The next morning, when Vanitas awoke, there was a note stuck to his helmet. It read:


I had some urgent business to attend to. It could not wait. While I am gone, go to Radiant Garden; there seem to be less Unversed there than everywhere else. Repopulate that world with unversed and then come straight back here, do not go anywhere else.


Vanitas crumpled the note, tossed it on the ground, and put on his helmet. Storm, the Unversed who had spent the night with him, was still sleeping peacefully on the bed. Vanitas quietly left the room. He didn't want Storm to follow him. Silently closing the door, the boy turned to leave. Just then, a whimpering noise came from behind the door. No matter how hard he tried, he couldn't ignore a crying Unversed. Since they came from him, he was like their mother, their master. He cared about them too much to ignore them. He opened it and Storm zoomed out. He looked up at Vanitas with sad, black eyes and whimpered again.

"No, Storm, Stay." Vanitas commanded gently.

The Unversed lay down on the ground, whining.

"Stay." Vanitas said again, this time a little more firmly. He turned to leave again. Despite the command, the Unversed stood and followed his master anyway. Vanitas sighed and turned around. "Storm…"

The Unversed jumped up and down until Vanitas scooped him up in one arm. The boy looked his pet in the eyes. "You can't follow me, Storm. It's too dangerous." He scratched its ear. "You could get hurt."

The creature nuzzled the boy's chest and purred. Vanitas sighed again. "Okay, okay, you can come. Be a good boy, though."

Storm jumped out of his master's arms and gleefully walked aside him.

[Later, Radiant Garden]

"Go, my pets, reek havoc! Go to town, have fun. Most importantly, if someone tries to fight you, fight back."

Hundreds of Unversed dispersed from where their master stood, spreading out all over the small, seemingly peaceful world.

"There, all done." Vanitas said as Storm climbed up his leg and arm, finally resting on his shoulder. He turned his head to his pet. "You ready to go?"

The creature purred and rubbed itself up against his face.

"I'll take that as a 'yes'." Vanitas laughed.

With that, the two turned to leave. Before Vanitas could open a portal back, a blonde-haired boy caught his eye. The boy was chasing one of the larger unversed. That must be Ventus. He looks just as Master Xehanort described. Maybe he knows the answers to my questions.

"Maybe I shouldn't."


"Eraqus has poisoned his mind." Xehanort growled. "Vanitas, you will never be safe around Ventus. He'll try to destroy you, just as he has been taught. He must always be treated as an enemy, never as a friend."

*End flashback*

"Whadda you think, Storm? Should we go get some answers?"

The unversed rubbed itself on Vanitas's face again.

"Alright, let's go then."

The boy and his pet set off to find Ventus. They followed behind him quietly. Vanitas didn't want to give away their position. He and Ventus had only met once before.


Vanitas had been given orders to deliver a message to Ventus; something about his friend, Terra. Xehanort had said that it was an incentive for their blonde target to leave home and get stronger; setting their plan in motion. His mission was to get in, deliver the message, and get out. Vanitas waited outside Ventus's room. As soon as the boy's back was turned, Vanitas slipped in silently through the window. Ventus was about to leave the room when Vanitas executed the plan.

"Better hurry, Ventus." Vanitas sneered.

"Huh?" Ventus turned around and faced him. "Who are you?"

"Or you'll never see Terra again," Vanitas finished, ignoring the boy's question.

"What? Get real. I can see Terra anytime I want." Ventus replied.

"Like right now? He's leaving you behind. And by the time you catch up…he'll be a different person."

"Look—whoever you are—you don't know the first thing about Terra." Ventus's wooden keyblade, the one he was holding, shifted in front of him into a defensive position. "Me and him will always be a team. You trying to pick a fight, or what?"

"Oh, grow up." He answered as he walked across the room. He stopped, facing away from Ventus. "Is that what you call 'friendship'? You'll never know the truth unless you go out and look for it yourself." He turned halfway towards him. "Come on, what could you possibly know when you're stuck here, looking at nothing but what's in your tiny world?"

With that, Vanitas left.

*end flashback*

Vanitas watched as Ventus commenced in battle with two others against a giant Unversed. The blonde was strong, much stronger than before. After the three had defeated the creature, they started talking. Vanitas could tell, although he couldn't hear them. Then, the brown-haired one, Terra stormed off—towards Vanitas!

"Uh oh!" Vanitas whispered to himself, who knew this meant that his cover would be blown. He had encountered Terra before. Not fun. He looked over to Storm, who was still on his shoulder. "Hold on, handsome, it's gonna be a bumpy ride."

Vanitas climbed up a tree to avoid being seen. After Terra had disappeared, Ventus came out and searched for something. I got him right where I want him. Vanitas thought to himself. Suddenly, Storm jumped off Vanitas's shoulder and pursued Ventus.

"Storm! What are you doing? No! Get back here!"

Vanitas's mind raced. His little baby Storm was in trouble! If Ventus caught sight of him, the helpless little unversed would be destroyed! He couldn't blow his cover though. Vanitas had no choice but to follow Ventus and get Storm back before it was too late.