel's birth had other things on its mind, for it left as well, without giving Asmuth a second thought. Perhaps it was on the hunt for something. Maybe for Zexion.
Asmuth peered over the edge of his platform, noticing that it had tiny footholds down the side. Haji made them specifically for him, but the holes were so small, Asmuth doubted that he would be able to make it all the way down without falling halfway. Asmuth sat back, trying to decide what exactly it was he was going to do.
Do I go after Zexion? Asmuth asked himself. Or do I go after my friends? Are they even alive anymore?
It didn't even take him a second to decide the last action of his life. He hopped to his feet, slid his legs over the side of the platform, and kicked his foot into the nearest foothold. It gave way without much force and enveloped his foot. As soon as he pushed himself over the edge, the entire platform flipped on its side and merged with the floor. Asmuth wasn't ready for this, and found himself face down on cold marble.
A thud from above shook rafters loose, and they tumbled down, plowing into the marble like it was made of sand. Asmuth rolled out of the way, even though the rafters were no where near him, and stopped near one of the Reject's limbs. An arm that barely moved, but seemed to pulse mechanically.
It lashed out at him, gripping his ankle and pulling him along the floor. The other body parts that Roxel's Birth had left behind crawled towards them, too. As they got closer, a magnetic energy pulled them together. They reformed into the Reject, and the body parts wrapped around Asmuth's body, constricting him.
"Don't think I die so easily," The Reject snarled. "I'm still here."
Asmuth kicked his feet as hard as he could as he tried to escape from the Reject. He truly was alone, since Haji had quit, and he was no longer there to come and save him just in time. The Reject was constraining him tighter and tighter, until Asmuth sucked in a huge breath and clawed at the Reject's face. The Reject loosened from around Asmuth, and Asmuth jumped to his feet and ran.
The Reject was after him in a heartbeat. Asmuth could only steal glances at the half-monster that followed him. The Reject was missing most of his torso, the most obvious hole being right where his heart would have been if he had one. Asmuth raced down random hallways, not really having any kind of plan in mind as he ran. Even though his most pressing concern was finding Zexion, he had no idea how to do that. Zexion was a much more powerful being than he was. He could transport himself anywhere in the blink of an eye, and he probably knew Asmuth was looking for him, so hiding wasn't difficult.
Asmuth jumped up a seemingly, never ending flight of stairs, and more of the castle crumbled around him. He rounded a corner and stopped. He was out of breath, and he had already pushed himself past his breaking point. Even if Roxel's Birth had shown up to kill him, he wouldn't have been able to run more than a few feet. He continued down the hallway, not entirely convinced that the Reject wasn't following him. At the end of the hallway, he was at his wits end.
He leaned against the wall, and slid down, still huffing. He hadn't caught his breath, and the Reject sidled around the corner at the other end. He was moving much slower, but Asmuth could see all the pent up energy oozing out of the holes in his body. He was a demon, more venomous than any Birth. Mindless like a Heartless, and a black soul, like a Nobody. He was the worst of three displaced species of impossibilities.
"You have something for me then?"
Asmuth turned. Zexion stood there, but he wasn't quite the same. He was softer in look, but just as wise, if not wiser, than the last time they had seen each other. Asmuth didn't even notice the black cloak gathering at his feet. He choked out a rough answer.
"Yes," he croaked. "You can take it. I understand the consequences completely."
"So, why can't I kill the Reject?"
Asmuth quieted. He had answered the question before. He opened his mouth.
"I did not pose it as a question before," Zexion said, looking at the Reject. "It was merely a statement of fact. Now, I ask you. Why can't I kill him?"
Asmuth looked at the Reject, wondering why Zexion wasn't stopping his advances. "You can kill him, can't you? Nothing lasts forever. He did what you wanted him to, didn't he? He took Roxel's heart."
Zexion smiled. "That's true."
The Reject was hovering just above Asmuth when Zexion stuck his hand out, and a huge black claw scooped him up. The Reject struggled against Roxel's Birth, but failed as his limbs were torn off again. But, this time, Roxel's Birth ate them, and a black goo poured out of the Reject's body.
"You!" Asmuth cried, as he looked at Zexion. The Reject's poisoned blood dripped on him. "You created them?"
Zexion snapped his fingers, and the Reject's body disintegrated. "I supposed you could say that."
Asmuth wiped the black goo off his face. His heart began to sting, and he could feel it trying to force its way out. He was beginning to feel the effects of his foolish self-sacrifice. Zexion watched him without a single word. Asmuth crawled towards him.
"You've been lying to us this whole time."
Zexion shook his head, eyes burning with a fierce anger. "I did not betray you, Asmuth. We can barely identify with each other. You are smart, no doubt, but you are nowhere near what I am. You are still squirming in the mud. You have not earned my guidance."
Asmuth twitched uncontrollably as his heart broke through his shell of a body and floated towards the ceiling. More debris fell, and Zexion sidestepped massive amounts of dust and rock that collected around them.
"At this very moment, Sora will kill Xemnas." Zexion said. "Riku is with him, and they are going to do exactly what was planned for them."
Asmuth clutched his chest. "What's happening to me?"
"You are dying, Asmuth," Zexion said. "But, you still have your options."
Asmuth looked up at Zexion.
"You can choose to go back to the beginning." Zexion explained. "You could go back to a normal life with your friends. Or you could die right here. It's your choice."
"But, my mission…"
Zexion held up a hand. "You have done what it was you were supposed to. You broke the cycle. Time will continue to move linearly, but all the mistakes you made, and things you changed will not be able to be fixed."
Asmuth cried out in pain as darkness began to consume him.
"Or you could start it all over again, thought you will never be able to do it again." Zexion growled. "I would make sure of that."
Asmuth whimpered. He had succeeded in his mission. According to Zexion, he had fixed what was broken, though he lost almost everything in the process. He had nothing to lose from going on with a peaceful life, but he had nothing to gain either. It was the ultimate Catch 22. He sighed inwardly as he looked at Zexion.
"I'll stay with my friends."
Zexion snapped his fingers again, and Roxel's Birth leaned over Asmuth, opening its mouth wide and sucking Asmuth into the dark depths. At first, the pain in his chest expanded to cover his whole body. His eyes clouded over with understanding and knowledge. And, for just a brief second, he thought he was going to be okay.
But, his reality struck him like a hammer to the brain, and he blacked out.
Zexion stood in the ruins of The Castle That Never Was. Roxel's Birth was protecting him from every danger as he moved through the debris. Shattered glass and broken walls rained down, destroying the last of the greatest threat to humanity.
Zexion passed a room, where he could see the remnants of his fellow members, floating about; waiting to be swallowed by whatever would accept nothingness. Zexion wept at his fallen members, but he smiled outwardly, knowing he could bring them back. His heart's trip to Kingdom Hearts had brought back invaluable knowledge of the human heart. And since he was technically Ienzo again, he had gained everything he wanted before the darkness had taken him so long ago.
He reveled in his fleeting happiness, and collected the data he needed to bring back the Organization. And, at the top of the last remaining tower of the destroyed half-world, Zexion proclaimed his victory and took Kingdom Hearts, and made the single most sought after secret of the universe.
He made a human heart out of nothing.
Roxel's Birth had followed him throughout his studies afterwards. It waited for some kind of recognition. It knew that it was the creation of an overly gifted mind. Created to absorb information from every source it could find. It could access the heart, the mind, the soul. All the data the drifted in the universe with no place to go. It could trick the Heartless into invading worlds. It could tempt the Nobodies into stealing souls. It was the embodiment of Zexion in everyway, only much more powerful and easy to create.
"Roxel," Zexion said after what felt like an eternity.
Roxel's Birth looked up. Even though whatever humanity it had before had disappeared, it would still answer to its human name.
"I want you to wait ten years or so before you become human again." Zexion ordered. "I am only ten myself. Now that I can grow, I want to make sure nothing will hinder my plans. Your heart is still out there. When the Reject took it from you, I use its power, and released it."
Roxel's Birth swayed from side to side. It seemed to like what it was hearing. Zexion had granted it its freedom. But, it could tell that its task was not quite finished. Zexion needed it to do one more thing before it could go find its heart.
"When you find your heart, you will become human again," Zexion explained hurriedly. "Then, you and your two friends will be reborn, and you will live out your life as normal. You will no longer have to worry about anything, because I will ensure that Krystahl stays safe."
Roxel's Birth hummed, and sank into the floor.
"But, you can not leave just yet," Zexion said. "There is still one more thing you must do, before you can leave. There is one thing that will come after you, seeing as he had failed in his mission, so he will try to kill you, to start everything over again."
Zexion flipped open a book, and perused the pages. "I can not allow that. So, before you go on your way. I want you to kill Haji."
Roxel's Birth nodded and sank through the floor, its tails whipping about, flexing for attack. It was on the hunt. Its last hunt. And it couldn't wait to catch its prey.
Haji was rooting around the only room that was still intact in The Castle That Never Was. Sora and Riku had just defeated Xemnas, and they were supporting each other. They were both severely beaten, just barely being able to stand. Sora noticed Haji skulking around in the corner and called to him.
Haji turned around and stood up. "Hi, Sora."
Riku looked at Haji, then looked at Sora. "Who's this?"
Haji bowed to Riku. "I am Haji. I just need your help with one thing before you go home."
Riku backed away. He was hurt, but not hurt enough to stand on his own. And even though he swayed slightly, he managed to look angry. "We are done now. Xemnas is gone. We won."
Sora approached Haji. "What do you mean? Help you with what?"
Haji looked around. "It's going to try to kill me. I can't let that happen."
Sora looked at Riku, who shook his head. They looked at each other, waging a silent war. Sora couldn't remember who Haji was. Even though he had previously been best friends with Haji, those days had been long gone. Sora didn't remember who Haji was. But, that overwhelming feeling of trust washed over him again. Riku could see this, and gave in. He didn't want to be separated from Sora again. He had gone through his own trials, and wasn't about to let his best friend go blindly into another battle.
"We are too weak to fight," Riku said. "Sora wants to help you, fine. But we can only do so much."
Haji nodded. His ear twitched, and he turned to the other side of the room, feeling the presence of Roxel's Birth coming closer. He healed Sora and Riku, hoping that they would be able to help him defeat his last foe. He had failed his personal mission, but he could certainly bring down as much as he could before he was ultimately destroyed.
Sora summoned his Keyblade, the original Kingdom Key, and prepared himself for battle. Riku stood next to him, Way To Dawn pointed in the same direction that Haji was so focused on. The floor rumbled and turned black. The shadows crept up the walls and covered the glass ceilings. The moon was eclipsed by shadows, and Sora gasped.
"I remember now!" Sora cried.
Riku pushed Haji. "What did you do?"
Haji stomped on the shadows. He wondered why Roxel's Birth was coming to them as a Heartless, but then realized that Sora and Riku didn't know about Births. But there was something else that was bothering him. Sora and Riku suddenly remembered him. That couldn't be possible. They had known each other from so long ago, there wasn't anything left for them to remember.
Roxel's Birth was toying with them.
Roxel's Birth crawled out of the shadows, bearing the Heartless symbol on its head. It had to blend in with the time period, and it knew that it kind had not yet been discovered by human societies. It roared at them, spreading more darkness and limbs about. It was time for it to finish its job.
The battle was on.
Asmuth sat in the belly of this beast, trying to pull himself together. He had woken from his forced slumber disoriented and alone. He wondered for just a moment why he had woken up, considering that Roxel and Soriku were with him. They were all naked, curled up in fluid, and three umbilical cords reached up through the Birth. Asmuth panicked, kicking his legs out. But, he didn't get very far.
He opened his mouth to scream, but his lungs were filled with the fluid of the Birth. He could see, just barely, that Roxel and Soriku were sleeping. They looked so peaceful, but Asmuth knew better. He could feel the guts of the Birth moving around them. He just couldn't understand what had possessed him to choose this.
He had wanted to live. And now he was trapped in a womblike sac, waiting for whatever horrors were going to befall them. He was the only one awake in a world that had fallen asleep. He moved his arms around, noticing how uncomfortable he was making Soriku and Roxel. He pulled at the cord that was supplying him life.
It pulsed with every half breath drawn. Asmuth could see the blood flowing through it. He squeezed it, and was instantly thrown into a world of bright lights, and soft choruses. He knew he was an illusion. That the Birth was trying to keep him alive by thwarting his attempts at group suicide. But, an angel appeared before him, motioning for him to stop.
"You can't do that." The angel whispered. "You must go through with your decision."
Asmuth couldn't say anything, but the angel seemed to know what he wanted to ask.
"I am Asemna." The angel cooed. "I am the gatekeeper to Kingdom Hearts."
Asmuth stopped struggling in his now invisible prison. He felt so ashamed to be stuck in such a position, but he wished so badly he could see the angel better. He had remembered that Markos in Hikari Lux Lucis had asked him if he had seen this man. The irony seemed to bite much harder as Asmuth realized that he was dead.
You didn't see angels unless you were dead.
"You were such a brave soul, Asmuth," Asemna said. "When you sacrificed your heart to finish what you had started, it made me extremely interested in what you were doing."
Asmuth smiled briefly, feeling a strange exhaustion wash over him.
"Your heart made it to us safely," Asemna explained. "I find it interesting that your heart was the second that day to make it to Kingdom Hearts and be able to find its way back. The first being Ienzo's. I find you both remarkable."
Asmuth closed his eyes.
"I understand that you have things you need to do," Asemna finished. "But I will grant you one special ability. When you fall asleep, your mind will be erased, and you will be reborn in your world. You will be a new person, with a life that will be free of the responsibilities of your past lives."
"I will give you the ability to remember everything you have done. But, you must never tall anyone of your power. I want this to never happen again. You will be the one to control that. No one else will remember what had happened. It would be the beginning of the first of everything."
Asmuth was gone. Asemna cast his magic, aided by the power of Kingdom Hearts. He had given Asmuth the most powerful force in the universe next to the heart.
"Only you and Ienzo will know of your journey." Asemna whispered. "Use it well."
Asmuth fell asleep in happiness, a small smile etched on his face. He, Roxel and Soriku were together for all eternity. Three friends who had changed the world in a time where Sora, Donald, Goofy, and Riku could not have. They were the heroes of their time, but they would go unnoticed for their deeds, so long as Asmuth kept his secret.
Their journey was over.
The battle had been fierce. Sora and Riku had been pushed back to Destiny Islands by Roxel's Birth. Their memories of Haji had been torn from their minds completely, just to make sure they would never be able to act upon those memories ever again.
Haji was alone in the last legs of his fight, and he had foolishly attacked blindly. Roxel's Birth was so much more straightforward. It didn't beat around to bush, or try to strategize. It merely went after Haji, and after what was as long a battle as any war, Haji had been captured by Roxel's Birth.
He had lost. He knew it now. He was never going complete anything he had set his mind to. He just got distracted too easily. He was a loser in the eyes of his species, and it was a surprise to both Haji and Roxel's Birth, when a set of buggy yellow eyes appeared in the farthest corner of the room.
Roxel's Birth was about to kill Haji. Was about to destroy him for good, but Wyverns appeared from the high ceiling and swooping upon it. It didn't attack it, but it did pull it away from Haji, as if to protect him. Haji, however, panicked. The sight of his own kind offering him protection scared him.
A portal of Darkness appeared and Master Xehanort appeared, wielding the X-Blade. He smirked and pointed at Haji maliciously.
"I told you not to betray us, Haji."
Haji bristled, ready to attack his own kind. He had become something different entirely. He was a traitor to his race. Roxel's Birth crept away, as Master Xehanort executed Haji in the only way Heartless could understand. Haji didn't beg for mercy. He merely took his punishment as Master Xehanort cut him down, and released his heart.
Haji was dead.
And it was all over now.
I'm sorry that this has to end, but all good stories come to a close. Their journey is over, and they have only happiness to look forward to. But, don't be so sure that everything ends well. The epilogue might take a little long to get out, but i do have a lot of things to do.
Has a nice day. :) And say farewell to the end of the road.